Card Reading, Italian Style by Philip Alder

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Lauria, is a 32 year old insurance executive living in Rome, and here he is partnering the noblest Roman of them all, the legendary Giorgio Belladonna.

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On 25 February, 2014 At 14:36

Category : Bridge Hands, Hands 2, Net Surfing
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Philip Alder
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34th European Bridge Championships 1979, Lausanne

Wednesday, July 4th 1979

Lorenzo Lauria

Lorenzo Lauria

In Round four Great Britain had to face the mighty Italy and on board 6 of Lorenzo Lauria in particular, playing the Roman Club system. Lauria, is a 32 year old insurance executive living in Rome, and here he is partnering the noblest Roman of them all, the legendary Giorgio Belladonna.

  These were their cards:

West   East
A J 3 2
J 3
A
A Q J 7 5 2
   Q 7 4
A Q 6 3
K Q 8
K 10 3
     

The optimistic auction was:

West   East
    1NT
2   2
3   3
4NT   5
7    
     
Georgio Belladonna

Georgio Belladonna

The opening bid showed a balanced 16-18 points and 2 was Stayman. 3 was natural but was also an asking bid, to which the replay of 3 showed three clubs to one top honour. After confirming that they held all the aces, Lauria decided to have a go for the grand slam.

North, Barnet Shenkin, led the 4 and as you can imagine the appearance of the rather unsuitable dummy resulted in a considerably delay befor play continued. 

Barnet Shenkin

Barnet Shenkin

Lauria realized that the spade finesse had to work and then either the heart finesse would also have to succeed or he could try to squeeze South if he held both kings.

  As analysts will appreciate, the chances of a squezze improved when Lauria put up the 10  from dummy at trick one and South, Victor Goldberg, discarded a diamond.

Lauria played a spade to the J and was still alive when it held. He continued by cashing the A crossing to the K and discarding a spade and a heart on the K-Q.

Then he drew trumps, leaving this position:

West   East
A 3 
J

J 7
   Q 7
A Q 6


     

He cashed one more round of trumps and then the A. From the discarding up to that point he has learned that South had started with precisely 4-4-5-0 shape as both players had thrown their diamonds. He cashed the last club leaving A Q in dummy, and South discarded a heart smoothly. Had South been squezzed so that K was now dropping? Or had the heart finesse been right all along?

Lauria had no doubts that he had to play the odds. North was known to have started with only three hearts as opposed to South’s four, and so Lauria played a heart to the ace. The king dropped and the whole of Italy heaved a great sigh of relief.

  6 5
10 4 2
J 9 7 2
9 8 6 4
 
A J 3 2
J 3
A
A Q J 7 5 2
  Q 7 4
A Q 6 5
K Q 8
K 10 3
  K 10 9 8
K 9 8 7
10 6 5 4 3

 

If Lorenzo wins the Brilliancy Prize for this excellently timed hand perhaps he will give half of it to Barnet Shenkin for failing to find the heart lead that defeats the grand slam! 

 

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