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National 15 A Pairs by Moss Wylie, Invercargill

A Happy Hunting Ground for Wayne and Clair

The Otago Club held the National Pairs in the first weekend of September. 28 pairs attended the two day event directed by Caroline Wiggins, all the way down from Hastings.

The qualifying day saw competitors play 3 boards against every pair; 81 boards. Those of us hoping to go to the Pink concert that evening were out of luck. Personally 2 boards against every pair (54 boards), would have been satisfactory. 88 deals is the minimum requirement for a 15A tournament. Caroline must be credited for making the qualifying round equitable by playing three boards against every pair, even if some of us found the length of the day taxing.

Day Two saw the field split in two, with 4 boards played against each opponent (52 boards). This was an excellent format for those of us who were not jaded after the first day marathon. Each table in both the Plate and Final had their own set of boards for the day. This way each pair played the same boards at the same time (barometer). The score can be displayed live after each round and competitors can see how they are placed after playing each opponent.

Lindsay Gunn must have had the dealing machine smoking. Day one saw two sets of 81 boards in play (162). Day two saw 14 sets of 52 boards in play, another staggering 728 deals. Well done Lindsay!

The midday meals were excellent. Day one saw a champagne ham, new potatoes and a spread of salads. Sunday saw chicken breasts wrapped in bacon. There were lovely desserts both days. Sadly I was on doctor’s orders not to indulge. Instead I went for a walk to clear my head. The continuous nibbles were plentiful, hot salmon, cheese and crackers, nuts and dips, cakes and chips. Great job by the caterers!

Bradley Johnston and Lydia Turley nudged ahead of Arleen Schwartz and Frances Sheehy to win the Plate.

Wayne Burrows and Clair Miao peaked at the right time (winning the final session by over 10%) to head off local pair Graeme Stout and Jeff Miller to win the final. Pavla Fenwick and Max Morrison from Christchurch slipped to a respectable third after being right up there most of the day. Max said he was very fatigued by the end (133 boards) as Wayne and Clair climbed into the grove.

1.      Wayne Burrows- Clair Miao


2.      Graeme Stout – Jeff Miller


3.      Pavla Fenwick – Max Morrison


4.      Glenn Coutts – Michael Ware


5.      Vicki Bouton – Jeremy Fraser-Hoskin


6.      Moss Wylie – Anne Sommerville


Clair and Wayne 2018 dunedin.jpg
National 15A wiinners, Clair Miao and Wayne Burrows.

Crazy over calls

Board 16
West Deals
E-W Vul
J 7 6 5 3
A J 3
Q 10
7 6 3
A 9 8 2
J 8 7 6 3
A Q 9 4
W   E
K Q 4
K 9 2
K 5 4 2
K 10 2
Q 10 8 7 6 5 4
A 9
J 8 5


Board 16 in the last set saw West open 1Diamond-small and East arrive at 3NT after South may or may not have bid their 7 card heart suit. If North overcalls 1Spade-small with their jack empty suit, declarer can play the hand like Deep Finesse to manufacture 9 tricks. Without the knowledge of North having 5 spades declarer has to settle for one down after a heart lead after finding only the clubs split. With 10 hearts out it is risky to try touching the diamonds. Hearts are most likely to be 6/4, thus 2 down, or even worse they are 7/3 with the Diamond-smallA sleeping with the long hearts, 3 down. Because of an ill disciplined spade bid by North, declarer can play the suit for no losers. After revealing the Spade-small10 in South by cashing Spade-smallK, you cross to dummy with a club to finesse North’s jack. One heart, four spades and four clubs = nine tricks. What a play partner, + 600!

Stout Miller  2018.jpg
Second place for Graeme Stout and Jeff Miller

Clair and Wayne are rather enjoying their visits to Dunedin. Their victory this weekend followed success in the South Island Pairs one year earlier.

Turning Reading into Reality.

On the long trip South, Wayne had uncovered an old bridge book where there was a board with a spectacular unblocking play.

A Q 8 7 5 3
W   E
A K 8
K Q J 10 3
10 9 8 7

 South was in 7NT after East had bid spades. West led a spade.To make 13 tricks, declarer had to play their second spade honour discarding dummy's Diamond-smallA and then four high diamonds discarding four high clubs (five unblocks in 1 deal!) and then play your four club winners from hand, squeezing East in the major suits! Elementary! Well, not quite.

Wayne had a chance to perform a similarly style if not quite as spectacular unblock during the tournament.

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

 South decided to look elsewhere for tricks than their own raggedy suit and tried Club-smallA. Abandoning both black suits, they switched to the Diamond-small4.This ran to North's jack and Wayne's king. Wayne played the Club-smallJ which was taken by North's king. With touching faith in partner's long suit, North played Spade-smallK which Wayne won. He had 10 top tricks but jettisoned the unwanted Heart-smallA on the Spade-smallQ and thus ended with 11 tricks and 20 out of 24 match-points. Good timing for both his reading and his card play!

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