Rio 1979: An Aggressive Grand slam by Roberto Mello and Jose Barbosa by Sergio Marinho Barbosa


Source: 1979 World Bridge Championship Bulletins by Sergio Marinho Barbosa

Roberto Figueira de Mello
Roberto Figueira de Mello

The Brazilian pair, Roberto Mello and Jose Barbosa, playing in their third match against Italy, produced a very aggressive secuence-to reach 7 in board 22.

  Q J 3 2
7 3
K J 10 7 4 2
K 7 4
K Q J 5
A 10 9 4
6 3
  A 10 6
A 8 7 6 4 3
K 6
A 5
  9 8 5
9 2
Q J 8 5 2
Q 9 8
East South West North
Mello Garozzo Barbosa Lauria
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 4 Pass
4NT Pass 5 Pass
5 Pass 7 The End

(In-the Roman Club system used by Mello and Barbosa, the 4 bid showed strong heart support with diamond control).

Benito Garozzo, sitting South, was on lead, and his choice of a low diamond will surely not be part of his autobiography.

Mello won in dummy with the 9, and, without any hesitation played all his trumps discarding one club and one spade from the table. Next he played the K and A reaching this position:

  Q J


A 10
  10 6

A 5

Q 9

When declarer played 6 to the king, South had to discard the 9, leaving protection of that suit to North.

The A then squeezed North in spades and clubs.

José Barbosa
José Barbosa

Seven hearts bid and made: But the director was called because the openning bid of 1, with three cards in the suit, had not been Alerted. The partnership convention agreement, provided to the opponents in printed form, indicated that an opening in a major could OCCASIONALLY be made on three-card suit. The director allowed the result to Stand.

The strange thing is that Garozzo is co-author of a new book on (guess what?) the Roman Club System.

Brazil gained 13 IMPs, because Italy stopped in 6, just making after a spade lead. Australia also bid to the Grand slam, but had no chance when the opening lead was the 8. The diamond lead is the only one that allows the squeeze to be set up. The U.S. gained 17 IMPS by stopping at the small slam and making it.

In the Far East-C.A.C. match, C.A.C. took a good 7 save, down 1100, but lost 15 IMPS when the C.A.C. declarer at 6 failed to find the squeeze and was set one trick.