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Babich Revisited


We will take a pictorial look at some of the winning pairs in this year’s Babich Wines New Zealand Wide Pairs, with some stories and even some tips in how to score well…and where better to start than with the winners:

Ruth Lewis and Trish Stephens nzwp 19.jpg
Rotorua's Ruth Lewis and Trish Stephens had a boomer of a night with 75.67%, winning by 6.25%

 If you want two tips on how to score 76% nationally, here goes.

Tip 1 is get a touch of luck in your play and defence. Try Board 6:

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


The contract was the normal 4Spade-small by North. Win in hand to lead a heart towards dummy with East ducking. The king scored to be followed by two top clubs discarding two hearts.

Next came a club ruff, a diamond ruff, a heart ruff, a second diamond ruff, another heart ruff (West discarding a diamond), a third diamond ruff over-ruffed and a trump exit. Even a 4th club from West would have secured a second trick for the defence but declarer could draw trumps and score the 5th diamond at trick 13… making 12 tricks…100% at Rotorua and pretty well nationwide.

Tip 2 is to have your only bad score of the night on Board 27…only boards 1-24 were scored nationwide. No wonder their score improved by 7% nationwide. Ruth and Trish averaged under 50% on the 4 boards which did not count (they played 28 boards).

                                  SECOND and THIRD PLACED PAIRS EARNING THEIR MATCH-POINTS

Bill and Sulochna Humphries and Sue Brown.jpg             Glenn Coutts and Brad Johnston 19 babich.jpg   
2nd placed Bill and Sulochna                Glenn Coutts and Brad Johnston were 3rd
Humphrey scored 69.42% at                 scoring 69.22% at the Taieri club heat
KeriKeri. (pictured here with Auckland-
Northland President, Sue Brown)

    A Little False Card         

On the following board, Bill played a deceptive false-card to send the declarer off on a path of destruction.

Board 15
South Deals
N-S Vul
Q 9 8 4
Q 4
A K J 9 7 3
K 10 7
10 3
10 8 5 4 2
K 9 4
W   E
A J 6 5 2
A J 9 8
A Q 7
K 7 6 5 2
J 10 8 6 5 2


Sulochna, South, led her singleton diamond against East’s 4Spade-small contract. Bill, North, won this with the ace, not the king, and returned a low diamond. East placed the king in Sulochna’s hand and ruffed very low… so low that the Spade-small3 scored. Declarer won the heart continuation and laid down the Spade-smallA and could not continue spades. They played clubs giving Bill a ruff, heart to the king and another club ruff. Bill played Diamond-smallA and later declarer allowed Bill to score his bare Spade-smallQ… four trump tricks, a heart and a diamond….down 3 for most of the match-points to the defence.

Certainly, the declarer should have done better but the false-card was a great start for the defence.

Offering 800 and getting 500

When quizzed about the good boards they collect, most pairs take little credit for their actions. “Lady Luck, more opposition play or defence” are the regular comments. “We did nothing special.”

So, it was a refreshing change (at least for a reporter) to find a board where one of the top pairs in the event, Brad Johnston and Glenn Coutts, did take positive action to earn a top. Brad commented that on the following board, their actions “had the effect of turning -110 into +500, with a slight detour at -800. Match-points can be a dirty game!” The following got them every match-point on this board. 

Board 7
South Deals
Both Vul
K Q 10 7 6
K 5
A J 10
Q 7 5
5 3 2
Q 10 9 4 3 2
8 6
A 9
W   E
J 7
K Q 7 5 2
K J 10 4 3
A J 9 4
A 8 6
9 4 3
8 6 2
West North East South
Glenn   Brad  
Pass 1  2  2 
Pass Pass Dbl 3 
4  4  Pass Pass
Dbl All pass    

The only one of Brad’s three actions which would gain universal approval would be his pass of 4Spade-small. He may well have tried 2NT instead of 2Diamond-small while the re-opening double would gain very little support. Glenn believed him as his 4Heart-small call showed. This was the detour referred to above as on a spade lead and then two high hearts, the defence can take the first 6 tricks…+ 800 but North saved Glenn … and there were 5 minor suit tricks for the defence after the initial Heart-smallJ lead against 4Spade-smallx.

Sometimes, you have to offer yourself to get a good reward. Glenn and Brad did that on the above board. 
                                                                   Also in the top 5

Sheridan Evans and Linda Gibbs.jpg                       Nancy Bartrum and Val Gardiner.jpg 
4th placed Linda Gibbs and Sheridan Evans                5th placed Nancy Bartrum and Val Gardiner
who played at the South Wairarapa club, 68.76%          scored 68.54% at Whanganui



Susan and Alan McRae  Winton  19.jpeg             Gerald and Heather Norman 19.JPG      Sue Glue and Michelle Gunn TOTS 18.jpg    
Top below Open were Winton's            Second highest below Open were  Top Juniors with 62.44% were Greymouth's
Susan and Alan McRae with an            Mt Albert's Gerald and Heather       Michelle Gunn and Sue Glue
excellent 64.27%                                   Norman with 63.78%

Phillipa Martin and Emily Williams   Otaki 19.jpg                 bABICH 2019  nearest 50.jpg
Second placed Juniors from Otaki,          nearest 50%, Taupo's Pam and Charmaine
Phillippa Martin and Emily Williams,
with Otaki President, Tim Horner

A special thanks to Babich Wine who are great supporters of bridge for many years. I am sure all the above will enjoy drinking their prizes if they have not already done so...and thanks to the various photographers who recorded the happy events around the country.

Richard Solomon



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