Ciao a tutti da Italia!
I am here in Italy, on the island of Sardegna (Sardinia, in English), in Cagliari, a beautiful city found on this island not well-known to most Americans. Bridge is very popular in Italy; Cagliari, a city the size of Charlotte, has 3 active bridge clubs. Of course, I wanted to try the game while I was here.
I did not know anyone, so I got in touch with the President of one of the clubs, a Mr. Giancarlo Garbati, about finding me a partner. Mr. Garbati did me the honor of agreeing to play with me the first evening I could play. Mr. Garbati emailed me a convention card and so I boned up on multi 2♦ openings and overcalls and other conventions while not widely played in the United States, are popular in Europe. Of course, I wanted to acquit myself well by playing competently with Mr. Garbati my first session there to enhance my ability to find a partner on some later day.
I happened to have plenty of opportunity that day, as there were many challenging hands in respect to bidding, play and defense. The following was my second hand out of the box (East-West vulnerable):
As South, I opened 1♠, West overcalled 2♥, my partner bid 2♠, and East competed to 3♥. My best bid now?
With my American partners, I would not have bid 3♠ with my very nice hand. 3♠ by me would have shown no game interest. Instead, I would have made a so-called “maximal” double of 3♥. This is played by many experienced players as a general game try. I did not do that here as I had no idea how Mr. Garbati would take the bid. So, I just gambled and bid of 4♠.
When this bid was passed out, West led the ♥A and the following dummy came down:
It is easy to that I have a sure loser in hearts, one in clubs and possibly two diamond losers — one too many.
After winning the 1st trick, West shifted to ♣9 (clearly a doubleton at most), won by East with the ♣A. East continued a low club, I played my ♣K and West thankfully followed. I cashed the ♠A, everyone following. These are the cards remaining after 4 rounds:
Looking at the diamonds it appears that the only way to avoid a 2nd diamond loser is to go to the dummy and lead low to the ♦Q, hoping that the King is on my right. If this is indeed the lies of the cards, no matter whether East plays the King immediately, or ducks and allows my Queen to win, the defenders can win no more than 1 trick in the suit.
But where is the diamond King? And if it is West’s hand, is there any way that I can play the suit to avoid two diamond losers? How would you play the hand? Click the link below to see the solution. Continue reading “The Italian Intrafinesse”