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...but Boy were they dreadful!

I am a huge fan of Avon Wilsmore's well-researched new book. The thesis of the book- that the BT ch@@ted- mirrors stories I have been told by old timers; and I also appreciate the parallel emphasis on the long-term harm done to the game by administrators who felt that hiding the dirt from the general public was the better policy.

It is true that illicit signals from partner can make up for a lot. That being said, sometimes the BT had really dreadful opposition. Consider two boards from the 1959 finals:

http://www.bridgebase.com/tools/handviewer.html?bbo=y&linurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sarantakos.com%2Fbridge%2Fvugraph%2F1959%2Fs9.lin

#145 and #149.

145: What was Fry thinking when he blasted 7? Did he think 6 showed two aces and a void?

149: This was a two-fold disaster for the Americans. In the Open Room, Harry Fishbein failed to win the opening lead holding AJxx over dummy's 10x. This allowed an otherwise unmakeable game to succeed. (He was probably thinking about the meaning of doubles after preempts). Meanwhile in the Closed Room Lazard and Fry avoided the spade game with aces and shortness to play 3NT off the first 6 tricks. The one good thing that can be said here is that if the opening heart lead had also been ducked by Belladonna- mirroring Fishbein- 3NT would have failed by two tricks, instead.

So comedy aside, it is important to remember that Avon's evidence should not be judged on the quality of the opposition- only on the bidding and lead decisions of the BT itself.

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