Source: New York Times

Bridge: The Death of Roger Trezel Ended a Great Partnership

By ALAN TRUSCOTT Published: November 25, 1986

One of the greatest partnerships in the history of the game was broken recently when Roger Trezel died in France at the age of 68.

In a glorious seven-year period he and his regular partner, Dr. Pierre Jais, won the Bermuda Bowl in 1956, the World Olympiad Teams in 1960 and the World Pairs in 1962, a unique triple.

Trezel wrote many excellent books, thus helping to educate a younger generation of outstanding French experts. For the past two decades he was virtually retired from tournament play, preferring to play tennis, at which he once had national ranking, and rubber bridge at the Automobile Club in Paris, where he was a constant winner.

Overbid for Grand Slam

On the diagramed deal there, he ventured a grand slam contract, knowing that he was overbidding, and was put to the test in the play.

The spade lead was won with the king in dummy and the heart jack was finessed successfully. Trezel was temporarily happy, but had to start thinking when the play of the king brought a discard from West and revealed the trump position.

The only hope was to develop a coup position by shortening the trumps in the closed hand to equal the length in the East hand. That would need three entries to the dummy, plus a fourth to return there for the coup de grace.

Only three were in sight, but South solved the problem with an ”unnecessary” finesse. After cashing the spade ace he led to the diamond jack, holding his breath. When this held he ruffed a spade, overtook the diamond king with the ace and ruffed a diamond.

Next he entered dummy with a club, ruffed the last diamond and used the remaining club entry. He had achieved his goal: for the last two tricks he was ready with the A-10 of trumps poised over the Q-8 to make the grand slam.

One suspects that if Trezel had been in the West seat he would have found the brilliant defensive counter to the brilliant dummy-play. Recognizing that South’s problem must be in the trump suit and that he could not have side-suit losers, he would have put up the diamond queen when the six was led from the closed hand. That would have deprived South of a crucial entry to the dummy.