6th World Junior Bridge Teams Championship
Editor: M. Horton Co-Editor: R. Lee
Web Editor: Th. Matziaris
No.: 7 Sunday, 10 August 1997
Qualifying Round 16
Qualifying Round 17
Canada Red v Norway |
A must win match
He shoots, he scores
|Then there were four|
Russia ended the round robin stage of this championship in first place last night, more than 10 VPs ahead of Norway, who had continued their steady climb up the standings to second place. Canada Red were third, 3.5 VPs behind Norway, while Denmark was the final qualifier a further 1.5 VPs back.
Going into Round 17, the only certain qualifier was Russia. Canada Red defeated Russia in a pressure match to nail down third, while Norway, who had moved into second earlier in the day, kept pace with a solid win over USA 1. Denmark scored a victory over Israel by a smaller margin than its rivals, but was still more than 15 VP's ahead of fifth-place USA 2. China, who lost in the last round to Australia, finished sixth.
As round robin victors, Russia had the right to choose their opponents for today's semi-finals, and the carry-over rules probably influenced their decision. They will face Denmark today with a 12 IMP start, while the other match will feature Canada Red with a 0.7 IMP edge over Norway. Both matches are 64 boards, and can be expected to be close, well-played affairs.
Canada R. vs Norway
Both teams were very much at the business end of the table so with only two matches remaining after this one it was a significant encounter. Canada won a low scoring affair, nearly always the sign of good bridge, 21-19 IMPs 15-15 IMPs. Here are a few highlights:
North's reopening double was reasonable enough but it gave South a problem which Two Spades was not designed to solve. A value showing Three Clubs would be our choice if available. West, who was about to be traded to Denmark (!) - see yesterday's bulletin - drew trumps and switched to hearts. That should have been five down, -500, but after two top hearts West mysteriously switched to a club allowing declarer to escape with five tricks, -300.
South led the jack of clubs to North's ace, declarer dropping the queen. He won the switch to the seven of diamonds with the queen. He cashed the ace of diamonds and taken in by declarer's false card fatally played a third diamond. That was +420, 3 IMPs to Canada.
Board 8 was featured a notrump part score where this was the layout of the hearts suit.
Bobby Wolff pointed out to the VuGraph audience that when South leads the four of hearts it works well for North to put in the eight when declarer plays low from dummy. When he regains the lead he can lead the jack of hearts, pinning the ten, and assuming the jack is covered by the king, later on he can lead the three through the seven-five to South's queen-six. With tongue in cheek Bobby asked the VuGraph audience if anyone knew the name of this play as he hadn't seen it before! As he, and no doubt many of you will know, this type of play is known as an 'intra finesse' following its description in a 'Bols Bridge Tip' by Gabriel Chagas.
However, it is unusual to see the play made by the defence and at the table North put up the ten of hearts.
This was a well controlled auction to a good contract. On a very good or unlucky day, depending on your point of view, 6NT would be better, surviving a bad trump break when the QJ are doubleton or avoiding a ruff, but here nothing bad was going to happen. +980
It looks as if North misjudged the situation when he preferred to try for twelve tricks in diamonds rather than hearts. He had to lose a trick in both red suits, down one.
It gave Canada Red the only double figure swing of the match, 14 IMPs.
The last board of the set was another slam deal and this time it was essential to play in no-trumps.
As you may have guessed looking at the auction, 2NT was forcing. Six Hearts is excellent and cold except for the club ruff which was duly found by the defence when North led his singleton. Could the Canadian pair do better?
Doubtless East was aware of the possibility of a ruff after the 3 bid but with no space to investigate he followed a simple route to the same doomed spot. A pair from Pakistan and another from Canada White bid to 6NT and both picked up 17 IMPs. Chinese Taipei went one IMP better when their Colombian opponents sacrificed in 6, a contract that went -1700.
|A must win match|
The featured match in Round 16 was China against Denmark. China looked to be needing a win to stay within reach of fourth place, while Denmark could begin to relax if they could manage a comfortable victory. Perhaps not surprisingly, the bridge was tense, and there was plenty of scope for misjudgment. Here are some of the highlights:
Li's 2 overcall will not be to everyone's taste on such a ratty suit, and he paid the price by forcing Kristensen to bid 2, whether he wanted to or not. The Danes cruised into 4 and were able to negotiate ten tricks. In the Open Room, Røn passed over 1, and Yan judged his hand not to be worth a 2 response. After his partner's rebid, he had a problem, in that his only invitational bids were in spades or no-trumps, with other suits simply being for play. With some reluctance he passed, and Denmark scored 6 IMPs.
South became declarer in 3NT at both tables, on identical auctions. The play, however, was not the same. In the Closed Room, West led a diamond, which went to the queen. East returned a diamond to the ace, and West switched to the Q. Declarer ducked this, and the defence reverted to the diamond attack. Now declarer was getting into some trouble, and found himself forced to guess which major suit to discard, and which to rely on for tricks. Guessing wrong, he let a spade go, and this combined with the communications problem conspired to restrict him to eight tricks.
In the Open Room, declarer was not put to the test when the defence simply continued diamonds at trick three, and China picked up 12 IMPs.
One of the wilder boards of the set featured some good judgment by the Danes, who deservedly picked up 11 IMPs. While we are not enamoured of Kristensen's 2-level negative double, the diamond fit gave him some excuse. And Li should certainly have got this one right after North's 4NT call, indicating long diamonds and a shorter club suit. With a diamond preference on his left, his club cards were either well-placed or fit with his partner's hand; neither scenario suggested defending. Røn had no problem bidding on to 5, and his decision was duly rewarded.
This time it was the Danes' turn to go comprehensively wrong in the auction. In the Closed Room, the limited nature of the opening bid allowed West to show his shape without promising extra, and East settled quickly for 3NT. This proved fairly straightforward, something which cannot be said for Brøndum's contract in the Open Room. There are certainly double dummy lines that will bring home ten tricks in hearts, but Brøndum's attempt to travel back to hand in clubs in mid-hand led to a defensive ruff, and a one-trick set. 11 IMPs to China.
While this board was a push in this match, it generated some wild numbers around the room, and the VuGraph audience was awaiting it with anticipation for some time before it was actually played. +1540 East-West was fairly common; one North-South bought the hand in 5 doubled, and the Russian East-West sent the double back and scored up +1830.
The Closed Room auction heightened the tension. Nohr's double of 5 has a faint aroma of striped-tailed ape about it, and certainly he wasn't prepared to sit for the redouble. Nor, significantly, did he double 6. Nice try, but the Chinese weren't having any.
While the commentators were looking at the Closed Room auction, the action in the Open Room had begun and ended. Brøndum made a simple 6 call after his partner's vulnrable jump to 3, an action that has much to commend it. 6 doubled is, of course, a relatively cheap save, but no-one in any other match found it (not surprising on the North hand, which looks like it might have a couple of tricks on a good day), and Zhang didn't either.
So a routine push near the end of a very close match that decided little for either team.
Final result: win for Denmark by 34-30 IMPs (16-14 VPs).
|He shoots, he scores|
It was a scenario to bring back memories of 1972, and Paul Henderson's winning goal in the first-ever Canada-USSR hockey championship series. Canada Red needed a t least a tie to ensure holding on to a playoff spot; Russia, already preparing their strategy for Monday, wanted to test Canada's mettle before selecting their opponents for the championship round. Meanwhile supporters of China, who were 11 VPs behind Canada, were hoping for a Canadian loss so that they could take over the last play-off position.
There were also some faint hopes for USA2 who were 19 VPs behind; there could just be a storybook finish with their team blitzing Pakistan while Canada and China lost badly.
In the Closed Room the auction proceeded smoothly to 4 which made. The Open Room, though, moved dangerously high as the Russians probed for a slam.
Khiouppenen opened a Polish Club which showed either a weak no trump or a strong hand and when his partner showed spades and at least 7 points he cue-bid diamonds to show that he had a strong hand with spade support. Now Petrounine, facing a partner with unlimited values, felt compelled to show his A and Khiouppenen pushed towards slam with another cue-bid.
Fortunately by this time they were out of steam and settled at the 5-level, adding some excitement to what would otherwise have been a simple hand. The trick for the defence is to collect two heart tricks to go with their diamond. Pollack started off with a diamond and Wolpert shifted to the 5. Watching on VuGraph it seemed clear to duck the heart to dummy's 8 but declarer, giving Wolpert credit, played the J considering that Wolpert would have made the correct play of underleading the KQ if he had it. It was now up to Pollack to find the heart continuation that would have ended any chance for declarer to make the hand, but he continued a spade which was won by declarer with the A. The puck had been shot back to Petrounine who could now make the hand. Declarer now cashed four more spades. This was the position with the lead in dummy.
There were several squeezes available, but Petrounine picked the artistic trump squeeze: West is embarrassed when declarer cashes clubs ending in his hand. If he pitches a diamond declarer can ruff out his K. If he throws a heart, declarer can cash the A establishing dummy's 9. A very interesting flat board to start the match, with Canada threatening to score, but being turned away empty-handed.
In both rooms South opened with a Multi 2, and both North's selected to respond 2, implying heart support. West found himself in each case in the balancing chair with a decision to make at the 3-level, red against white. Khokhlon took the defensive action and passed out 2 but Wolpert charged over the blue line with a 3 overcall.
Now it was up to Pollack to see if Canada could score the first goal. He could expect at least a hand as good as Wolpert's for the 3 balancing action and so he had to bid 4 and Canada was set up to score. North started the K and continued with a spade to the A. South continued spades, and the trick was won in dummy with the K.
After ruffing a club and finessing the heart, Wolpert had only to time his entries carefully to take the double diamond finesse to make his contract. 13 IMPs to Canada Red who took the early lead.
In the Closed Room the Russians played in a part-score when Sazonov with no spade fit, a poor club suit, and only 9 HCP passed his partner's invitation. They scored 10 tricks for +180. However in the Open Room the Canadians were on the attack again.
The Canadians had a decent auction to arrive in the aggressive 3NT contract. There was some play to the hand but on the lie of the cards the contract could not be denied. Declarer had to come to three hearts, two spades, three clubs and a diamond for nine tricks. Canada had moved into a comfortable 21 IMP lead.
With the friendly lie of the cards, 3NT was bid and made in the Closed Room, and Canada was now playing out the clock.. In the Open Room, the Russians were given the opportunity for a penalty shot, and a chance to reduce the deficit, and quickly put the puck in the net. Wolpert made a disciplined pass in first chair and Pollack opened with 1. When Pollack later re-entered the auction with 2 (not the only player in the room to do this), Khiouppenen made an accurate pass to his partner.
Choosing an excellent bid, Petrounine re-opened with a double and Khiouppenen was happy to pass. Although severely tempted to run out to spades, Wolpert made another disciplined pass. Pollack played the hand well to get out for two down and hold the Russian gain to 3 IMPs.
But it was too little, too late, just before the final buzzer, and Canada had won this critical match 40 IMPs to 10 (22-8VP).
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