Al The Plumber


Ghostwritten by Casey Stengel with Assists by Yogi Berra

Doctored by Al, the Plumber of the Depths of Lunacy

If you have not read “CAN’T ANYBODY HERE PLAY THIS HERE GAME HERE?” – INTRO, I suggest that you do so before proceeding to any of the cases.


I’ll try to get a few old cases out of the way early on. Probably only a small number of people have seen any of them though. I mentioned this one to some folks after I communed with Casey. If you already know about it, please refrain from commenting until others have had a chance to take a look.

Note: There are too many names on my distribution list for just one mailing. This makes public commenting extremely difficult without a blog or something similar. If you wish, you can access the case and make comments on Alternatively, you can e-mail them to me. I will then pass them on to Casey for his conclusions. We will only use your name if you want us to.

After having seldom played for eons in “The Big Time”, I was studiously studying stupendous recent play to get myself in shape for more active combat. I figured that my approach should be pretty much the same as that of my stunt double (and another A. S.), alias The Terminator, alias The Governator of the Money Pit. I’d practice with numerous types of tricky weapons to deal out destruction to opponents. Of course, if any partners or teammates would ever be so foolish as to get in the way of my itchy trigger finger hands, massive collateral damage would be dealt to them too, and it would serve them right.

I stumbled across an April 2007 Bridge World article by Larry Cohen entitled, “A Blue Ribbon Pair”. In the 2006 final, he followed boards 5 and 6 for a full session. I have attached the pages that relate to board 6. The quality is not great, but is a lot better than the “bridge” that Larry kibitzed. Perhaps someone can make better copies for me to provide to others. However, it may not be possible to attach any files on some other websites where this article appears. If you want to buy the issue or a subscription, please reference Moreover, you really should act super quickly if you want the issue. After Casey works over the guilty player(s) [I’m not saying how many there are for any case] more than Larry did, it may become a collector’s item! Incidentally, you shouldn’t mention my name to Jeff Rubens, the chief deal cooker and hand washer, or anyone else at The Bridge World. For some inexplicable reason, they think that anyone who takes advice from me is a great candidate for a Schmuck Coup(*), and can be charged at least double, and probably redouble, the usual price.

Let’s get on with the board. Per Larry, “Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed how the field mangled this deal.” Incidentally, in his words, Larry has known me “since before I (i.e., Larry) was born!” OK, I know. That was a life-altering tragedy for him. You want to mourn for Larry now, but there’s plenty of time for that that later. Anyway, his statement about the deal is incredibly obstreperous, at least for him! More typical is when he says near the end of the article that the caliber of play was “a bit disappointing”. I think that is a “bit of an understatement”, maybe even for his non-bellicose self.

Here is the hand:

Dealer: North

Vul: NS


Q 9 8 5

K 5 3

A J 5

10 6 4



9 7 4

K Q 10 8 6 4

K 8 7


A 6

Q 8 6 2

9 7 2

Q J 9 2


K J 10 4 3 2

A J 10


A 5 3

At all 13 tables in the section, the bidding started P-P-1S. W always bid either 2D or 3D, and sometimes E supported one way or another. South played 4 10 times. North played 3N once and West played 5 X twice.

Per the article, Rodwell, Moll, Woolsey, Armstrong, and Prescott made swift work of 4 . They won the K lead, ruffed a diamond, played a spade, and regardless what East did, South could ruff the last diamond by getting to dummy with a trump. After throwing the opponents in with a club, they were endplayed. +620.

However, the other 4 declarers, Shivdasani, Yates, E. Prahin, Narita, and Cappelletti Sr. all butchered by playing a spade to hand, ducked by E. Nevertheless, they all were +620! Either they guessed well later, or the defenders made things easy for them – sometimes by E playing a club quack and then shifting if it held.

J. Grue made 660 in 3N when East led and continued a diamond after winning the A, and then West switched to a heart after winning a diamond trick.

Bruno and J. Feldman declared 5 X as W, and went for 800.

Larry also reported scores and an example of the play from the other sections. Joanna Stansby ducked the K and West continued, so she had two diamond tricks. Then she guessed hearts for 650.

After reading the article, I immediately contacted Surely’s Institute. They patched me in to Casey so I could read it to him. I asked what he thought about the bad play. I could hear poor Casey rolling over in his grave even faster than usual. Then he started spittin’ extra large balls of fire over the medium at me! Before the channel burned out, I heard him say:

“Don’t cut my throat. I may want to do that later myself!”

I think Casey meant that there was even more manglization than I had read to him! What could he have been referring to? Can you meet his tough standards?

Go to it!

Al, the Plumber of the Depths of Lunacy!

*The Schmuck Coup is a real bridge play that I’ve seen work even against expert schmucks. Nevertheless, due to the worldwide apathy about the pathetic lack of corresponding high quality bridge literature, the valuable maneuver gets virtually zippo coverage. Fortunately, I am scheduled to play some hands in a dinner game against Steve Carrell, and expect to gather enough material for a treatise on the subject. I certainly wouldn’t want to offend any feminists who similarly yearn for hair-raising animal adventures. I’ll simultaneously be taking discussions of The Pusillanimous Coup (don’t panic – there is a shorter name for it) out of virgin territory when the rubber hits the road.

P. S. Standard Boilerplate: Remember, Casey is interested in real life bridge and sound procedures, not doubledummy success or result merchant type stuff, unless otherwise specified. For example, even if you get the best possible result, but don’t go about it properly, he’s going to BATter you — and you had better hope it will only be verbally! That will be unmerciful enough. He may refer the worst of the spaced out offenders, whether on offense or defense, to Ming.

This series is primarily about lunacies during the play. Sometimes only one player might have made an unrecognized error. On other hands, many players may have made the same mistake. Examples in which there is more than one type of error also could be lurking out there. Unless stated to the contrary, please consider the entire case as presented — regardless how many players, tables, plays, hands, etc. are given. In any situation, Casey is yearning for those who find every edge (but no spitballs and the like those times!), no matter how big or small it is.

However, you may opt to go further. It can’t hurt to get some extra practice! Please feel free to make any other comments about bidding, how other vulnerabilities or scoring conditions may affect the deal, etc.


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