Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The Canada-Italy Round 2 Open match at the World Sports Mind Games – Part 2

I have to say that I am very tired this morning.  I think I had only a couple of hours sleep.  There is no way I can do that again tonight.  (well maybe …)

When we left the match Canada was trailing Italy by 16 imps to 1 in a tight and well played match.   We are at Board 26 (of 32) and the Canadians were about to mount a comeback.

L’Ecuyer and Fergami play a 5 card majors and 2/1 with variable notrump 11-14 non-vulnerable in first or second and 14-16 otherwise.

Board 26 Both Vulnerable Dealer East

  ♠ QJ4  
  ♥ A87  
  ◊ KQ543  
Fergami ♣ 83 L’Ecuyer
♠ AK5   ♠ 976
♥ Q109654   ♥ void
◊ 6   ◊ AJ1097
♣ AQ6 Duboin ♣ J10752
  ♠ 10832  
  ♥ KJ32  
  ◊ 82  
  ♣ K94  
Fergami Sementa L’Ecuyer Duboin
    pass pass
1♥ pass 1NT* pass
2♣ all pass  

The key decision in this auction is what to bid over the semi-forcing notrump.  It is interesting that Fergami chose to rebid his three card club suit rather than his six card heart suit.   Checking their card I see nothing special about this auction so this is a decision that he made.

Nick L’Ecuyer

5♣ has good chances here but at least the partnership didn’t play hearts.  And  L’Ecuyer might have raised clubs but he doesn’t have many high card points and the hearts void is not appealing.  This contract was straightforward and Nick ended up making four for +130.

Let’s see what happened in the open room.  Here Fantoni play a more complex system with two-way bids but in this auction.  1NT shows 0-9 with no four card major.  He really had much the same information as L’Ecuyer.

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

Nunes made the reasonable decision to bid 2♥ and that is where they played.  No club game for them.

Claudio Nunes

It seems to me that it isn’t that hard to make 2♥ on the lie of the cards.  Declarer has two spade tricks, two club tricks and a diamond trick off the top and needs on three trump ticks.  It seems like he should manage that.

Let’s follow the play. Dan Jacoby found a good lead with the ♠Q.  Nunes won the ace and started off well by leading the ♥10 South winning the ♥J as North plays the critical ♥8.  Now Robert Lebi returned a diamond and Jacobs playing the ◊Q while Nunes won the ◊A.  Now Nunes played a club to the  ♣Q.  This was not best on the lie of the cards.  Was he hoping that Dan would take the ♣Q giving him the club suit?

Had he played the ♣J he almost certainly would have made the hand but now he must play hearts correctly.  He now played the ♥6 playing for the stiff ♥A.  But does that help him?  If South started  with ♥KJ732 I don’t think he can make the hand.  So down he went.  I am sure that he would like to take this one back.  This gave Canada 6 imps and Italy now lead by 9 16-7 as we head into Board 27.

There were a 3 more imps on Board 28 when both pairs ended in a rather inelegant 3♠ contract on a poor 4-3 fit which did not break and Italy went 5 down while Canada “only” went down 3.  Canada had closed the gap to 6.  Italy won an imp back on the next board when Canada played in the game which made fewer tricks.

We have arrived at Board 29 with four boards remaining.  Here the notrump ranges of each pair are going to come into play.  At the open table East had opened an 11-14 notrump and played it there.  We will return to this table in a moment.

In the closed room L’Ecuyer opened a 14-16 1NT.  Let’s look at the auction from the Fergani’s (Wes)t hand.

♠ 7532 ♥ K84 ◊ K963 ♣ K9

Opposite a 14-16 notrump this hand is worth a game try.  Kamel bid 2♣ Stayman and partner bid 2♠.  I know I am vulnerable and all my partner’s know I hate to miss vulnerable games but I just don’t think this hand is worth 4♠.  I woudl invite.  However that is what he bid and that is how the auction ended.  4♠ does have some chances though so maybe he is write after all.  You decide.  Here is the whole hand

Board 29 Both Vulnerable Dealer North

  ♠ A94  
  ♥ QJ1052  
  ◊ 42  
Fergami ♣ 843 L’Ecuyer
♠ 7532   ♠ KJ106
♥ K84   ♥ 73
◊ K963   ◊ AQJ8
♣ K9 Duboin ♣ QJ2
  ♠ Q8  
  ♥ A96  
  ◊ 1075  
  ♣ A10765

As you can see on the lie of the card you can’t make the hand.  You have a sure heart and club loser and two spade losers.  You need a lot to go right to make 4♠.  Down 1 you go.

Back to the open room.  1NT isn’t trivial either.  On a heart lead declare is going to have to guess spades to make the hand.  Lebi understandably lead a club.  When declarer play a spade Jacob’s played the ♠9 declarer’s ♠J and  Lebi’s queen he can now defeat 1NT with a heart switch.  Can anyone think of a way to find that?  Even going deep into the hand I don’t see how to deduce it.  Maybe the ♠9 had a heart message?

So Lebi did have that tiny chance of saving the board.  5 imps to Italy who now lead by 12, 22-10.

But the Canadians weren’t done yet.  In fact there were swings or potential swings on all three of the remaining boards.

The exciting conclusion later.

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