The Story of a Double Revoke by Georgio Belladonna

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The hand was played in the Match of the Century won by the Blue Team at the Las Vegas Hilton in December 1972.

Giorgio Belladonna
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Ira Corn Jr

Ira Corn Jr

The Milwaukee Sentinel – Apr 19, 1972 by Ira Corn Jr.

Ace Bob Hamman has had lots of experience playing against members of the Italian Blue Team. He played in two World Championships which were win by the Italians (1966 and 1969) and he played extensively against the leading members of the Blue Team during two Omar Sharif Bridge Circus tours.

In all these hands he has enjoyed his share of success and defeats. However no loss was as ironic as the one he suffered on todays slam hand, the celebrated story of a double revoke by Georgio Belladonna. The hand was played in the Match of the Century won by the Blue Team at the Las Vegas Hilton last December.Hamman Mano

The bidding was quite involved using Aces Club methods. The final bid of six hearts seemingly a hopeless push onward, was based on possession of extra values previously denied by the failure to open a forcing club (17 high card
points or more).

The play was of even more interest. Belladonna’s lead of a spade was won by East’s ace and Hamman was fully prepared to go down unless he found a very fortunate lie of the cards.

East’s club return was won by the king, and the queen of hearts was played hoping to pin a singleton Jack with East. Belladonna covered with the king, dummy won the ace and the hand was hopeless as far as declarer was concerned.

However, Belladonna’s heart 6 was hidden somewhere and the subsequent play became a bizarre adventure for Hamman. A second heart was led from dummy, East won the jack and West discarded. A revoke. East led a third heart and Belladonna, still hiding the heart 6, revoked a second time. Had Hamman known that hearts had been divided, he could have scored the slam by conceding two spade tricks and the heart jack. The two trick penalty for the revoke would reduce the net loss to one trick and the slam would have been scored.

Bob Hamman

Bob Hamman

However playing for East to have all the hearts (as who wouldn’t?). Hamman played to take as many tricks as possible and succeded in going down three. Imagine the discussion after the hand and when Belladonna found his second heart.

Since there is no penalty for a second revoke in the same suit, the final official result was down one. Hamman actually lost four tricks gained two of them back from the penalty and achieved the normal down one.

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