Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

A Visit to Westport NZ and the end of the story in Beijing

We spent the afternoon and early evening driving to Westport a seaside town in the Northwest of the South Island of New Zealand. We managed to find a few more geocaches on the way.

When we last left the World Championships we had just Board 12. There had been action on almost every board and the event was still in doubt in both the Senior and Women’s competition.

On Board 13 China got to 3H. After the opening lead the hand could not be defeated on the lie of the cards, but once again a Chinese declarer misplayed a hand. This time Sun could afford two but not three heart losers missing the AJ8XX. Sun had Q10 alone in dummy and K97652 in hand. When she decided to play a heart to the H10 she left herself open to the potential of losing the HJ, HA and a ruff. Had she played the HQ, unless the defense has an immediate ruff she cannot go down when hearts break 3-2 and on some 4-1 breaks. After losing the H10 to the HJ, the defenSe was able to set up a ruff and score it when in on the HA. This was 6imps to England.

But on board 14 the Chinese struck back. They bid a slam in a rather haphazard manner. The English however did even worse. Here is the slam. Ray who is our resident Acol expert will describe it for you.


S AK10


H AQJ853



D 75









S QJ53



H K9



D KJ62



C 1063

Smith opened the North hand 2H in fourth chair. This showed a strong hand with hearts (we assume along the lines of an Acol 2-bid). 2NT was a positive and we think it showed spades (since 2S was a negative). 3S we think is a spade raise and then 4H was preference back to hearts. The problem was that South never really showed the quality of her hand with fitting cards and 10HCP. While 6H is only about 50% on a diamond lead, 6NT from the South hand is almost a guarantee. To be fair the Italians also missed slam on what looked to us to be a very strange auction but they were way ahead and maybe they were just playing it safe.

Going into Board 15 the second last deal England’s lead had been reduced to 11 imps over the Chinese ladies. While in the Senior where the last two boards had seen no swings the USA lead Japan by 10 imps.

It was not over yet. Board 15 was quiet in the ladies but not in the Seniors. Our records are confused but somehow Lev who was vulnerable found himself in 3D doubled. He did have seven very good diamonds and a side king but Eisenberg’s hand was no use at all and he went for 800. So while 3NT did make at the other table for 400, it was still a 9 imp loss which meant that the US entered the last board up by only 1 imps.

On Board 16 North-South have 25 high cards. They just have one tiny problem there is no where to play the hand. They have lots of tricks in notrump but there heart stopper in Q2 opposite the 4. 4S is the best shot with S AJ853 S92. But the spades don’t break among other things so no game makes. In the Seniors it didn’t seem so terrible when both teams got to 4S but not vulnerable the USA went three down and Japan went only 1 down. Checking the imp scale a difference of 100 is 3 imps. 3 imps! 2 to many for the US. Who lost the match USA 200 – Japan 202. So in the end Japan who had originally lead by 11, were able to come back and win the match by 2 imp.

Now you recall that England was up by 11 imps playing the last hand. This time both teams got to 3NT. England went 1 down when the Chinese cashed out their heart tricks. But at the other table an unnamed English player holding H K10853 lead a heart to her partner’s HA and when her partner returned the H7 ducked declarer’s HQ despite seeing 7 diamonds to th AKJ in dummy. In fact we draw a veil over this deal and just say that declarer was now able to take 10 tricks when the defense discarded properly and this potential extra overtrick was very important because 430 and 50 was only worth 10 imps and not the 11 China needed to tie the match.

So England won by 1 imps in a final stanza that was not all that well played. Still when the medals were handed out it was the English anthem that was played.

Has a World Championships ever been this exciting and this close! Two events decided on the last board and by the slimmest of margins.

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