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Almost 30 years have passed since the notorious California murder of Barry Crane, generally regarded as the best matchpoint player of all time.

I was then co-editing the ACBL”s magazine, and Crane”s death so profoundly impacted the world of bridge that we published a series of articles on his life, mystique and unique approach to the game.

Crane was a noted television producer, but bridge was his passion. Flying to weekend tournaments, sleeping on planes, he captured hundreds of regional titles and often took the annual race for the most masterpoints won. (It is now called the Barry Crane Top 500.) At his death he was the ACBL”s top masterpoint holder with more than 35,000. Were he still alive, his total might exceed a staggering 100,000 — enough to achieve Life Master ranking hundreds of times over.

Crane was known for a slashing bidding style, but he was a careful declarer. In today”s deal, Crane played at four hearts. He took the ace of diamonds and led a club from dummy to establish communication with his hand. East rose with the ace and shifted to a trump.

Declarer won with the ace but resisted the temptation to cash the king (which might have been fatal with a different lie of the cards). Instead he led a low spade to West”s jack.

Crane ruffed the club return and finally took the king of trumps. He could then lead his top spades and ruff a spade and a diamond with dummy”s two remaining trumps. Making four.

Barry Crane was slain in July 1985. The case is unsolved.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable


10 8 7

10 9 6 3


J 7 5 3


J 5

Q 8 2

Q J 10 8

K Q 4 2


Q 9 6 3


9 7 4 2

A 9 8 6


A K 4 2

A K J 7 4

6 5 3


South West North East

1 Pass 2 Pass

2 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening lead — Q AMX-2014-10-28T11:00:00-04:00

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