Blackwood ?

You are playing for Brazil in the World Championships and after the first three rounds, you and Norway are leading the pack. You are thrilled. However, you have a few setbacks in the round robin and find yourself suddenly in 9th place by 4 V.P.'s off Chinese Taipei with just one round to go!!! Your opponents are none other than Norway, who have already qualified for the Quarters.

You have to play 19 boards, and after 11 boards you know you are a bit down when you went down in two consecutive slams. You are now under tremendous pressure. You have to make 8th place to make the Quarters...

Board 12 arrives.   Dealer is East.   N/S are Vulnerable. Your partner opens 1 after your LHO has passed. Your RHO overcalls 2 . What goes through your mind, holding the following hand ?

M. Branco, for Brazil, bid 4NT and then proceeded to a small slam in spades after partner showed one control. These were the hands :

Dlr: East
Vul: N-S

K 9
10 8 5
M. Branco
10 3


A 9 7 6 5
Q J 6 5 2
K 9

A 8 7 4
7 6
Q 7 6 4 3 2
Board rotated for convenience.

Chagas did the best he could. He stripped the trumps, diamonds and clubs and exited with a heart. If a defender had a stiff ace or king this contract comes home. No such luck though. Norways gained 13 IMP's and were now leading by 51-24!!!

Is all hope lost ?

What happened next ?

Brazil, somehow, enlisted all their resouces, called upon their Guardian Angels too, and blitzed Norway in the last 7 boards and finished victors of the match by 70 - 51 IMP's !!! Norway had not taken a single IMP after that ghastly Board 12 !!!

Did Brazil qualify ? Alas... no. The 19 - 11 VP win was not enough to overtake Chinese Taipei, who retained their 8th-spot and qualified instead.

I am sure that the two things Brazil will remember is   their ability to perform against the odds   (I admire their motivation, zeal and strength of characters displayed during their last 7 boards!) and, of course,   the use of Blackwood with a worthless doubleton!

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