Join Bridge Winners
China - Day 1

After a quick visit to the (even-more-so-than-in-the-US) overpriced Starbucks, we headed to the playing site (Taicang Stadium) around 9am to get our badges and get settled. Our first match was against Singapore, and we started off with a partscore swing in our favour. A few boards later we bid an unfortunate 50% slam that failed, but quickly regained the IMPs when the opponents missed their 10-card heart fit after we opened Multi. A few more relatively uninteresting hands passed, then Zach and I had a nice defense to a 2 contract:

West
AJ874
Q63
A93
52
Adam Kaplan
Q1095
A54
65
AJ63
East
K6
K987
J107
K874
Zach Brescoll
32
J102
KQ842
Q109
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
2
P
P
P
D
2 West
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
J
Q
A
0
0
1
4
5
K
2
2
0
2
6
3
J
Q
1
1
2
5
7
K
3
3
2
2
2
9
9
10
1
3
2
3
K
10
2
2
3
3
4
9
5
6
3
4
3
4
7
10
7
1
5
3
A
7
Q
8
0
5
4
3
5
9
J
3
6
4
8
A
4
8
0
6
5
6
A
8
2
1
7
5
J
K
10
Q
1
8
5
E/W -150
13

In 3rd seat I chose to open a precision 1, a bid with many ways to win: We could have a making partscore, they could be talked out of a making game, they could lose their diamond fit, or they could be pushed to a higher unmakable level. Despite being a minimum in high-cards, the 1 opening looks to be an overall winner. Since he was a passed hand, Zach made a simple 2 raise, and West decided to jump in with a 2 overcall (having not opened 1 in the first place). I led a high diamond, Zach played the queen and declarer won the ace. It is almost certainly right to duck the first trick if he believes Zach's 2 bid: He must have 5 Diamonds for his bid, and I wouldn't be leading low from Kx. By ducking, he can sever our communications and make it very difficult to score a likely diamond ruff. After winning the A, declarer played a spade to dummy's king, and a spade back to his jack. I won the queen, continued diamonds, and scored a ruff with my "natural trump trick". Partner's 2 seemed to indicate he held the Q, so with declarer's pointed-suit entries to his hand stripped from dummy, I led a low club. Declarer flew king, but now had to come off dummy somehow: A heart to his queen would allow me to underlead my AJ of clubs for an uppercut, I can duck the K if he leads that instead,and a club would allow Zach to win and give me a trump promotion as well. Left with no better options, declarer played a club which Zach won, and played a diamond promoting my remaining trump. Sometimes ruffing with a slow natural trump trick is a good thing: I got an extra trump trick from the promotion!

I exited with the A, and declarer (amusingly) decided to insult me a bit when he led a heart from his hand... He played me to have failed to split from JT for some reason, and when the 9 lost to the jack, Zach's last diamond tapped declarer and allowed me to collect the last two tricks for down 3. Declarer made a series of mistakes, but it was a fun defense to collectthe maximum number of tricks from this hand.

A few more uninteresting boardspassed, and on the second-to-last board of the match, Zach made a clever deceptive play in his 1NT contract:

West
A643
7542
76
K63
Adam Kaplan
J105
J1086
K103
1098
East
87
A3
QJ85
AQJ74
Zach Brescoll
KQ92
KQ9
A942
52
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
P
P
D
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
5
7
9
3
1
0
2
3
10
J
2
1
1
8
K
A
10
0
1
2
4
J
4
2
1
2
2
6
3
K
2
3
3
2
Q
4
8
A
2
3
3
A
5
6
9
2
3
4
7
2
K
8
0
3
5
7
3
J
A
3
4
5
Q
6
10
5
3
5
5
4
6
K
8
1
6
5
J
Q
9
5
1
7
5
10
Q
9
7
1
8
5
N/S +120
13

After getting the somewhat helpful spade lead, this looks like a fairly straightforward play: Knock out the A, hope they establish spades for you, and hope they don't cash 5 Club tricks. Zach saw beyond the obvious line and instead tried to help them along with their mis-defense. After concealing the 2 at trick 1, he led a low club from his hand towards the T98. His RHO won the club, and although he held a bunch more clubs, he was convinced Zach needed a club trick to bring home 1NT. He returned a spade, and hispartner won and cleared spades. A heart was now ducked around, and a second heart went to East's ace perforce. Now faced with nothing better to do, East played the A, and poor West couldn't figure out to unblock the K to allow his partner to run the clubs. After East played a club to the blocked king, Zach claimed 8 tricks... Good for 8 IMPs when the other table played in 1NT doubled down one. We won our match against Singapore quite handily, and by barely enough to blitz on the WBF 25 point scale.

Our second match was against Sweden on Vugraph, and the Swedes played extremely well. There were a number of swing boards in our match, and about 5 slams for N-S to bid. The most interesting board of the match was actually one of the slams that Zach and I failed to bid after I realized he needed an absolute perfectato make slam. The Swedish pair of Mikael and Ida Groenkvist did well to bid to 6 however, and Mikael faced an interesting play problem:

Ida Groenkvist
J1052
106
AKJ3
A63
Mikael Groenkvist
7
AK73
102
KQ8752

I am unsure of their auction, but everyone was Vulnerable, and it began 1 (P) 2-level bid (P), and after shaping out the South hand, they reached the 6 slam.

Plan your play on a low diamond lead (3/5) before reading on.

The diamond was won by the Ace in dummy, and Mikael played 3 rounds of hearts, ruffing in dummy. He was now faced with an interesting problem: If he tries to ruff the 4th heart and his LHO holds the last heart, he'll likely go down when trumps are not splitting, and if he now decides to draw trumps, he has yet to rectify the count for any sort of squeeze and might have to fall back onto the diamond finesse. A good compromise might be to try a spade from dummy hoping to rectify the count and possibly ruff the 4th heart if they sever the hands with a diamond, but even that line could backfire if the 4th heart gives an uppercut when the diamond finesse was working. He chose to play a spade off, and they won and severed the hands with a diamond. At this point, no matter what line he chose he couldn't go wrong. This board was a well-deserved 12-IMP swing to Sweden, part of their final 19-IMP victory over the US.

Zach and I sat out the third match which also contained some exciting boards, but contrary to popular belief, I do actually have to sleep sometimes. After 3 matches we are sitting in 8th with 43 VPs, and are playing USA1, England, and France tomorrow. More to come later!

Adam

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