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Revoke Reward

I read Bart Bramley’s account of a hand he played in the Mixed Pairs Finalin 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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