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In my spare time finally I scanned the 1344 (60x18+44x6) hands from the IMP pairs finals (half kidding). I share the most exciting ones. (Spoiler: the last is the best.)

First day, first session, board 20.


7 out of the 18 East-West played in 5 diamonds and none of the six Souths led the singleton club. On a heart lead, both the 3 no trumps and the 5 diamonds are hopeless but most of the North-South pairs bid heavily the boss suit, and when the opposition played they led their spades. Looking at the results, we can see that there were two good heart leads against the 5 diamonds. In the other five cases South led the spade, the declarer finessed the queen successfully and North took the trick with the ace. At his point only Gyula Argay found the killing Ace of club, for a well deserved 4,41 IMPS:


The other four declarers could run away with their contract after another successful finesse, the second time being against the jack of clubs, taking 8,94 or 6,00 IMPS depending on the double coming or not, respectively.

5 minors was a hot topic that weekend. The question was if you find the good game here:


Two of the possible solutions:


Szalka-Czimer are members of the Galim, one of the strongest teams in Hungary. They use a precision system, developed by Csaba. Afterward the big club East asked and received the information of West having:

  • 8-12HCP, 5+ (2)
  • 64 short spades (3)
  • 8-10HCP, void in spades (3)
  • No aces out of the five (4)

Or, as you see in the next link, you can do it in a much more practical way, as the young lady bid it with her partner:


Back to the play. I vote this as the most exciting board in the whole weekend. First day, second session:


7 of the 18 East-Wests bid the slam. One pair employed precision, three Easts opened 2NT with the 19, three Easts compensated later. (More pairs tried to find the slam and as is frequently the case, a few landed in exotic contracts like 4 spades and 5 clubs. There is even a 5 no trumps which is otherwise considered as the rarest contracts of all.)

From the 7 slams, one was solved at the first trick. North led away from his spade holding therefore the declarer had simply no other choice than to let it run to the queen, thus the contract was made. The spade lead was much more successful at another table, where it was made by South and the declarer had no chance. At one table the declarer decided to guess the jack of clubs in the second trick, and she was not lucky.

I would like now to show you the other four plays. Let’s start with Peter Bárczy, whom I believe played the best from all of the declarers:


After getting the information that South has 9 red cards, he finessed the jack against the long club, two down. Unfortunately IMP Pairs is not always the fairest form of competition.

The other three declarers started to work on clubs right away. Daniel Vikor was allowed to hold the trick with the queen of clubs, by Judith Sándor. What a great play from North!


Daniel finessed the jack back, lost the trick, and now it was all pressure on South, who did not see that a squeeze was coming. A spade now would have broken the entries, but South chose the “safe” heart and Daniel had made no mistake. The great hold up play vanished from their sights.

At our table the queen of clubs was taken and the safe heart did not help again:


With a precisely executed Vienna Coup, Dumbovich could play all of his chances: 50% for finding the jack of clubs and the doubleton jack of club together. In his case the 50% (okay, 50% minus epsilon) wasn’t a good finesse, but the chance of having the king of spades and the jack of clubs in one hand. As you can see he made his contract with the side chance.

However you can defend against this as Gábor Macskásy did, and I do think he had the last word to this board:


He visualized the problem already in the second trick and made it hard for the declarer to solve. So what would have played Dumbovich from the dummy after receiving the club return remains a mystery… but having no more Vienna, the finesse seems to be the percentage play.

On the second day, Czímer-Szalka took the lead early and led the field at the break. They had bidded very effectively with their precision on board 17 again:


This time it was Szalka who asked, and after the artificial game force two clubs, received this information:

  • Clubs or Bal (2)
  • 5, 5+ (3)
  • Short diamonds (3)

So he could bid a slam try in clubs (3) which was encouraged by the 4 and there came an RKC in clubs (4).

No other pair was able to find the good grand slam, one pair unfortunately didn’t even bid the small (shame on me).

The last board I would like to show is the only one not in the order of play, a little dessert:


You have to be careful to catch the predator, but croco is there in time to eat my king and thus to save my jack… (we still had 8 cards in our hands, what an endplay!) While I confess that I have never seen a crocodile live, It worth to give it a thought or two, why and how it worth a trick and what could have happened without it. Too bad that the green evil appeared only for the second undertrick, it was underpaid with the 3,6 IMPs we received.

I hope you enjoyed. I found that it definitely is valuable to have all the boards from all the tables registered with the bid and the play at an important event. (Or even in a club. Wink)

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