Join Bridge Winners
USBF Junior/Pro Charity Match, part one
(Page of 11)

On Sunday, December 21, BBO hosted a charity challenge match, raising money for the Alzheimer's Association. For more information, see Lindsey Weinger's post about the event.

 

Each team fielded two expert-junior pairs.

For LVBRIDGEBUMS:

Barry Goren played with Michael Hu, 11, a new member of the USBF Junior program.

Curtis Cheek partnered Ben Kristensen, 16. He was on the Under-21 silver-medaling USA-1 team at the World Junior Championships in Istanbul in August.

For SCAPROS:

Bob Hamman and Kevin Rosenberg were partners. Kevin, 17, was Ben's partner on the silver-medaling team in Istanbul.

Bart Bramley played with Edmund Wu, 24, who also played in Istanbul on the Under-26 USA-2 team.

 

The 16-board match was contested in two 8-board segments. Each junior sat in the same seat as an expert at the other table, which allowed them to directly compare their play with an expert.

The action started on the first board. Cheek and Rosenberg held:

North
A10832
A106
985
53

With no one vulnerable, they heard partner open 1 in second seat and rebid 2NT over their 1 response. Cheek elected not to check back, simply bidding 3NT. Rosenberg bid 3—“intended as NMF”—then 3NT over partner’s 3, which ended the auction.

North
A10832
A106
985
53
South
KJ9
KQ73
A4
AQ74

Kristensen and Hamman declared 3NT here (hands rotated) on the lead of the 3 to the 9 and queen. Plan the play.

North
A10832
A106
985
53
South
KJ9
KQ73
A4
AQ74

Kristensen won the A and crossed to the A at trick two. He led a spade to the jack and queen, hoping that if the spade finesse lost, Wu would not find the diamond continuation. Unfortunately, Wu had no problem, and when diamonds split 5-3, Kristensen was down one: -50.

Hamman ducked the opening lead and won the K continuation perforce, Goren following with the 2. Hamman now played the king, queen, and ace of hearts, the hearts dividing 3-3. Hamman exited with a diamond. Goren won and cashed two more rounds, as Hamman carefully unblocked the J. The position was now:

 

Goren
Q74
J9
Dummy
A1083
5
East
Hamman
K9
7
AQ
D

Goren shifted to a club, and Hamman had nine tricks: +400 drew first blood for SCAPROS, who led by 10 IMPs.

Shifting to the 7 would have given Hamman a harder time, but he could have gotten home in one of two ways: He could have won the K in hand and eventually finessed against Goren’s Q. More likely, he could have cashed his heart and spade winners ending in dummy, and when the queen didn’t drop, taken the winning club finesse at trick 12.

The full deal:

West
Q74
952
J10632
J9
North
A10832
A106
985
53
East
65
J84
KQ7
K10862
South
KJ9
KQ73
A4
AQ74
D

Take Kristensen’s cards on board 2 and test your defense (hands rotated).

West
A842
K8
Q10843
96
North
QJ973
943
AJ6
107
East
South
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
X
2
3
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
9
10
J
A
3
1
0
6
2
Q
K
2
1
1
Q
K
6
7
3
2
1
10
A
3
5
0
2
2
4

Kristensen (West), led the 9 against Bramley's 3. (click PLAY to see the cards played to the first few tricks).

What now?

 

 

A diamond shift seems correct, with the spade danger in dummy. Kristensen shifted to the 3, to dummy’s ace, Cheek’s 7, and declarer’s 5. Bramley tried to cash the J, but Cheek ruffed with the 2, overruffed with the 4.

Bramley now led the 2, and you?

This was the position as Bramley led the 2:

West
4
K8
Q1084
Dummy
97
943
J6

Kristensen discarded his last spade, but declarer ruffed in dummy and led a high spade. Cheek ruffed with the A, but Bramley discarded his last diamond and only had to lose one more heart for +140. The full deal:

West
A842
K8
Q10843
96
North
QJ973
943
AJ6
107
East
K5
A2
K97
QJ8543
South
106
QJ10765
52
AK2
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
X
2
3
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

It would not have helped for Cheek to discard instead of ruffing with the A: Kristensen could ruff low, but with the top trumps split, Bramley would have just one more trick to lose. Cheek’s defense would have succeeded if Kristensen held the J in addition to the king.

Counterintuitively, Kristensen needed to ruff high on the third round of clubs. Then the defense could cash a diamond and the ace of trumps would be the setting trick.

In the Open Room, Hu (South) declared the same contract. After a club lead to his ace, he led the 10. Hamman (West) won his ace and continued with the 8—suit preference for diamonds—to Rosenberg’s king. Shifting to diamonds now would have defeated the contract, but Rosenberg led back a club, hoping to promote a trump trick in Hamman’s hand on the third round of the suit.

Hu won the club and played another. In this variation, too, the winning defense was to ruff high, but Hamman discarded a spade. Hu tried to cash the J, ruffed by Rosenberg and overruffed, then played a diamond to the ace and a fourth spade, duplicating the position above. Rosenberg discarded, Hu threw his losing diamond, and Hamman ruffed low. With the remaining trumps 1-1 he lost only one more trick for +140 and a push.

SCAPROS still led 10-0.

This was board 3:

West
J103
7643
7652
K2
North
A5
AJ1092
KQ8
QJ7
East
KQ74
85
AJ1093
A5
South
9862
KQ
4
1098643
D

In the Open Room, Hu opened the North hand 1NT, Hamman overcalled 2 to show diamonds plus a major, and Goren became declarer at 5, which failed by 2 tricks: -100.

In the Closed Room, Bramley opened 1 and Kristensen (East) and Wu (South) did something very strange for juniors: they passed. Michael Rosenberg, who was commentating, described Kristensen’s pass as “old school.” Cheek in the passout seat had nothing to say, so 1 became the final contract. The defense did well to hold Bramley to 8 tricks, but that was +110 and 5 IMPs to SCAPROS, giving them a 15-0 lead.

LVBRIDGEBUMS struck back on the next board:

West
10953
AJ3
3
QJ763
North
AK86
KQ4
AK76
104
East
QJ2
5
QJ985
9852
South
74
1098762
1042
AK
D

In the Open Room, Hu (North) and Goren (South) had the auction to themselves and bid:

W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
2NT
P
3
P
4
P
P
P

Slam was never in the picture, and Goren made 11 tricks for +650.

In the Closed Room, North-South did not have a free run.

W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
X
XX
1
3
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

After the support redouble, Wu bid an aggressive 3 then cooperated with Bramley’s slam-try, which was enough to convince Bramley to drive to slam. Slam is poor due to South’s doubleton club, but it is not clear that anyone did anything wrong.

Cheek led the Q, and Wu gave it his all. He showed good technique by leading the 6 on the first round of trumps, preserving the deuce. This would have made dummy’s 4 an entry if trumps had divided 2-2. He eventually ruffed a spade and played for a pointed-suit squeeze, but he was always going to fall one trick short. -100 sent 13 IMPs to LVBRIDGEBUMS, now trailing by only 2 IMPs.

Board 5:

West
J75
Q10
987542
KQ
North
K98
865432
Q10
93
East
10432
AK7
AK6
A108
South
AQ6
J9
J3
J76542
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0

The auction was identical at both tables, and Kristensen and Hamman became declarer at 3NT.

In the Closed Room, Wu led a fourth-best club, and when diamonds split 2-2, Kristensen took 12 tricks for +490.

Goren, who prides himself on his opening leads, put the A on the table and held Hamman to 10 tricks: 2 IMPs to LVBRIDGEBUMS, which tied the match at 15 IMPs apiece.

Try this problem. With only the opponents vulnerable, you hold:

South
AK64
107
6
AQJ1085

RHO deals and opens 2NT.

What call do you make?

If you pass, so does everyone else. What do you lead against 2NT?

This was the full deal:

West
J5
9865
J874
942
North
109873
42
A9532
6
East
Q2
AKQJ3
KQ10
K73
South
AK64
107
6
AQJ1085
D

Goren overcalled 3 and played it there, making 10 tricks for +130.

Wu passed and led the Q against 2NT. This gave declarer a sixth trick, but that was all, and he finished down 2. “Good sacrifice,” Bramley quipped, “We can make 5.” -200 meant 2 IMPs to SCAPROS, back in the lead.

An improvement on opening lead is to cash a top spade, because you still have time shift to clubs if necessary, and upon seeing dummy and partner’s signal, you might decide to follow a different line of defense. Here, best defense nets +300, taking 5 spades, 1 diamond, and 2 clubs.

The defense can almost collect 400 via a squeeze (five rounds of spades forces declarer to release a heart winner), but the presence of the J and 9 in dummy means that declarer can discard a heart honor from hand, creating an entry to dummy. If the defense cashes its diamond trick early, dummy’s J becomes the fifth trick, but if they do not take their diamond, they cannot endplay declarer into losing two more clubs—he just exits in diamonds. Because North has a singleton club, down three is all that’s available.

This was board 7:

West
109
K9
QJ10862
AQ3
North
6542
82
93
J9854
East
7
AJ10763
AK5
1062
South
AKQJ83
Q54
74
K7
D

Open Room:

W
N
E
S
1
2
3
X
4
P
P
5
P
P
P

After Goren (South) opened the bidding, Hu took his life in his hands with an ultralight vulnerable preemptive raise. Although 4 could have gone for 1100, neither opponent could reasonably find a double, and the Goren-Hu barrage prevented East-West from investigating slam. Rosenberg (West) made 12 tricks for +620.

Closed Room:

W
N
E
S
1
2
P
2
X
P
3
4
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

Bramley’s (North's) more cautious pass allowed Kristensen (East) to paint a much clearer picture of his hand. By cuebidding and then introducing his hearts, he showed a hand too strong for a nonforcing 2 bid. Realizing this, Cheek made the key bid of 5, and Kristensen had no problem jumping to slam.

Bramley led a spade. The most challenging defense is two rounds of spades, but that was difficult for Wu to see, so he won the first spade and shifted to a trump. Cheek won the Q in hand, crossed to dummy’s A, all following, and played K, A, ruff. When hearts split 3-2, he had 12 tricks and +1370.

13 imps to LVBRIDGEBUMS, who took the lead for the first time: 28-17.

The first half ended with board 8:

West
AQ94
J107
765
Q109
North
105
AQ85
K32
K864
East
KJ876
K3
J108
J32
South
32
9642
AQ94
A75
D

Open Room:

W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
2
P
P
X
XX
3
P
P
3
P
P
P

Closed Room:

W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
2
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

The Open Room auction seems reasonable. Declarer, Hamman, finished down 2. -100 figured to be a decent result, since North-South can make 3.

In the Closed Room, Wu (South) was overly timid. Bramley’s free 2 bid guarantees four-card support, so at least competing to 3 over 2 seems indicated. Cheek’s sequence allowed the opponents more room to bid, but that wound up benefitting his side because both opponents felt “bid out” over 2. It doesn’t always pay to crowd the auction.

After a trump lead, Kristensen (East) drew a second round ending in dummy and did well to lead a diamond, hoping the defense would guess hearts for him. Sure enough, South won and shifted to a heart, but with both honors onside, good technique had to be its own reward. Kristensen had the same 7 tricks as Hamman, but he was a level lower, so LVBRIDGEBUMS won 2 IMPs.

At the half, LVBRIDGEBUMS led 30-17.

To be continued...

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