Hand of the Week
This deal from the World Bridge Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, proved enormously frustrating for the U.S. team in their match against Italy, the eventual winner of the championship.
At one table, Roy Welland and Bjorn Fallenius bid to 3♥ on the North-South cards, making three for plus 140. At the other table, Giorgio Duboin, playing with Norberto Bocchi for Italy, got to the game level against Michael Rosenberg and Zia Mahmood.
Duboin’s 1♦ bid showed hearts. North liked his shape after the heart fit was revealed,
so the game was bid.
Zia started with a diamond to Rosenberg’s ace, and Rosenberg continued with a trump.
Bocchi played two rounds of hearts, ending in hand, then ran the ♣10. Rosenberg won the ♣Q and exited with his third heart. Declarer won and played another club to Zia’s ace.
At this point, the only way to defeat the contract is to switch to a low spade, but that was very difficult for Zia to see, and he got out with a club to dummy. Bocchi cashed another club then played the ♥A in this five-card ending:
On the play of the ♥A, East could not afford to pitch a diamond (South then enters his hand with the ♠A, and plays the ♦Q, ruffing out the king while smothering the jack and making his 10 good), so he had to throw a spade (as had South.)
Now West was in a bind. If he discarded a spade, declarer could cash his two top spades, making the 10 good and get to it with a diamond ruff. So West pitched a diamond, and declarer played a spade to the ace, ruffed a diamond, felling the king, and returned to hand with the ♠K to cash his 10th trick.
Had Zia returned a spade when he was in with the ♣A, the timing for the trump squeeze would have been disrupted and declarer would have finished down one.
The full deal: