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Inter-Provincial Championships: Day 2 Report

Day 2 started with the final two rounds of the first-round robin. There was a North Island revival. In the Open, Otago-Southland suffered two losses with Wellington finishing ahead of Auckland-Northland, Waikato Bays and then Otago-Southland.

The Otago-Southland Women also suffered one loss but had a 7 vp buffer on the followers, Wellington, Waikato Bays and Auckland-Northland, all within one vp of each other.

Canterbury Seniors suffered two small losses but still led Wellington by 13 vps. Meanwhile, Wellington consolidated their leading position in the Intermediate competition, having won all their matches except for one 1 imp loss. They led Canterbury and Top of the South.

This all left Wellington (46) with a comfortable lead in the Dougal Maclean competition from Otago Southland (33) and Canterbury (25).

                        Dressed and Ready for Action

Waikato Bays IP Team 19.jpg
  that's the Waikato Bays team, always nicely kitted out

Time for some action.

25 high card points for game…don’t you believe it!

John Skipper certainly does not believe it and Board 16 from round 6 rather proved his point:

 
Board 16
West Deals
E-W Vul
K Q 7 5
A K
10 9 3 2
10 9 5
J 10 6 4
4 2
A 8 4
K 7 6 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
9 8
Q J 9 8 5 3
K 6 5
J 8
 
A 3 2
10 7 6
Q J 7
A Q 4 2
West North East South
Neil Stuckey Jane Skipper Barry Palmer John Skipper
Pass 1  Pass 1 NT
All pass      

It was a little surprising that Barry Palmer did not find any heart overcall but our focus is on North-South. John Skipper’s 1NT denied a major and was in the 10-12 hcp range. Eagle-eyed readers will note that John had a 13 count but his hand had little to recommend it in term of shape or middle cards. Facing a maximum 12hcp, Jane (North) saw no reason to disturb this contract…and so they played 1NT with a combined 25hcp.

Neil Stuckey made an excellent start for the defence by leading his shorter major. John won to play a diamond won by Neil’s ace. A second heart was played. Back came a second diamond and Barry could win and cash his 4 heart tricks to hold the contract to …1NT. Had John taken the club finesse, he would have recorded a minus score.

Out of 24 tables, one North-South pair bid and made 3NT. 2 others recorded plus scores by not being in no-trumps but the other 19 tables saw 3NT defeated. John and Jane were the only pair in 1NT.  

On the next board, Jane opened 1Club-smallwith a miserable flat 11 count (she seems to excel in such hands!). John bid 1Spade-small with a flat majorless 8 count (systemic)and Jane closed the auction with 1NT. This duly failed by one trick. At the end, a kindly kibitzer turned to John and advised him that when playing with Jane, you need to provide 13 hcp for your partner to actually make 1NT.

5-1 or 5-2. Which fit would you prefer as your trump suit?

There is no bid that creates more confusion in the world of bridge than the Multi Coloured 2Diamond-small opening. Sometimes, the problem is with the side that did not open the bidding and sometimes it is with the side that did!

Here is a test for you…part of an auction. The question is: did West have hearts or spades for their 2Diamond-small opening?

West              North             East                South

2Diamond-small                   2Spade-small                Pass             3Heart-small
Pass                4Diamond-small                 Pass             4Heart-small
Pass                Pass                4Spade-small              5Heart-small

The auction had not yet finished but I am sure you can work it out. The auction ended very soon after with a double…from West who thought his trump suit would be good enough to defeat 5Heart-small

 
 
Board 8
West Deals
None Vul
A K Q J 10
Q
K J 9 7 2
6 3
6 5
A J 9 7 6 2
3
J 9 4 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
8 7 4 3 2
A Q 8 5
10 8 7 5
 
9
K 10 8 5 4 3
10 6 4
A K Q
West North East South
Neil Stuckey Hamish Ryan Barry Palmer Phil Hensman
2  2  Pass 3 
Pass 4  Pass 4 
Pass Pass 4  5 
Dbl All pass    

 

It is hard enough to defend against the Multi when you know your system but add on a memory lapse (or called in polite company “a Senior moment”), it can become impossible. Before the start of play, Otago-Southland’s Phil Hensman had suggested to his partner they bid a major after an opponent's 2Diamond-small with a shortage in that major and 4 cards in the other major.

Hence, systemically, 2Spade-small showed spade shortage and 4 hearts. “Memory lapse number 2” was that Phil forgot to alert 2Spade-small…until his partner bid 4Diamond-small… a late alert but early enough for Barry Palmer to work out that his partner had a 6-card spade in the West seat… hence 4Spade-small!

Not a good move, but Phil to the rescue of his opponents, buoyed on by his supposed 6 -4 heart fit. Life is full of disappointments like the double that came on his left and the resultant -800 from being 4 down. With North making 4Spade-small at the other table, that was 15 imps to Auckland-Northland.

Dealing with disaster                                                                   Loving being here

Phil Hensman and Hamish Ryan.jpg                                                      Auckland int team 19.jpg
a senior moment..15 imps out but                                                 that's Auckland-Northland's Intermediate
 still smiling and good mates...that's                                             team: Sandra Pearce,Annette Martin,
Otago-Southland's Philip Hensman                                              Barbara Imlach and Takaya Yanagisawa
and Hamish Ryan

Another East-West pair were not so lucky:

West              North             East                South

2Diamond-small                   x                   2Heart-small                   4Heart-small
Pass                Pass              4Spade-small                  Pass
Pass               x                    All Pass

More deduction about West’s suit but this time, South was not there to save East. North had just a little defence to 4Spade-small….+1400.

So, the 5-2 spade fit did not play too well. What then of the 5-1 fit?

West              North             East                South

Charles Ker  Alan Grant    Mark Noble  Anthony Ker
2Club-small 1                 2Spade-small                   Pass              3Heart-small
Pass                  4Diamond-small                    Pass             4Heart-small
Pass                  4Spade-small                   All Pass

1 4+clubs and 4+ major 0-10 hcp

Alan Grant manoeuvred himself into 4Spade-small where he had great strength but not great length. He won the opening club lead and decided to test trumps. After 4 rounds, there was still one outstanding. He then played a diamond to the 10 which scored and a second diamond to the queen. A second club saw Alan win and play his third club winner, discarding his heart. He then lost to the Diamond-smallA. East could only force with their fourth club. Alan ruffed to play diamonds leaving Mark with just a trump at trick 13 for the third defensive trick. +420, an excellent result but just 1 imp to Wellington as 3NT made at the other table.

That just proves that a 5-1 trump fit can be better than a 5-2 fit..and the Multi will continue to confuse those play against it and those who use it too!

Hamish Ryan, he who had one of those Senior moments, had a much happier result on the next board played at his table:

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

 

4Heart-small was going to make for East-West, with a bit of guesswork in the spade suit. Therefore, Philip Hensman’s shot at 4Spade-small would probably have not cost too much even if two or three down. It worked out a lot better than that.

East led a heart and the contract would have been well defeated with a diamond switch. However, West chose their singleton club. The defence would still have prevailed on the low spade from North had East taken their spade king and given their partner a ruff..but East ducked and Hamish and Philip had a nice 590 to go with +50 when 4Heart-small did fail by a trick at the other table.
    Time to talk

CD at work  IPs 19.jpg
All four teams from each region are very much a unit working together to
score well in the Dougal McLean. This camaraderie is important between
matches. Here we have the Central Districts table with just a few hand records.
Paperwork..... excuse the mess!

A Critical Lead

The last match of the day produced a neat board. Picture the auction from a rather uninspiring South seat. Everyone else seemed to be having a bit of fun:

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

 

2Club-small showed at least 4 clubs and at least 4 cards in a major, 0-11 hcp. 2Diamond-small showed interest in game and wanted to know more about opener’s hand. North joined the fun by bidding 3Club-small showing both majors.

You bid as required (3Spade-small) after which the auction took off. You are left to decide what to lead to 7Club-smallx.

What’s the double about? It could be that partner has the Club-smallA (hey, but you have the king!..let’s discard that option). It should be lightner style telling you to find an unusual lead, not a spade (but partner did not know you held that ace) and often dummy’s first bid suit, except dummy did not bid any other suit naturally than clubs.

Yet, it was dummy’s first bid suit that you had to lead as this was the full lay-out:

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

 

At the table, the Spade-smallA was led and East proceeded to ruff, take a successful trump finesse and then show the table 5 diamonds headed by the jack… making 7. It can be a fun or frustrating game depending in which seat at the table you are.

End of Day 2

Wellington still seem to have a firm hold on the Dougal Mclean Trophy and have seen off all challengers except Auckland-Northland in the Open competition while they lead the Intermediate event by some 25vps.

The other two events are much tighter with Auckland- Northland just 0.63 ahead of Otago-Southland in the Women’s competition while Canterbury lead Wellington by 1.69 vps in the Seniors’. Plenty to play for in Monday’s last three matches.

Open

1st

Wellington

146.82

2nd

Auckland-Northland

135.10

3rd

Waikato-Bays

117.54

4th

Central Districts

116.72

5th

Otago-Southland

103.18

6th

Canterbury

82.15

7th

Top of The South

78.49

 

Women

1st

Auckland-Northland

141.18

2nd

Otago Southland

140.55

3rd

Wellington

132.08

4th

Waikato Bays

126.90

5th

Top of The South

99.43

6th

Canterbury

84.35

7th

Central Districts

67.51

 

Seniors

1st

Canterbury

147.51

2nd

Wellington

145.82

3rd

Otago-Southland

119.47

4th

Auckland-Northland

111.79

5th

Central Districts

  89.11

6th

Top of the South

86.21

7th

Waikato Bays

80.09

 

Intermediate

1st

Wellington

149.76

2nd

Top of The South

125.72

3rd

Waikato Bays

119.10

4th

Canterbury

110.09

5th

Otago-Southland

109.57

6th

Auckland-Northland

90.13

7th

Central Districts

75.63

 

Overall- Dougal McLean

1st

Wellington

44

2nd

Auckland-Northland

31

3rd

Otago Southland

26

4th

Waikato Bays

22

5th

Canterbury

21

6th

Top of the South

18

7th

Waikato Bays

10

 

Richard Solomon

 



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