An Exciting Finale … US Womens Team Trials Final (Part 1)
The US women’s team trials ended last night with an exciting final board finish. But this close match swung back and forth more times than Barry Bonds’ bat. (Maybe you can think of a better metaphor.)
I would like to congratulate both teams for putting on such a wonderful display of solid women’s bridge. Sprung (Joann Sprung, Joann Glasson, Cindy Bernstein, Sally Wheeler, Georgiana Gates and Pat Norman) and Moss (Sylvia Moss, Judy Radin, Lynn Deas, Migry Zur Campanile, Joann Stansby).
Going into the last segment Sprung had a 4 imp lead over Moss and through a series of imps here and there that lead had grown to 6 by Board 88, the first swing board of this segment. Radin-Deas got to a decent non-vulnerable game missed by Glasson-Sprung, which had the virtue of being cold on the lie of the cards.
This brought us to Board 89 all tied up. In the Open Room there was a fair bit of tension during the auction when Radin took a long time to decide what this auction means.
2♦ was a weak two in a major (I don’t think it included a strong option). Normally 2♠ is pass or correct. Usually you have a better hand for hearts than spades. If partner has hearts you are willing to play in 3♥ or even 4♥ but if partner has spades you would rather be lower. But here when Radin corrected to hearts Deas jumped to 4♠. What did that mean? Did she have spade shortness and a super hand for hearts? Was this some kind of slam try? Or was this to play? I usually play that a jump to game over this kind of multi 2♦ that four of either major is to play, regardless of what suit opener has. But maybe that bid wasn’t available to this pair. In any case Radin did pass and all was well. They got to the right game.
Now it was up to the North’s Bernstein and Campanile to find the lead that defeats the contract and in mind this is mostly luck.
For practical purposes in both auctions East showed a weak two in hearts and West jumped to game in spades. What do you lead? (A vulnerable game is at stake so take your time).
Did you pick a diamond – unlucky! You have to lead a club. The club is the entry to the East hand for the heart suit.
After winning a club lead you have the risk of three diamond losers and a heart. Even double dummy, if you start by leading a heart from dummy than South can win and simply return a heart so that can’t work. You could try a diamond and see what happens. The defense wins and returns a trump. Another diamond will meet the same fate. In the end after a club lead you are going to have to rely on the heart finesse or be very lucky in diamonds.
At the table Deas after the club lead tried a diamond off dummy. She won the spade return and in a variation tried the heart finesse losing. When Wheeler returned another heart, she still had no play.
A diamond lead was another story. Campanile led a diamond against Glasson and it proved fatal to the defense who could not BOTH take out the club entry to the hearts and prevent a diamond ruff. 12 imps to Spring who now led 209 to 198.
(to be continued)