Amid the ACBL Fall Championships, the natives were restless. Concerned players were grumbling about - among other things - shortcomings in the league's technology, including a $1.9 million outlay for a new scoring system that became a fiasco.

Moreover, though the American Contract Bridge League has substantial cash reserves, its leadership approved a hefty surcharge for play with "table screens": wooden partitions that prevent a player from seeing his partner. They are used in the late stage of major events.

The gripe seemed to be not the money but that no explanation for the surcharge was forthcoming. (See bridgewinners.com, a site that hosts discussions on bridge-related issues.) The ACBL has historically lacked transparency. Perhaps matters will improve in 2015 with Chicago's petite but dynamic Suzi Subeck as its president.

Back to bridge. A safety play gives up the chance for the maximum number of tricks but guards against a devastating loss. At match points, where overtricks at a normal contract are vital, safety plays are usually avoided.

In the Life Master Pairs, Jim Krekorian chose a descriptive 1NT second bid as South. When West led a diamond, Krekorian won with the 10 and liked his position enough to adopt a partial safety play in spades: He took the K-A.

If no queen had appeared, declarer would have led a third spade toward his jack. As it was, he finessed with his eight for four spade tricks. He was sure of eight tricks in all and ended with nine - for a super result - when the defense slipped.