Playing matchpoints in a fairly weak field (as will be seen shortly), at unfavorable vulnerability, I deal myself
 S:97 H:KQJ532 D:K1086 C:6
That's a normal weak two bid at these colors. LHO passes. Partner thinks for about two minutes and bids 4H:. RHO doubles, I have nothing to say, and LHO bids 4S:. Partner doesn't take so long this time, bids 5H:, and all pass. The opening lead is the S:3, and I see
S: AQ10
H: A98764
D: A
C: K95
S: 97
H: KQJ532
D: K1086
C: 6
Pass4S:5H:All Pass
I can't imagine that the S:K is right, but if I put in the ten, RHO is almost certain to cash the C:A, seeing 11 tricks if I have even three diamonds. If I lose a spade finesse, maybe she'll exit with a diamond. Then I shall have to judge whether to take a second spade finesse later. This happens; the S:Q loses to the S:K. RHO thinks for a while and plays a diamond.

I win and play a middle trump to hand, then ruff a diamond high. RHO pitches a club on this. That has to be a revoke. I continue with another middle trump to hand, ruff another diamond high, to which RHO follows. I remark that she pitched a club on the previous round of diamonds. She denies it, so we agree to look later. I overtake the last middle trump in dummy to come back to hand and run my red winners.

RHO pitches three spades, including the deuce, on these cards, presumably coming down to the C:AQ. LHO, meanwhile, has pitched only one spade. The position is

S: A10
S: 9
C: 6
It looks to me as if the spade finesse is a lock. As I lead my spade, LHO follows, and I double check my count. Suddenly, I realize that the finesse I'm considering is a practice finesse. RHO revoked earlier, and I've taken all the tricks since. So as long as I take one more trick, I'll be awarded the last one for the revoke penalty! Right? Right!

I go up with the S:A, and RHO shows out, as expected. We review the play, and yes, RHO has revoked, so I get 12 tricks.

As we are scoring it up, RHO starts yelling at her partner, "why didn't you ask me, 'no diamonds, partner?'" I chuckle and point out that the revoke didn't cost a trick, that I surely would have taken the marked spade finesse in the end otherwise and made 12 tricks on my own. The only reason I didn't was that I knew I'd get the last trick awarded to me.

I've never before seen a marked finesse become an error due to a revoke.

Amazingly enough, two hands later, the same LHO now revokes! This one costs him two tricks, but there was no matchpoint difference between his -1100 and -500, so that's two revokes in the same round which cost the opponents exactly nothing!

Copyright © 2007 Jeff Goldsmith