By Steve Hamaoui
Source: 72 International Bridge Tournament in St. Moritz Bulletin
I remember when I was a young bridge player, I used to read of the great players who took part in such great tournaments in Europe. The international bridge tournament in St. Moritz was a dream and I always hoped that one day I would be able to participate. Five years ago my dream came true and since then I am a regular participant. One morning Dano de Falco called me and told me to go to St. Moritz to play with Chantal Haemmerli. Since then I have found a friend and a great partner. Thank you Chantal.
This summer the Mind Games were played in Lille and I want to make a public recognition to a great bridge player of our time Giorgo Duboin. This hand comes from the third segment of the quarter final of the match between Italy and Poland in the Mind Games. It was a match fought until the last board thanks to this hand, number 48.
Poland was leading 90 to 69 and this was the last board of the third segment, six in total. Duboin and Sementa bid their hands with a super complicated sistem and finally Duboin decided that 7NT was the best contract. In the other room the Polish pair had stopped in 6 spades, so the match could well be decided by this hand, if Giorgino had gone down it would be 14 imps for the Polish squad and probably the end of Italy’s hope. Take the seat of the west player, Zaremba, he had to lead from:
8 7 6 3
K 5 4
Q 9 8 7 2
After hearing this sequence:
He wasn’t going to lead his singleton spade, nor from a K and defending against 7 NT it wasn’t wise to lead from a Q, so he chose the innocent 7. Now let’s drive with Giorgio:
Opening lead 7
He played the Q from dummy and East of course ducked. He could count only 12 tricks, and the 13th could come from a diamond finesse or from a double squeeze! Which one would you have chosen and why?
Giorgio reasoned that Zaremba could have led a diamond or a club if he had nothing in those suites, so if he hadn’t led those it was because he had something in them, so he went for the double squeeze. Have you ever heard of the theory of Terence Reese of the Restricted Choice? When you play a suit and an opponent plays a card, he might be obliged to play that card because he has no other card to choose from. I think that Giorgio played the hand thinking that north could not
led any other suit than heart. He went to the A, cashed the AH, Played the Q watching west discard a H, and made the FANTASTIC play of the A!! Now the 9 in dummy was the menace against West, the J was the menace against East and nobody in the 3 card ending could keep 3 clubs.
Giorgio Duboin in a moment of great stress took a wonderful decision that gave the Italian squad a chance to fight until the last board of the quarterfinal, but in the end it was the Great Polish team that advanced to the semifinal by only for 1IMPs!
A great bridge hand with a great actor, I hope he will come to St Moritz to play with us in our fantastic international Bridge tournament.