Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Bridge at the World Sports Mind Games – Canada versus Italy … you have to see this (Part 1)

I wasn’t planning to write this match up until tomorrow morning and this may be a bit perfunctory because my fingers are too tired to type properly but this was a game I couldn’t leave and I just had to write it up.  So you can guess that it was exciting and that the Canadians did pretty well.

This was a very well played match by and large and not many imps changed hands.

Let’s start back at board 17, the first board.  North-South have 27 HCP and a 5-3 heart fit but 4♥ needs a fair bit of luck.  3NT is the better contract.  The Italians in the Open Room ignored their heart fit and played in 3NT but the Canadians got to 4♥.  They needed the ♥Q doubleton missing 5 but they had the luck and made it.

The teams played the next seven boards with no imps changing hands except for a 1 or 2 every now and again.  Not that there weren’t interesting deals.

For example on this deal Italy found the perfect defence to beat 2◊ two tricks for +200.  It may not seem that hard but it was not found at least at some other tables.

Board 20 Both vulnerable Dealer West

  Dan Jacob  
  ♠ J32  
  ♥ K965  
  ◊ Q76432  
Nunes ♣ — Fantoni
♠ K876   ♠ A4
♥ J7   ♥ AQ102
◊ J10   ◊ K5
♣ J9542 Robert Lebi ♣ K10763
  ♠ Q1095  
  ♥ 843  
  ◊ A98  
  ♣ AQ8  

Noone vulnerable

Nunes Jacob Fantoni Lebi
pass pass 1♣ pass
1♥ pass 1NT pass
pass 2◊ all pass  

Fantoni started the ♠A and continued a spade to the king.  Spades are the only lead that beats it.  Now Nunes has to shift to a heart .  He shifted to the ♥J and the defence took three round of hearts and lead a fourth round allowing Nunes to ruff in.  Only now did Nunes play a spade giving Fantoni a ruff for down 2.  Not complicated.  Just perfect.

Both pairs got to a power slam in diamonds which was missed by some in the field.

With the score 5-1 for Italy along came Board 24 the eighth board.

Board 24 Nobody vulnerable Dealer West

  ♠ 42  
  ♥ AQ86  
  ◊ 6432  
Fergami ♣ 964 L’Ecuyer
♠ J7653   ♠ AK109
♥ 974   ♥ void
◊ KJ   ◊ AQ975
♣ AK3 Duboin ♣ J752
  ♠ Q8  
  ♥ KJ10532  
  ◊ 108  
  ♣ Q108  
Fergami Sementa L’Ecuyer Duboin
1♠ pass 2NT* pass
3NT* pass 4◊ pass
4♠   all pass

Fergami opend 1♠ with a minimum hand and L’Ecuyer bid Jacoby 2NT.  Fergami’s 3NT likely showed a balanced minimum.  When L’Ecuyer bid 4◊ Fergami knew he had the needed club control but that was about it.  With no heart to cuebid, he had to bid passed game to show clubs and who can fault him for just bidding 4♠.  It was hard for L’Ecuyer to bid now.  The problem was that they could be off 3 clubs and even the five level might be too high.  Perhaps that is a bit pessimistic.

The problem lies in the system.  The partnership never found out about the the three little hearts opposite the void that made the hand fit so well.  Ray and I have a slightly different system.  2NT is a slam try, 3♠ by opener shows a balanced hand.  4♣ is an asking bid in clubs and after East shows the top two clubs East is probably thinking of seven.   Some commentators suggested some kind of splinter.   I am not recommending any particular system but it is disappointing not to get to slam on this hand.  The Italians started with a weak notrump and found the spade fit of course.  After that I they used asking bids of some sort to get to the slam.

Canada was now down 16-1.

I have officially run out of steam… the rest of the story tomorrow morning.

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