The great Giorgio Belladonna(1923-1995) won 13 Bermuda Bowl, 3 World Team Olympiads and 10 European Open Team Championships. It will always be discussed who is the best, but Giorgio will always be one of the all time greatest of Bridge.
Let’s go back in time and take a look at how it was to be a teammate of Giorgio. When you play with the best you need to put your game up to your best level possible!
This board came up in 1959 in a training match between Italy and USA. Giorgio was already finished playing and had just hit the chair at the vugraphroom when this hand from the other room came up.
The bidding brought the Americans to the contract of 2 hearts by South, and it was expected to go down at first view. But the lead from Giorgios teammate at the west position was the jack of hearts!
It went to the queen, king and ace. South now played clubs and the defense slipped to let the contract be made.
Giorgio jumped up from his chair, engaged as always mumbling about a poor defense, they should easily have made declarer go down even with the lead of the jack of hearts.
Can you find where the defense made their mistake?
It seems natural to cover the queen of hearts with the king. But Giorgios point was that this gave the dummy an entry for the club suit. If east play low they can make declarer go 2 down. Just take a look on the hand. If you let the queen win the first trick the defense will still get one trumptrick, but now dummy is without an entry for the clubs.
If king of clubs are played in the second trick east just win with the ace and return the king of hearts. Souths next move are diamonds, won by west who now grab the ten of hearts. The defense now ends up with 2 tricks in spades, 1 hearts, 3 diamonds and 1 clubs for 2 down.
I guess Giorgios teammates accepted a little confusion from the great Giorgio after this defense, after all it was not impossible to find the defence.
But as you can see the declarer also made a mistake, he should have played low at the first trick. The contract will still go down with the correct defense, but it would be hard to find.