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Only ever one winning team. The 2018 North Island Teams.

Last month’s South Island Teams was a relatively close run affair though only one team was going to win the North Island Teams, held at Palmerston North Bridge Club over the weekend of 3rd/4th March.

The team of Michael Ware- GeO Tislevoll, Peter Newell- Martin Reid had played below their high expectation in Christchurch last month but once they had taken 18.17 vps off Jonathan Westoby- Andy Braithwaite and Pam Livingston – Grant Jarvis in the third of eight 14 board Swiss matches, they made the number one position well and truly their own.

An “Australian draw” (loss by 1 imp) spoilt a complete clean sheet of victories with their next lowest score being 14.19vps in the last match when they were already mathematically certain of success. They won by over 20 vps and averaged 16.52 vps per match. Pretty impressive. Here are the top 5 placings:

1. Newell

Peter Newell- Martin Reid, Michael Ware – GeO Tislevoll

132.17

2.Westoby

Jonathan Westoby- Andy Braithwaite, Pam Livingston- Grant Jarvis

111.78

3. Lennon

Jane Lennon- Alan Grant, Jeter Liu- George Sun

102.94

4. Wilkinson

Jenny Wilkinson – Tina McVeigh, Mehboob Chiba- Graeme Tuffnell

100.66

5. Wylie

Moss Wylie- Glenn Coutts, Charles and Anthony Ker

98.07

 

Jonathan Andy at N Island Teams 18.jpg

Andy Braithwaite and Jonathan Westoby in the key match at the top as they take on GeO Tislevoll

and Michael Ware (hidden)

On with the Bridge.  Put yourself in Michael Ware’s position. You have a very decent hand and a partner who sounds like he has some good cards too. This is the bidding and your hand:

West              North                        East                South

                                                          3Diamond-small                   4Diamond-small 1

5Diamond-small                   6NT                            Pass                ?

1 both majors, 5-5+

Spade-small AKQ86

Heart-smallAKT86

Diamond-small –

Club-small T94

You have got a bit more than you promised but has partner stretched when they bid 6NT? Could you bear the thought of a minor suit ace being led against 7NT?

Before we show you the four hands, take GeO Tislevoll’s seat as you defend 4Heart-small:

Match 4

Board 27
South Deals
None Vul
K 10 9 7 6 5 2
J
J 6 4
K J
Q
5 4
K Q 10 9 3
Q 10 4 3 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
Dummy You    
      Pass
Pass 3  4  All pass

 

You are North. Your partner leads Spade-smallA and your low spade at trick 1 suggests a club switch. Partner obliges by playing Club-smallA and a second club to your king, declarer playing Club-small8 and Club-small9. What do you play to trick 4?

Back then to Michael’s problem over 6NT. Michael passed but the defence could lead no more than a queen as 13 tricks rolled in

Match 6

Board 18
East Deals
N-S Vul
J 10 2
Q J 9 4
A K 4
A K 5
9 7 5 3
7 5 2
8 6 3
J 8 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
4
3
Q J 10 9 7 5 2
Q 7 6 2
 
A K Q 8 6
A K 10 8 6
10 9 4

 

Only 5 of the 34 pairs made it to grand slam with the board being no swing in the Newell- Lennon match.

So, which card did you play at trick 4? If you played a red card, or indeed Spade-smallK, you would be writing down -420 but any of your low spades would beat the contract. These were the four hands:

 

Match 4

Board 27
South Deals
None Vul
K 10 9 7 6 5 2
J
J 6 4
K J
Q
5 4
K Q 10 9 3
Q 10 4 3 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
J 8 3
A K Q 10 7 3 2
A
9 8
 
A 4
9 8 6
8 7 5 2
A 7 6 5
West North East South
Dummy You    
      Pass
Pass 3  4  All pass

 

GeO reasoned that the declarer had 6 or 7 good heart tricks (if your partner had a heart trick, the contract was always down.) and presumably the Diamond-smallA. If he had more than one diamond, there was no defence. So, GeO hoped for just one diamond (the ace, a blockage), two known clubs and three spades in the East hand. The low spade return gave East a cheap trick…but where was the other spade going? A third round of spades would set up a trump trick for Michael (South) while if declarer ruffed the second spade and tried to discard the remaining losing spade on the Club-smallQ, GeO could ruff with the Heart-smallJ (the importance of not playing the Heart-smallJ to trick 4 ) . Nice defence which gained 10 imps when 4Heart-small made at the other table.

While 13 declarers failed to make 4Heart-small, 9 others did make the game, several times with 2 overtricks! Not, though, against Michael and GeO.

The winning team contained four very experienced internationals. Another team, whose players are all still at school or in one case at university, finished just under half-way and are extremely enthusiastic and are “learning their trade”, this being their first year in major competitions. One of these pairs, Zachary Yan and Vincent He, had played well in the South Island Teams, had played for our Youth Team in Canberra and had gained heaps of experience in the South West Pacific Teams in Canberra.

Here they are, the only pair in the field, to bid the following slam:

match 7

Board 12
West Deals
N-S Vul
6 5
8 6
10 5 2
K J 9 7 5 4
A Q 3
A K Q 9 5 2
10 8 6 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
K J 8 7 2
J 7
K Q 7 6 3
2
 
10 9 4
10 4 3
A J 9 8 4
A Q
West North East South
Zachary   Vincent  
1  Pass 1  2 
3  Pass 4  Pass
5  Pass 6  Pass
6  All pass    

Zachary had ambition, in cueing his void. If Vincent intended to go for slam, then perhaps 6Heart-small on his ace-less hand would be better than a further cue…but the excellent slam was reached. A club was led and Zachary did not have to take the marked ruffing diamond finesse to make his slam.                                              

Watch out for the names. They and their teammates at or past pupils of  Macleans College in Howick, Yiwei Qi and Eddy Tan are learning fast.

Alan Grant, Ngaere Webb, Judith Nicol.jpg 
Alan Grant contemplates the dummy given to him by Jane Lennon while Ngaere Webb (left) and
Judith Nicol are trying their best to defeat the contract.

So, another well -organized large national event, 34 teams involved. Congratulations to the organizers, the director, Lorraine Stachurski, scorer Caroline Wiggins and in her first time as Tournament Convenor, Denise Servante....  and especially to the team which won so emphatically.

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

 

 

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