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Yuletide comes early in Tauranga

The National Open Teams

For Kathy and Ken Yule and their teammates, Fuxia Wen and Ian Berrington, Christmas came five weeks early at the National Open Teams in Tauranga over the last weekend. They came home the strongest in an amazing change of fortunes on Day 2 of this event.

yules 3.jpg

Kathy Yule, Ian Berrington, Fuxia Wen and Ken Yule

The 26 teams, the lowest for a National event for some time (as it was not an international qualifying event, several top pairs did not take part), played 5 x 14 board rounds on the first day and 3 more on the second day.

Spare a thought for the team of Christine and Jenna Gibbons (other than Michael Ware, the only “Lyons” players taking part) and Alister Stuck and Russell Wilson. They won their first six matches and only Richardson (Carol Richardson- Andi Boughey, Steve Boughey- Noel Grigg) and Yule were within striking distance of them. The worm then turned really cruelly as Gibbons picked up just 1.13vps from their final two matches against Yule and Richardson. Just to add further insult to injury, prize money went down to 7th with Gibbons dropping to 8th place, 0.05vp below 7th. I do not think any of their team members won the big Powerball over the weekend either.

The final three rounds saw some massive changes in fortune at the top. Before getting the “bridge bullseye” (20) off Gibbons, Yule took 19.38 off Richardson but had a little nervous wait themselves as the consistent Wylie (Moss Wylie – Charles Ker, John Wang – June Lei) beat them 13.72-6.28 in the final round, enough for second place for Wylie and still breathing space for Yule at the top.

What’s the way to win? “Consistency and seizing any opportunity offered by the opposition” according to Ken Yule and Ian Berrington. Let’s see what they mean. Ian Berrington (East) was playing 4Spade-small on the following board while Kathy and Ken Yule were defending the same contract at the other table:


Board 10
East Deals
Both Vul
10 6 5
J 10 9 6 2
A J 5
9 8
Q 8 7 4
Q 9 8 7
A K 10 5
W   E
A K 9 3
K Q 8 4
6 4 2
4 2
J 2
A 5 3
K 10 3
Q J 7 6 3


You can see that 4Spade-small has little chance as there is one heart loser along with three diamond losers. The only slight advantage that Ian Berrington had was that his poor diamond suit was hidden and that he had not shown four hearts in the bidding. He was also helped by the understandable Club-smallQ lead from South.

However, even so, his chances of success seemed thin. He won in dummy and drew trumps in three rounds finishing in hand, North discarding a heart. Next came a second club to the 10 and dummy’s other high club, discarding one diamond from hand. North threw a second heart. Hoping North held the Heart-smallA, he led dummy’s heart. No such luck as the trick went to South’s ace.

South played a fourth round of clubs and, according to Ian, “I could not see a way to make the contract but I could see by ruffing the heart I would certainly go down.” So, like North, Ian discarded a small diamond. South switched to diamonds and North erred by playing a heart after winning Diamond-smallA. Ian won, ruffed a heart and still had a trump left to get back to his hand to enjoy the fourth heart, making 10 tricks.

That was a hard slog to make 4Spade-small, only made by one other declarer. At our other table, North, Ken Yule, was on lead and led a trump. There was no opportunity given by the defence and one down meant 12 imps went to Yule.

There is another secret to success, good luck. To that, we could add “don’t panic”. Maybe you have never been in this position? Ian Berrington was in the hot seat! Holding:

Spade-small 9872  Heart-small Q9  Diamond-small A  Club-small KJT652

After passing initially, he heard his partner open a “1+” 1Club-small. Ian bid 1Diamond-small showing 4+ hearts and Fuxia, his partner, bid 2Heart-small. No, it is not a misprint, just a misbid by Ian! What should he do now?

Call for a new pair of glasses…or a pen that writes one’s correct bid? Actually, in Ian’s case, it would be “for a pair of glasses”!  Ian decided on 2NT (those spades were never worth bidding anyway!) and eureka, Fuxia raised to 3NT. Fuxia’s spades were a tad better than Ian’s!

Board 6
East Deals
E-W Vul
J 4
K 8 5
Q 9 8 4 2
Q 9 3
A Q 10 6
J 7 6 2
K 10 6
A 7
W   E
9 8 7 2
Q 9
K J 10 6 5 2
K 5 3
A 10 4 3
J 7 5 3
8 4
West North East South
Fuxia   Ian  
    Pass Pass
1  Pass 1  Pass
2  Pass 2 NT Pass
3 NT All pass    


Fuxia’s hearts were not up to much and she saved Ian’s blushes. A diamond lead and successful club finesse got Ian 10 comfortable tricks…and perhaps a quick claim and movement onto the next board…and no-one would even have known anything was wrong!

moss 2-.jpg

Second placed Moss Wylie, June Lei, Charles Ker and John Wang, joining forces from three separate regions,

as they come from Invercargill, Auckland and Palmerston North.

The event was run very well by the director, Lorraine Stachurski, the scorer, Sam Ward, and all involved from the host club. The top positions were:

  1. Kathy and Ken Yule, Ian Berrington, Fuxia Wen                           110.95
  2. Moss Wylie, Charles Ker, John Wang, June Lei                            105.60
  3. Carol Richardson, Andi and Steve Boughey, Noel Grigg              100.88
  4. Kate Davies, Anne Somerville, Murat Genc, John Patterson          95.83
  5. Grant Jarvis, Jan Cormack, Rachelle Pelkman, Murray Wood        94.44


Richard Solomon


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