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High Level Midnight Action
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A major highlight for me of the Reno NABC was this deal from the semi-finals of the 2nd Friday Midnight KO (aka "ZIPS", which actually start at 11:30).

South at my table was Max Schireson, who is playing amazingly well for someone who first learned bridge just over a year ago. Max learned the basic rules, and earned his first masterpoint, in December of 2014. By December of 2015 he'd earned a Blue Ribbon Q, and made it to the second day of that event, as well as the North Amercan Swiss, at the Denver NABC. I'll underbid by saying Max is a pretty smart guy, and I'm excited to see how far he can go at this game. He's definitely hooked.

After two relatively easy matches in the midnights, Max and I faced national champions Daniel Korbel and Josh Donn. This was not your typical ZIP competition, though Max was ready, having beaten Greg Humphreys and Jenni Carmichael twice in ZIP matches the previous weekend, as they warmed up for their spectacular Mixed Pairs win.

Korbel
Q10965
102
Q2
J1082
Rosenberg
832
KJ64
AK5
AQ6
Donn
KJ74
83
9863
K54
Schireson
A
AQ975
J1074
973
W
N
E
S
 
1
1
2
3
4
P
4N
P
5
P
6
P
P
P
D
2
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
2
K
A
3
1
0
5
2
K
3
1
2
0
3
4
7
5
3
3
0
A
10
4
8
3
4
0
J
Q
A
3
1
5
0
8
7
9
6
3
6
0
4
2
K
6
1
7
0
5
8
10
9
3
8
0
7
2
6
9
2
8
1
12 tricks claimed
N/S +1430
9

Click through the play, and you'll see that Max found the loser-on-loser strip and endplay! He told me later that he was pretty sure the club finesse would be on, given the overcall. Yet he still found the winning line, in the heat of battle, late at night, with lots of typical midnight banter at the table. At one point I asked if Max wanted us to shut up so he could concentrate, and he, very much into the ZIP spirit, said "No, it's fine. "

For someone playing bridge just over a year this was one of the most impressive plays I've ever seen.

So what happened at the other table?

This match was a family affair for me. My teammates were my brother, Kenny Zuckerberg and his partner Dan Wilderman, facing my son, Kevin Rosenberg partnering USBF Junior Training mentor Tom Carmichael.

Kevin also arrived in 6, via a different auction, and on a different opening lead.

Zuckerberg
Q10965
102
Q2
J1082
Carmichael
832
KJ64
AK5
AQ6
Wilderman
KJ74
83
9863
K54
Rosenberg
A
AQ975
J1074
973
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2N
P
3
P
4N
P
5
P
5N
P
6
P
P
P
D
2
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
Q
K
3
2
0
1
4
A
5
2
3
1
1
A
2
4
3
3
2
1
5
10
K
8
1
3
1
A
3
4
2
1
4
1
3
K
7
6
3
5
1
J
Q
K
6
1
6
1
8
7
Q
9
3
7
1
9
10
A
4
1
8
1
J
J
9
10
1
9
1
6
5
7
2
1
10
1
5
8
10
Q
3
11
1
7
8
6
9
2
11
2
N/S -100
13

When Kenny found the killing club opening lead (yes, of course the contract can still be made double dummy), Kevin felt he had to finesse at trick 1.  The Jack did NOT deny a higher honor.

Then at trick 9, Kevin led the 9 in an attempt to transfer the menace for a squeeze against East, impressing his partner Tom Carmichael.  He would have made the contract if E had held the 8.

Kibitzer Dave Caprera was not so impressed. Like Tom, Dave is a USBF Junior Training program mentor. He will also serve as NPC of the US Under 21 team in the World Junior Championship this summer. Here Dave was kibitzing Kevin, who was to be his partner for the weekend. Dave made the excellent point that, especially in the midnight game, the best practical play in the diamond suit is to try and run the 10 on the first round of the suit, hoping to sneak by a sleepy West. While the percentage of success can't be measured, I agree with Dave that this ploy is well worth the technical loss in forgoing dropping a stiff Q in East.

BTW, the kibitzing was rather high level at both tables, with 2-time National Champ Sylvia Shi kibitzing her teammates at our table!

Max had picked Kevin up in Berkeley, and driven him up to Reno earlier that day. They'd naturally talked quite a bit of bridge along the way. Picking up 17 IMPs declaring the same contract as Kevin was not something Max would have dreamed of.

Despite the 17-IMP gain, my team lost this match by 1 IMP, and the Korbel team went on to win the final, while we went on to sleep. Playing until after 2AM didn't seem to bother Daniel Korbel, who used this event to warm up for his win in the Jacoby Swiss that weekend.  

 

Friday 3/18 Zip recap link:  http://live.acbl.org/event/NABC161/183A/1/recap

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