The Tournament of Champions, played in Deauville, France this summer, certainly lived up to its name. Of the 16 players who took part, all but one were recent World Championship participants. The lone exception, Sergio Montuori, who played with Walter Avarelli, has been mentioned as a likely replacement for the Judge if, as has been rumored, Avarelli retires from the Italian Blue Team next year.
The tournament was organized and the invitations issued by Mme. Nadine Ansay, long France's leading lady of bridge. She selected three pairs from France, one of which—Pierre Jais and Roger Tr�zel—won the tournament; three from Italy, including the second-and third-place finishers, Pietro Forquet- Benito Garozzo and Massimo D'Alelio-Camillo Pabis Ticci; one from Britain, M. Harrison-Gray with Albert Rose; and one American pair, my good friends and frequent teammates, Howard Schenken and Peter Leventritt, who finished in a tie for fourth with France's Pierre Ghestem-Claude Delmouly.
The scoring method somewhat resembled that which will be used in our International Team Trials, to be played in San Francisco in November. Each pair played a 20-deal match against every other pair. Each gained or lost International Match Points by a comparison of its score on every deal with the scores made at the other three tables.
As a longtime advocate of simple, natural bidding methods, I confess to a feeling of malicious satisfaction that nobody reached the best final contract of six clubs on the deal at left. None of the exponents of artificial systems was able to make a natural club bid, and only Gray and Rose, whose bidding is shown, might have reached the right contract with natural methods.
If South had tried six clubs instead of six spades at his final turn, all would have been well. North makes five trump tricks—including one heart ruff—four spade tricks, two heart tricks and one diamond trick. Rose was set one trick at six spades because he tried to make his 12th trick by finessing the queen of diamonds.
Although six clubs is obviously the better contract, let me admit that when the great Garozzo played the hand he succeeded in making six spades, with some help from the opponents' bidding. When North opened one club, the conventional strength-showing bid, East overcalled with one diamond. Many experts lead low from three small cards in partner's suit, and West led the 2 of diamonds against six spades.
Garozzo planned to play East for both the king and jack of diamonds and to establish a diamond winner in dummy by taking ruffing finesses against East for those cards. He won the diamond ace and led the spade king. But before he could put his plan into action, East, Pierre Ghestem, almost tricked Benito out of the winning line by going up with the ace of spades and returning the 5 of diamonds. This brilliant play made declarer wonder whether, after all, West held the diamond king. In that case, two ruffs would establish dummy's queen. But Garozzo knew that, in Ghestem, he was dealing with a man quite capable of underleading the king, and he refused to be diverted from his original plan. He discarded instead of ruffing, and so made his slam—as the Italians have a habit of doing, even when they get into the wrong contract.