The 1998 IBPA Annual Awards

The 1998 Personality of the Year: Paul Chemla

Since our last award ceremony in Hammamet, Paul Chemla, 54, has had fantastically successful year as a player.

It began with a win in the Bermuda Bowl. He was also on the French team that won the Olympiads in 1980, 1992 and 1996, in each case defeating the United States in the final.

This April in Aachen he took silver in the European Mixed Pairs partnering Catherine d'Ovidio (formerly Saul). He followed this with gold in the European Mixed Teams (teaming up with Michel & Véronique Bessis). A couple of weeks later he was in Corsica to become the Generali World Individual Champion.

Paul Chemla (France){short description of image}

Chemla was born in Tunis in 1944. His father, a lawyer, separated from his mother, Ginette, when Paul was quite young. His mother and he moved to Paris in 1960. She married a member of the French cabinet, Bertrand Flornoy, but is now married to the Turkish bridge player Halit Bigat.

Chemla took up bridge in 1968 after leaving university. He worked as a lecturer. He won the first European Pairs in 1976 in Cannes partnering Michel Lebel, and again in 1985 with Michel Perron.

His Olympiad win in 1980 was decided by the famous grand slam in which Hamman led the wrong ace where Chemla partnered Christian Mari. In the 1984 Olympiad in Seattle, with Chemla partnering Michel Perron, France lost in the final to Poland.

Chemla is known for his large cigars, and the ample figure formed through love of good food. His main hobby is classical music, opera in particular. He reads good literature and enjoys a really tough crossword. He also plays rummy for high stakes.

Chemla, a bridge professional, says the evening and night are for playing bridge, the morning and afternoon for sleeping. He is unmarried.

"Le Bridgeur"Award for Best Play: Jeff Meckstroth (USA)
Journalist: Jean-Paul Meyer (France)
From IBPA Hammamet Special Page 10

Jeff Meckstroth is under survey after stealing a contract. Norwegians Geir Helgemo & Tor Helness were the victims, a role they are not used to.

Dealer East. Game All
ª K 7 5 3
© K 8
¨ K J 9 7 4
§ 3 2
ª 10 4 ª A 9 8
© Q 3 © J 10 6 5 2
¨ 5 ¨ A 10 2
§ A J 10 9 7 6 5 4 § K 8
ª Q J 6 2
© A 9 7 4
¨ Q 8 6 3
§ Q

"Le Bridgeur" Award{short description of image}

The contract was 5§ by West (yes, 3NT is much easier!) Helness led a low diamond and Jeff played the 10 from dummy! Of course Helgemo's queen held the trick. Now South, a young, promising and confident player, played back a diamond. And suddenly there was no longer any efficient defence!

Meckstroth discarded a heart on the ¨A and led a heart to his queen. Helness won this and fired back a spade - too late. Meckstroth rose with the ace and played the ©J. South had to put up the ace, which Meckstroth ruffed in hand. He cashed the §A and crossed to §K, and the ©10 took care of his spade loser.

Other deals which made the shortlist were:

David Price (Bulletin 393, page 20); Jean-Christophe Quantin from the Paris Mixed Pairs reported by Jean-Paul Meyer (Bull 397 pg 7); Warren Lazer at the Australian Nationals reported by Ron Klinger (Bull 398, pg 4); and Marc Smith from a League match reported by David Bird (Bull 400 pg 13).

The Wei-Sender Award for Best Defence:
Geir Helgemo (Norway)
Journalist: Patrick Jourdain (GB)
From the Generali World Masters (Bull 400 pg 3)

Wei-Sender Award{short description of image}

It is easy to confuse the Deschapelles and Merrimac Coups. The first is the lead of an unsupported honour to create an entry to partner's hand; the second is the deliberate sacrifice of a high card to remove a vital entry to an opponent's hand, usually the dummy. On this deal Geir Helgemo managed both with one card!

First, Apolinary Kowalski told of an imaginative switch by Claude Delmouly but it was Helgemo elsewhere who found the most accurate defence:

Dealer East. EW Game
ª J 6
© A J 10 8 3
¨ Q 6 2
§ K J 8
ª 5 4 3 2 ª K Q 10 8 7
© Q 5 © K 9 6 2
¨ J ¨ K 9 7
§ 10 9 7 5 3 2 § A
ª A 9
© 7 4
¨ A 10 8 5 4 3
§ Q 6 4

West North East South
Lant'n Jason Delmouly Kowalski

1ª 2¨
2ª 3© 3ª Pass
Pass 4¨ All Pass

West North East South
Kholov Chemla Helgemo Freeman

1ª 2¨
Pass 2© Pass 3¨
3ª 4¨ All Pass

West led a spade against Kowalski's Four Diamonds. Declarer won and returned a spade to East. Delmouly found the good switch of ©K. Declarer won this and also did well by leading ¨Q covered by the king and ace.

When the jack fell from West, Kowalski tried to get back to dummy by playing a club. Delmouly won, put his partner in with ©Q and received a club ruff to defeat the partscore.

Note that it does no good for declarer to duck ©K when it is led. East will cash §A and play a second heart. Declarer wins and plays trumps: Q, K, A, J. But now he cannot get back to dummy. However, as Kowalski spotted he did have a chance to make.

After winning the ace of trumps he must play a heart. West wins and plays a club, but now East is end-played into conceding an entry for the trump finesse.

This reveals a flaw in Delmouly's defence. He should have cashed §A before making the switch to ©K - then declarer cannot succeed. And guess what, that is exactly how Helgemo defended against Freeman after the same start.

Freeman won the heart switch, began trumps by playing ¨Q, K, A, J, but when he tried to get back to dummy with a club, Helgemo ruffed, put his partner in with the ©Q and received a second ruff. Two off!

The other defenders on the shortlist were:

Piotr Tuszynski in a Polish League match reported by Ryszard Kielczewski (Bulletin 395 page 16); Pal Haga at Norway's Easter Tournament, reported by Knut Kjaernsrod (Bulletin 400 page 12); Larissa Panina at the Aachen Mixed Teams reported by Michael Rosenblum (Bulletin 400 page 14); Tor Helness & Geir Helgemo at the Cap Gemini Pairs (Bulletin 397 page 15)

The Romex Award for Best Auction:
Sylvie Willard & Gerard Tissot (France)
Journalist: Philippe Cronier (France)
From the European Mixed Pairs in Aachen (Bulletin 400, page 9-10)

The first session of the Pair final saw this brilliantly concise solution to reaching the best spot on board 23, found by Gerrard Tissot and Sylvie Willard of France.

Tissot (West) and Willard bid:

1© - 2ª - 5NT - 7NT - Pass

Romex Award{short description of image}

How did Sylvie Willard come up with the winning bid so quickly? As 5NT was a grand slam try asking for the top trumps she knew her partner must have the ace of diamonds and a void in clubs. So surely he would have at least six hearts leaded by the ace-king. In which case she could count 13 top tricks in notrumps.

Dealer South. Game All
ª 3 2
© 10 9 3
¨ K Q 10 9 3
§ 10 6 3
ª 10 8 7 4 ª A K Q J 9 6
© A K J 5 4 2 © Q 8 7
¨ A 8 2 ¨ -
§ - § A 9 8 7
ª 5
© 6
¨ J 7 6 5 4
§ K Q J 5 4 2

The other auctions which made the shortlist were:

Leigh Gold & Jamie Ebery reported by Jim Borin (Bull 397 pg 12); George Rosenkranz & Eddie Wold (Bull 396 pg 5); Piotr Gawrys & Marcin Lesniewski reported by Eric Kokish (Bull 398 pg 6); Christian Mari & Alain Levy (Bull 395 pg 12)

The Levendaal Award for Best Play by a Junior:
Igor Grzejdziak (Poland)
Journalist: Jon Sveindal (Norway)
From the European Junior Teams (Bulletin 403 page 3)

Levendaal Award{short description of image}

The Vugraph match between Norway & Poland was mostly a one-way affair in favour of the Vikings, but on Board 10 the capacity crowd saw a beautiful deceptive play by Igor Grejdziak.

In the Closed Room Kristoffersen for Norway opened 1© as South, and shortly thereafter West was on lead against 4©. He chose ªJ which enabled South to play the suit for no loser.

In the Open Room South opened 1§ (Polish) and Grzejdziak (North) bid 1©. South bid 2© and 4© concluded the auction. However, this time East was on lead, and Saur chose ª8. It is impossible, I think, for anyone to find a legitimate winning line. But Grzejdziak found an excellent deceptive play that made it really difficult for East to find the right defence. At trick one the play went ª8,4,2,3!

Cashing §A could have been a disaster with another layout, so Saur continued with ª6. North took West's jack with the ace, played three rounds of hearts, and later finessed in spades and threw a club loser on the fourth spade. A club ruff made a total of 10 tricks thanks to a very imaginative deception!

Dealer East. Game All
ª A 5 3
© 9 6 5 2
¨ A K 9 2
§ 10 7
ª J 2 ª Q 9 8 6
© 10 7 © J 4 3
¨ Q 8 5 ¨ J 10 6
§ K J 8 6 3 2 § A Q 4
ª K 10 7 4
© A K Q 8
¨ 7 4 3
§ 9 5

The other players to make the short list were:

Bas Tammens, 14, at the Amsterdam Youth Club reported by Marten Schollaardt (Bulletin 397, page 16); Leigh Gold at the Australian Youth Teams, reported by Ron Klinger (Bulletin 398, page 5); Boye Brogeland at the European Junior Teams (see this Bulletin); Freddi Brondum at the European Junior Teams, reported by Morten Lund Madsen (see this Bulletin).

Results Contents
Open Pairs F1, F2
Ladies Pairs F1, F2
Senior Pairs F1, F2
IMP Pairs F1, F2
Société Générale Open Pairs Final
The IBPA Annual Awards
Turbo Charged
When a Negative can be Positive
Squeeze Time in the Zonal Pairs
Irish Luck

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