Kaplan Quotes from the Rama Room
Recorded by Betty Kaplan, Edgar's Boswell
- "I don't know what North was thinking of doing, but it's just as well he didn't."
- "Now that he's at the six level, he knows no more than he did before but there's less bidding space for making errors."
- "I think he'll keep doubling them until he finally beats one."
- "The difference between a brave bid and a foolhardy bid is largely a matter of result."
- "Have you notice that Chagas has the capacity for winning a large number of tricks? It's a very useful attribute for a bridge player."
- "No double, no trouble."
- "That's unfair. North-South were just having a good time and suddenly East-West turned nasty and doubled."
- "North probably felt his high cards (3 points) made up for his lack of distribution."
- "The Laws should allow a responsive STOP. When your partner announces STOP, you could say STOP!"
- "That computer has never gone down in its whole life. It doesn't know the feeling."
- "Four hearts is a very good bid -- but on some other hand."
- "This is a contract that would be justified only by success -- and I have a feeling that it will not be."
- "West passed, hoping his partner would double, but that was too much to hope for in this world. It will happen all the time in the next world."
- "Even on the vulnerability he might risk bidding just two spades. Of course, I wouldn't be saying that if two spades could go down 800."
- "This three notrump is the sort of contract that Lloyd's of London would insure."
- "A contract becomes ambitious only if declarer makes it. We have other words for it if it goes down...This contract went down only one. It was nearly ambitious."
- "If you average South's bidding on this hand (one too many) and on the previous hand (one too few), he comes out just right."
- "When in doubt, put the opponents on lead. Why should you make the mistake?"
- "Mahmood gave himself some very good advice when he said STOP. But he paid no attention."
- "It is always a good idea to make only six when you've missed a grand slam. The opponents don't know how good a result they have."
- "The computer is living very dangerously today."
- "He may bid and he may not. I believe that covers all possibilities."
- "If you're a good enough player, you can get away with making mistakes because nobody will believe it."
- "If declarer throws even one club from dummy, the defenders will be in position to make three notrump."
- "That's the story of my life -- all my life, I've been setting up non-working endplays."
- "Declarer could try a non-working squeeze."
- "After all, East-West have a clear majority of the point count (21)."
- "The defenders made two notrump so it was an accurate contract -- just played the wrong way."
- "Kehela is not your typical friendly neighborhood defender."
- "His pass over two diamonds was clearly conservative, but his pass over two hearts was more than conservative -- it was reactionary."
- "In both rooms, just as East-West were about to go down one, North came to the rescue. The idea on a hand like this is to be generous and let your opponents go down."
- "Well, he underled two aces on the last hand with ill effect, so this time he'll lead a club from ten-fourth. Twice burned, once shy."
- "I understand some super-modernists are back to leading queen from queen-jack. They call it 'reverse Rusinow.'"
- "The South hand was too weak to pass in the Closed Room (Polish strong pass) and too strong to pass in the Open Room (10 points)."
- "He's preserving his options to misguess the diamonds."
- "In order to let the contract make, the defenders must lead a spade. No other line of play succeeds."
- "The double squeeze would have given declarer a glow for the boards to come. This way he just took a finesse which anyone can do."
- "The first duty of a contract is to make. If it doesn't make, that's a major flaw."
- "South's bid implied: I have four spades, four hearts, six clubs and the rest are diamonds."
- "They avoided the trap of bidding a slam on the second hand to compensate for the one they missed on the first."
- "South had five hearts and five clubs, but they were not playing five-card majors so he opened one club."
- "I don't understand how declarer made only five spades. I understand why he wanted to make only five spades: It wouldn't be so obvious then that he had missed a slam."
- "To teach the opponents not to preempt against you, you must not only double them, you must also beat them."
- "Some people bid three notrump over their partner's three-level suit bids on the theory that it's more dignified to go down in game."
- "Bad enough when the trumps are 4-1, but when the singleton gets a ruff, that's an affront."
- "In his three notrump contract, declarer has seven tricks. One more from heaven makes eight and where there's eight, there's nine."
- "Twice doubled, twice made. The double seems to be the Good Housekeeping seal of approval in this match."
- "I don't think anyone in this tournament can bid diamonds to show diamonds. We lost the club suit in the 1950s. Now diamonds are gone and hearts are sinking fast."
- "In the Closed Room, the defenders seem to have gone to sleep with their ace of trumps."
- "Good players guess well on some days and bad players guess well on some days. But good players guess well on more days."
- "Everything gets doubled in the Closed Room except when it goes down."
- "If you want to bid naturally and still sound modern, just say your bid shows the suit below the suit above the one you bid."
- "If North had the seven of clubs, declarer would go down. The trouble is you would have to give North the seven of clubs in the other room also."
- "Now he has forced North to lead away from his king of diamonds but unfortunately North didn't have it. It's called the phantom endplay."
- "His lead was the middle from the top of nothing."
- "In the old days, you had to grit your teenth and pass with the North hand. Now you can make a negative double with the result that you go down instead of the opponents."
- "The computer has just bid a psychic. It shows you can't even trust a machine nowadays."
- "East is wondering why he didn't pass one spade. So am I."
- "East-West can make a singular number of hearts but not a plural number."
- "I think Lauria was right. This way, whatever happens, it's his partner's fault."
- "To open one notrump with a five-card major is not a misdemeanor but a felony."
- "East's 3H bid on Qxxx shows great fortitude. Personally, I'd rather have fiveitude."
- "They make a game. It wasn't a good game but still they won't give it back on that account."
- "Somebody said down one is good bridge. Making is perhaps better."
- "Now his three diamond bid shows a singleton diamond. When he rebids diamonds, it will confirm a singleton diamond.
This originally appeared in the Daily Bulletin in Philadelphia (Spring, 1996).
- "It seems to me you should be able to make more in an eight-card fit than in a five-card fit. There's no justice in this world."
- "The best one can say for this contract is that it has not yet gone down."
- "Defenders hate to lead suits they have bid--they like to surprise the declarer."
- "Either team can make three notrump so long as they have the opening lead."
This list appeared in the Daily Bulletin at the Albuquerque NABC.
- "The modern fashion in cuebids is not to show anything in particular but to cast a rosy glow over the whole auction."
- "Declarer led the ace of trumps and it held. So now he must reconsider his options."
- "As you can see, neither pair had any difficulty reaching their 19-point game. The difficulty will come in the play."
- "There are three right plays in bridge--what's correct on analysis, what works and what I would do."
- "North obeyed the old rule--if you can't follow suit, follow color."
- An exchange between commentators Kaplan and Jean Besse
- Besse: "Well, you must do a lot of things before you can endplay East."
- Kaplan: "Yes, but that's your job, Jean. If you don't want to do a lot of things, you must stay in Switzerland."
- "No swing on a board that was touch and go at both tables. It touched and went."
- "When partner asks for help in a side suit and you respond positively with three small, it is an insult to your partner. And if he's well-built and hefty, it is a poor idea to insult him."
- "I think this hand should be played the way my mother would play it--take your nine tricks." (When this is what declarer actually did, Edgar remarked, "Yes he's playing it the maternal way.")"
- "I know people who could go down on this hand, but I don't believe any of them are here."
- "The only Americans who would get to six hearts on that hand are sitting in the audience, so no fear."
- "As long as the king is in the same place at the other table, you don't have to worry. It's when the king jumps from the West hand to the East hand that you must be concerned."
- "To equal the result in the other room, he needs 16 overtricks."
- "It's a question of intent: if you have a problem, you must think. If you hesitate to fool your opponent, that is unethical. If your heart is pure, your ethics are unsullied."
- "North doubled four hearts to tell himself what to lead."
- "He has left himself no flexibility. He can no longer go down."
- "The Closed Room is playing faster than the Open Room. They have easier hands in there."
- "It is well-known that in third seat, you must have 13 cards to open the bidding."
- "The number of players who enjoy doubling the opponents into game can be counted on one toe."
- "It does seem a little hard to sit here criticizing a man who has just collected 1100."
This list appeared in the Daily Bulletin at the Albuquerque NABC.
A story of Edgar Kaplan's is mentioned by Jerry Machlin in his autobiography. EK is playing in the Life Master Individual (at the time a prestige event) and playing against a player seems to have lucked into her Life Master status. Being normally very easy going he says nothing after a disaster on the first hand. After the second hand she puts her hand down with the comment, "I didn't know what to do, I had 14 points". Edgar replies "My fault madam, I thought you had 300."
Edgar's long-time partner, Norman Kay, was a very deliberate player. As Edgar was fond of writing, "Every time Norman starts to think, I know we're about to win 10 IMPs." It is said that not long ago, after Edgar had become ill with cancer, the two were playing, and Norman was taking quite a long time before making a play. Edgar finally grumbled "God almighty, Norman, play a card!" Norman slowly turned his wrist, looked at his watch, and said "Why, are we under time pressure?" Edgar leaned over slightly and said "In case you haven't noticed, I am!"