The top South American teams battled it out in June at the South American Championships, with the two finalists earning the right to compete in the Bermuda Bowl. Both Chile and Brazil advanced to the finals and locked up their spots in Veldhoven. Nevertheless, there was still the South American title on the line when Marcelo Caracci, of Chile, showed off his skills on this hand. First, put yourself in the Brazilian defender's shoes to see if you can find the winning defense.
Partner leads the ♥5, won by dummy's ♥A, declarer following with the ♥3. Declarer leads a spade off dummy won by the ♠K, partner and declarer following with the ♠3 and ♠2. What do you play now?
At the table East returned a heart for his partner to ruff. As the cards lie, giving the ruff proved fatal, where as a club or diamond would break up the squeeze. Squeeze, you say? Yes, even though West, who guards both clubs and diamonds, pitches after declarer, there is still a squeeze.
Look carefully at those club spots. East holds all of the club spots above Caracci's critical ♣6. Follow the play by clicking next.
On the last heart each defender comes down to 5 cards. West must keep 3 clubs or else declarer can play a club to the ♣A and ruff a club. East must also keep 3 clubs to guard the suit or else declarer can take a ruffing finesse smothering East's remaining club spot. But, if East and West both keep 3 clubs, neither can also keep 3 diamonds which allows declarer to play ♦A and ruff a diamond and dummy's third diamond takes the 10th trick. At the table East discarded down to 2 clubs hoping partner had the ♣6, but Caracci held this card and took full advantage. Caracci played ♣A then ♣Q, taking a ruffing finesse through West's ♣K while pinning East's remaining high club.
Despite Caracci's efforts on this hand, Brazil still won by a score of 188 to 156 to claim the Championship. Congratulations to the entire Brazilian team (Villas-Boas, Campos, Chagas, Amaral, Brenner, and Branco).
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