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Revoke Reward

I read Bart Bramley’s account of a hand he played in the Mixed Pairs Final in Philadelphia.  I, too, have a story on the same hand that I found interesting.

Playing with Geeske Joel, I faced the same decision Bart faced over 3NT.

South
A74
A652
J73
AQ9
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
?

While I agree with his reasoning, and with everything he said that points to 4 being the “correct” bid, I chose to pass 3NT.  This is because of a theory I have, that in matchpoint or BAM finals , one should try to play in NT whenever possible.  If playing NT works well, you cannot “catch” the pairs who play NT if you are in a suit contract.  And there are more ways to get lucky in NT – the trump suit you would have played can break badly, or they can get a ruff, or they can help you with the lead (they never lead away from an ace in a suit contract!).  Finally, if nothing better presents itself, you sometimes have an opportunity to tailor your declarer play to the “inferior” contract – playing against the odds might give you a chance to get back ahead of the field.

Anyway, I got a low heart lead and the dummy was not promising.

West
North
KJ1082
J7
A9
J865
East
South
A74
A652
J73
AQ9
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
1

It looked at first as if I might have to play RHO for the Q – since if LHO had it, I might have trouble catching those in 4.  I called for the heart jack without much hope, and was pleasantly surprised when it won - try scoring THAT trick in a suit contract!  Now it seemed correct to try to knock out LHO’s entry, so I called for the J.  When this held, I played another club to the Q and noted LHO’s 10.  Now, I decided that things were going so well, I could afford to play spades “normally” – so A, spade to jack.

North
K108
7
A9
86
South
7
A65
J73
A

RHO won the Q and returned the 10, and now things got weird.  I ducked the 10 (I couldn’t hope to make more than 11 tricks) and LHO discarded the nine of spades!!!  As I always do with irrelevant revokes, I immediately told her to pick it up;

Side note:  I do not, as far as is reasonably possible, accept revoke penalties.  I do this, not because I am a nice guy, but because of my belief that the rule giving an automatic penalty for non-bridge action is a very poor one, and should be changed.  I feel the same way about bids out of turn or insufficient bids. However, I do not feel the same way about legal aberrations in the bidding or play.  So if you “pull the wrong card” against me, I would NOT allow you to “take it back”.  My reasoning here is that the “aberrant but legal” play might be successful – and then I would have no recourse.  So it seems correct to me that I gain when it is not – a legally played card is a legally played card.

Therefore, I would take issue with Alfredo Versace – who thought Hamman (and Soloway, Hamman was not yet playing with Zia) should have allowed Lauria to “take back” his error on the last hand of the Bermuda Bowl.  He made a legal play – he should have to live with it. Finally, I wish to point out that what I do with regards to revokes is just “my thing”.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with exacting the penalty for a revoke – whether established or not.  I have no bad feelings if an opponent does so against me.   There is never anything wrong with following the rules. I do what I do because I think the rule is wrong, and this is my (small) part in trying to get it changed.

Back to the hand.  After LHO picked up her 9, she won the Q and continued with the king.  I won the A, pitching a diamond from dummy and ran the spades.

West
9
1086
N (On Lead)
8
A
86
East
KQ
K4
South
6
J7
A
D

East was caught in a criss-cross squeeze, and I made 11 tricks.

Had I “invoked the penalty”, LHO would have played her exposed 9 instead of her third heart.  Now I cannot cash the A, and the criss-cross squeeze does not operate!!

After many years of not taking tricks from revokes, I finally got one back!

I don’t know how many matchpoints I got – but if Bart got 137 out of 154 for 11 tricks in spades, then it must have been a lot!

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