Source: Best slam defense is attack By Charles H. Goren and Omar Sharif  February 3, 1977

THE CREDENTIALS of Benito Garozzo are impeccable. From the day he joined Italy’s Blue Team in 1961 until the Italians lost the world team championships at Monte Carlo last year, he never had been on a losing team in a major international competition. Many regard him as the world’s finest player, and his advice in the fourth tip of the Bols Bridge Tips competition is as sound as his game.

Garozzo writes that “Heroic measures are rarely needed when you are on lead against a game contract. The defenders can expect to regain the lead after the dummy has been exposed, and the early play offers further clues to what they should do. “Not so against slam. Unless two tricks can be cashed at once, the defense must strike a telling blow to develop the setting trick by the opening lead. Later may he too late.

“One factor that works in favor of the defense is that declarer is rarely willing to risk immediate defeat if an alternative seems attractive. And sometimes such an alternative can be created by the opening lead itself.”

Giovanni Donati & Benito Garozzo
Giovanni Donati & Benito Garozzo

Dealer North. Both Vul

Q 9 5 2
K 8 4
J 5 3 2


West North East South
1 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 4NT
Pass 5 Pass 5NT
Pass 6 Pass 6
Pass Pass Pass

Opening Lead:?

Consider this hand. DEFENSIVE prospects are bleak. From the auction and his strength. West can tell that his partner is broke, in addition, his holding in clubs suggests that, if necessary, declarer easily can bring in dummy’s club suit. However. West’s hand does contain one surprise for declarer—West has a trump trick. Garozzo suggests that you lead the jack of clubs! Look at the full hand and see what that does to declarer.

A 8
Q J 3
A Q 10 8 6 3 2
Q 9 5 2
K 8 4
J 5 3 2
J 10 7 6 3
9 7 6 5 2
5 4
K 4
A 10
A K Q 10 9 7 6
9 7

From his point of view, there is a danger that the jack of clubs is singleton and that West can score a ruff. It seems safe to rise with the ace, draw trumps, then set up clubs for all the discards he needs. But that will mean down one.

Garozzo’s advice in a nut-shell:

Games may be defended quietly, but slams must be attacked!”

Your play to the first trick could decide the fate of the contract. A writer remarked, “There’s no such thing as a blind opening lead, only deaf opening leaders!”

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