Pesky 5 level preempt … Israel verus Italy
Italy ended up defeating Israel in this fourteen round European Open Teams match by 68 to 33. After thirteen matches Group A was in a big bunch at the top. Bulgaria led by 1 with 238 VP, followed by Israel and Turkey with 237 and Italy with 235. This match moved Italy to the top of the table and Israel down to fifth place.
For all the results (and a wonderful running score) click on RESULTS. The Europeans have a great website (with many features from the World Championships, I believe.)
I was thinking about how wonderful it would be to have this same system available for major events in North America. (the team trials, the big team championships for example).
The biggest swing was a 17 imp win for Italy on Board 12.
I think that most West’s would open 5♣ in first chair at favourable vulnerability. When the great dealer gives you eight good clubs at this vulnerability you just can’t pass up the opportunity to mess around with the opponent’s auction. Both East’s opened 5♣and both North’s doubled. Now look at the South hand and decide what to you would do. Diamond seems like the right spot from your hand. Imagine doubler with a classic takeout double (well classic for the one level anyway!) Say
The diamond slam is pretty cold and the spade slam is problematic. Partner might not even have four spades. One of the problems is that for a double at the five level partner just has to have high cards. He doesn’t have to have support for any suit. It is as much for penalty as for takeout. What would partner do with?
Because of the variety of hand partner can have there is no clearcut action. One thing you do know is that partner has high cards and so do you. Slam seems a real possibilty for your side. So you could jump to 6♦. (5♦ would be pretty wimpy.) In the Open Room that is what Padon the Israeli South did. On the actual deal a 4-2 diamond split would have seen him home. Even a 5-1 split with a stiff ♦10. And there are some “trump coup” chances even if the ten is not singleton. But a 6-0 split was too much for him to handle. And down he went.
Another choice is to treat the hand as a two-suiter and bid 6♣. If partner bids hearts you will correct to 6♠. And that is what Madala did for Italy in the Closed Room.
In the long run is this the best course of action? I am not sure. But it certainly was on Board 12. Unlike the diamonds which were 6-0 the spades were 3-1. And the void diamond hand was on lead. In fact if North had chosen to bid 6♠ rather than 6♥ than Italy might well have been defeated. West will double for an unusual lead and I am SURE East would have found a diamond lead.
I am not being judgmental here. Bidding over 5♣ is not easy! And today the slot machine paid off the Italians to the tune of 17 imps.