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USA2 Semifinal, Day 2

Starting the second day of the USA2 semifinal, DIAMOND had received an early concession, and FLEISHER led DWYER by 48 IMPs, 145-97.

IMPs were scored on each of the first eight boards: 11 IMPs to DWYER when Rosenberg failed to find the killing lead against a game, 10 IMPs back to FLEISHER after a missed vul game, 13 to DWYER when a slam on a hook failed, but the most dramatic was:

Moss
43
Q105
108432
AQ7
Cohler
Q106
A963
J75
J102
Grue
AKJ987
742
K96
3
Cohen
52
KJ8
AQ
K98654
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
X
P
P
P
D
8
3NTX North
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
8
10
A
1
1
0
J
3
K
A
0
1
1
3
10
J
2
2
1
2
K
5
4
6
2
1
3
A
4
8
Q
2
1
4
9
5
4
5
2
1
5
7
J
2
7
2
1
6
8
6
3
2
2
1
7
4
K
5
3
3
2
7
8
Q
10
6
0
2
8
Q
4 tricks claimed
N/S -1100
11

In the other room, Rosenberg-Pepsi played a quiet 3, down one. Against Cohler in 3NTx, the defense "made 3NT," taking nine tricks for +1100 and 14 IMPs to FLEISHER. The segment score was 41-30 in FLEISHER's favor, extending their lead to 59 IMPs with 45 boards to play.

The last board of the segment was an identical 5x down three by West at three tables. At the fourth:

Lewis
Q43
A1098762
Q
83
Goldberg
AKJ9
Q3
J10943
64
Disa
765
KJ5
A6
J10752
S Moss
1082
4
K8752
AKQ9
W
N
E
S
1
3
X
4
5
P
6
P
P
P
D
15
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
A
5
2
1
1
0
3
6
K
Q
3
2
0
10
4
9
6
3
3
0
8
Q
K
7
1
4
0
J
12 tricks claimed
N/S +1370
5

Either defender could have beaten 6 by taking her ace, but when Disa failed to rise A, declarer was able to play three rounds of spades, pitching her heart loser: +1370 and 13 IMPs to JENKINS, ahead of DISA 25-15 after the first segment of the final.

In the second stanza, Cohen and Cohler came out with a take-no-prisoners attitude. They bid a great 7 on the second board of the set, which required hearts 2-2 or spades 3-2. Neither of those suits broke, so declarer needed to fall back on a club finesse. Unfortunately for him, he had received a club lead through dummy's AQx at trick one and hadn't known he needed the finesse then: -50, 14 IMPs to FLEISHER. On the following deal the same pair bid a small slam that was considerably worse than a finesse, but the opponents' cards were friendly: 13 IMPs to DWYER.

Next, both Easts in the Open match tried a light third-seat 1 opening, vul, KJ108x and an ace, 5=3=2=3. They ended in 1NT down three for a push. Both Easts in the Women's match passed and defended a partscore for a push.

DWYER had made a bit of headway midway through the set, but three rapid-fire double-digit swings to FLEISHER set them back. Here was one of them:

Fleisher
K9
9763
AQ9
AJ53
Becker
AJ7643
K2
4
K642
Martel
A105
KJ108765
Q87
Kamil
Q10852
QJ84
32
109
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
3NT
4
P
P
4NT
P
P
P
D
25
4NT West
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
5
Q
K
0
0
1
9
4
J
3
2
0
2
Q
9
10 tricks claimed
E/W +630
3

Fleisher and, after an identical auction in the Women's match, Jenkins, did well to bid 4NT over 4. The only lead that could have given them any trouble was the unlikely K, but even then, declarer can succeed by ducking one round of the suit, then taking the club finesse. Both Norths led a spade, so there was no issue. Both other teams saved in 5x as North, down one: 11 IMPs to FLEISHER and JENKINS. (5 is also cold on the layout. A heart lead is most threatening, but declarer can duck once, and the fall of the 109 gives declarer a third club trick.)

At the three-quarter mark, FLEISHER led by 77 IMPs, 232-155.

There weren't many IMPs scored in the seventh segment. The only big swing was 10 IMPs to DWYER when Cohen-Cohler bid a game that Fleisher-Martel did not. DWYER won the set 15-8 to cut its deficit to 70 IMPs.

The first board of the final segment, FLEISHER won 11 IMPs, upping its lead to 81. DWYER rallied, but they never made it close. The USA2 final will pit DIAMOND against FLEISHER.

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