6th World Junior Bridge Teams Championship
Editor: M. Horton Co-Editor: R. Lee
Web Editor: Th. Matziaris
No.: 2 Tuesday, 5 August 1997
Qualifying Round 1
Qualifying Round 2
Qualifying Round 3
Qualifying Round 4
Canadian Showdown |
Match of the Day Norway v Russia
|The serious business started yesterday with the completion of the first
four matches of the round robin. Fastest out of their starting blocks were Denmark,
who scored four good wins, the first two of them against potentially major
rivals, Norway and USA2, the third against Martinique/Guadaloupe
and the last one a remarkable 135 - 4 demolition of Pakistan.|
Their total of 96, just four short of a maximum, leaves them 15 points clear of second placed Canada Red. Likewise undefeated, they are giving the home supporters plenty to cheer about. They are 8.5 ahead of third placed Israel, who in turn lead the fourth placed team, Australia, by just two victory points.
These four are hotly pursued by USA2, China, Russia and Norway. Modesty prevents us from placing too much emphasis on this, but by a happy coincidence all seven of the teams we highlighted yesterday occupy a place in the first eight. At the wrong end of the table, Chinese Taipei and Colombia are the only teams still without a win.
The opening VuGraph match traditionally features the host country, so Canada's two representatives both found themselves on the big screen when play started Monday morning. Canada White dodged an early bullet on Board 2
In the closed room, East passed initially, unable to open a weak 2 bid in diamonds, and Colin Lee and David Halasi for Canada White quickly reached the normal contract of 3NT on the East/West cards, making five.
In the closed room the auction threatened to get out of hand after Fred Pollack, also with no weak 2 in diamonds available, succumbed to the temptation to open 1. South overcalled 1 and West was faced with an awkward bid. Darren Wolpert passed, planning to pass for penalties after the hoped-for reopening double (perhaps questionable with such weak heart spots) but with his sub-minimum hand, Fred Pollack reopened 1.
Wolpert now forced with 2 and over 3, forced again with 3.
Some partnerships would play this as exposing a heart psyche by South, but Pollack squeaked out 3NT. West was still not bid out, and took one more push to 4NT, which East was finally able to pass. Fortunately, ten top tricks were easy, and the loss was only 1 IMP.
6 was reached by the East-West pairs at both tables on this board. This was clearly the right contract since it was cold (6NT goes down on a diamond lead) and 7 is on a finesse which happens to be offside.
However, David Halasi made this hand an adventure in the Closed Room when he lost an ace and opened the West hand 1NT (15-17) with his very fine 19 count. After Fred Pollack overcalled his weak 5-5 hand with 2 showing both majors, Colin Lee bid 3 forcing.
By now David had found the ace and forced his way to 6, much to the surprise of his partner, who had signed off in 5. At the other table West, Wolpert, chose to open the very strong 19 count with 2NT, and the auction proceeded uneventfully to 6 for a push.
This board proved no challenge to either Canadian team who efficiently bid the East/West hands to 7NT, which has 14 top tricks. Both auctions were identical:
This hand produced a double part-score swing, the first significant score of the match.
Both auctions started the same way: after two passes both West's opened 1, there is some argument for opening 3 in third chair at these colours. At both tables North doubled and East bid 1NT. However, David Levy chose to bid an aggresive 3 (for play) on the South hand while Zeidenberg bid only 2. Eventually, North-South bought the hand in 4, which made four.
Meanwhile over Zeidenberg's 2, Wolpert persisted with 2 and North/South sold out to Pollack's 3 bid which made three. As it happens, for any declarers who happened to reach 4, the game can be made on a diamond/heart squeeze on North. Since South has only one entry, the A, North/South cannot eliminate the diamond threat on any defence, and the 9 in dummy also looms large as a menace against North.
Sometimes you can have a nice auction and still lose a few IMPs. In the closed room, Blond opened the North hand a weak no-trump and Levy concluded the auction with 3NT. After a heart lead, Blond scored twelve tricks.
At the other table, the auction was much more complex. The auction started as follows:
Now Wolpert had a dilemma, if he doubled 3 for the lead, he might talk North/South out of a slam which might go down. However, if he failed to double he might not get the spade lead which could prove crucial. Wolpert took the prudent course and doubled. Zeidenberg was still not through pushing for slam so he redoubled and when Nadler showed soft spade values with 3NT, he made one more try with 4. However, over partner's 5 bid, recognizing the danger in spades he bid a simple 5, which was the limit of the hand with a spade lead. 3 IMPs to Canada Red.
Canada Red made a big gain on Board 9. In the Open Room with both opponents silent, East/West had no trouble arriving at the optimum contract of 3NT, which made four after a heart lead. In the Closed Room, however, Blond chose to open 2 as North at favourable vulnerability, showing spades and a minor. Lee doubled, and when South, Levy, raised the stakes to 3, Halasi had a problem. He chose to jump to 5, closing out the auction. Now he had to find the Q to make his 5 contract. The defence started with a spade to the ten and ace, and continued with ace and another heart. North's opening bid had shown 5-9 HCP and at least nine cards in the majors, and now he had shown up with two hearts to the ace and the J. Halasi knowing that North had two clubs to South's three and need have no more high cards, took the percentage play of a club to the jack, and lost a game swing.
Both East/West pairs bought the hand for 2 after opening a weak two bid. But Lee played the hand from the short side after a Multi 2 auction and Wolpert from the West hand after an opening bid of 2. South led the J against Lee. With the East hand concealed, the defence had trouble getting together on its strategy, and as a result declarer was able to bring home eight tricks.
At the other table, North-South found a more accurate defence to collect seven tricks against 2 declared by West. With North now on lead, Mike Nadler made the excellent start of the 4 which went to Zeidenberg's A. Nadler shifted to a heart and West rose with the king. When Wolpert now led a small diamond towards dummy, Nadler hopped up on the A and persisted with the K and the 9, carefully overtaken by South with the 10. Now when he continued with clubs, North could overruff declarer, and South still had to score the A and J for a two-trick set and a 7 IMP gain Final score: Canada Red 34 - Canada White 25
|Match of the day|
|Norway vs Russia|
If our predictions are correct then the teams featured in our first major report will be strong contenders for two of the semi-final berths. As you will see they happened to encounter a set of boards with plenty of potential for swings.
Should you feel the urge to bid on the South hand after East has opened One Diamond would you prefer Double or One Spade? Both received a vote in our featured match, but a more sanguine pass would surely be the choice of the majority.
In the Closed Room declarer lost the obvious three tricks, so if South could make Three Spades, Norway would pick up a useful swing.
West started with the queen of hearts and when that held he switched to the five of diamonds. Declarer won with the ace and not imagining the diamonds were 7-1, returned the suit. East won and switched to his singleton club. There was no way to avoid the impending ruff so the contract was one down, -100 and just one IMP to Norway.
When he won the ace of diamonds declarer might have played ace and another spade. The blockage in the heart suit puts the defenders in difficulty and declarer will probably get home by squeezing West in hearts and clubs.
Norway's lead did not survive the next deal.
In the Closed Room West could not bring home Four Spades when the defence attacked in diamonds. +100 to Russia.
Two Spades promised that suit and a minor and left North with the problem of how to convey his hand type to his partner. One solution which is gaining ground is to use' leaping Michaels'. Here a bid of four of a minor would show that suit and the other major. If you take the view that you should simply overcall Three Hearts on the first round then you will surely be tempted to bid Four Diamonds on the next round if East competes with Three Spades. Whatever the merits of these actions might be opposite a passed partner, North's actual choice of Four Hearts was not the winning action on this layout.
East started with the king and queen of hearts and West discarded an encouraging two of clubs on the second of these. East switched to the ace of clubs forcing declarer to ruff. He continued with the jack of hearts but East won and played another club. Declarer could draw the remaining trump and enjoy his diamonds but had to concede the last two tricks, down two, -300 and 9 IMPs to Russia.
A few boards later Norway hit back by reaching a thin slam.
When East bid Four Clubs promising a fit for diamonds and a good club suit West was off to the races. The 4-1 trump break was no problem here, +920.
Three No-trumps was not going to make on a heart lead but North can hardly be faulted for bidding Four Hearts which on a good day might have been a making contract. Here there were four losers but that still meant Norway had gained 13 IMPs.
In our featured match this board was a dull push, both North - South pairs stopping safely in Four Spades. However, their was plenty of action elsewhere. In Brazil v China a North - South pair attempted 6NT. That failed by six tricks but there was no double!
In Canada Red v Colombia, the latter's East - West pair played in Five Hearts doubled. The combination of a spade lead and the rather gruesome lie of the cards resulted in a penalty of -1700.
The next major swing went to Russia.
North rejected a club lead in favour of his partner's suit, his choice being the three of hearts. The line that declarer now followed, discarding a club on the ace and starting a crossruff ought to have led to two down, but the defence went wrong later and allowed declarer to escape for down one, -100.
West led the queen of spades. Declarer won and played the king of hearts, taken by the ace. He captured the spade return and advanced the three of clubs. West played the queen! The end of the match featured three consecutive boards where a slam was possible!
In the Closed Room the opening lead was the king of diamonds which enabled declarer to claim in short order. Of course with the hearts 3-3 no lead helps when North is at the wheel but in the replay a diamond lead by West would defeat the contract (there are squeeze chances but we have not yet found one that works.) If you assume that West would never lead a trump on this auction you might argue that the absence of a double from East of the Five Heart response to RKCB was a reason for West not to lead that suit. Even so its still hard to find any reason why a spade should be better than a diamond. So when West selected the queen of hearts it was a flat board.
Both teams bid and made Six Spades on this board. Declarer had an easy ride in the Closed Room on the lead of the ten of diamonds. He won and took a losing spade finesse. North won and returned a heart - finito, +980. Assuming East is the declarer how should he play on the lead of the seven of hearts - the one that was found in the Open Room? We like the line declarer took. He went up with the ace and crossed to the king of diamonds. He played a club to the king and disposed of his losing hearts on the winning diamonds. Now he ruffed a heart and took a losing spade finesse. No matter, the favourable position in clubs saw him home for another push. This was the last of the trio of slam deals.
The Norwegians got nowhere near a slam. Could the Russian pair do better?
The late Terence Reese used to pour scorn on bids such as North's One Diamond. You know you are outgunned so why help your opponents to place the missing high cards? He would not have thought much of South's decision to raise either, which could only help East - West to judge the excellence of their fit in a spade contract.
The VuGraph commentators were confidently predicting that West's next bid would be Six Spades when he passed! We still think Terence was right! Both teams had done a number of good things but it was Russia who had won a low scoring, well played match by 25-14 IMPs, 17-13VP.
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