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Almost any quiz kid, asked about a pass that changed the course of history, would answer: the pass of Thermopylae where a handful of Spartans held off the Persian horde, or perhaps the 50-yard pass that Brick Muller threw to Brodie Stephens for a touchdown in the 1921 Tournament of Roses game. But an ex-quiz kid, Richard Freeman of Washington, is more apt to think of his last pass in the very last deal of the final match against Oswald Jacoby and Ira Rubin in the Masters Knockout Team championship, played this summer in Chicago.
It was a decision upon which there hinged, to some extent, the makeup of the squad which will represent the U.S. at the World Bridge Olympiad, scheduled for Rome, Italy in April 1960. Freeman had but to change his call from "pass" to "double" to write history on a trophy (the Spingold) already copiously inscribed with names outstanding in bridge history.
This observation is in no way an indictment of the brilliant young Washingtonian. On the contrary, he richly earned the plaudits showered on him as he led probably the youngest team ever to reach the finals of this event.
It was close to 3 a.m. on Wednesday, August 5, when some 350 enthralled kibitzers saw the 36th and final deal flashed on the projection screen.
It was a tense situation. Neither team knew it, of course, but a swing on the 35th deal had given Freeman's team a lead of 4 International Match Points (one IMP is approximately equal to 100 total points). At the table they were watching the bidding went: