Lifestyle

Remembering Eddie, an excellent bridge player

  • Fig 1: the starting position and bidding
  • Fig 2: how the hand looks with a play at teams

A tough column to write this week as we all received the sad news of the passing of Eddie Kyme, who with Stephanie has been such a loyal supporter of the Bridge Club over the years. This was put out by the Club earlier this week:

“Members will be sad to hear of the death of one of our longstanding and popular members, Eddie Kyme. As some of you may know, Eddie went over to the States last week for heart surgery but sadly was not well enough to have this and he passed away that evening.

“Eddie was an excellent bridge player and won a number of club championships, most recently the Men’s Pairs with Alan Douglas in three consecutive years 2014-2016. In addition to his prowess at the bridge table, Eddie was of course one of the best squash and tennis players in Bermuda in his day. We will all miss him and his quirky sense of humour.”

Eddie and I go back a long way, almost from the time I landed on the island some 40 plus years ago. He taught my family tennis, and I played against him a few times, the most memorable being when he tortured me in a tournament in midsummer. He beat me 6-2, 6-1, but that doesn’t tell the story, as he made me run for miles until I lost each point, all as payback for me taking money off him at a poker game the week before.

I did, however, knock him off in the finals of a Paddle Tennis tournament at the White Heron, something I have to mention in case he is reading this column from up there, and I know he would do the same.

In his later years, after giving up his job in tennis, Eddie did all the driving for me and my clients, and with his great group of fellow taxi drivers showed how one can turn a job into a profession.

He had a quick wit and a sharp sense of humour and will be missed greatly by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with Stephanie, whose love and support for Eddie was there for all to see, and the kids Nick, Jason and Kevin, all of whom were at his bedside at the time of his passing — they should know that their dad touched people positively all his life.

I don’t have a hand available that Eddie played, but I do have one he asked me about (Fig 1).

Once North raised the bid to game, South went for Slam — 4NT was Roman Key Card Blackwood, North showed two Key cards (aces and the king of trumps make up the five Key cards) without the trump queen (she would have bid 5 Spades with two Key cards and the trump queen) and South then went to slam.

Eddie brought me the hand and asked how I would play it. My first question was teams or pairs? He answered pairs.

The play at teams, where making the contract is paramount and overtricks are not that valuable, is a no-brainer — win the Club lead, draw trumps, cash the other Club and play the ace and king of Diamonds. If the queen comes down, which it doesn’t on this hand, try and guess the Heart queen for an overtrick. On this hand this would be the position (Fig 2).

Now exit with the Diamond and West has to find the Heart queen for you or give you a ruff and discard — contract made.

But how do you play it at pairs? Do you settle for 12 tricks or do you get greedy and finesse the Diamond queen first and then, win or lose, figure out the Hearts, either to make the contract or for the overtrick. If you lose the Diamond a good defender will just return a Diamond and let you figure out the hearts, so you are basically now 50-50 for the slam. Making 12 tricks may not be great but going down one would be a disaster.

Also, if you take the safe play of the ace and king of Diamonds, once in a while the queen will be singleton or doubleton and you can then go for the overtrick.

So, I told Eddie that I would take the safe route and guarantee the slam. Needless to say, that wasn’t the answer he wanted — he wanted to roll the dice.

We will all remember him well.

Breaking news: the Bridge Club summer party has been cancelled due to insufficient numbers, so take that out of your diary.