The Champion’s Cup is an annual competition for the national champions from 12 European countries. As my team won the Premier League in 2019, two years later we found ourselves on the way to Pezinok in Slovakia to take on 11 other strong teams. My regular team mates Thor Erik Hoftaniska and Thomas Charlsen, playing for Norway, won the event on the last board and we missed the play-offs by 1VP! Typical! Italy fielded a squad without any of the big names, but the killer instinct is in their DNA, which makes them very dangerous. Just look at what they did against the favourites from Switzerland:
Tiziano Di Febo for Italy, in the South seat, might very well have considered passing out 3♥X with everyone vulnerable, but then it wouldn’t have been much of a story. Instead he responded 3♠, and now his partner, Lanfranco Vecchi, was unstoppable. Tiziano fought off a number of slam tries, but then sheepishly had to admit to having a third-round control in the club suit, and soon found himself in a grand slam where play was like walking a tightrope.
He ruffed the Heart lead and played A,K of Clubs and ruffed a Club high, West shedding a Diamond. He went back to dummy in Diamonds and ruffed another Club high, West again throwing a Diamond.
One round of trumps to dummy, and then two rounds of Diamonds ruffing with the 6, which held. All that was left now was to ruff a Heart low in the dummy and — when that also held — he could breathe again and put +2210 on the score card for a massive pick-up.