Source: Chicago Tribune Dec 13, 1971.

THE OLD World champions of bridge, appropriately from Italy and representing the Old World, declaively defeated the New World Chaimpions in the $15.000 challenge match that ended here Saturday night.

At the end of 110 deals the Blue Team, including Benito Garozzo, Pietro Forquet, Giorgio Belladonna, Walter Avarelli, Massimo D’Alelio, and Camillo Pabis Tiel won by 11 international match points. Their New World oponenents were The Aces the current world title holders. Including Robert Wolff, Jim Jacoby, Bob Hamman, Bob Goldman, all of Dallas, and Mike Lawrence and Paul Soloway, both of Los Angeles. This was the first time these two great teams had met. The Blue Team retired from world championships play in 1969.

For the first half of the match the play was evenly balanced, but for the next 50 deals the Italian, dominated the proceeding. In the final 20 deals both teams played in their best form and there was little change in the score.

The Aces won 44 to 41, making the final total IMPs 8 in favor of the Blue Team. The dramatic deal shown in the diagram played halfway thru the match proved to be a turning point. The Italians led by the slender margin of 8 points and seemed headed for a substantial gain when Hamman and Soloway bid to a helpless slam.

Dealer North. All Vul

K 10 9 8 6 3 2
A 9 7 3

J 2
J 7 5 4
K 6
7 5 3 2
Q 10 4
A
J 4 2
Q J 8 4
9 7 6 5 2
Q
Q 10 8 5
A K 10 9 6
A K 5
West North East South
Pass Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 3NT
Pass 4 Pass 5
Pass 5 Pass 6
Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: 4

The standard treatment of the strong South hand is to open one diamond with the intention of making a subsequent reverse bid in hearts, simultaneously showing both the strength and the distribution. However, Hamman, as South, chose to open one heart and Soloway jumped to two spades.

A jump shift by a passed hand is a rare action and many experts consider that such a bid guarantees fit for the opener’s suit.

On the subsequent rounds of bidding Soloway gave repeated preference bids in hearts attempting to discourage his partner’s slam ambitions. But Hamman, perhaps too aggresively persevered to six hearts. Because of the massive duplication of values in the diamond and this contract had virtually no chance. After West had led a spade to his partner’s ace and a club return had been taken by the ace, it was clear to the Vugraph audience and almost equally clear to Hamman that the slam was going to fall.

However, there was on unexpected development. When South next led the heart queen, hoping for a miracolous situation beginning with a singleton heart jack in the East hand, Belladonna as West covered promptly with the king. He did not even consider playing low for the very good reason that his heart six was firmly hidden behind another card!

Nobody knew that anything was wrong, but two tricks later the audience exploded —of course out of earshot of the players, when Hamman ruffed a spade with the heart ten and led a trump to the seven in dummy, Belladonna calmly discarded a diamond still in the grip of his delusion.

East won with the jack and had no reason to suspect that his partner had revoked. It was quite logical from his angle that South had begun with five hearts and he was relieved that South had not led a low heart earlier instead of the queen. Unlike the spectators, the players were quite relaxed. As far as they were concerned the slam had already been defeated and the only question was whether it would go down an extra trick.

East returned a trump and Belladonna again discarded a diamond! South could not afford to overtake with the nine for fear of stablishing the six—which he “knew” to be in the East hand. If South had been able to make six of the last seven tricks he would have been down two and made the slam thanks to the two trick penalty for the revoke.

But there was no way and he went down three. Almost at the end Belladonna blushingly produced his late-booming six and was penalized two tricks. But the slam was still one down as nature had intended.

If Belladonna had discovered his misdemeanor in time to follow suit to the third round of trumps, South would have had no difficulty in establishIng dummy’s spades to go down “only” two and thus make the slam.

There was some suggestion on behalf of the Americans that an adjustment was called for because Belladonna had gained by his subsequent revoke. But the law is quite clear. There is no penalty for a subsequent revoke in the same suit. When the Italians played the North-South cards they correctly stopped at four hearts; Italy gained 13 points and went marching on to victory.