Edgar Kaplan – he left some huge footprints!

Edgar Kaplan (1925 – 1997) left some significant footprints both as a player, author, theorist and administrator. He was a giant in all he put his hands on. As a player he won 25 North American Championships and represented USA. He was a runner-up twice at world championships.

Together with Alfred Sheinwold he developed the Kaplan-Sheinwold bidding system. Weak 1 NT openings and 5-card major openings were not common in the fifties, it is also told that the KS system was the inspiration of the precision system that adopted both weak 1 NT openings and 5-card majors.

As a writer Edgar was the editor and publisher of the premium bridgemagazine The Bridge World from 1967 until his death in 1997! With this position he could make a change. His way of writing did change the reporting on tournaments.

For years Kaplan served on (and chaired) regional, national and international bridge organizations in a largely successful effort to publicize the nature of ethical bridge play and to bring it to the bridge table. He chaired the ACBL’s National Laws Commission for many years and was an ACBL delegate to the World Bridge Federation, often chairing its Appeals Committee.

Edgar Kaplan is a member of the ACBL Hall of Fame and will forever be among the all-time greatest personalities of the game.

Let’s take a look back in the fifties. This board was reported by Edgar after a pair trial. South ended up as declarer of 6♥.

The ten of diamonds was led and dummies queen was covered with the king and the ace. Kaplan did go down after he just grabed the ace of hearts to discover that east had started with QJT3 and now had 2 tricks to bring the contract down!

In fact all declarers at the trials went down in the same contract. But didn’t they miss the best line of play?

The 4-0 split of trump is a threat and can only be handled if east are the holder of the trumps. To make this you need to play twice from dummy. Since your only entry is the king of spades you need to make sure to play your cards correctly.

Kaplan suggests the best line of play is to just play 3 rounds of diamonds and ruff the third at dummy. If this holds the trick you play a heart and let it run. If east cover you overtake with the king and return to dummy with the king of spades to play another heart and make sure east only get one trick in hearts.

You make the contract if  east overruff the third diamond and  hold at least 2-card of hearts (not 4)!




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