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World Championships in Wuhan. Day 8

They Won and They Lost.

9 out of 10 wins with 8 of those wins by 13 vps or more… and a single loss by two imps in their last 10 matches proved just not quite enough to secure a top 8 finishing round-robin position for the Bridge Blacks. There should be no shame, only disappointment, in finishing 9th, under 6 vps from qualifying. For them, the round-robin finished one round too early and certainly one round too late.

After a 22-imp victory in Round 22 against Italy, the Bridge Blacks had hauled their way for the first time into the top 8, by just 0.77vps ahead of Israel with Italy 2 vps behind. Egypt did both the Kiwis and Italians a big favour by beating Israel in the final match but it was always going to be easier for Italy against Argentina than the Bridge Blacks against Netherlands. So, it proved with Italy leap-frogging into 8th position with a 42-imp win, while New Zealand won by just 2 imps.

The Bridge Ferns finished 16th, just, despite two losses at the end. While respectable, they could not keep up their early good form. After a brief revival, the Bridge Seniors slipped back again, just avoiding the wooden spoon. Although the field was strong, more had been expected, hoped for, from this team.

The Mixed Blacks kept fighting and finished with two small wins which left them 20th, a position they occupied almost entirely since Round 10.

Open (Bridge Blacks)                                                                Women (Bridge Ferns)

Match

 

 

imps

NZ Vps

NZ Position

 

Match

Opponents

imps

NZvps

NZ pos.

22.

Italy

45-23

15.38

8th

 

22.

Australia

37-48

6.96

16th

23

Netherlands

23-21

10.61

9th

 

23.

India

23-43

5.0

16th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seniors (Bridge Masters)                                                   Mixed (Mixed Blacks)

Match

Opponents

imps

NZ Vps

NZ Position

 

Match

Opponents

imps

NZ vps

NZ pos.

22.

Reunion

37-61

4.26

24th

 

22.

India

41-30

13.04

20th

23.

France

10-40

3.27

23rd

 

23.

Morocco

49-38

13.04

20th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bridge Blacks accumulated 41 imps in three boards against Italy. 17 imps came in when the Italian declarer took a 2-way finesse in 6NT the wrong way (how cruel bridge can be at times) while two well placed side suit honours gained Bach-Cornell 10 imps in their aggressive 4Spade-small vulnerable game.

If there was some luck involved in those two swings, the 14 that game from this board were earnt:

Round 22

Board 31
South Deals
N-S Vul
K 9
A J 5 3
8 4 2
K 10 7 4
J 10 8 6 5 4
8 6 4 2
J 10 7
 
N
W   E
S
 
A 2
Q 9
Q 9 5
A Q 9 8 6 2
 
Q 7 3
K 10 7
A K 6 3
J 5 3

 

24 points between the North-South hands. Sometimes that is enough to bid and make 3NT. Not this time, however. The Italians tried. Ashley Bach tried to help his partner by leading Diamond-smallJ (he was unable to lead his partner’s real suit!) and the hand collapsed for the declarer who finished 4 down, -400. Meanwhile, it looks like at the other table, after Michael Whibley (North)’s 1Club-small opening (short as 2) that either directly or on the next round, East overcalled 2Club-small. Matt Brown was able to make a values/ negative double… and that became the final contract. There were 5 side-suit and 2 trump losers for +500 to New Zealand, 900 and 14 imps in.

That was a great win over 2 top class pairs, Versace- Lauria and Bocchi- Sementa. The Dutch team was equally as strong. Against the Netherlands, New Zealand lost 23 imps in two boards. Whatever regrets they might have about them, had these two boards been flat (they could have been), it would still have not quite been enough to finish 8th.

Let’s finish with a tied board against Netherlands where Matt Brown demonstrated that the old piece of advice about running your long suit in a no-trump contract does really bring its rewards.

Round 23

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

 

On a spade lead, Matt, South, appears to have 8 tricks with hearts breaking (they just had to!) and a successful club finesse….with only a defensive slip-up in spades or opening up diamonds for declarer providing a 9th trick. So, back to basics.

Matt ducked the spade lead and won East’s low spade continuation. Time to run hearts. Matt threw a couple of clubs and a spade while East threw a club though his second discard was tricky. He chose Diamond-small8. Matt took a successful club finesse and led his Diamond-small9, ducking after West also played low. While Matt could have risked a second club finesse for an overtrick (East returned a club), he played safe (another good basic piece of advice) and secured his difficult 9 trick game. 7 out of 17 Open declarers who tried 3NT failed in their contract.
                   
                                                             Our NPCs

Wuhan  opening ceremony Allan Morris  Martin and Peter.jpg
  It's no easy task watching from the side-lines, living the bad scores, loving the good ones. Here are
Allan Morris (Seniors), Peter Newell (Mixed) and Martin Reid (Open). Missing is Kris Wooles, overall
chef de mission and Women's npc.

Overall, Australia fared no better than New Zealand with their Open Team finishing 11th, their Women, 19th, their Seniors 13th and their Mixed Team 16th.

Most teams were either in the top, middle or bottom groups for much of the competition. That makes the Bridge Blacks’ rise to 9th from 22nd where they still were after Round 9 even more remarkable. They finished 127vps ahead of the country who finished 22nd, Bangladesh. What a fairy-tale come true another 6 vps would have produced.

I hope you have enjoyed these daily reports. I would like to thank in particular Martin Reid, Kris Wooles, Shirley Newton, Matt Brown, Alan Grant, John Patterson and Allan Morris who provided material for these reports. Most of our players will be back at Hamilton next week for our National Championships.

Richard Solomon

 

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