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Canberra Week 2: South West Pacific Teams Day 1

The second week of the Summer of Bridge in Canberra is dominated by the South West Pacific Teams with 110 teams looking to qualify for the National Open Teams later in the week.

As we indicated in yesterday’s article, there are not that many Kiwis there this year though our two strongest pairs, Michael Cornell – Ashley Bach and Michael Whibley- Matthew Brown most definitely are. They are playing in the team named Leibowitz with Tony Leibowitz and Espen Erichsen being their other pair.

There is 4 days of qualifying with 12 x 20 board matches. We hope to give daily reports on how they are going with a couple of hands per day. Firstly, though, a defensive problem for you:

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

 

Your opponents reach 4Heart-small after a straightforward transfer sequence. You start off with a lowish club with declarer calling for dummy’s jack. Your partner plays Club-smallQ and declarer the ace. Next comes Club-smallK and a club ruff in dummy with South following as though they held 4 clubs.

At trick 4, Heart-small2 is played from dummy to Heart-small5 from South, Heart-small8 from declarer and your queen. Which card do you play to trick 5?

Don’t mess with these Kiwis in the part-score zone!

Leibowitz had a mixed first day with two good wins being sandwiched around a 33 imp loss to the part Kiwi Don team (Rose Don-Michael Courtney, Tania Lloyd- Hugh Grosvenor). However, the wins amassed 116 imps net thus leaving the team reasonably placed.

Balancing in the part-score zone can often be a successful manoeuvre but was not on the following two boards as the “balancers” soon discovered:

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

 

The auction was the same at the 2 tables up to this point. For Leibowitz, Michael Whibley (West) passed while the opposing West bid 2Diamond-small. Michael Cornell, North, doubled that for take-out but Ashley Bach, South, did not take it out.

The defence took three side-suit aces, two natural trump tricks and a spade over-ruff in dummy for one down…+200.

Meanwhile, Matt Brown (East) led a low heart against 2Club-small. This contract can be made but not when the declarer won to take a losing diamond finesse. Michael Whibley won to return his remaining heart. Matt cashed his two heart winners and then played a fourth heart with Michael ruffing with Club-small10 and the declarer overruffing with the ace. Next came Spade-smallA and a low spade to Matt’s 10. He played a fifth heart with the trick being ruffed by Michael’s jack…. and the defence still had three trump tricks to come…Spade-smallA, Diamond-smallK, two hearts and four trump tricks for down 3 +300 and 11 imps in.

North Deals
None Vul
J 10 7 5
A 6 3
Q J 7
K J 8
K Q 9 8
8 2
K 6 5
A 10 7 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
6 4
K 10 4
8 4 3 2
Q 5 4 3
 
A 3 2
Q J 9 7 5
A 10 9
9 6
West North East South
  Michael Cornell   Ashley Bach
  1  Pass 1 
Pass 1  Pass 2 
Pass 2  Pass 2 
2  Dbl All pass  

1Diamond-small showed hearts and 1Heart-small normally 3 hearts. Ashley then showed an invitational raise to 2Heart-small (2Diamond-small was a forced bid) with West deciding it was time to test the waters. Opposite an invitational raise, Michael decided it was time to double…and that became the final rather ugly contract.

The defence took 7 tricks for +300 and gained 5 imps when South made 1NT at the other table. 16 imps gained from penalising opponents’ balancing bids along with some enterprising defence against a part-score.

Back, though, to our defensive problem.

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

 

This board came from the final of the Women’s Teams and was one reason why Susan Humphries’ team won this event. Susan was declarer in 4Heart-small and received that club lead. Facing three trump losers, it seemed really hard to play the diamond suit for no loser and indeed at the other table, the same contract drifted one down.

However, Susan gave herself an extra chance, the power of the hidden hand. She played her other top club and ruffed her remaining club before playing a trump away from dummy. When South played low (would you have gone up with the king?), North’s queen won the trick. Anticipating that Susan held the Heart-smallK and not wishing to open up either diamonds or spades or give a ruff and discard with a club exit, North decided to cash their Heart-smallA…and suddenly Susan could afford a diamond loser…and eventually discard East’s potential spade loser on the established Diamond-small9.

No guarantees, but playing low towards the hidden hand can at least cause some doubt in a defender’s mind as to the true position. As it happened Spade-smallQ or a low trump exit would likely have beaten the contract, maybe a low diamond but certainly not Heart-smallA. Well played.

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

 



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