Greece is doing fine at Tenerife so far, despite losing 13-17 to Italy in the 6th round -after all, Italy are the reigning champions. Moreover, Greece holds *for the moment* two records: a) the biggest penalty scored, 2300, against Romania (see my previous No 2 posting in this series) b) the biggest swing of the tournament, namely 20 IMPs.
The swing, moreover, was scored against Russia in the 5th round (Greece won the match 18-12, but Russia is currently first) and some may call it undeserved. It was a vulnerable grand slam, bid at both tables but made only by the Greeks.
Board 7, dealer South, both vul.
K Q A K Q J 9 A K Q 4 3 2 J 10 9 7 5 3 10 7 2 8 6 4 3 8 6 2 J 10 9 4 K 10 6 5 J 8 A 8 6 4 2 5 7 5 3 A Q 9 7Greeks played 7NT by North, and this contract can be beaten on a club lead because the entry to the spades is removed early. But obviously the Russian East led jack of diamonds. Still, it isn't obvious why declarer chose to play for spades 3-3 instead of the club finesse. Perhaps after both opponents follow suit after two rounds of spades the odds are comparable?
Anyway, the Russians were in 7 spades, played by South, and this contract cannot be beaten. The obvious jack of spades was led and... declarer went down one. You will say that the hand plays itself. Win the lead, cash another spade, cross to ace of clubs, cross your fingers and cash ace of spades. I mean, playing in spades you have no alternative line of play, have you?
You do have. When you see West furnishing the 10 of spades at trick two, restricted choice rears its head and you may conclude that East holds J753 of trumps. Then a trump coup is possible: cash four hearts, discarding three clubs. Then, club ace, diamond ace, club ruff, return with a diamond to dummy and play the good nine of hearts. East is down to J7 of trumps plus a minor card, South holds A 8 of trumps and a diamond. If East ruffs, South overruffs. If he discards, so does South.
However, as cards lie West ruffed the fourth heart and the unbeatable slam was down one!
As an aside, two or three pairs stayed out of slam altogether, including the Dutch who had this auction:
South North Kirchhoff Paulissen pass 2C 2D 2NT 3H* 3S 4C 4NT pass!I don't know their system, but I can't see how can South pass holding two aces.
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