SI Vault
New Aces of 1960
Charles Goren
December 12, 1960
The Fall Nationals were the biggest ever—and they produced some surprising winners
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
December 12, 1960

New Aces Of 1960

The Fall Nationals were the biggest ever—and they produced some surprising winners

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

For the nine days that ended with the Thanksgiving weekend, contract bridge players put on in New York the finest Fall National Championships in that tournament's 34-year history. In event after event they recaptured attendance records—most of them set in Los Angeles in 1957. But from the New Yorkers' point of view, too few local players captured championships (see box, page 92).

Los Angeles stars, who kept the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED trophy and the intercity championship in a special pretournament match, further cemented their solid claim to dominance of U.S. bridge. Three of them—Lew Mathe, Oliver Adams and William Hanna—combined with Paul Allinger of Alameda, Calif. and Sidney Lazard of New Orleans to win the Open Team Championship. Only three New Yorkers became winners—one in the Mixed Pairs, two in the Women's Team Championship.

In all except the Open Team and the Open Pair events, this was a tournament of new faces. Among them was my young friend, Florida neighbor and occasional teammate, Bobby Reynolds of Coral Gables, who took the Life Masters Individual Championship by the narrowest possible margin—� match point. He scored his win over Arthur Robinson of Philadelphia, who later was his partner in the Open Pair event.

From the entire nine days of play, this was the hand (see right) Reynolds chose as his best. Study it and you will see why.

Many South players elected to bid three hearts on the second round, over North's two diamonds. This was a reasonable idea, but Reynolds preferred the slower approach. He "compensated" with a jump rebid in hearts over North's two no trump, thereby showing good top-card strength and confirming the major-suit distribution.

After South's bid of four hearts, North could count on him for 10 cards in the majors. When the Blackwood responses revealed two aces and two kings, North saw the likelihood of 13 tricks and bid the grand slam.

Dummy's ace won the opening club, and South discarded a diamond. Two top spades were cashed, and declarer carefully trumped the next spade with a high heart. He returned to his hand by trumping a club and ruffed another spade with dummy's remaining heart honor. (On the last two spade leads, East discarded diamonds.) Then dummy's deuce of hearts was led, and East false-carded with the 7. This helped declarer make the right play.

Reynolds reasoned that if East's play was honest, he could not make the contract unless East also held the 9. If it was a false card, then the probable reason for it was an attempt to protect a four-card holding including the 9. So Reynolds finessed the 8 of hearts, then was able to draw East's trumps and make the grand slam.

Clever false-carding is a delicate way of conveying misinformation to the opponents, but the art should be practiced with restraint. Sometimes the false card can help the enemy.