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Post 9 Dr. Paul Stern. Tuesday, 12th September 2017.

Good Morning.

I wonder how many of you reach for the bottle of Aspirins when you see the word “Post” scroll up on Bridge Winners !  Well, this time you’ll need to have your paper handkerchief ready.

The records record the facts but the writers remind the memory. And in time, what are the qualifications deemed necessary to sit at the Bridge high table ?  Winning numerous gold cups and trophies - maybe.  Contributing as a writer over a long period of time - surely.  Carrying the Bridge flag forward in some significant way - absolutely.

i.  Dr. Paul Stern’s story is a fascinating one.  I will not repeat any of that.  Rather, I hope to add my two-penny worth to that story.  He certainly sits at the Bridge high table, but for me, not for the obvious reason.  I have some of his letters.  This one is full double-sided and written on “Contract Bridge Journal” letter headed paper.  In it, he responds to someone who has written-in about a problem.  I’m searching for that problem because it would be a wonderful thing to put it up on Bridge Winners, and get you all to analyse it, along with the two page critique that Dr. Stern gives in this letter.  I’d call it “Paul’s last stand”.

ii.  He gives some general advice (I reproduce exact) :

    “I shall be quite satisfied you miss this and some other slams, which no one can bid with any degree of safety but if you reach the correct part-scores, games and slams in hands where your competitors have no chance, because their system can get into the right contract only 78 times (at the best) in 100 cases”.

    “Difficulties increase always if C are trumps and very careful bidding is required to avoid abortive slams ; therefore if such hands occur it is - generally speaking - better to avoid the uncertain slam and to be convinced that you will be able to reach it in many cases, while others cannot do so without risk”.

iii.  His writing is in a free-hand, slightly sloping style, in blue ink, no typed answer this. Two full sides to someone with the knowledge that it would never be published.  That for me is “carrying the flag forward”.  Yes, Dr Paul Stern sits at the Bridge high table.

iv.  And why do you need your paper handkerchief ?  His probate records that he died on 12th June 1948.  This letter is dated 8th May 1948.  It must surely be one of the the very last letters on Bridge that he wrote ( I do have a later, dated 27th May 1948 though).  He ends the letter :

    “Please drop me a line anytime whenever you feel the need.

                                                      Yours sincerely

                                                                  Paul Stern (signature).

               Remember me to your team-mates”.

Best wishes,

Ken in Bournemouth.

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