Geza Ottlik versus Benito Garozzo by Jean Besse


1979, 24th Bermuda Bowl en Rio de Janeiro

This was Board 8 of the first U.S.-Australia match. shown on Vu-Graph:

Jean Besse
Jean Besse

Dealer: West Vul None

  K 3
K 9 7
A 8 6 3
J 8 5 4
J 7 4
Q 5
Q 9 7 5
Q 7 6 2
   Q 9 6 2
A J 2
K 4 2
K 9 3
  A 10 8 5
10 8 6 4 3
J 10
A 10
Closed room
West North East South
1 Dbl 1
The end      

South made 8. tricks, and this was considered as a fair result for Australia who scored 110.

In the open room the italians were more aggressive.

Open Room
West North East South
Cummings Lauria Seres Garozzo
Pass Pass 1
2 Dbl Pass 2
Pass 3
The end  

West led’ the 2 and South’s 10 won the first trick when East elected not to, sacrifice his K at trick 1, Garozzo had little hope to win, and with some resignation he led a trump to dummy’s 9 but Seres, East, was quick to seize his opportunity. He cashed J and A and led a third round of trumps, leaving declarer with 8 tricks, down two, and this was 5 IMP to Australia.

Sitting at the commentators’ desk with Edgar Kaplan I was not happy with South’s play. I told Edgar that perhaps there might be some play for the contract, but Edgar felt that a total of nine tricks was the limit, and, indeed, I could not give him evidence to the contrary.

Still unsatisfied, I decided to phone Geza Ottlik, the inventor of so many extraordinary plays and author of the no less extraordinary new book, «Adventures in Card Play».

I for once obtained a rapid connection with Budapest.

Besse: Hello Geza, this is Jean Besse speaking from Rio.

Ottlik: Hell. It’s 4 a.m. here

Besse: Sorry, I forgot the time shift, so much was I worried with Board 8.

Ottlik: Are you going to discuss a hand at FOUR am.?

Besse: Come on, Geza time is money. These were the cards. West led a club won by the 10 at Carozzo’s 4 contract.

Ottlik: Come on, Jean. Didn’t you, EVER read chapter 7 of my book?

Besse: Humm,. Yes, I suppose. What is it about?

Ottlik: Elopment. Not girls elopenrent, trump elopement. If you had just applied this technique, dear Jean, you would have spared both your money and your sleep.

Besse: Do you mean that South could win 4? How?

Ottlik; Easy, so easy. Just cash the 10 and A, then run the 10. East wins the K. Say he leads a club. You ruff, lead to dummy’s A, ruff a diamond, go to dummy with the K and lead a fourth diamond in this position:

K 9 7
J 7
Q 5
  Q 9 6
A J 2

  A 10 8
10 8 6


East is helpless, If he discards a spade, you ruff, play the A and ruff a small spade. Now North’s fourth club kills the defense. Should East ruff with the J, you discard a spade. Now you are and clear.

Besse: But when East wins the’ diamond he need not help you with a club. He may, for example, lead a spade.

Ottlikc: No worry: Win with the A, then A, diamond ruff, K and a club ruff, third spade ruff in dummy and another club ruff in hand. East discards a spade as he wouldn’t gain anything by ruffing with the jack, That brings about the following, 3 card ending:

K 9


Q 5

A J 2

10 8


South plays the 10 and, as you may easily work out, the defense is again helpless.

Besse Thank you, Geza, and sleep well.

Ottlik: All ‘right, Jean, and advise Benito to read my book.