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National Teams in Nelson

Problems Getting in and out ……but all good while there.

That might sum up the National Open Teams held over the last weekend at the Nelson Bridge Club. There were some minor issues over the start time and some major ones involving many out-of-towners being unable to leave Nelson until the following day. (Not only were Aucklanders accused of having brought the wet weather with them but the low cloud prevented most of them from leaving!)

However, the bridge was the thing and with the days unsuitable for anything outdoors, 28 teams could enjoy themselves playing a 7 round by 14 boards Swiss. They came from all over the country, Kerikeri down to Invercargill, and were treated to fascinating deals.

The team which handled the boards the best were the Auckland pair, Grant Jarvis – Gary Chen and Wellington’s Kate Davies and John Patterson, formerly Marlborough players. These were the top placings:

 

Team

vps

1.

Kate Davies-John Patterson, Gary Chen – Grant Jarvis

97.67

2.

Carol Richardson – Andi Boughey, Alister Stuck – Russell Wilson

94.20

3.

Alan Grant- Jane Lennon, Jan Alabaster – Pam Livingston

92.71

4.

Ken and Kathy Yule, Malcolm Mayer – Dong Huang

90.91

5.

Steve Gray - Lindsey Guy, Jim Jessep – Maurice Carter

86.51

6.

GeO Tislevoll – Nick Jacob, Michael Ware – Tim Schumacher

85.71

7.

Michael Johnstone- Paula Gregory – John Kruiniger – Richard Solomon

83.63

Russell Wilson Andi Boughey Alister Stuck Carol Richardson.jpg                             Pam Livingston Jan Alabaster Jane Lennon Alan Grant  19.jpg 
2nd place for Russell Wilson, Andi Boughey,       3rd placed Pam Livingston, Jan Alabaster,
Alister Stuck and Carol Richardson                      Jane Lennon and Alan Grant

A couple of problems for you to mull over, one bidding, one declarer play.

1. As East, you hold:

Spade-small 72               Heart-small765              Diamond-small K4               Club-small AJT874

And after starting the ball rolling with a very reasonable 3Club-small favourable vulnerability pre-empt, you hear the following:

West              North             East                South

                                                3Club-small              Pass

3Spade-small                  Pass                3NT                Pass

4Club-small                  Pass                ?

You make the normal 3NT bid with a respectable pre-empt but no liking for spades and hear your partner bid on. What now?

2. You reach a reasonable looking 6Spade-small slam as North with all being fairly normal until your right-hand opponent, who had made a weak jump overcall (nil vul) doubles. This is Lightner style suggesting or should we say demanding that partner does not lead their overcalled suit (hearts) but to find an unusual lead which may well be dummy’s first bid suit.

Often in such cases, it is right to bid 6NT as your right-hand opponent will have a void but you are not confident that would be the right action here. With left-hand opponent leading a diamond, this is what you see:

Board 22
East Deals
E-W Vul
A Q 10 9 8 3
A 6
Q 6
A J 6
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
J 4 2
Q 10 7 3
A K J 8 2
10
West North East South
    Pass 1 
2  2  Pass 3 
Pass 4 NT Pass 5 
Pass 6  Pass Pass
Dbl All pass    

 

(5Club-small showed 1 or 4 key cards)

You duck the Diamond-small10 lead but before you can win your queen, West ruffs with Spade-small5. So, Diamond-smallQ withheld! West returnsSpade-small7. Which card do you play from the North hand?

All went extremely smoothly during the two days with good catering and the event flowing very well. One board of particular interest was the following:

Board 12
West Deals
N-S Vul
8 7 3 2
J 10 7
10 9 8 7 6 2
A Q 10
K 7 3
9 6 3
Q J 5 4
 
N
W   E
S
 
K J 9
9 5
A K Q 8 5 4 2
A
 
6 5 4
A Q J 10 8 6 4 2
K 3

 

If you covered up the North-South hands and knew that South had a 5 or 6 card heart suit, then you would certainly want to be in 6Diamond-small. If you knew that South had an 8-card heart suit, then you would still want to be in 6Diamond-small but only if West had bid the suit first!

Of the 28 tables, two played in a contract below game. Three more played in no-trumps where the limit was 11 tricks…and all recorded plus scores. 9 stopped accurately in 5Diamond-small making 11 tricks and 2 more recorded an overtrick. 6 North-Souths bought the board in 4/5Heart-small conceding 500 or 800….which brings us to the excitement.

Two North players were very pleased with their partner’s Heart-smallA lead against 6Diamond-smalland were very soon writing down +50. Two West players did get to bid diamonds first including a Precision pair whose great opening bid was indeed 1Diamond-small. However, one East player did manage to make 6Diamond-small. Sneaky, inventive: call it what you like but South did not want their Heart-smallA and see it ruffed at trick 1 and thus experimented with Club-small3 as their opening lead! While any non-heart lead allows the slam to make, this is the most unusual of unusual leads. We hope that North will give their partner full marks for inventiveness but alas no mark in the “imps in” column!

However, the best is yet to come! Maybe Bill Humphrey and Paul Carson had an inkling that their teammates had conceded 800 in 5Heart-smallx but they set out to record a big in swing. They bid to 7Diamond-small…by West. Maybe you would like to work out the odds of being able to avoid a non-heart lead…miniscule! North led Club-small10 and on the basis that North would be very unlikely to lead away from the Club-smallK against a grand-slam, the declarer had to play for doubleton king  (either hand would do!)or a squeeze. Both eventuated, one quicker than the other though the end result was a rather underserved 1440.

“All’s fair in love, war” and bridge?

So, let's return to our first problem.  

Playing in a cue-bid

That is not always a good thing to do. There are times, well perhaps one time, the only time, when it is right!

West              North             East                South

                                                3Club-small               Pass

3Spade-small                  Pass                3NT                Pass

4Club-small                  Pass                ?

What did you bid..or are you still thinking!

Spade-small 72               Heart-small765              Diamond-small K4               Club-small AJT874

Wayne Burrows was almost certainly the only East to have this problem..and not because he was the only one to open 3Club-small. Surely others did! Wayne decided that 4Club-small was a slam try and therefore having a reasonable hand with an outside king, cue-bid 4Diamond-small. He may have expected his partner, Clair Miao, to use key-card or even jump to a club slam.

He was wrong! That was the end of the bidding! It’s time for Clair to be exposed:

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

 

3Spade-small was just a little psyche with 4Club-small being to play. However, when Wayne produced his diamond cue-bid, she decided that playing in Wayne’s cue would be a rather good idea! She was right…well, almost as she should have raised to the diamond game because a rather surprised Wayne made 11 tricks when South led a trump.

Had South led either ace (maybe they would against 5Diamond-small!), then the defence could have taken 5 tricks and recorded just a small loss (although the spade game is cold, as indeed is 4Heart-small, it was only bid at 7 tables and not by Clair and Wayne’s teammates), the trump lead against 4Diamond-small ensured an 8 imp pick-up, a fine return for playing in one’s cue-bid!

Gary Kate John Grant.jpg
National Teams winners: Gary Chen, Kate Davies, John Patterson and Grant Jarvis

Back, though, to the event winners and Grant Jarvis saved his side big-time with his actions against 6Spade-small. Did you take the spade finesse or did you go for the drop of the singleton king? One play would earn your team 7 imps while the other would cost you 14!

Board 22
East Deals
E-W Vul
A Q 10 9 8 3
A 6
Q 6
A J 6
K 7 5
K J 8 5 4 2
7 5 4 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
6
9
10 9 7 5 4 3
K Q 9 8 3
 
J 4 2
Q 10 7 3
A K J 8 2
10
West North East South
    Pass 1 
2  2  Pass 3 
Pass 4 NT Pass 5 
Pass 6  Pass Pass
Dbl All pass    

 

Had Grant passed 6Spade-small, his partner would have led his singleton heart. Declarer could now work out that the hearts were 6-1 and therefore if the spade finesse failed, there would be no setting heart trick. So, ruff a club (an 8-1 club break is rather less likely than a 6-0 diamond break…but touching diamonds could be dangerous even if West had a singleton diamond) and take the trump finesse making an overtrick.

So, the Lightner double gave Grant's side a chance. 6NT was making but so was 6Spade-small x if North finessed. Grant had shown the declarer the Spade-small5 and Spade-small7. Did he have Spade-small6 as well? Was the Spade-smallK singleton with East? You can see the winning line. Perhaps the most compelling argument to finesse was that Grant must know that the declarer held Club-smallA and Heart-smallA or else would not have bid slam missing two key cards. Had Grant not held the spade honour, he would probably lead a club looking for the defender's ace. Yet, Grant played a trump. Declarer could/ should have guessed that Grant knew where the missing key card was..he was looking at it! He did not try to find it in his partner's hand. So, the finesse should have been taken. With Kate Davies and John Patterson collecting 800 from 2Heart-smallx at the other table, +100 was a very valuable score for the winning team.

Prizes were also awarded to the top finishing teams in the second half of the field (the field having been divided before play started.) Below are the top two teams in this second group, finishing 12th and 13th respectively overall.
  West Coasters                   and from    Marlborough                      and sporting new shades...

Phil Rutherford and team 19.jpg       Robin Young and team 19.jpg           John Pemberton.jpg
Phil Rutherford, Ash Hamilton         Robin Young, Marge Scott,                Flush with new shades...but will
Wayne Smith and Ray Curnow       Carolyn Wood and Jane Jordan        John Pemberton be able to read
                                                                                                                    his partner's bids?

The tournament had an excellent sponsor, local optician, Matthews Eyewear Eyecare. There were two lucky draws for some designer sun-glasses. The first winner was Christchurch's Sarah Garland with the second prize being drawn by Golden Bay player John Pemberton. John made a good selection as you can see above!

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

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