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The Independent Culture
THE MATCH between the Open teams of Italy and France was eagerly awaited by the Vue-Graph audience, the two countries having been exchanging the lead in the 1999 Generali European Bridge Championships. Italy were the eventual Gold Medallists, with France back in fifth place in the final table - out of the medals, but good enough to qualify them for a place in the Bermuda Bowl.

On this deal, both teams reached Three No-trumps, played by West, and Franck Multon for France led the two of clubs to the eight, ten and ace. If the diamonds produce five tricks the contract is cold. Declarer led a spade to the queen which held, then a diamond to the ace was followed by a finesse of the jack. When this lost, Christian Mari for France switched accurately to the queen of hearts. On the bidding, West is marked with the heart king, as the INT opening showed 15-17 points, and declarer had already shown up with the minor suit aces, and the king or ace of spades by inference. With the jack doubleton in dummy, the play of the queen guarantees at least two tricks in the heart suit for the defence. Now declarer could not avoid the loss of five tricks.

In the other room, the Italian North led the four of spades to the six, ten and king. Declarer tackled diamonds and again, after cashing the ace, took a losing finesse. South, in with the queen, appreciated that a heart switch was required but made a mistake by switching to a small one. This ran to the jack and gave declarer two tricks in the suit. He played the queen of spades and when this held cashed his minor suit winners for nine tricks.