Of the 864 deals played in the world championship, this master vs. master coup was surely one of the greatest. It victimized as astute a player as Bobby Nail—perhaps it could not have worked against a player of lesser rank—and it involved a play that no one less than a topflight master would have dared to essay.
Garozzo's bit of brilliance began at the second trick when, on winning the ace of hearts, he returned a trump. South rose with the ace and led a diamond to dummy's queen. Without a quiver, Garozzo ducked. What's more, he ducked again when dummy's last diamond was returned. What was Nail to think? He had a reasonable count on West's four spades and four hearts and he figured it likely that West would have a doubleton diamond, which, on the play by Garozzo, appeared to be the ace-7. So Nail finessed the 9, lost to the 10, got a spade continuation and wound up losing two diamonds, two spades and a heart for down two—500 points. Of course, had Garozzo taken either diamond, Nail would have gotten out for only 200. Of course, too, when you see the play afterward, it is apparent that with only one trump left in dummy, Garozzo had everything to gain and nothing to lose by holding off with the ace.
If the overall result had turned the other way, it is possible that the following hand might have won for the U.S. I cannot resist showing it to you in any case, if only as a problem. How is it possible for declarer to go down at four hearts?
The comedy of errors began with the double, but when Chiaradia went down, Leventritt turned from goat to hero. West opened the diamond ace and continued diamonds. Declarer discarded clubs on the diamond king and spade ace and ruffed a spade to his hand. He ruffed two clubs in dummy, and two spades in his own hand. Next he led the king of clubs. West ducked, and North trumped with the 10 of hearts, overruffed by East's king. Back came a diamond and now West's double bore its first fruit.
Chiaradia figured that West must now have two trumps and East none. To risk a diamond overruff and a trump return seemed foolish. So declarer trumped the diamond with the heart queen and led his last club, covered with the ace, ruffed with dummy's 7 and, much to declarer's surprise, overruffed with the 9. Now East led the fourth diamond, and declarer had to lose to West's heart jack.
The Italians bid and made three grand slams the U.S. team did not reach. Two of them might be characterized as lucky, but this one was considerably safer than the 50% chance it apparently offered.
South's opening bid is what we used to describe as a gulpic, so shaded in high-card values that the bidder gulped as he opened. In the later bidding, the less South showed in response to the four-and five-no-trump calls for aces and kings—one ace and only one king—the more certain Pabis Ticci was that his partner held a very long diamond suit. Furthermore, the heart overcall by West had positioned the heart king. So North bid the grand slam.
As it turned out, South didn't need the heart finesse after all. He won dummy's ace of clubs, cashed the diamond ace and queen, took his ace-queen of spades and went back to dummy with a diamond. When the jack-10 of spades dropped in three leads of the suit, dummy's 9 was good for a heart discard, and the declarer had all 13 tricks.
I have concentrated on Italy-U.S. hands because almost from the outset it was obvious that this was the match that would decide the championship, and so it proved. Much fine bridge was played in the other matches and in future weeks I expect to discuss a few of the outstanding deals that are stories in themselves.