47th European Bridge Team Championships Page 5 Bulletin 9 - Tuesday, 29 June  2004


Italy vs Sweden

Casting aside all protests that the match would inevitably be dull, your Editor settled down to watch the key encounter between the two teams who have so far dominated the Open Championship, Sweden & Italy. A big win for either side might go some way to determining who would collect the gold medals.
Meanwhile, Jos Jacobs reports on France v Netherlands.

As the match got under way I noticed that more than 4000 people were on line.

Board 1. Dealer North. None Vul.
  8 5 4 2
J 6
A 7 5
A 7 5 2
3
K Q 10 8 7 2
4
Q 10 8 6 4
Bridge deal A J 10 9 6
A 5 3
10 3 2
9 3
  K Q 7
9 4
K Q J 9 8 6
K J

Open Room
West North East South
Bertolini Bertheau Garghentini Nystrom
  Pass Pass 2*
2 3 Dble* Pass
4 Pass 4 All Pass

2 11-15, 54 or 6+

With such good shape West was happy to show his second suit and Four Hearts proved to be a simple affair. North led the ace of diamonds, South dropping the king, and continued the suit. Declarer ruffed, played a spade to the ace and a club for the jack, queen and ace. He ruffed the diamond return, drew trumps and gave up a club, +420.

Closed Room
West North East South
Fredin Lauria Lindkvist Versace
  Pass Pass 1
3 Dble* Pass 4
All Pass      

West’s preemptive action did not turn out well, as he did not attract a raise from East. Still it looked easy enough to defeat the contract. West led his spade and East won and returned the suit for West to ruff. He played the king of hearts, but East overtook and tried to give West a second spade ruff. Declarer won and ran the trumps to squeeze West in hearts and clubs, +130 and a fast start for Italy, ahead by 11 IMPs.

On Board 2 both East/West pairs bid the cold Six Spades on these cards:

6 5 4
A K J 7
Q 10 4
A J 2
Bridge deal

A K Q J 3 2
Q 6 3
A 7 5 2
-

Wales reached Seven Hearts, excellent if West had held the ten of spades, but here needing hearts 3-3 (they were) on a non club lead, +1510 against the game recorded at the other table.

The next board also had slam potential, but both pairs made it look easy, all be it in rather different ways:

Board 3. Dealer South. E/W Vul.
  8
A Q J 6
K Q
A K J 8 5 4
K 10 6 4 2
K 7 2
A 9 5 4 3
-
Bridge deal 9 5
9 5 4 3
J 7 6 2
9 3 2
  A Q J 7 3
10 8
10 8
Q 10 7 6

Open Room
West North East South
Bertolini Bertheau Garghentini Nystrom
      1*
Pass 2* Pass 2*
Pass 2* Pass 3*
Pass 3* Pass 3NT*
Pass 4* Pass 4*
Pass 6 All Pass  

1 10-15 5+, usually not 5332 and 10 hcp
2 FG Relay
2 5, minimum, no singleton
2 Relay
3 any 5422
3 Relay
3NT 5224
4 asks for top cards, using zz responses, where A=3, K=2, Q=1.
4 1 ace and two queens

Closed Room
West North East South
Fredin Lauria Lindkvist Versace
      Pass
1 Dble Pass 1NT
Pass 3 Pass 4*
Pass 6 All Pass  

You might imagine it would be harder to bid the slam once South had passed and West had opened, but the Italians also made it look easy, the keys to the auction being the jump to Three Clubs and the reply of Four Spades. No swing.

Board 5. Dealer North. N/S Vul.
  Q J 9 6 5
Q 8
9 4 2
J 4 3
A 8 4
K J 7 3
Q J 8 5
K 9
Bridge deal K 10 7 3
A 9 5 2
A 10 6
8 5
  2
10 6 4
K 7 3
A Q 10 7 6 2

Open Room
West North East South
Bertolini Bertheau Garghentini Nystrom
  Pass 1NT* Pass
3* Dble 4 All Pass

1NT 12-14

South led his spade and declarer took the jack with the king and cashed the ace of hearts. North’s eight was a worry, but there was not much to do if hearts were 4-1, so declarer played a second heart and finessed the jack. He had to go down now, South collecting a spade ruff, the ace of clubs and eventually a diamond, -50.

Closed Room
West North East South
Fredin Lauria Lindkvist Versace
    1* Pass
1 Pass 2* Pass
2* Pass 2* Pass
2NT Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 4 All Pass

 
Monica Bertolini, Italy
 
1 11-13NT or any 17+
2 11-13
2 Artificial Invitation
2 Minimum

This time North was on lead. He tried the two of diamonds and South won with the king, cashed the ace of clubs and switched to the two of spades. Declarer won with dummy’s king and cashed the ace of hearts. His next move was a heart to the king. When the queen fell he could claim ten tricks, +420.

Why play the king?
Declarer needed hearts 3-2, and there was a chance the queen might fall. Suppose it had not? Declarer could eliminate clubs and diamonds and then exit with a trump, hoping that whoever won might be endplayed.
A deserved 10 IMPs for Sweden.

Board 8. Dealer West. None Vul.
  K J 10 6
9 6 3
8 7 6
7 6 2
7
Q 5
A 2
A K Q J 10 9 5 3
Bridge deal Q 5 3 2
A K J 7 2
K 9 5
4
  A 9 8 4
10 8 4
Q J 10 4 3
8

Open Room
West North East South
Bertolini Bertheau Garghentini Nystrom
1* Pass 1* Pass
2NT* Pass 3* Pass
3* Dble Pass* Pass
4 Pass 4 Pass
4NT Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    

1 4+, 4+
2NT 4+ 4 18+ or 6+ 18+

North led the six of diamonds, so declarer claimed, +940.

Closed Room
West North East South
Fredin Lauria Lindkvist Versace
1* Pass 1* Pass
1NT* Pass 2NT* Pass
3* Pass 3* Pass
3NT Pass 4 Pass
7NT All Pass    

1 11-13NT or any 17+
1 8+, 4+ not balanced
1NT FG Relay 17+
2NT 4
3 Relay
3 4-5-3-1

 
Cesare Garghentini, Italy
 
The Swedish convention card is beautifully presented, but once it comes to the relays it is, at least to your reporter, difficult to follow. Our Swedish editor believes that we are accurate up to Three Diamonds, but then we are not 100% sure of the meaning of 3NT – possibly for key cards with diamonds as trumps – and maybe that is why West went horribly wrong, for whatever the response meant, there was a fundamental flaw.

However, North was on lead, and when he selected the six of diamonds, declarer could claim a very fortunate +1520 and 11 IMPs.

Relay systems are not going to go away, so this type of accident is always a possibility. Defenders need some rules about the meaning of doubles, and we assume an Italian one here would not have suggested a spade lead – remember that was an artificial bid.

The theoretical argument is that if South had the ace of hearts it would be unlikely to run away, as declarer would presumably be expecting to make some tricks from dummy’s main suit.

This board also caused a big swing in the other featured match, France v. Netherlands. In the Closed Room, the French did not bid the EW hands up to their full value:

Closed Room:
West North East South
Sebbane De Wijs Thuillez Muller
1 Pass 1 Pass
5 All Pass    

Thirteen tricks were made on a diamond lead. France +440.

Open Room:
West North East South
Jansma Multon Verhees Palau
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
4 Pass 4 Pass
4 Pass 5 Pass
5NT Pass 6 Pass
6NT All Pass    

In the Open Room, the Orange Club got out of control. As North really did not have a natural spade lead at all, Jansma too made all the tricks for +1020 to the Netherlands, a swing of 11 IMPs.

One board later, a defensive error led to another big swing in favour of the Dutch:

Board 9. Dealer North. E/W Vul.
  Q J 8 2
8 5
K J 3
K 5 4 3
A K 7
A K
4
A J 10 9 8 6 2
Bridge deal 9 6 3
J 10 9 3
Q 9 8 6 5 2
-
  10 5 4
Q 7 6 4 2
A 10 7
Q 7

Closed Room:
West North East South
Sebbane De Wijs Thuillez Muller
  Pass Pass Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
3NT All Pass    

De Wijs led the Q to declarer’s ace. Sebbane now played A and another, South winning the queen. The 10 was returned and declarer won the third round of spades. Another club went to De Wijs’ king. As Bauke Muller had played the 2 to this trick, De Wijs now made the good play of first cashing his K before taking his two remaining spades and continuing diamonds. Down three, Netherlands +300.

Open Room:
West North East South
Jansma Multon Verhees Palau
  Pass Pass Pass
1 Pass 1 1
2 Pass 2 Pass
3NT All Pass    

Not for the first time, overcalling on a bad suit can be costly. North led the 8 to declarer’s ace and Jansma continued A and another. Here as well, South won the Q, but he continued hearts to declarer’s king. Another club went to North’s king, South discarding the 6.

Not being able to read this, North passively returned a club to present declarer with his contract: two spades, two hearts and five clubs made up for another +600 or 14 IMPs to the Netherlands.

On board 11, the French gained a game swing when their style of opening bids paid off in the Open Room.

Board 11. Dealer South. None Vul.
  J
A 5 3
10 8 6 2
A Q J 10 4
7 6 4 2
J 10 4
A 9 5
K 6 5
Bridge deal A 9 3
9 8 7 2
K Q 7 4 3
3
  K Q 10 8 5
K Q 6
J
9 8 7 2

Closed Room:
West North East South
Sebbane De Wijs Thuillez Muller
      Pass
Pass 1 1 1
2 Pass 3 All Pass

The light diamond overcall from East and the aggressive raise by West made it difficult for South to compete any further. When he did not even produce a double to reactivate partner, the French had escaped for -150 when the contract went down three.

Open Room:
West North East South
Jansma Multon Verhees Palau
      1
Pass 2 Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 4 Pass 5
All Pass      

After Palau’s light opening bid, the French always remained a tempo ahead in the auction. In fact, their opponents kept silent throughout the bidding and gave them a free road to a good game contract that made when the club finesse was right. France +400 and 6 IMPs back.

Board 17. Dealer North. None Vul.
  6 2
-
A K 10 6 5 3 2
A 9 6 3
Q 9 8
J 9 3 2
Q 9 4
K 10 2
Bridge deal A K J 10
A Q 10 7 6 5 4
-
Q 4
  7 5 4 3
K 8
J 8 7
J 8 7 5

Open Room
West North East South
Bertolini Bertheau Garghentini Nystrom
  2* Dble 3
3 5 5 Pass
Pass 6 Dble All Pass

If North had known South held four clubs he would probably have been even more convinced that bidding Six Diamonds was a good idea, but this time he was horribly wrong. The defenders collected two spades, two clubs and a diamond for four down, -800.

Closed Room
West North East South
Fredin Lauria Lindkvist Versace
  1 Dble Pass
1 3 4 Pass
5 Pass 6 All Pass

A slam on a finesse through the opening bidder is generally a sound proposition, but not this time – maybe the Gods were taking revenge for Board 8? 13 IMPs for Italy, just getting their noses in front.

Closed Room:
West North East South
Sebbane De Wijs Thuillez Muller
  1 Dble Pass
1NT 3 3 4
4 5 6 All Pass

Slam is a good proposition once North has opening the bidding, but this time it did not come off. Netherlands +50. It probably never occurred to East to double 5, though this already will go down enough.

Open Room:
West North East South
Jansma Multon Verhees Palau
  1 Dble Pass
1 3 4 Pass
4 All Pass    

With hearts bid first by West and East suggesting a powerhouse later on, the French probably did not consider a save in 5, as their opponents might well have been missing a slam. In a way, they were right as even 5 is too expensive already, but the Netherlands scored +450 more here for yet another swing of 11 IMPs. They led 42-19 now.

Board 18. Dealer East. N/S Vul.
  5
J 10 7 6 3
Q 10
J 7 6 5 4
10 9 8 4
4
A J 7 5 4
9 8 3
Bridge deal A K Q J 7 2
8 2
9 8 2
10 2
  6 3
A K Q 9 5
K 6 3
A K Q

Open Room
West North East South
Bertolini Bertheau Garghentini Nystrom
    1 Dble
4 Pass Pass Dble
Pass 4NT Pass 5NT
Pass 6 All Pass  

West put the pressure on and it paid dividends in a big way as the Swedish pair overreached to a no play slam, -100.

Closed Room
West North East South
Fredin Lauria Lindkvist Versace
    2 Dble
4 Pass Pass Dble
Pass 4NT Pass 5
5 Pass Pass Dble
All Pass      

South cashed two clubs and the ace of hearts and played a third club. Declarer ruffed, drew one round of trumps, ruffed a heart, came to hand with a trump and played a diamond. He must have been reasonably sure of the distribution in view of the 4NT bid, but he still had a decision to make. When he elected to finesse the seven North won with the ten and played back the queen, so declarer was three down, -500 and another 12 IMPs for Italy.

Board 20. Dealer West. All Vul.
  9 2
K J 10 9 7
4 2
A 8 3 2
J 10 8 7 6 4
Q 3
A 7
K 7 4
Bridge deal Q
A 8 6 4 2
K J 9 6 5
J 10
  A K 5 3
5
Q 10 8 3
Q 9 6 5

Open Room
West North East South
Bertolini Bertheau Garghentini Nystrom
Pass Pass 1 Dble
Rdble 2 2 Pass
2 Dble All Pass  

I hope Monica will forgive me, but this deal reminds me of the story of the lady who once asked Terence Reese, ‘How would you have bid that hand Mr. Reese?’ ‘Differently’ was his reply. Two Spades is makeable, but West never bid the suit!

Two Hearts doubled was not pretty.

South cashed the ace of spade and switched to a heart for the three nine and ace. Declarer played three rounds of diamonds, ruffing with dummy’s queen and North discarded a club. Declarer ruffed a spade and exited with a diamond. He eventually made a club trick, but was two down, -500.

Closed Room
West North East South
Fredin Lauria Lindkvist Versace
Pass Pass 1 Dble
Rdble Pass 2 Pass
2 Dble Pass Pass
2 3 All Pass  

The same ugly redouble, but this time West ran. Eat led the queen of spades and declarer won and played a heart for the jack and ace. East switched to a low diamond and West won the king and played the queen of hearts. Declarer won, pitching a spade, and could now have made the contract by playing the ace of clubs and a club. However, he played a diamond and East won and played the eight of hearts, ruffed by the nine and overuffed by the king. West returned the jack of spades for East to ruff. Back came the four of hearts and declarer discarded a diamond from dummy, West ruffing. The contract two down, -200. A very useful 12 IMPs for Sweden, restricting Italy to a 16-14 VP victory. The race for first place would continue!

On the last board, great things happened in the Sweden-Italy match you have read, but in the other featured match there also was a swing:

Closed Room:
West North East South
Sebbane De Wijs Thuillez Muller
Pass Pass 1 Dble
1 2 2 Pass
2 Pass Pass 3
All Pass      

Lead: Q. Declarer, Simon de Wijs, won and played a heart to the jack and ace. East continued the J, covered by the queen that won the trick when West withheld his king. A low club went to dummy’s eight and East’s ten, and East now played a diamond to partner’s ace and got a diamond back to his king. When the next heart return produced the Q from West, the hand was over. Declarer simply drew the last trump and played on hearts to get rid of his remaining losers. Just made, Netherlands +110.

Open Room:
West North East South
Jansma Multon Verhees Palau
2 All Pass    

Once again, the timing of the opening preempt proved decisive. Left alone in 2, Jansma had no trouble in coming to his required eight tricks for another 110 to the Netherlands.

The 6 IMPs from these last few deals added on to the 42 already in the kitty to make the final score a convincing win, 48-19 in IMPs or 21-9 in V.P.



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