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The Independent Culture
The first IOC Bridge Grand Prix took place last year, in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, before members of the International Olympic Committee. The final was contested between Brazil and China. Unbelievably, at the end of the 72 boards the teams were drawn with 167 imps apiece! The rules specified a further 4-board tie-breaker, but Brazil and China agreed to share the honours and linked arms. It might have been this gesture that helped the IOC decide that Bridge is indeed a true sport - a mind sport - and it has now been decided that it will be a demonstration sport at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

This is an early board from the final; both teams reached Five Clubs.

When West was declarer for Brazil, the Chinese defender sitting North cashed ]A, then switched to a low heart to his partner's queen and declarer's ace. Now West could not avoid the further loss of a Diamond and a heart, for one off. At the other table East was declarer and Marcelo Branco for Brazil led a low spade. Gabriel Chagas, sitting North, won with his ace and continued the suit.

East ruffed, played a heart to the ace, drew trumps ending in hand and played another heart, South following small. Taking _K, declarer cashed his two top diamonds before exiting with a heart, which South was forced to win with his queen. Having no more diamonds he now had to concede a ruff and discard, allowing Dummy to pitch a losing diamond.

The contract cannot make if the diamonds break 3-3. Declarer gave the hand its best chance - playing for the defender holding Qxx in hearts to have only a doubleton diamond and not unblocking the queen on the first two rounds of the suit.