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A Week in Canberra

The Canberra Festival of Bridge takes place as usual in mid-January. For Kiwis, far more now go to the Gold Coast Congress than to Canberra though we will look at what has been happening from a New Zealand perspective in the first of the two weeks.

A Good Week for Kiwi Youth
A full week of bridge starting with a trans Tasman Youth Test attracted young players from both sides of the Tasman. It was good and it would have been even better if our team had hung on in the fourth stanza of the Youth Test after leading for the first three. Three and a half New Zealand pairs took part in Youth Week and the three pairs made up our test team:

Andi Boughey-Matthew Brown
Jeremy Fraser-Hoskin – James
Brad Johnston – Ryan Song

with their npc Sam Coutts being the “half”.

They got off to a great start winning the first of 4 x 8 board sets 43-6.

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


At the other table, a slow auction ended in 3Spade-small which the declarer made for 140. The action above was short and eventually very sweet at Matt and Andi’s table. Faced with an unenviable choice of side-suit leads, East led a trump. Andi drew trump and played on diamonds. East won their ace and had they exited a diamond, Andi would win in dummy after three rounds of the suit, play a heart to the jack, end-playing East. In the event, East spoilt the end-play by leading a low heart when in with the Diamond-smallA…+620 and 10 imps to New Zealand.   

Two boards later, a misdefence as well as a misbid saw another 12 imps come New Zealand’s way.

Australia reduced the deficit by winning the second set 24-8 and the third 32-15 with at that point, New Zealand ahead 66-62. They would not have been ahead at all but the Australians tried to improve on a non-making doubled game contract:

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


When a bad trump break threatens a major game, there can be times when retreating to 4NT is a good idea. At the other table, Andi and Matt bid to 4Spade-small and quietly went one down to the bad spade break. However, Jeremy Fraser -Hoskin doubled 4Spade-small and also the 4NT final contract. Even Deal Master Pro has this ugly contract down 3 and it was no surprise that the end result was even more emphatic, -1100 and 4 down….14 imps to New Zealand.

Alas, the last set was not New Zealand’s, with Australia winning 26 imps off the last 2 boards and 45-13 in all and the match 107-79. 

Other Youth Events

Our pairs did well in the qualifying rounds of the Youth Pairs:
            North- South                                               East-West

1st Andi Boughey – Matt Brown      126.37    1st Sam Coutts – Mitch Dowling               126.23

3rd Ryan Song – Brad Johnston      110.72    2nd Jeremy Fraser-Hoskin – Jack James 124.54

Jeremy and Jack scored 71.73% in the first of the two qualifying rounds.

Jeremy at Canberra 2020.png
Jeremy at work 
 (photo courtesy of Youth Week Bulletin)

We did almost as well in the final:

1st Andi Boughey – Matt Brown              278.77
3rd Jeremy Fraser-Hoskin- Jack James  236.39
4th Sam Coutts – Mitchell Dowling          229.45

In the Youth Teams, Ryan, Brad, Matt and Andi finished second 5.18vps behind the winners and 40 vps ahead of 3rd placed Sam, Mitch, Jeremy and Jack

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


Ryan and Brad bid the pants off this one. 5Club-small showed 1 or 4 key cards…and they were there! With trumps 2-2 and clubs 3-3, there were parking places for all four of East’s small diamonds…two ruffs and two discards on the clubs. They alone bid this slam.
Meanwhile Matt found a way to bring home this unlikely game:

Board 29
North Deals
Both Vul
10 2
A Q 4
Q 9 6 2
J 9 7 6
9 7 6
K 10 8 6
A 7
K Q 8 4
W   E
J 8
J 9
K J 10 8 4
10 5 3 2
A K Q 5 4 3
7 5 3 2
5 3

3NT would have been easier but Matt, South, was in 4Spade-small on the lead of Diamond-smallA and a second diamond to the 8. Back came another low diamond on which Matt threw a heart (notice the defence now always has a trump trick). West ruffed and exited a high club. Matt won and played off five rounds of trumps. West’s last 4 cards were a high club and 3 hearts while dummy also held three hearts and Club-smallJ. The final trump finished off West with the Heart-small7 being the 13th trick. The only pity as this was Youth Bridge was that it was not theDiamond-small7! ("beer" card!)

Our Kiwis also took part, though were ineligible to progress in the Youth Butler. Ryan and Brad won North-South and Sam and Mitch East-West with Jeremy and Jack winning the Butler Consolation from Ryan and Brad.

The full week of bridge also had a Goulash, a ProAm and a Crazy Pairs event…lots and lots of bridge.

And for the not so young (and those that still are!)

The team of Andi Boughey-Carol Richardson and Jenna and Christine Gibbons finished 5th in the Women’s Teams where only the top 4 qualified for the semi-finals. In the eventual winning team was Susan Humphries, such a great supporter of youth bridge in this country until she crossed the Tasman.

204 pairs took part in the 11 round TBIB National Swiss Pairs. This saw a couple of excellent results from the younger brigade with Jack James and Jeremy Fraser Hoskins finishing 4th with 10 wins out of 11 and Sam Coutts and Brad Johnston finishing 8th

Meanwhile, in the Penline 1 day Swiss, Canberra regulars, Peer Bach and Setsuko Lichtnecker finished 5th.

The South West Pacific Teams Championship and National Open Teams occupy the second week of competition with 110 teams and more Kiwis including Bach Cornell and Whibley-Brown taking part. We’ll keep you posted.

Richard Solomon

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