Not Just the ACBL Story – But HISTORY

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ACBL Bridge Beat #80: Match of the Century, Part 2

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The “Match of the Century”
By Harold Franklin
Reprinted from The Bulletin March 1972

After 69 deals the Blue Team led by 8 IMPs, but Board 70 gave the Aces an opportunity to take the lead under most unusual circumstances:

Dlr: East ♠ J 7 5 4
Vul: Both K 6
7 5 3 2
♣ Q 10 4
♠ Q ♠ K 10 9 8 6 3 2
Q 10 8 5 A 9 7 3
A K 10 9 6
♣ A K 8 ♣ J 3
♠ A
J 4 2
Q J 8 4
♣ 9 7 6 5 2
West North East South
(Hamman) (Belladonna) (Soloway) (Avarelli)
Pass Pass
1 Pass 2♠ Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
3NT Pass 4 Pass
5♣ Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass

North led the ♠7 and South won and returned a club. Hamman won and led the Q, covered by the king and ace. A low spade from dummy followed. Avarelli discarded a club and declarer ruffed with the 10. The 8 was led and Belladonna revoked by discarding a diamond. Avarelli won with the jack and returned a trump on which Belladonna again failed to follow. Had declarer somehow realized that there had been a revoke – or indeed had Belladonna played his 6 on the third round of trumps – Hamman would have had no difficulty in coming to 10 tricks and making his slam with the aid of the two-trick penalty. But believing he was playing against a 4-1 heart break, he ended with nine tricks and, there being no penalty for a second revoke in the same suit by the same player, was ruled to be down one. At the other table Garozzo and Forquet stopped in a safe 4 contract and gained 13 IMPs.

From Board 70 to 100 the Blue Team hit top form and virtually ended the match as they built up a lead of 68 IMPs. Forquet was given credit for the “hand of the match” after finding the winning defense on this deal:

Dlr: East ♠ 6 4 2
Vul: Both K
A K Q 10 7 2
♣ Q 10 4
♠ K Q ♠ A 9 5
5 3 J 8 2
9 5 3 J 8 6 4
♣ A K 9 7 5 3 ♣ J 6 2
♠ J 10 8 7 3
A Q 10 9 7 6 4
♣ 8
West North East South
(Soloway) (Avarelli) (Hamman) (Belladonna)
Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 2NT Pass 3
Pass 4 All Pass

Against the auction shown, Soloway led the ♣K and Hamman produced the 2. He then switched to the ♠K, fetching the 9 from Hamman and the ♠Q held the next trick as East played the 5. That ended the defense. Declarer gained the lead at the next trick and got rid of his three remaining spades on dummy’s top diamonds.

At the other table Bobby Wolff opened 4 with the South hand and Garozzo led the ♣A. After getting the deuce from Forquet, he too switched to the ♠K and continued with the queen. But before permitting the queen to hold, Forquet reasoned as follows: “My partner must have count of the club suit, and if there were a second club trick to cash, he would have cashed it before trying the second spade. That being so the contract can be defeated only if we can score three spade tricks. Since we both know that with K-Q-x or K-Q-x-x partner would have followed the ♠K with a low spade lead, the king followed by the queen could only mean K-Q-J(-x), in which case it does not matter if I overtake with the ace, or . . . is it possible?”

So Forquet overtook with the ace and led a third spade and it was possible. In the end, the Blue Team wound up comfortable winners by a score of 338 – 254. One was left with the feeling that both teams were capable of much better things and the result in Las Vegas will count for little when they line up as the main contenders at Miami Beach in June 1972.

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Written by acbl

July 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. What an insightful analysis by Forquet. No wonder the Italian Blue Team won the 1972 Match of the Century against The Dallas Aces. I doubt very much, whether there will ever be such a dominant collection of bridge talent at the World level.

    Lyle Elmgren

    Lyle Elmgren

    July 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm


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