Benito Garozzo Awesome Card handling

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Garozzo claimed to complete his combination: a dummy reversal and an end-play.

Kantar, Garozzo, Aisemberg, Belladonna
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Source: January 20 1970; Chicago tribuneby Leonard Ernst

“I’M GOING to quit playing bridge and become a movie star.”

Billy Eisenberg

Billy Eisenberg

That was the comment by the Dallas Aces Billy Eisenberg after he made a beginner’s error in the first session of Omar Sharif’s Bridge Circus last weekend in the Guildhall of the Ambassador West hotel.

Omar Sharif jugando el Sunday Time

Omar Sharif jugando el Sunday Time

At the time, Omar Sharif broke up in laughter. He wasn’t smiling, however, at the end of four nights’ play as Eisenberg and his partners, current United States champions staged a hard earned comeback to edge the Circus by seven international match points.

October 1957, London, England, UK --- Benito Garozzo plays a tense game of cards in the British Bridge World

October 1957, London, England
Benito Garozzo plays a tense
game of cards in the
British Bridge World

Meanwhile, the 10-man Chicago team probably wished they had tried some other pastime. The Circus easily beat the Chicagoans by a score of 213 to 218 points.

The most awesome card-handler was the Circus’ Benito Garozzo. About every other time the Italian champion became declarer, commentators would look at the VU-Graph diagram as if to say, “This looks like an impossible hand to make, but for him the impossible is always possible.”

Here’s a sample of the Garozzo magic from Friday night’s session against the Dallas Aces.

East West Vulnerable East deals

  Sharif  
  9 6 4 3
K Q 4 3
J 8 3
K 10
 
Hamman   Lawrence
Q J 10 7 2

9 7 5 2
A Q J 7
  A K 8
J 10 8 2
Q 10 6
6 4 3
  Garozzo  
  5
A 9 7 6 5
A K 4
9 8 5 2
   
West North East South
Hamman Sharif Lawrence Garozzo
    Pass 1
1 2 2 Pass
Pass 4 Dbl The end
       

Omar Sharif’s bidding may look strange (a simple raise followed by a jump to game), but when East supported spades, he realized his partner must be very short in the opponents’ suit and therefore the hands meshed well. In fact, the same contract was reached by the North/ South pair in the closed room, but fell one trick short. While the analysts were telling the audience how declarer was confronted with one loser on each suit, Garozzo went to work on his doubled game contract.

The defense lead a spade and continued with a second round of spades which declarer trumped. Almost immediately, a low club was on the table. Bob Hamman rose with the ace and returned another spade to force declarer’s trump holding once more. But Garozzo liked this game. He led a club to dummy’s K and promptly ruffed the last spade, East discarding his third club (it would not have helped his side had he ruffed). The position was now:

  Sharif  
 
K Q 4 3
J 8 3

 
Hamman   Lawrence
Inmaterial
 
J 10 8 2
Q 10 6

  Garozzo  
 
A 9
A K 4
9 8
   

Finally, Garozzo played trumps—all of them. On dummy’s queen and four of trumps he discarded his two clubs. East took his trump trick and unhappily led a small diamond which was allowed to ride around to dummy’s Jack. Declarer claimed to complete his combination dummy reversal and end-play.

Another “impossible made possible” by Garozzo and a clue as to why the Italians are still the best in the world.

benito garozzo

benito garozzo

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