A double deal for Jimmy

July 12, 1964

In the recent Olympiad, Switzerland played through the entire tournament using only four players, the minimum, against the six-player teams of their opponents. For many sessions the Swiss team led, and only near the end, when fatigue set in, did the team falter, finishing fifth.

One of the durable Swiss was Jimmy Ortiz-Patino, 36, a short, sleek, fiery young man of enormous wealth. The scion of the Swiss-Bolivian family that owns most of the tin mines in South America, Jimmy lives in Europe, where he likes to drive his Ferrari at breakneck speeds along Alpine roads and on the approaches to Paris. His private life provides constant fodder for the society columns. Several years ago Ortiz won some £40,000 in a suit against London's Daily Mail, one of the highest libel damages ever awarded in a British court.

Ortiz' bridge life is somewhat less hectic. He is a good player who makes very few errors. He is not the star of the Swiss team—that would be Jean Besse, rightly considered one of the best players in the world. But Jimmy is a battler who could hold up his end on any team. He learned to play in 1951 and two years later took part in his first tournament. He has been a member of the Swiss international team since 1955.

One of many controversial hands in which Jimmy has been involved is shown at left. It came up in the European championships. The year was 1961, the place, Torquay, England, the occasion a match between Switzerland and Egypt.

In one room, where the Swiss players held the East-West cards, they played the hand at five diamonds. North-South could collect only two club tricks; West's losing spades were jettisoned on the long hearts after trumps were drawn. Vulnerable game to Switzerland.

In the other room, with Ortiz sitting South, his partner, Pietro Bernasconi, played the hand at four spades. That contract, too, was unbeatable. The declarer ruffed the diamond opening and knocked out the spade ace. Defenders could collect their two heart tricks, but West could not overruff the third round of the suit, and once trumps were drawn South's clubs were good for the rest of the tricks. Again it was vulnerable game to Switzerland, who thus scored at both ends of the table for a 17-IMP swing.

But at this table there had been an incident. When Ortiz bid two spades, East claimed this bid was insufficient because he, East, had bid three diamonds, not two. There was some division of opinion between the players and the scorer; the tournament director was called and ruled that East must have bid two diamonds because that was the bid recorded on the scorer's pad. However, the Egyptian team lodged a protest, and the Appeals Committee rather surprisingly ruled that the director had been mistaken and that East had, in fact, bid three diamonds, so that Ortiz should have been subject to the penalty for an insufficient bid. Since it was too late to exact the penalty and continue with the play of the board, the committee ruled that the hand would have to be redealt.

This was the redeal:

NORTH

[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[9 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[King of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]
[King of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]

WEST

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[6 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Jack of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]

SOUTH

[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[2 of Clubs]

EAST

[7 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[10 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]

When the Egyptians held the North-South cards, they bid four hearts, which, the Swiss player sitting West doubled. Declarer might have been defeated at this contract if, after West had cashed his spade ace, he had shifted to his singleton ace of diamonds. He then could have led a club to his partner's ace and trumped a diamond return. But, instead, West followed with a second spade and the doubled contract was safe.

Ortiz, playing the South hand for Switzerland, also opened four hearts, but the Egyptian West, instead of doubling, bid four spades. East's singleton heart, three trumps and key clubs were all West needed to make the contract. Again there had been a double game swing but this time it was in favor of Egypt. Instead of gaining 17 IMPS, the Swiss lost 18. In spite of the 35-point swing, Ortiz and his teammates managed to pull out a 107-91 victory.

ILLUSTRATION

South dealer Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[— of Diamonds]
[King of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]

WEST

[Ace of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[10 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]

SOUTH

[9 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[7 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]

EAST

[5 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]
[Jack of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]

SOUTH

PASS
2 [Spade]
PASS

WEST

1 [Diamond]
2 NT
PASS

NORTH

1 [Spade]
4 [Spade]

EAST

2 [Diamond]
PASS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)