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by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


 When this deal was played in an early match between Italy and Denmark at the World Junior Championship, Italy gained heavily with aggressive bidding and careful declarer play at both tables. These young Italians, like the legendary Blue Team decades before them, were in dazzling form and eventually defeated a good USA2 team to win the event. If memory serves us, the only bad match they had in the tournament was a 7-23 defeat against Canada I.


East-West vulnerable West deals


  8 6
Q 9 8
K Q J 2

J 10 6 2

K 9 7 2
K 10 7 6 4 2
8 5


J 10 4 3
A J 5 3

Q 7 4 3

  A Q 5

A 10 7 6 4 3

A 9 8 5


West North East South
Pass Pass Pass 1
1 1NT 3 Dble(1)
Pass 5 End  

(1) Takeout with extra values

Opening Lead:

 This was the auction with Italy North-South, North placing great value on his excellent diamonds, jack-ten of clubs, doubleton spade. Declarer ruffed away East's
J at trick one, crossed to the K, and lost the spade finesse. West won the king and returned a second heart. South ruffed, played a trump to the queen and a club to the nine and king, ruffed the heart continuation, played the A, and ruffed his last spade. South needed to find the Q onside now; when dummy's jack held, he repeated the finesse and claimed; plus 400.

 The auction at the other table was of a different species. The Italian West opened with an artificial weak bid showing spades and hearts and East-West stayed in artificial mode after that. Although South competed with a takeout double at the three-level, North couldn't easily appreciate his slender assets and East finished as declarer in 4
. It's not difficult to see why the social player avoids the competitive game.

 The Italian East ruffed the second diamond and led a heart toward the king, as North, who had passed throughout, could hardly be void in hearts. A club would have been best now, but declarer finessed the
J, then carefully played the J before drawing the last trump. When South won the A to play A, club, declarer ruffed in dummy and used the trump ace to enter his hand to finesse against the Q. Had South ducked the J, declarer would have pulled the last trump before playing a second spade. Plus 620 for East-West. The two game bonuses combined to give the gold medalists 14 IMPs.