Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Round 7 of the World Sports Mind Games – the story of a little deal

Remember in the Robert Darvas book RIght Through the Pack how each playing card had a story?  Perhaps the same is true about each deal in a world championship.

I thought it might be interesting to pick out an interesting deal or two from the seventh round and just look at those deals as they played out in a number of matches.  Here is the first.  Let’s call it ” the story of a little deal”.

Board 1 of Round 7 was first and foremost about bidding (and system) but the play did factor in too.  It is one of those quiet boards that no one writes about but it figures into the result.  Here each player has to make “small” decisions and it is the result of those decisions that wins or loses the board.

Board 1 Nobody Vulnerable Dealer North

♠ AKJ98
♥ AJ1074
◊ AJ
♣ K

After two passes it is your turn on Board 1.  How do you handle a strong two-suiter?  Some players like to open 1♠  and then jump shift.  I have an agreement with most partners that they will always respond with and ace or a king and jack.  This hand just seems too strong to me and the high cards in the short suits suggest that it could get passed out.

Let’s see what might happen over a 1♠ bid.   You are now West.  You do have 5-5 in the minors?  Do you enter the auction?   If you passed the hand generally got passed out!  That is exactly what happened to the Dutch ladies when Pony Nehmert passed in second chair.  I remember playing a couple of quarterfinal matches against Pony last year and I noticed that she quite good at making this type of decision.

The Chinese defender in the open teams, Shi, did the same thing to the Netherland’s Ramondt and this was not unusual across the field.

♠ 10
♥ Q5
◊ KQ842
♣ QJ074

If you decide to bid which bid do you make?  I think the only sensible bid is Unusual notrump or whatever you do to show a minor two suiter.  In the match between Germany and Australia in the Open Room West Wladow overcalled 2◊.  In the Closed Room Richman bid 2NT.

We will skip North for the moment and move across to the East hand.  You will see why East’s passes out 1♠ if there is no opposition bidding.

♠ Q7653
♥ 32
◊ 93
♣ A1065

Over 2◊  East will also not act and that leaves the South hand free to bid 3♥ or perhaps 4♥?  Over 3♥ North has an easy 4♥  and North-South arrive in the prime spot.  However on hands where West showed a two suiter; some East became more aggressive and in many cases East-West saved over 4♥ in 5♣.  If North-South just take their plus then this will be a good score for them, collecting a likely 500.  Some North-South continued on to an iffy 5♥.  We will see how that fared in a minute. 


♠ 42
♥ K986
◊ 10765
♣ 832

This was a good hand for those playing a forcing club system.  They don’t have the same type of problem with strong two-suiter.  In the Germany-Netherlands womens match as an example Danny Arnim opened the South hand 1♣ and they had no trouble getting to the top spot.


  ♠ 42  
  ♥ K986  
  ◊ 10765  
Efraimsson ♣ 832 Morath
♠ 10   ♠ Q7653
♥ Q5   ♥ 32
◊ KQ842   ◊ 93
♣ QJ074   ♣ A1065
  ♠ AKJ98  
  ♥ AJ1074  
  ◊ AJ  
  ♣ K  

Of course, the bidding factored into the play.  I can see how North-South goes down in 5♥ but how do they go down in 4♥?  In the match between Russia and Sweden that is just what happened to Russia.  Here the bidding had gone

Efraimsson Gromov Morath Dubinin
  pass pass 1♣*
2NT pass 4♣ DBL
pass 4♥ all pass  

Efraimsson led a top diaomdn and Dubinin won with the ace.  He crossed to dummy in hearts and quite reasonably took the heart finesse.  Efraimsson cashed a top diamond and switched to a club won by Morath with the ace.  Now Dusinin was tight and he had to set up the spade suit.  Morath now returned the ♠ 5 when Dubinin rose with the ♠A, Efraimsson dropped the ♠10.

Examining there convention card I see that they lead second and fourth through declarer. 

Efraimsson-Morath convention card

So what does this mean?  Could Efraimsson be 5-4-2-2?  Sure, why not over a forcing club.  When I play forcing club with Colin players do far crazier things against us than that.  But… is it right to play Efraimsson for exactly the ♠Q10 doubleton because that is the only time that it is right to play the ♠K.  Sure it won’t hurt when Efraimsson has any doubleton but it isn’t needed either.  But that is exactly what Dubinin did and how he (and some others) went down in 4♥.

Without the 2NT bid he would have made it because he very likely would have dropped the ♥Q and with the 2NT bid he should have made it too.

How did some teams fare on this board?

In the Group A match between Pakistan and Estonia Canada got to 4♥  and apparently made 5 but the result in the Open Room was quite strange.  Estonia played in 2♠ making 3.  However did they get to 2♠?  I can’t find anything on their convention card to suggest some weird opening bid.  In any case this gave Canada a nice 7 imp start to their match which they won easily with huge numbers of imps changing hands 72-42.  (It looks more like a BB score).

In the closely fought Ireland-Denmark open match this board was a 1 imp victory for Denmark when both reached 4♥ but Denmark made an uptrick.  While in the Brazil-Trindad Open match Brazil went down in 4♥ but won imps when Trinidad went down 2 in the rare contract of 4♠.

In the China-Netherlands open match China bid and made 4♥ (palying Precision) while the Dutch languished in 1♠.  Despite winning 7 imps on this board the Netherlands went on to defeat china 52-41 in a swingy match.

In the open match between Austria and India, India won 5 imps the hard way defeating 5♥  by two tricks in the open room while making bidding and making exactly 1♠ in the Closed Room.  This board was the beginning of a drilling that India gave to Austria sending them minus.

Finally in the Ukraine-Belgium open match the Ukraine took the right decision and hit 5♣ while in the closed room Belgium was allowed to play 4♥ but failed to make it.  A much needed 11 imps for the Ukraine who went on to “tie” Belgium 46-44 for 15 VP.

1 Comment

Denmark » Football & Poker Legends CupOctober 7th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

[…] Round 7 of the World Sports Mind Games – the story of a little dealIn the closely fought Ireland-Denmark open match this board was a 1 imp victory for Denmark when both reached 4♥ but Denmark made an uptrick. While in the Brazil-Trindad Open match Brazil went down in 4♥ but won imps when Trinidad … […]

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