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A New Blue Ribbon Pair, II
(Page of 14)

The first part of this article followed Board 13 through section Y of the last session of the Blue Ribbon Pairs in San Diego. This part deals with the companion board. 

First up was Table 7. North-South were Dan Jacob and Robert Lebi, and East-West were Bill Cole and Beth Palmer.

Cole
Q72
J64
A974
875
Jacob
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Palmer
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Lebi
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
2
2
3
P
P
P
D
14
3 East
NS: 0 EW: 0

Palmer opened 1, and Lebi passed with his weak distributional hand. Cole chose to respond 1NT, rather than 1, and Palmer rebid 2. Not content to just sit there, Lebi came in with 2. Cole competed to 3 and Jacob passed, clearly expecting something like Lebi's actual hand.

Lebi led the 2 to the queen and ace, and Palmer played back a heart: 9, J, K. Jacob continued with a third heart, ruffed, and Palmer led a spade. Lebi grabbed the K.

At this point I had to leave the table to follow Board 13 into the next round, so I didn't see the conclusion of the play. Palmer ended down one, for -50. She likely guessed trumps based on Lebi's delayed overcall.

At Table 6, Veri Kiljan and Luc Tijssen faced Eric Greco and Joe Grue, who won the event.

Greco
Q72
J64
A974
875
Kiljan
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Grue
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Tijssen
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1NT
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
14
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Grue treated the East hand as a 14-16 notrump, and Tijssen barged in with 2 showing the majors. Greco passed, Kiljan asked Tijssen to pick a major, then showed remarkable discipline by passing 2. Greco led the 5 and everyone had a laugh at dummy's strength.

Declarer played the J from dummy and, reading the lead as from 875, Grue ducked trick one. Tijssen discarded diamonds on the J and A, then ran the 8 to Greco's Q. Greco played a third round of clubs: queen, king, ruff, and then led a heart to the king and ace.

Grue's trick-one play paid dividends when he played a fourth club, allowing Greco to overruff declarer's 7 with the J. Greco played a spade to Grue's ace, who got out with a third round of the suit to declarer's king. Tijssen cashed the 10, then the 10, discarding a diamond from dummy.

Next he led the J, and when Greco followed low, he had to decide whether Grue had begun with:

East
Axx
Ax
Ax
K109xxx

or

East
Axx
Ax
Qx
K109xxx

He played Grue for the 13-count. Right! Making two, +110.

Next was Table 5, where Vince Demuy-Brad Moss played North-South against David Bakhshi and Stan Tulin.

Tulin
Q72
J64
A974
875
Demuy
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Bakhshi
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Moss
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1
1
P
2
X
2
3
X
P
P
P
D
14
3X East
NS: 0 EW: 0

Bakhshi opened 1. I fully expected Moss, one of the most aggressive overcallers in the game, to bid 1, and he did not disappoint. Tulin passed, Demuy cuebid, and Bakhshi doubled. Moss beat a hasty retreat to 2, and Tulin competed to 3. Demuy's penalty double ended the auction.

Moss led the 9, Rusinow, to the jack, queen, and ace, and Bakhshi led a heart back to Moss's 10. Moss shifted to the 3: 4, K, 8, and Demuy returned a diamond to Bakhshi's queen. Bakhshi led a spade toward dummy, and Moss ducked the K, so declarer got to discard his losing spade on the A.

Next came the 5. Rising with the A would have ensured down one, because Demuy had enough exits available that declarer could not avoid losing two additional trump tricks. In practice, Demuy followed with the 4, so Bakhshi could have made his contract with a deep finesse, but that would have catered only to this trump position (and Demuy might have risen with the A from this holding). If North had begun with AQ4 or AJ4 and declarer ran the 5, he would have no more dummy entries wnad would have to lead clubs out of his hand, losing two more tricks.

Bakhshi put up the K and Moss showed out, so declarer lost three trump tricks: down one, -100.

At Table 4, Yeshayahu Levit and Amos Kaminski were North-South and John Lusky and Allan Falk were East-West.

Lusky
Q72
J64
A974
875
Yeshayahu
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Falk
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Kaminski
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
1NT
2
2
3
3
P
P
P
D
14
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Falk opened a could-be-short 1, and Lusky bid 1, a transfer response showing either diamonds or a balanced hand with no four-card major. Yeshayahu overcalled 1NT, Falk bid 2, Kaminski competed with 2. Lusky and Yeshayahu raised their partners' suits, so the final contract was 3.

Lusky led the 5: J, K, ruff. Declarer led a heart to the king and ace, then ducked the spade shift to West's queen. Lusky shifted to the 4, ducked to Falk's queen, who cashed the A, then played a diamond to the ace and received a ruff.

Declarer won the spade continuation in dummy, ruffed a club to hand, and led the 10. West followed with the 6, but declarer finessed, as East had shown up with three spades, two hearts, and two diamonds already, and presumably had started with six clubs.

That was down two, -100.

Table 3 featured Steve Garner and Mike Whitman against Robin Bjorkstrand and Borje Dahlberg.

Dahlberg
Q72
J64
A974
875
Garner
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Bjorkstrand
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Whitman
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
1NT
2
2
P
P
P
D
14
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

The auction began identically to the one from Table 4, but instead of bidding 2 over 2, Whitman chose a funny 2, ending in the Moysian instead of the eight-card fit.

West led the 5. Whitman called for dummy's ace and discarded a heart on it, then passed the 8 to West's queen. The 4 shift went to the king and ace, and East played back a heart: 9, J, Q. Declarer led the J from dummy, ducked, and a third spade went to the ace. Declarer eventually lost two diamond tricks but made his contract: making two, +110.

Gavin Wolpert-Paul Fireman opposed Ed Ulman-Jean Barry at Table 2.

Barry
Q72
J64
A974
875
Wolpert
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Ulman
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Fireman
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
P
P
D
14
2 East
NS: 0 EW: 0

Fireman was the first South player never to take action on Board 14, as East-West settled into 2.

Fireman led the 2, and declarer ducked the Q. Wolpert shifted to the J, ducked to the king, and the 2 shift went to Wolpert's king. Back came a spade to dummy's queen, and Ulman called for a club from dummy. Wolpert went up with the A. With the A left in dummy, declarer was able to lead another club through North's QJ4, holding his trump losers to two. Ulman lost two trump tricks and one in each side suit: making two, +90.

Table 1 pitted Dan Morse-Venkatrao Koneru as North-South against Bernard Cabanes-Eric Gautret as East-West.

Gautret
Q72
J64
A974
875
Morse
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Cabanes
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Koneru
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
14
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Here, West chose to respond 1, allowing North to overcall 1NT. Koneru ended up in 2 after a Stayman sequence.

West led the 5: queen, king, ruff. Declarer led a heart to the king and ace.

Again, I had to leave the table, so all I have is the final result of down one. When I talked to Koneru after the session, he was unhappy with how he declared 2, and I did not press him for details.

I arrived at Table 13 to see Jim Munday and Richard Pavlicek vs. Bruce Noda and Mark Ralph.

Noda
Q72
J64
A974
875
Munday
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Ralph
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Pavlicek
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
1N
2
2
3
P
P
3
P
3
P
P
P
D
14
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

East opened 1, West responded 1, and North overcalled 1NT. Here, East chose to compete with 2 immediately, and Pavlicek bid 2. Noda raised to 3, which came back around to Pavlicek. He tried 3, likely as a pick-a-major action. Munday had an easy 3 call, which ended the auction.

The 8 went to the jack, king, and ruff. Pavlicek led a heart to the king and ace, and Ralph laid down the A and continued the suit. Declarer took the K and guessed hearts correctly, running the 9. Pavlicek played a third round of hearts to dummy, cashed the AQ pitching two diamonds, then led the J to Noda's queen. A low diamond would have put declarer to a guess he likely would have gotten correct, but Noda laid down the A. Making three, +140.

At Table 12, where Chien-Yao Tseng and Wei-Bung Wang faced Ari Greenberg and Li-Chung Chen, there was more action.

Chen
Q72
J64
A974
875
Tseng
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Greenberg
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Wang
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
2
X
3
X
P
P
P
D
14
3X East
NS: 0 EW: 0

Greenberg opened 1, Chen responded 1NT, and Greenberg rebid 2. Wang came in with a double, Chen raised to 3, and Tseng doubled.

Wang chose an unfortunate opening lead, the J. Declarer ducked this, and unblocked the Q under the K. Tseng shifted to the K to declarer's ace.  Declarer then led the 8 to the 9, pitched his other heart on the A, and led the 5. At this table, it would not have helped North to rise with the A, because declarer still had an entry to dummy in the form of the Q. Tseng played the 4, and Greenberg contributed the 2.

When that held, declarer played another club, holding his losers to two tricks in that suit, and with the K onside, Greenberg just lost one spade, one diamond, and two clubs. Making three, +470.

Alex Hudson and Jonathan Steinberg had a chance to duplicate that result at Table 11, where they sat East-West against Mitch Dunitz and Mark Perlmutter.

Hudson
Q72
J64
A974
875
Perlmutter
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Steinberg
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Dunitz
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1N
P
2
2
P
P
3
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
14
3X East
NS: 0 EW: 0

Steinberg opened 1, could be short. Dunitz passed initially but came in with 2 over Steinberg's 2 rebid. After two passes, Steinberg competed to 3, counting on Hudson to deliever a few clubs. He got the clubs he hoped for, but he also attracted a penalty double by Perlmutter.

Dunitz led the 10, which let declarer win dummy's Q at trick one, but it did not cost a trick in the suit. Steinberg called for the 5, running it when Perlmutter played the 4. Dunitz discarded a heart on this trick and another heart on the second round of clubs, as Perlmutter took the A. North continued with a spade to declarer's ace, and Steinberg cashed the K, on which Dunitz made a dangerous discard: the J.

That gave declarer a path to making his contract. He could have run the Q to North's K, then finessed the 9 on the next round of the suit. Of course, the J pitch could have been misdirection. If Dunitz began with a holding like Jxxx, then declarer would lose two diamond tricks and go down two. The J would have been an especially strange discard from a jack-empty suit, so maybe declarer should go right.

Instead of playing diamonds, Steinberg just cashed the A, an effective claim of down one: -100.

At Table 10, Nicholas Lhuissier and Romain Tembouret played against David Grainger and Roger Lee.

Grainger
Q72
J64
A974
875
Lhuissier
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Lee
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Tembouret
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
P
P
D
14
1NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0

This was the first table to conduct an auction I expected at some tables: 1NT - pass - pass - pass. Lee's 1NT was 14-16, so that opening looks automatic, at least to me.

South led the 10. Lee covered with the J, won North's Q with the ace, and laid down the K. That was not a success on this lie of the cards. South discarded a spade and North won the A, to shift to a spade. Lee ducked that to the K, won the spade continuation with dummy's Q, and led another club. 

North won as South discarded his last spade. North played yet another spade, and South finally released a heart, which would have been the third undertrick. After the heart pitch, the defense just took one spade, three hearts, one diamond, and three clubs for down two: -100. The matchpoint difference between down two and down three would have been substantial.

The penultimate table, Table 9, featured Steve Weinstein and Dennis Bilde against Pierre Franceschetti and Marc Mus.

Mus
Q72
J64
A974
875
Bilde
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Franceschetti
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Weinstein
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
P
P
D
14
1NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0

The auction here was the same as at Table 10, but the 1NT opening was 15-17.

Weinstein led the 10. Declarer ducked in dummy and won the A in hand. As Lee had, Franceschetti led the K at trick two. Weinstein discarded an encouraging spade as North won the A. Bilde cashed his high hearts, and Weinstein followed with the 7 and 5 on these. Bilde and Weinstein are not an established partnership, and they may have been on different suit-preference wavelengths, because Bilde shifted to the K.

Declarer won dummy's A and led a club to Bilde, on which Weinstein threw another spade. A spade now would have come too late. Weinstein could cash his winners but declarer would have two spade tricks, one heart, and two diamonds for down two. The defense still had a chance for down three when Bilde played a second diamond to declarer's queen, but now came the third club, and Weinstein had to discard.

He could have achieved down three by blanking his K, but that would have been embarrassing if declarer had the third diamond. Instead, Weinstein discarded a diamond, so he only had three winners to go with his partner's five: down two, -100.

The last hurrah: Table 8. Dave Caprera and Anne Brenner were North-South and Martin Fleisher and Chip Martel were East-West.

Martel
Q72
J64
A974
875
Brenner
J86
KQ3
K65
AQJ4
Fleisher
A43
A8
Q8
K109632
Caprera
K1095
109752
J1032
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
P
P
D
14
1NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0

Three straight 1NT - float auctions.

The play began in familiar fashion: 9 (Rusinow), low, low, ace. K to the ace as Caprera discarded an encouraging spade. Brenner cashed her high hearts, and Caprera played 5, 10. Caprera-Brenner are a well-established partnership, in life as well as bridge, so there was no confusion about what South wanted. Brenner played a spade, and that led to down three: -150.

That was a high note to go out on, from a reporter's perspective. After seeing two pairs fail to find the winning defense, it was nice to see a pair get it right. As we were getting up from the table, I congratulated Caprera on a good defense, but he waved it off, saying it was simple: "When I play the 10, I want SPADES!"

Summary

Across section Y, there was plenty of variety in the Board 14 contracts and results. Four tables played heart partscores: 2 making two once and down one once; 3 making three and down two. Three tables played 3x, down one twice and making once. One played 2 making, and one in 3 down one. Three tables played 1NT, down two twice and three once. And there was one lonely declarer in 2 making.

In section X the scores varied more widely from 4x by East, down 500, to 3NTx by North, down 800. Section Z had a couple of +300s North-South, as well as one +420 for 4 making, quite a surprisng result.

The Board 14 matchpoints (38 top):

Contract N-S Score Frequency N-S Matchpoints
4x E-W +500 1 38
4 N-S +420 1 37
1NTx E-W +300 1 35.5
3 E-W +300 1 35.5
1NT E-W +150 2 33.5
3 N-S +140 3 31
2 N-S +110 2 28
2 N-S +110 1 28
3x E-W +100 6 20.5
3 E-W +100 3 20.5
1NT E-W +100 3 20.5
3 E-W +50 2 13
2 E-W +50 1 13
3 N-S -50 2 10
2 N-S -50 1 10
1NT E-W -90 1 7
2 E-W -90 1 7
2 E-W -90 1 7
3 N-S -100 1 4
3 N-S -100 1 4
3 N-S -100 1 4
2x E-W -180 1 2
3x E-W -470 1 1
3NTx N-S -800 1 0

 

This was an enjoyable article to write, hopefully it was worth reading till the end.

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