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Auckland News by Douglas Russell

The theme for this report seems to be family (and soon to be family – see below!) successes. We often tend to think that playing bridge in partnership might be a little dangerous for real life relationships, but there is little evidence of that in the results reported here.

International GeO Tislevoll mentors a number of promising players in the area, and one of them, Julia Zhu, nursed him to a win at the Auckland Club’s Thursday tournament in March. Mt Albert’s Junior Tournament (and it is great to see more of these coming on stream) was won by Geoff Allan and Hillary Metzger. There were two wins for Candice Doyle and Karen Smith, at both the Mt Albert and the East Coast Bays Intermediates; the Open event at the latter was a fraternal triumph for Neil and Michael Stuckey.

Auckland Easter 18 1.jpg 
Auckland Pairs winners, June Lei and James Lei, with new Auckland Club President, Murray Weatherston                         

The big events for this instalment took place over Easter at the Auckland Club. Winners of the Open Pairs were the ever dangerous James Li and June Lei, while the Monday walk-in was taken by Andrew Janisz and Jeremy Fraser-Hoskin. The Teams proved to be a stroll in the park for the all international squad of Matt Brown, Michael Whibley, Michael Cornell and Ashley Bach. Matt later teamed up with mum Tania to secure the Auckland Club’s Anzac Day Pairs. And the Restricted Pairs proved a happy hunting ground for one of our newest international pairing, 18 year olds Vincent He and Zachary Yan; best of luck in China in August to this pair for the World Youth Teams Championship!(and congratulations and good luck too to a certain Douglas Russell who will be the team's npc).

Auckland Easter 18 2.jpg         Auckland May 3.jpg                                Matt and Andi 2018.jpg

Teams winners at Auckland: Matt Brown         Rose Don and Michael Courtney:           In opposition at Waitemata but now
Ashley Bach, Michael Whibley, Michael Cornell     dual winners on "The Shore"            partners for life: newly engaged Matt
                                                                                                                                        Brown and Andi Boughey

Waitemata proved to be an entirely almost family affair, with Steve Boughey and Matt Brown edging out Andi Boughey and Carol Richardson. However, the real winners were Andi and Matt, who announced their engagement: congratulations to both. Michael Courtney and Rosie Don put together back to back wins at Hibiscus Coast and the North Shore’s Swiss Pairs, the latter by a street without losing a single match, while the Intermediate at Hibiscus was a second win this year for Hafizur Khan and Jason Howard. And finally the Franklin Clubs Restricted Pairs saw Henrietta Annabel and Carol Moore walk away with the spoils.

Farewell to Jeff

As this article was being prepared, the death has occurred of Jeff Green. Ill health has prevented Jeff from playing bridge in the last few years but has been a prominent Auckland player and administrator for many years. We will remember Jeff in a later time.

Biritch "the burglar"

While Biritch the Russian Blue is, of course, purrfect at the technical side of the game, what he really revels in is its psychological aspects, in particular pulling a fast one on the opposition. Here he is in characteristic action. Biritch became declarer in 3NT from the West seat after South had made a weak jump overcall in spades.

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

 Contract 3NT by West.

Biritch had concealed his club suit. North dutifully led the ♠9; in practice South does best to win this and return a diamond, but this is not so easy to see. He therefore ducked, since declarer can then make only one trick by force in the suit - but to no avail. Biritch won the trick, sipped his cattuccino, gave dummy a cursory glance, and without any apparent thought led the 8♦ from hand. North was caught napping and ducked, dummy winning the ♦Q. Five tricks in each of clubs and hearts later plus the two already in the bag presented our feline felon with 12 tricks and almost all the match points, and confurred a deep and permanent ailurophobia on the unfortunate North.

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