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World Championships in Wuhan. Day 5

Losing Streaks are Over.

Spare a thought for the Bridge Masters who have had a tough time with little going right at the table. 13 successive losses. So, the small wins over Turkey and Bulgaria should bring just small smiles, perhaps of relief.

The Bridge Blacks remain extremely competitive especially after a fine win over Norway, one of the countries a little way above in the low qualifying places. However, there is still a 32 vp gap to claw back to 8th place with only 8 matches left.
Netherlands and China would always be big asks for the Bridge Ferns and while they would have preferred a few more vps from these matches, the big win over South Africa keeps them competitive, 14vps behind 8th. They face France and Canada in two of their next three matches, two countries just above them on the table.
                  Showing the Flag

Wuhan  bridge Ferns.jpg
 No doubt getting ready to cheer on the All Blacks, our Bridge Ferns show off their flag.
Christine Gibbons, Shirley Newton, Glenis Palmer, Kris Wooles (npc), Linda Cartner, Jenna Gibbons
and Jenny Wilkinson
Let's hope that the All Blacks have a similar flag to cheer on our bridge teams too.

The win over South Africa ended a run of 9 successive losses for the Mixed Blacks and will hopefully give them a boost for the last three days’ play.

 

                Open (Bridge Blacks)                                                                Women (Bridge Ferns)

Match

Opponents

imps

NZ Vps

NZ Position

 

Match

Opponents

imps

NZ vps

NZ pos.

13.

Israel

25-37

6.72

15th

 

13.

Netherlands

6-67

0.00

15th

2.

Norway

52-22

16.73

12th

 

14.

South Africa

57-9

18.97

14th

3.

Egypt

44-17

16.26

11th

 

15.

China

25-45

5.00

14th

 

Seniors (Bridge Masters)                                                   Mixed (Mixed Blacks)

Match

Opponents

imps

NZ Vps

NZ Position

 

Match

Opponents

imps

NZ vps

NZ pos.

13.

Netherlands

12-51

2.03

24th

 

13.

Denmark

36-59

4.44

20th

14.

Turkey

28-22

11.76

24th

 

14.

Chinese Taipei

13-51

2.15

22nd

15.

Bulgaria

49-46

10.91

24th

 

15.

Pakistan

51-24

16.26

19th

 

If you like life in the fast lane, then fasten your seat-belts and keep your eyes open:

Round 14

Board 25
North Deals
E-W Vul
A K 10 8 5
Q 9
9 8 4 3
9 2
4 3 2
A 10 6 2
A K 7 5
7 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q J 9 7 6
3
Q J
A K J 6 4
 
K J 8 7 5 4
10 6 2
Q 10 8 5
West North East South
Matt Brown   Michael Whibley  
  Pass 1  2 
4  Dbl All pass  

 

South may have had his eyes on a sacrifice with such an overcall. Their partner had other ideas after Matt’s raise to game. If 4Spade-small was going to make, it was going to make doubled!

South led a passive Diamond-small2 which Michael won in his hand to cash Club-smallK. Both opponents appeared to give count showing an even number of clubs. So, guessing the correct lie of the defenders’ suits, he cashed Club-smallA and Diamond-smallQ before crossing to dummy with a heart to the ace. North had to follow to two high diamonds while South’s discard on the fourth round confirmed that his shape assumption was correct.

He ruffed a heart for his 8th trick leaving the following cards remaining in the two hands that mattered:

 
 
A K 10 8 5
   
   
   
   
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q J 9 7
J
 
   
   
   
   

 

Michael exited with Spade-smallQ and received a small spade back for trick 9 and exited this time with the Club-smallJ and awaited his 10th trick as he still held Spade-small J9 with North on lead withSpade-smallK10.

Watch your penalty doubles with Michael Whibley around! He was the only Open declarer to make this contract. At the other table, the Norwegians did not try with Ashley Bach the declarer in a more modest 2Heart-small contract as South. He failed by a trick but the Bridge Blacks had 12 valuable imps in the bag.


             The “Choice” One Does Not Like to Have to Make

Round 15

Board 11
South Deals
None Vul
8
A 9 7
A Q 10 9 4
A 8 5 3
A 9 7 5 4 2
6 5 4 2
J
Q J
 
N
W   E
S
 
J 10 6
Q 10 8 3
7 6 5 2
6 4
 
K Q 3
K J
K 8 3
K 10 9 7 2
West North East South
  Michael Cornell   Ashley Bach
      1 NT
Pass 3  Pass 4 
Pass 4  Pass 4 
Pass 4 NT Pass 5 
Pass 6  All pass  

 

3Diamond-small was a game forcing hand with both minors and 4Diamond-small and 4Heart-small were cue-bids. 5Diamond-small showed one or four key cards.

The Bridge Blacks win against Egypt would have been much larger had Ashley Bach not have to make a decision in the trump suit on Board 11 or had guessed correctly. With no interference, he had little information to guess the lie of the club honours. After Spade-smallA lead and a heart switch, he was in hand and unfortunately led a small club to the jack and ace. Decision time!

After East followed with the Club-small4 then Club-small6, it was a pure guess and he guessed wrong. When West’s jack appeared, it was twice as likely that West had no choice but to play that card than that he had ( he had a choice to play either card with QJ but no choice with singleton jack)…Restricted Choice. Unfortunately, West had chosen to play the jack and the slam failed.

In 3NT, as was the case at the other table, after a low spade lead, a declarer should  finesse through East, definitely the danger hand not to win a trick ( though the contract would be safe if declarer had tested diamonds first).  

USA 2, India and Poland are today’s opponents for the Bridge Blacks. They currently lie 12th,16th and 6th.

Lightning Strikes Again?

On the previous day, Mixed Black John Patterson had opened a gambling 3NT at equal all vulnerable and had proceeded to see his partner, Kate Davies, doubled in 4Club-small, two down, -500. He was determined that was not going to happen again in their match against Chinese Taipei, even if this time, his side was not vulnerable. Thus, in third seat as North, he started with 1Club-small, which set in motion one of the longest auctions of the week:

Round 14

Board 19
South Deals
E-W Vul
4
8 7 3
9 5
A K Q J 10 6 4
10 7 6 2
10 6
A J 4 2
8 7 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
K Q 3
K Q J 5
K Q 10
9 5 2
 
A J 9 8 5
A 9 4 2
8 7 6 3
West North East South
  John Patterson   Kate Davies
      Pass
Pass 1  1 NT Dbl
Pass Pass Rdbl 2 
Pass 3  Pass 3 
Dbl 3 NT Pass Pass
Dbl 4  Pass Pass
Dbl All pass    

 

It seems East did not need a club hold to bid 1NT. It would have been interesting to know what would have happened to 1NT xx. Was West going to stand this contract?

The auction meandered along until West decided to double Kate’s 3Diamond-small bid…and after that West could not stop doubling!

Eventually, three players pulled out “Pass” cards and it was John who faced the music this time in 4Club-smallx. East led Diamond-smallK followed by Heart-smallK, ducked, and Diamond-smallQ and a third diamond. John ruffed this and played five more trumps to leave this ending:

 
4
8 7
6
10 7
10
A
 
N
W   E
S
 
K Q
Q J
 
A J
A
8

 

John played a heart to the ace and ruffed dummy’s losing diamond…but East had no good discard and had to conceded – 510 to John.

Meanwhile, there was a rather different auction at the other table:

West              North            East                South

Alan Grant                         Jane Lennon

                                                                        1Spade-small

Pass                2Club-small               Pass                  2Heart-small

Pass               3Diamond-small                Pass                3NT

All Pass

(shorter but for the declarer not sweeter)

2Club-small followed by 3Club-small would not have been game-forcing..hence the artificial 3Diamond-small. Jane Lennon observed these goings-on with more than a little interest, though kept a stoic silence. Alan Grant led the Diamond-small2 giving the defence the first 4 tricks. Jane’s discard was a very revealing Heart-smallK. Thus, Alan switched to Heart-small10 won by South's ace. The defenders awaited for a club to dummy.. but one never came and the defence were able to take 4 further tricks for +200. 12 imps to the Mixed Blacks…. and  with it a great pull of 3NTx by John Patterson.

Finally, let’s celebrate a little success with our Bridge Seniors. Their npc, Allan Morris, referred to the excellent support the team had received from the other three New Zealand teams  during the period of continuous defeats.

What’s your choice of leads to 3NT from the South hand below:

Spade-small QJ943

Heart-small A97643

Diamond-small 7

Club-small J

East opens a strong 1NT. You make a bid showing the majors and West closes the auction with 3NT.

I am sure there is a good reason to lead Spade-smallQ (outside entry but not so after a heart lead) but that was not the case on this occasion. Neil Stuckey led a low heart while the Bulgarian South led the Spade-smallQ.

Round 15

Board 14
East Deals
None Vul
8 7 5
Q J 8
Q J 9
Q 9 7 4
10
K 10
K 10 8 6 5 2
K 10 6 5
 
N
W   E
S
 
A K 6 2
5 2
A 4 3
A 8 3 2
 
Q J 9 4 3
A 9 7 6 4 3
7
J

 

A diamond trick had to be lost to North but the contract was safe only after a spade lead. 11 imps to the Bridge Masters. Here’s hoping for many more in the next three days.  

Richard Solomon

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