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Old hands with new tricks
Charles Goren
December 07, 1964
At the Trials in Dallas to form a North American entry in the 1965 World Championship, three seasoned pairs whip some younger rivals
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December 07, 1964

Old Hands With New Tricks

At the Trials in Dallas to form a North American entry in the 1965 World Championship, three seasoned pairs whip some younger rivals

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The sensation of the tournament, perhaps, was the biggest set ever recorded in such an event. It occurred on the second board of the final-round match when Cliff Russell and Harry Harkavy were trying desperately for a blitz that might have given them one of the top three places at the expense of Erdos-Petterson. The situation called for daring tactics, but Russell and Harkavy overdid it. Their bidding (see below) had the weird look of the mad scientist.

East's opening bid of four clubs asked partner to bid four hearts—based on the theory that it would help to have the lead come up to the hand that might have strength. Of course, Petterson was far too strong to bid only four hearts and instead chose a Blackwood bid of four no trump, to which Erdos declared "no aces." Petterson settled for six hearts—but at this point Harkavy wheeled into action with the "unusual" no trump, asking partner to take his choice of the minors. Russell bid seven clubs and Petterson, of course, doubled.

The opening lead of the 9 of clubs was the best possible. Erdos took dummy's queen with the king and continued by leading the jack to force North's ace. A spade lead to the king put West in, and West made the brilliant return of the queen of hearts. Had Erdos overtaken with the king and drawn the trumps, Russell would have made only one trick, dummy's ace of clubs. But East ducked. South was able to trump the continuation of the heart ace. but that was his second and last trick. The result was 3,200 points—a gain of 1,770 over those who merely made slam. Erdos-Petterson coasted to a 48-12 win, an easy second-place finish and an expenses-paid trip to South America next spring.

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