North East South West
Pass Pass 1 NT Pass 3 NT
Opening lead — jack of spades.
. This deal occurred in the 1984 World Team Olympiad in the qualifying-round match between the two teams that for the previous quarter century had dominated bridge: the US and Italy.
On this occasion, the Americans easily won the 20-deal encounter, with the hand shown contributing significantly to the victory.
When Bobby Wolff of the US was declarer at three notrump, he won the spade lead with the king and led a heart to the queen.
East won and returned a spade to West’s ace, and a third spade was taken by dummy’s queen.
Wolff now crossed to the heart ace and led the diamond queen, covered by the king and ace. The jack of hearts was then cashed, producing this position: NORTH SOUTH J87
Next came the nine of hearts, East and South each discarding a club while poor West found himself in dire straits. If he parted with a diamond or a club, South would score the gamegoing trick in whichever suit West discarded. And if he let go of a spade, declarer could afford to lose a diamond to the ten to guarantee the contract.
In practice, West discarded a diamond, whereupon Wolff cashed the diamond jack and finished with 10 tricks in all.
At the other table, the play to the first six tricks was identical. But after the Q-K-A of diamonds, the Italian declarer did not cash his hearts. Instead he elected to finesse the nine of diamonds, and when West won and cashed his spades, South was down one to give the US a 480-point gain on the deal.