George Havas ( Australia )

Hungarian by birth, GEORGE HAVAS now lives in Brisbane, Australia . A computer scientist and theoretical mathematician by profession, he has represented Australia in four World Championships and two Far East Championships. His best result was to win the Far East Open Pairs in 1971. He has been a bridge columnist of The Australian for more than twenty years.


FALSE-CARDS both by defenders and declarers are well understood and practised in bridge. False-bids ('falsies') are not so well appreciated, but they sure can give you a substantial uplift By falsies I do not mean those outrageous psychic opening bids on virtually no values that cause all kinds of trouble to both sides of the table. Rather I refer to bids aimed at deceiving the defenders, but with little risk to the declaring side. An ideal falsie will cover your deficiencies and hide your weak holdings while retaining credibility. If you think that you might enjoy misleading your innocent opponents, give falsies a try.

Good situations for using a falsie arise when you have a pretty fair idea of where you want to end up. You do not really need much more co-operation from partner so he cannot


be misled in a damaging way. Such opportunities most frequently occur when partner's hand is already limited. Consider the following deal from the Mixed Championship at the World Pairs Tournament held in Biarritz .

North Dealer 9 5 3


Game All

 A K J 8 7





 J 9 4





 K 8









 J 4



 Q 10

 10 6 4 2


W                          E

 9 5 3

 5 2



 K 10 7 6

 J 7 5 4 3



 A Q 10 2









 A K 8 7 6 2










 A Q 8 3





 9 6



When Jim and Norma Borin of Australia sat North-South this was the bidding:





























1Precision, 5+ hearts, less than 16 points

  2 even playing natural methods this rebid limits North's hand

 3the falsie, a long-suit trial bid in their system


Jim Borin knew that he was going to play in spades and he knew from his hand that a club lead was surely the most damaging one. With a limited partner, it could not cost to try a falsie, showing length in clubs, to discourage a club opening lead. When Norma accepted the game try Jim simply asked for aces. He leapt to the small slam once he knew that his side held three aces.

The falsie worked. West believed that declarer held long clubs so led a diamond and Jim wrapped up all the tricks. This earned North-South 3 77 /388 matchpoints, a shared top with ten other pairs.

Note that, without the Three Club bid by South, West may well lead a club. This gives the defence two quick tricks, a poor score for North-South in Four Spades but a disaster in Six. However, confronted by the falsie, West's view was misguided and he was induced into a poor opening lead for the defence.


As with false-carding by defenders, there is a risk that you could mislead partner with an ill-chosen falsie. However, do contemplate using a falsie in the bidding, especially when partner has shown limited values so that you cannot lead him too far astray, in order to divert your opposition's attention.

It is not always right to make a clean breast of your holdings in the bidding. Add some titillation to your game.


My BOLS bridge tip is:

Consider a Falsie it could give you a top.