Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Bronze Sucks Less

A lot of people, me included (and Katie Thorpe) agree that both teams should get a bronze medal instead of having to play a third place playoff after losing the semifinal.  Anyway I did commentary on a very close and interesting Venice Cup playoff match between England and the Netherlands.  One had the feeling that this game was important to both teams.  In the end Netherlands prevailed 109 to 91.  I am sure this will make the host country happy but I know a lot of people from England were watching online and they were quite disappointed.  After all England had an excellent round robin finished a strong third while the Netherlands had finished seventh 32 victory points behind.

Going into the third last board, Board 14 the score was within one imp but then disaster!  You would think that in a fairly simple auction that the players would know what their bids means when they have worked hard and practice long and discussed endlessly.  And yet it happens to all top players sometimes.  It is happened to me too many times.  Here is the sequence.  I remember reading a book by Marshall Miles with this saying as the title for his chapter; “There but for the grace of God go I”.

What do you think this sequence means?

West North East South
1 Pass
1 Pass 4

You would think that 3 would be a splinter.  So is 4 a void.  It is hard to imagine what else it could be.  Now let us look at West’s (Dhondy’s hand).





Suppose that you now bid Blackwood and find out that partner has 3 keycards.  What now?  It seems to me that partner is quite likely to have three or four clubs.  Where is the fourth club going?

Give partner





The grand slam needs some work.  It isn’t that terrible.  You might be able to set up a second diamond winner and if that fails you can finesse clubs.  So should you bid the grand slam or not (you are not vulnerable).   You stand to win 500 for 11 if they bid 6 and you bid 7 and it makes.  If it fails you lose 1030 which is 14 imps.  So the grand slam needs to be a fair bit more than 50-50.  Of course partner could have the K instead of the J.  Now the hand is pretty well laydown.

But this all assumes the opponents do bid the small slam.  I have seen a lot of slams missed throughout this championship.  This is not really a power slam.  There is some chance the opponents will play game.  Still I think it is not unreasonable to bid the grand slam.

As it turned out Senior had either made a mistake or come up with a different meaning for the 4 bid.  She actually had the East hand shown but she had a heart instead of the fifth diamond and she has the K instead of the J.  She should have bid 3 .   The result was a 14 imp swing.  The only good news about this is that England lost by 18 imps 109 to 91 so in the end the slam alone was not enough to make a difference.  Her actual hand was






This was definitely not the only slam in the knockout round which was bid by a great team and off too many controls.

Congratulations to the winning team from the Netherlands who played very well throughout and my commiserations to the English team who didn’t quite make it to the podium.

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