La Traviata – The Fallen Woman is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi based on La Dame aux Camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas. The opera was originally titled Violetta, after the main character. It was first performed on 6 March 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in Venice.
In Act 2 of the Opera as Violetta is writing a farewell letter to Alfredo, he enters. She can barely control her sadness and tears; she tells him repeatedly of her unconditional love (Violetta: Amami, Alfredo, amami quant’io t’amo – “Love me, Alfredo, love me as I love you”).
We are not about to predict what can happen between a mixed partnership, but if your partner can bring home seemingly impossible contracts then who knows what might transpire?
East led the ten of hearts and when West overtook it with the jack Alfredo won with king, unblocked the queen of diamonds, crossed to dummy with a club and cashed the ace of diamonds. When West discarded the nine of clubs the contract appeared to be hopeless, but declarer was not ready to give up. He cashed a second diamond (West pitching a club) and then played dummy’s queen of spades, covered by the king and ace (if West withholds the king declarer plays a another spade, covering West’s card.
With West now out of the game declarer played two rounds of clubs, putting East on lead. She could cash a second club and had two winning jacks, but then had to surrender two tricks to either declarer or dummy.
To have any chance of defeating 3NT West must keep his club holding intact, so that he can win the third round of clubs. However that is not quite the end of the story. Suppose West pitches two spades on dummy’s top diamonds? If East simply follows suit upwards, reatingin the J9 declarer plays the queen of spades as before, and after that exits with the ten of spades, pinning West’s nine. Now if West cashes the jack of diamonds and exits with the nine declarer follows with dummy’s eight (!) when East must surrender three tricks to declarer. East can counter this by unblocking the nine of diamonds so that dummy can be thrown in with the 6 (No doubt Alfredo unblocked dummy’s seven of diamonds at trick two to prevent this).
The defence is simpler if West pitches a spade and a heart on the diamonds. Then West can cover the queen of spades and if declarer continues with the king and another club East allows West to win and the defenders take the rest.
Alfredo’s beautiful play netted the partnership an 88% score and a sixth place finish on their way to the final.