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Goren on Bridge: A Jean Besse Prowess

The Victoria Advocate – 4 Jan 1983 by Charles Goren

Jean Besse

For more years than we are to remember Jean Besse of Geneva, Switzerland, has been ranked among the world’s greatest players. At the World Olympiad in Biarritz 1982, he gave proof that he had lost little, if any, of his prowess.

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

Lead: 5

This hand cropped up in Switzerland match against Japan. North-South were employing weak no trump opening bids. North’s jump to three diamonds was limit raise, showing 9-11 points and no one can fault South for converting to three no trump.

West led his fourth best club and declarer took a wrong position when he elected to play the ten from dummy. Besse covered with the jack; and declarer made a fine play when he elected to duck. It now seemed that the contract was secured because as the cards lie, West has no entry to his hand to run his long clubs. But, in the words of the popular song watch what happens.

Besse returned a club, West captured declarer’s queen with the ace and led a third club. On this trick Besse jettisoned the Ace of diamonds!!!

There was no way for declarer to come to nine tricks without establishing his diamonds. But it was equally certain that he could not get the diamonds going without letting West gain the lead with the queen and West still had two good clubs to cash to set the contract one trick.


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