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Missing Aces and Micro-Moysians
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Hi, I'm Lauritz from the German U26 Team and I always enjoy the articles and discussions on Bridge Winners a lot. As I've still got these two deals from the European Youth Bridge Championship in Samorin (Slovakia) this seems to be the perfect time to make a contribution to the site myself. Enjoy!

Big rooms with a lounge area in every single one of them, food to kill for, and a large swimming pool attached – the venue of the Junior European Championship 2017, a hotel focusing on sport, certainly has some nice perks. This together with heaps of different football (soccer) pitches not only attracts us but also the football team of Galatasaray Istanbul for a short camp and swimming teams from all over the world (New Zealand, South Africa) for a youth swimming competition. I even meet a football player in the hallway, have a short chat with him, and later find out that he is worth 3.5M€ according to the internet. Still some way to go for us Bridge players!

It’s my first year playing U26 while all my team mates from my previous U21 team still play there, all the players from the previous U26 team are too old now and we play four-handed, so it’s going to be "taking part is everything" for us this year.

Of course it’s still fun to compete and give your best, even if one gets to play silly contracts from time to time. Like a grand slam off the ace of trumps or 4 in a Micro-Moysian (three facing one) vulnerable. But even not being in contention there are of course interesting hands. How about this one from the match against Slovakia?

North
J9854
875
4
A1082
South
A3
9
AKQ10652
K43
W
N
E
S
1
4
P
P
5
P
P
P

For once high preemption by the opponents isn’t much of a nuisance. West leads the A (East following with the 6 in tempo, UDCA) and shifts to the J. How do you play?

The J is probably a singleton, so the stage is set for a strip squeeze if East holds both spade honors. Win in hand, seven rounds of trumps (breaking), A, and another spade. East has to come down to KQ and is forced to play up to A10, +600. Win 12 when declarer goes down after a heart continuation at trick two at the other table.

West
76
AKQJ10432
J9
J
North
J9854
875
4
A1082
East
KQ102
6
873
Q9765
South
A3
9
AKQ10652
K43
W
N
E
S
1
4
P
P
5
P
P
P
D
1
5 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
5
6
9
0
0
1
J
2
5
K
3
1
1
A
9
4
3
3
2
1
K
J
7
7
3
3
1
Q
K
4
8
3
4
1
2
2
5
2
3
5
1
5
3
8
6
3
6
1
6
4
8
7
3
7
1
10
10
8
10
3
8
1
A
6
9
Q
3
9
1
3
7
J
K
2
9
2
11

5 is declared 24 times and made 10 times in total. For example Ida Grönkvist from Sweden and Toby Nonnenmacher from England get the same switch as me and make with the same line. 

Hell, it takes a long time to improve in Bridge but noticing after some time that you make things right easily you wouldn't have in the past is what I love about this game. Thus when the people attending my university bridge course ask me about interesting hands weeks later of course I tell them of this one. When one of them asks me with wide eyes if I really played out all of my trumps ("But how do you keep the opponents from cashing their long suits then?") I explain the mechanics of a strip-squeeze patiently to her.

Only when I get home and recall my explanations I notice that my game plan actually could have been improved. Do you see how?

You don’t need to play all trumps, six of them are enough. If East comes down to two clubs, you can just duck a club to establish the long club. And if East bares the KQ, he gets thrown in as before. Meanwhile if West happens to hold a spade royal, on this line you go down only one. 

West
76
AKQJ10432
J9
J
North
J9854
875
4
A1082
East
KQ102
6
873
Q9765
South
A3
9
AKQ10652
K43
W
N
E
S
1
4
P
P
5
P
P
P
D
1
5 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
5
6
9
0
0
1
J
2
5
K
3
1
1
A
9
4
3
3
2
1
K
J
7
7
3
3
1
Q
K
4
8
3
4
1
2
2
5
2
3
5
1
5
3
8
6
3
6
1
6
4
8
10
3
7
1
A
6
9
Q
3
8
1
3
7
J
K
2
8
2
10

That's what I love even more about this game: Even when you finally think you played a hand well there is still a small twist how you could have played it better, which you will do the next time.

 

So how do you play 5 after a heart continuation at trick two? 

West
North
J9854
875
4
A1082
East
South
A3
9
AKQ10652
K43
W
N
E
S
1
4
P
P
5
P
P
P
D
1
5 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
5
6
9
0
0
1
K
7
6
2

North
J9854
875
4
A1082
South
A3
9
AKQ10652
K43
W
N
E
S
1
4
P
P
5
P
P
P

There doesn't appear to be a gain in discarding, and no gain in delaying to draw trumps either, so after ruffing and drawing trumps you know West has three black cards. It's likely that West would have switched to a singleton spade, so 2-8-2-1 and 3-8-2-0 appear to be the likely shapes after East's club discard.

With all the excellent analysis available from this community, saying any particular line is the best line is probably presumptuous, but the best line I see is a small spade towards dummy now. Making if West has at most two cards in either black suit, xxx, or if he puts up his spade honour from Hxx: Without a club return there is a black suit squeeze with the club menace in hand (4). On a club return you can win in hand and play all trumps which leads to a Criss-Cross Squeeze (the shape is known once you assume no singleton spade with West). The power of the 43! 

West
76
AKQJ10432
J9
J
North
J9854
875
4
A1082
East
KQ102
6
873
Q9765
South
A3
9
AKQ10652
K43
W
N
E
S
1
4
P
P
5
P
P
P
D
1
5 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
5
6
9
0
0
1
K
7
6
2
3
1
1
A
9
4
3
3
2
1
K
J
4
7
3
3
1
Q
2
5
8
3
4
1
3
6
8
10
2
4
2
5
K
J
2
3
5
2
10
3
8
2
3
6
2
6
4
8
7
3
7
2
5
10
10
10

See: http://db.eurobridge.org/repository/competitions/17Samorin/microsite/Asp/BoardAcross.asp?qboard=023.24..1430 

or search for EYTC in the vugraph-archive on BBO, RR24_27, board 23.

 

 

In the last round we face Russia. East sits a nice guy who you crossed swords with at the U21 European Pairs Championship 2016. He prevailed and won the tournament, we exchanged badges afterwards. A few matches earlier he bluffed 1NT and ended up playing 4-XX for -2200. Like us they’re not in contention anymore.

After I pick up my hand things take a rather unexpected turn.

South
KQ8
AQJ862
AKQ
5
W
N
E
S
P
2
X
2
P
P
?

Is he psyching? What would you bid?

I finally emerge with a double, 3NT surely won’t run away.

South
KQ8
AQJ862
AKQ
5
W
N
E
S
P
2
X
2
P
P
X
3
4
P
?

Unfortunately it turns out that 3NT does run away at times. Why didn’t I just bid 3NT the round before?

Well, apparently he really is psyching, not a nice position to be in now! I try 4 in the hope that partner might bid 4 or 4NT which I could pass. But my luck isn’t in as partner raises to 5. Well, what else but to close proceedings with 6NT now? No one doubles and West leads a heart.

North
J7
K
10872
KQ10763
South
KQ8
AQJ862
AKQ
5
W
N
E
S
P
2
X
2
P
P
X
3
4
P
4
P
5
P
6NT
P
P
P

My thoughts at the table:

1. Well, I’ve been in better contracts.

2. Why didn’t partner bid something over 2 ?

3. There will be enough time to argue after I try my best to make this contract.

4. This does have more chances than the 7-X from before!

5. The nitty-gritty of playing silly contracts is to conceal that you’re playing one from the opponents. This time it’s much easier than playing 4 having opened a strong 2NT with a singleton spade in dummy!

6. I should really start making a plan now. At least I’m not doubled, thus the aces are split.

 

How do you play?

Seeing this on a computer screen it’s probably easy, but at the table the most important thing is not to look desperate, giving the show away.

To make this I’ll need a club trick, so the first thing to do is to play the club king. But if I look surprised once it holds the opponents will know the issue. So I tank for a bit more to give the opponent holding the A time to prepare himself, then I play the K, noting casually it holds. I then smoothly switch to the J. When East wins the ace and plays back a diamond I can claim after finding out that hearts break. Whew!

West
52
10973
943
A984
North
J7
K
10872
KQ10763
East
A109643
54
J65
J2
South
KQ8
AQJ862
AKQ
5
W
N
E
S
 
P
2
X
2
P
P
X
3
4
P
4
P
5
P
6N
P
P
P
D
1
6NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
K
5
2
1
1
0
K
2
5
4
1
2
0
J
A
8
2
2
2
1
6
A
3
2
3
3
1
4

Perhaps East should have gotten it right, but as he told me afterwards he placed me with Axx in clubs making sure they weren’t 4-0. Of course this only worked because West was ethical enough to not hesitate, even for a flicker. If he had done so East would have gone right, as there was no serious BIT. East's actions would be all reasonable, there would be no redress, and no one would talk about this board anymore. Kudos!

Later it turns out that East wasn’t psyching but that they just had a bidding mix-up. My partner wasn't sure what our agreements were over 2 and passed because of that. Funnily enough there were four other pairs also playing slam, two of them making. But as they got a spade lead and likely diamond continuation they most probably didn't have to touch both black suits with diamonds 3-3, so my story is still better! ;)

See: http://db.eurobridge.org/repository/competitions/17Samorin/microsite/Asp/BoardAcross.asp?qboard=001.27..1430Playing

Playing with your regular partner and having firm agreements is certainly the more effective way of playing Bridge, but getting interesting and sometimes crazy declarer play problems is fun too. And you genuinely get to value the small things in life like declaring with more trumps than your opponents.

In the end POLAND (Wojciech Kazmierczak, Akadiusz Majcher, Piotr Marcinowski, Kamil Nowak, Mateusz Sobczak, Jakub Zawada) placed 3rd, FRANCE (Julien Bernard, Baptiste Combescure, Edouard Du Corail, Gregoire Lafont, Florian Liehrmann, Thomas Sanchez) placed 2nd while SWEDEN (Ida Grönkvist, Mikael Grönkvist, Simon Hult, Mikael Rimstedt, Ola Rimstedt, Adam Stokka) won the tournament comfortably by more than a match. Congratulations!

Kudos in particular to Mikael and Ola Rimstedt, playing almost all matches and scoring a whopping 1.5/IMPs in the Butler. And even though it perhaps shouldn’t be something to note, kudos to Ida Grönkvist for competing in the open U26 and making a spot on such a strong team. I’m happy this was achieved by someone who gave a lot to the bridge world by courageously initiating the sexism debate, raising awareness, and preparing the ground for a slow change in atmosphere and attitude.

 

 

All results can be found here:

http://db.eurobridge.org/repository/competitions/17samorin/microsite/results.htm

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