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Linda Cartner and Glenis Palmer.

“Late singing” once more.

I talked yesterday in the report of the Open Trial that nothing is certain until the last card has been played…or until “the fat lady sings”. She did not “sing” until very late in the play-off for the New Zealand Women’s Team which was conducted yesterday on Real Bridge. 64 boards between the top two teams from the weekend play-off. The only thing that was certain was that there would be no tie because the weekend winners were to get a 0.1 imp carry forward…and that small margin might have proven significant.

The teams were:

Gibbons: Jenna and Christine Gibbons, Jan Alabaster and Jane Lennon

Cartner: Linda Cartner and Glenis Palmer, Mindy Wu and Kate Terry

with Gibbons having that 0.1 advantage.

  Gibbons got off to an early lead and by Board 11 led by 32 imps, almost the biggest margin of the day. 11 boards later, they led by 33 imps but Cartner then scored 21 unanswered imps over the third 11 boards and it was “game on”. From then both teams scored 3 x double figure swings along with smaller swings. By Board 60, it was “all square” except, of course, for that 0.1 advantage to Gibbons.

There was to be only one swing in the last five boards and that was on Board 62. There were two significant moments in this board. Our problem to you is an opening lead problem:

     

Board 62
East Deals
None Vul

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

9 7 4 2

A 8 6

10 8 5 3

K 5

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

Pass

Pass

Pass

2 NT

Pass

3 ♣

Pass

3 NT

All pass

 

2NT opening was 20-21 balanced and 3Club-small a major suit enquiry. 3NT denied a 4/5 card major. So, what is your choice of leads? This lead will decide which team wins the trial.

We can surely eliminate the club suit. South has some interest in the majors but how much? East, Jenna Gibbons, chose Spade-small7 but that was not the winner on this day, though there was to be a second chance:

Board 62
East Deals
None Vul

A K 5

K Q 7

A

A J 9 8 4 2

Q J 10 8

J 9 4

K J 9 6

7 3

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

9 7 4 2

A 8 6

10 8 5 3

K 5

 

6 3

10 5 3 2

Q 7 4 2

Q 10 6

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

Pass

Pass

Pass

2 NT

Pass

3 ♣

Pass

3 NT

All pass

 

The first big decision was North’s choice of opening bids. The North hand is hardly a game-force opening though is very strong. Jan Alabaster opened 1Club-small and played there making three overtricks and that would have been a pick up for her team had the lead at the other table been any diamond, even the Diamond-small10.

On the spade lead, North, Glenis Palmer, won and played Club-smallA and a second club. Holding the Heart-smallA, there was still time for a diamond switch but Jenna continued spades to West’s Spade-smallJ. Glenis ducked this and it was even harder for Christine Gibbons to switch to a diamond, surely only correct if North held the singleton Diamond-smallA. So, spades were continued and Glenis won to play a club to dummy’s Club-small10 and then a heart to the king and Jenna’s ace. Jenna cashed the high Spade-small9 but Glenis  still had Heart-smallQ and three club winners to make her contract.

The diamond pips are good for the defence after any diamond lead or switch while East holds the Heart-smallA. It would be normal to lead Diamond-small8 from that East holding. The defence then needs to follow up with Diamond-small10 when in with Club-smallK. The success of such play seems to rely on the Diamond-smallA being singleton or else West would hold less than four diamonds.

We tend to lead a major in preference to a minor in such situations. To beat this game, an immediate lead or switch to a diamond was required for the defence to succeed.

That board earnt Cartner 7 imps and with it the match by 117 to 110.1 imps. Mindy Wu still had to bring home a 4Spade-small game on the last board with a 5-0 trump break to tie the board (3NT made with an overtrick at the other table.)  Congratulations, therefore, to the winning team.

    Kate Terry  .jpg     Mindy Wu  .jpg    Jenna and Christine 2017.jpg
             Kate Terry and Mindy Wu              Jenna and Christine Gibbons

The selectors in consultation with the winning team, have chosen Jenna and Christine Gibbons as the third pair to travel to the World Championships.

In reporting the Open result yesterday, we recorded the play of Michael Ware in making a 6Diamond-small contract to earn 15 imps for his team. The narrative indicated that Ashley Bach, South, had thrown two small hearts on the run of the trump suit which made it easy for Michael to play hearts correctly and make his contract.

That was how the play was recorded on BBO but was not what actually happened. Ashley did not throw any hearts (to do so would only help the declarer and was totally unnecessary) and Michael had to guess  the shape of Ashley’s hand. He guessed (incorrectly) that Ashley had 7 spades and 4 clubs and thus only 2 hearts. However, playing high hearts from his hand allowed him to find Heart-smallQ as it fell doubleton from North, Nick Jacob’s, hand.

Unlike on Real Bridge, sometimes the action on BBO is not recorded correctly.  

Richard Solomon

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