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Beijing Hua Yuan Cup World Women Elite Bridge Tournament
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The third “Beijing Hua Yuan Cup World Women Elite Bridge Tournament” took place in Beijing from November 8 to 14. Eight top teams from seven countries were invited. After the team competition, 24 pairs competed in a barometer pair tournament. The participation was very strong; someone counted more than 50 world championship titles among the players. I was – coincidentally – in the vicinity and could, therefore, follow the event.

 The organization and management of the tournament was simply flawless in all aspects: accommodation, catering, time-keeping, playing area and direction. The Chinese organizers not only managed to raise sufficient funds (more than $700,000 according to my calculations) from various sponsors, but they also managed to utilize these funds to maximize the impact of the tournament on bridge in modern China, including media coverage and visits of high-ranking policy makers and sponsors, such as Ms Chen Zhili, former vice-chair of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. But, in my view, the highlight of the tournament was the visit of 70 school children and teenagers to the tournament, the majority of which were girls. But more about that later.

In my view, it is clear that the pair of the tournament was Liu Yan and Lu Yan of the Beijing team. They scored nearly 1.6 imps per board in the Butler (Willard-Cronier came second with 0.4 imps!) and, actually, made very few mistakes. You will see their names popping up again and again below.

Finally, the liaison officer for the US team was Dunga Liu who is already one of the best players in China, barely 30 years old. He is a razor sharp player and analyst; a name to remember. The US team was grateful for his assistance on various issues during the tournament.

 

TEAM TOURNAMENT

The eight teams played seven rounds of 16 boards and the result was

  1. Beijing
  2. Italy
  3. France
  4. Netherlands
  5. China
  6. Indonesia
  7. USA
  8. England

 

First place gave a money prize of $30,000. It is perhaps a sign of the times that the very strong teams from England, China and the US were all in the bottom half of the tournament.

The US team didn’t play all that badly; the flow was simply never with them. Two good examples (both deals were runners-up to the best bidding award). First, we see Irina Levitina and Kerri Sanborn bid with confidence to a vulnerable top contract against France (Cronier-Willard):

 

 

 

West
J1062
J8652
A73
A
North
A53
K4
J864
9432
East
874
1093
K10952
85
South
KQ9
AQ7
Q
KQJ1076
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
1
2
2
2
3
3
P
5
P
P
P
D
5 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

 

Clearly, 5C is a great contract as 3NT is down on a diamond lead from east (ducking, of course, the return of the seven on trick two). But four of the five in 3NT made it; only Liu Yan and Lu Yan (Beijing) had the technique to beat it. Apart from Irina-Kerri, only Sun Ming and Wang Ping (Beijing) bid also 5C

The second example is the loss of 11 imps that Lynn Deas suffered for her top quality bidding on this hand:

West
10952
74
K52
J1065
North
76
A1098
J963
972
East
3
K63
Q10874
KQ83
South
AKQJ84
QJ52
A
A4
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
2N
P
3
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

 

 After Disa’s 4H bid, Lynn knows that Disa has 4+ hearts, no controls in the minors, 5 – 10 hcp and, therefore, one or both of A/K of hearts. If she has both, 7H would make even in most 4-1 breaks. So Lynn checked on the key cards and went to 6H. Needless to say, west led a club and the king was offside. Only two players out of eight went to this slam.

 

The award for best bidding went to Liu Yan and Lu Yan of the Beijing team. Their bidding on this grand slam was simple, clean and practical. Believe it or not, this was the only pair in 7D. After getting the three card support, three cue-bids followed and then Liu had enough to take charge by launching KC and discovering K of clubs on the way. Nice. The hand:

 

West
5
A1092
AKQJ3
KJ5
North
J1097
QJ875
95
73
East
AKQ832
4
876
A82
South
64
K63
1042
Q10964
W
N
E
S
 
P