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Bridge & Humor: Famous Bridge Disasters


Famous Bridge Disasters–Help with my lecture

I am going to be giving a bridge lecture to club players of varying skill levels. The theme is going to be, in essence, experts make huge mistakes too, hopefully with some lessons to be learned in addition to the amusement from seeing that, well, experts make huge mistakes too. Do any contributors here have any suggestions as to any particular great bridge disaster hands? If you do, please post, with as much info as possible. Thanks in advance for your time. Mark

These are some of the responses:

1) Boards 72 1981 BB Final. Pakistan lead wrong black suit against Meckwell’s 3NT-X-X. Spade lead produced -750. Club would have yielded +2200.

2) Ooh, found a new fave. Though it’s not famous it is a freely bid slam on a 0-0 fit!

Danish league, first division: Opponents silent NV (opp vul)

Sorensen Pedersen
2* 4**
4NT*** 5****
5**** 6*****

* Strong
** splinter
*** Ongoing, promising at least 3 of 5 key card
**** Cue bid
***** Intended as Last Train. Interest in a Grand but nothing specific to show.

At which point Pederson seems to have decided he’d been wrong about the whole auction and that his partner couldn’t have a grand slam try and had therefore forgot their agreements and actually had a one-suiter in hearts. (impossible. He’d have responded 3). And passed.




3) Don’t know if this qualifies as «famous». But not too long ago (no more than 5-7 years, I think), in some major championship, Bob Hamman was either playing or defending a difficult hand and made a wrong decision, and he was still thinking about that hand while playing the next hand, and because of that inattention ended up making a really, really dumb mistake that even your club players probably wouldn’t have made. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the details. It was reported in The Bridge World, but I’d have to hunt through a bunch of back issues to track it down, and I don’t have time for that. — Adam

4) You should include the case where the French in a World Championship used Blackwood to get a 0-4 ace response. So the Blackwood bidder thinking the partnership had all four aces bid 7 off four aces. Eric Leong

5) There’s this one: European Championships 1956; West deals EW vul




Jais Forquet Trezel Siniscalco
1 4 Pass 4NT
Pass 6 Pass 6
Pass 7 Double 7NT
Pass Pass Double The end

What made the hand famous was Forquet’s reaction. Didn’t say a word, and played the rest of the session (11 remaining boards) as though nothing had happened. (Reese wrote something to the effect that Forquet’s lack of reaction seemed to take something out of the French. That they played well below their best for the rest of the session)

Of course Forquet would almost certainly have made 7X after the double. The French made 6 at the other table, making Siniscalco’s call on the short list for most expensive of all time.

As it happens the match finished in a draw. Just enough for the Italians to win the tournament and go on to the Bermuda Bowl.

6) I would definitely include a hand with a blown lead. If you have access to back issues of the BW, there was an article called «Forgettable Leads» by an Irish (?) author. His most spectacular lead was when West led from the xx of clubs after an auction that showed a solid club suit by South and ended up in 7NT. Regrettably, the club suit

xx   Qxx

it was, of course, the only lead to allow the otherwise unmakable grand slam to be made. Henrysun909

7) Except for the fact that I don’t remotely qualify as an expert……………….You can have any of the 24 hands from my last session

These last Famous Disasters are extracted from the 56th Winter Nationals in Jaipur from 15th to 21st December Bulletins

8) In 1973 Bermuda Bowl Finals the USA team found itself 124-6 down after 12 boards Vs Italy

9) An asking bid mix-up late in the 1937 world championship final cost them a grand slam and contribute to the divorce of the famed couple pair Ely and Jo Culbertson

10) After going down in a cold 4 redoubled contract in the 1963 Bermuda Bown Eugene Chiradia never again represented his country in the world championship

4. Charles Dombrush misplayed his AKJ10xx opposite xx combination to lose his 7 contract and the 1943 Spingold title.


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