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Grand politeness in Tromsø
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The Open Pairs at the European Championships was set up as two days qualifying comprising five 10-board "stanzas" played two boards per table in 5-table sections as a Mitchell, then one day of semis and two days of finals. Two stanzas, then a long break for lunch, then three stanzas. Pairs and screens is a little tricky without playing a barometer like the Swiss pairs and the open teams because if you see the notes from the previous board as east-west, that could create unauthorized information.

Cenk Tunçok and I were playing in the Semi-Final "B" (SFB) on Thursday, 9th July, which means that we did not make the cut to play in Semi-Final "A" (SFA). In SFA, almost half of the pairs go on to the final. Instead, the SFB sent only 6 pairs to the final out of 100+ pairs. This created a strong incentive to get a big game because even the lowest scoring qualifier could still make the final. The conditions also helped protect the seriousness of the (mostly) consolation event; the pairs with the poorest scores were still helping to determine the pairs champion.

In the fourth round of the first stanza, we were playing Board 1 against Mark Dalecki and Maciej Modrzejewski of Poland. They were extremely polite. Even though they got a bad score, they insisted I write up the following hand:

North
AJ82
KJ87
1074
K5
South
5
AQ95
AK865
AQ3
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
5
P
7
P
P
P

I opened 1NT weak, 11-13- with some 10s. Cenk forced game. We play 2 forcing to game (FG is the European abbreviation). This permits a relay structure to find up to fifty five different hands below 3N vs. only 34 with relays starting at 2. So we can pattern out all 4333s, 4432s, 5332s, 5422s and 6322s with a 6-card minor. My 2 showed 4-5 (and 11-13- because it had a 4 card major). Cenk bids 2 relay right-siding the s. The 2N bid shows 4-5 permitting us to right-side that also. A relay revealed a 4432 pattern. Our control ask starts with 0-3 since 88+% of the hands we open 1NT have 3+ controls (A=2, K=1).

The cue bidding is denial cue bidding starting with the longest suits to the shortest with ties going to the highest suits. We only scan for aces and kings at first. At the Nth scan, where N is the number of control cards, we start scanning for queens too. After all the aces, kings and queens are shown or denied in a suit, we scan for jacks. We only scan doubletons once.

So looking at Cenk's hand, he knew my 4 controls had to be the A and two kings. If they are the K and the K, we can make 7NT with the Q or 7 without the Q. When he found I had the two critical kings and no Q, knowing we needed a 60%+ day to qualify, he bid 7 without checking for jacks.

Next: the play 

 

North
AJ82
KJ87
1074
K5
South
5
AQ95
AK865
AQ3
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
5
P
7
P
P
P

The opening lead was the Q. Cenk is at a cross roads. The main choices of lines are 1) a cross ruff, which requires ruffing the third round of diamonds low after drawing at most one round of trumps among other things and 2) establishing diamonds, which requires hearts and diamonds to behave. 3-2 trumps and 3-2 diamonds is the easiest way. The cross-ruff line will fail when East overruffs with the doubleton 10.

Cenk played the K, testing for the singleton 10 which would make the cross ruff line require only three clubs, two diamonds and one spade to hold up. Both followed low. Luckily he abandoned the cross-ruff line which is probably indicated by the diamond queen lead.

He now played the J (to unblock so he can get to his hand after ruffing a diamond) and when trump broke a third round (he can't afford to tap himself to get to the diamonds if trumps are 4-1, but can since they're 3-2). After playing three rounds of clubs pitching a diamond, then playing a second round of diamonds, he claimed. 7 making was worth 90%.

The full hand was 

West
1064
632
QJ2
J1082
North
AJ82
KJ87
1074
K5
East
KQ9
104
93
9764
South
5
AQ95
AK865
AQ3
W
N
E
S
 
1N
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
2N
P
3
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
5
P
7
P
P
P
D
7 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

I was very impressed by the grand politeness shown by our opponents.

Our score card for the stanza: http://www.eurobridge.org/repository/competitions/15Tromso/microsite/Asp/boarddetailspairs.asp?qtournid=1106&qgroupno=7&qroundno=1&qpairid=2194

The hand record: http://www.eurobridge.org/repository/competitions/15Tromso/microsite/hands/01_07_1106.pdf

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