Barnet Shenkin

Hand of the Month - Italian Masterpiece by Barnet Shenkin prev/next

Sunday evening and the last session of the of the Jacoby Swiss was being held in Philadelphia. While the top two teams played each other members of the third team Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes were contesting the second match which would ultimately lead to their teams victory. Fantoni and Nunes are the current world pairs champions and with this quite brilliant defense demonstrated their ability.

Dlr: East
Vul: All
N ♠K Q J 10
♥K 10 2
♦10 8 3
♣9 8 2
W ♠9 6
♥J 8 6 5
♦A Q 9 5 2
♣Q 7
 E ♠A 8 5
♥A 9 7
♦K J 6 2
♣A 10 3
 S ♠7 4 3 2
♥Q 4 3
♣K J 6 5 4
 Fantoni Nunes
2♣Pass 2♦Pass
3NTAll Pass  

Nunes first made a good choice when he elected to lead the spade suit rather than start a club. In their system the lead of the ♠2 showed either an even number of spades without an honour or an odd number with an honour. Fantoni played the ♠J and declarer thought a few moments before playing low. Now North knew his partner had exactly four spade with no honour. He continued with the ♠Q trying to give the impression that South held 5 spades to an honour and sure enough declarer held off again .On this play Nunes played his ♠7 -this showed an interest in hearts. Now with two spade tricks in the bag Fantoni switched two a low heart and declarer perforce had to duck to avoid losing two heart tricks when the defense regained the lead. Winning their third defensive trick with the ♥Q Nunes switched back to spades in order to set up the last spade trick. Now declarer who started with eight tricks had no possibility to establish a ninth as the defense were able to cash the spade as the setting trick. Perhaps declarer should have won the third spade but he was hoping that North would continue and he could establish a ninth trick without letting South on lead. North could have held CKJ or there may have been some chances of an end play.

In the replay 3NT was made with clubs providing the ninth trick for declarer and the resultant swing was 10 imps to the winners- and applause from the kibitzers.