Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The very first Open bridge match at the World Mind Sports Game – blogged live

10:45 PM EST

The match is going to start in 15 minutes and I am getting set up.  I just updated a previous blog with videos from the opening ceremonies.  They looked so cool and exciting that for the first time I was a bit sorry that I decided not to go to China.  I see some friends logging in.  Hi Boris Baran, Michael Rosenberg, Fred Lerner. Harmon Edgar and Joey Silver.  It’s almost like people are logging in early to get a good seat.

11:00 PM EST

I have decided to watch Egypt play Norway. I am at the Open table and I am pleased to see that Helness is North and Helgemo is South.  They are such a great pair.  Sitting East-West for Egypt is another fine pair Ahmady and Sadek.


                 Tor Helness                            Geir Helgemo

I can see their convention cards at

Sadek and Ahmady play a standard system with strong notrump and five card majors.

Helgemo and Helness play 2/1 with a strong notrump.  1H can be 4 but 1S is 5.  (That’s the same as the Lee card).  1C is 3 but 1D is 4.  Playing this way you don’t need to mess up your minors as much.  They lead 3rd and 5th even against notrump.

All the convention cards at this table are pretty straightforward.

Board 1 Nobody vulnerable Dealer North

  ♠ AQJ92  
  ♥ K3  
  ◊ Q7  
Ahmady ♣ A742 Sadek
♠ 1054   ♠ K87
♥ Q   ♥ AJ109854
◊ 109843   ◊ A5
♣ KQ95 Helgemo ♣ 4
  ♠ 63  
  ♥ 762  
  ◊ KJ62  
  ♣ J1083  

Noone vulnerable

Ahmady Helness Sadek Helgemo
  1NT 3♥ pass
4♥ all pass    

It’s not my style to open 1NT on a this hand.  The spades are too good and there is too much shape.  Let’s see how it works out.  With a lot of playing strength Sadek buts 3♥ . I suppose just bidding hearts at the two level is a little wimpy.  Would you bid 4♥ on the Ahmady hand?  Not me.  If this was enough for partner he would have bid 4♥  by himself.  This is not going to be a success.  Norway beats 4♥ two tricks for plus 100.  This should be a small win for them.    At the other table the auction was the same but West passed 3♥ so Norway starts off with +2 imps.

11:24 PM

There is a certainty symmetry between Board 1 and Board 2.  This time it was Norway’s turn to go down 1 in 4♥ in a pretty hopeless game.  In the other table Egypt North-South has stopped in 3♥ which makes.  So Egypt gets 6 imps to take the lead.

Board 3 is a part-score

East-West vulnerable Dealer South

  ♠ QJ5  
  ♥ K43  
  ◊ QJ98432  
Ahmady ♣ — Sadek
♠ AK10842   ♠ 6
♥ 85   ♥ J1072
◊ 5   ◊ A7
♣ KQ108 Helgemo ♣ J96542
  ♠ 973  
  ♥ AQ96  
  ◊ K102  
  ♣ A73  
Ahmady Helness Sadek Helgemo
2S 3♥ all pass  

After the 1♥ bid playing four-card heart suits (like Ray and I) I am not sure I love any of the other calls.  Okay you are red on white but unless 2♠ is intermediate that is a pretty heavy preempt.  I don’t love 3♥ either.  Helness has only 3♥ and really soft values.  I know he is stuck but he can pass.

Norway made four in an amusing way when Ahmady didn’t cashed one spade and Sadek had none to return when he got in on his ◊A.

Groetheim Kordy Tundal Azzam
1♠ 2◊ pass 3◊
pass 3♥ pass 4♥
pass 5◊ all pass  

I think the Norway North in the closed room took a big push with 3♥ and he ended in a silly contact.  Well 50 a trick I suppose.   Down 2.  Not bad.

Norway gets 7 imps for that nonsense by Egypt.  The score after 3 boards is Egypt 6 and Norway 9.

11:42 PM

Board 4 is the first really exciting deal.  All vulnerable

Both Vulnerable Dealer East

  ♠ AJ1084  
  ♥ A9876  
  ◊ 2  
Ahmady ♣ 87 Sadek
♠ Q95   ♠ —
♥ 1042   ♥ KJ53
◊ KQ8   ◊ AJ10974
♣ J963 Helgemo ♣ KQ10
  ♠ K7632  
  ♥ Q  
  ◊ 653  
  ♣ A542  

Open Room

Ahmady Helness Sadek Helgemo
pass pass 1◊ 1♠
1NT 3◊ DBL 3♠
pass 4♠ DBL all pass

I might have opened Helness’ hand but sometimes waiting can work out well.  After Helgemo overcalled with 1♠ nothing was stopping the Noth hand.  East-West may have had more of the high cards but North-South had the shape.  After Sadek doubled 3◊ Ahmady might have bid 5◊ over 4♠  knowing that his partner had lots of diamonds

Closed Room

Groetheim Kordy Tundal Azzam
pass 2♥ 3◊ DBL
4◊ 4♠ 5◊ pass
pass ?    

2♥ is 5 hearts and any other 5 card suit.  I suppose that over the natural 3◊ overcall DBL is probably pass or correct.  Should Kordy bid over 5◊ knowing his partner has hearts and spade and likely no more than 1♠.  It’s easy when you see all the hands.  But he does have a 5-5 spade fit and the stiff ♥ Q.  It does seem right to go.  But it is tough call.  5◊ is one down for 200  wIth heart, heart ruff and the ♣A.

A big 13 imps to Norway who lead 22 – 6.

Board 5 was a push when both East-West arrived in 3NT.  What do you lead after the auction 1NT-3NT with

♠7542 ♥K97 ◊983  ♣Q97

If you picked a heart you are a winner.  Both our South’s did but Azzam had slightly more information since the Norwegian East bid 3◊.  Our first push and some time for me to actually drink some coffee.  This has been moving fast.

Both North played 1NTon board 6 but Egypt picked up 2 imps when they beat it an extra trick.  The score is now Norway 22 Egypt 8.

Board 7

Norway picked up 5 more imps when they found a better defence to 1NT and beat it two tricks while Helness made 1NT.  The lead is now 27-8.  I have to admit this match is not really as exciting as I had hoped.  So far.


Board 8

Nobody vulnerable Dealer West

  ♠ KQ43  
  ♥ A75  
  ◊ AK9  
Ahmady ♣ AJ9 Sadek
♠ A7   ♠ J9
♥ KJ8   ♥ 1096432
◊ QJ75   ◊ 832
♣ KQ32 Helgemo ♣ 106
  ♠ 108652  
  ♥ Q  
  ◊ 1064  
  ♣ 8754  

Open Room

Ahmady Helness Sadek Helgemo
1NT DBL 2◊ 2♠
pass 4♠ all pass  

Closed Room

Groetheim Kordy Tundal Azzam
1NT pass 2◊ DBL
2♥ DBL 3♥ pass
4♥ DBL pass 4♠
all pass      

Ahmad starts off with 1NT and I guess Helness’ double shows a good hand.  Sadek transfers to 2♥ .  It isn’t completely clear what 2♠ by Helgemo is.  Obviously, he doesn’t want to sit for any doubles.  In our system this would not show any cards (since we are forced to 2S anyway).   Helness has so much that he bids 4S anyway.  I love those prime cards.  This hand will take a while but everything works and he is going to make it.  It’s lucky in a way because East has the club ten doubleton.  He will get a club ruff but  dummy’s diamond can go on the ♣8.

The auction in the closed room started out differently when Kordy passed in the direct chair but they ended up in the same place.  I am predicting no swing.  Wrong Egypt wins 1 imp for an uptrick but Norway gets it back with an extra uptrick in a routine 3NT on board 9.

It’s 12:20 AM in Toronto and the open room is starting to play 3NT on board 10.   Helgemo has found an interesting lead.

Here is the deal.

Both vulnerable Dealer East

  ♠ A103  
  ♥ J10954  
  ◊ 85  
Ahmady ♣ 109 Sadek
♠ K98752   ♠ Q4
♥ A   ♥ Q876
◊ 943   ◊ AQ10
♣ A84 Helgemo ♣ KJ75
  ♠ J6  
  ♥ K3  
  ◊ KJ762  
  ♣ Q632  

All vulnerable

Ahmady Helness Sadek Helgemo
    1♣ 1◊
1♠ pass 1NT pass
2◊ pass 3NT all pass

Helgemo lead the ♥ K!  Here is how the play went.  Sadek won the ♥ A per force and then played a spade from dummy.  Helness, not in on the unusual lead hoped with the ♠A expecting the heart suit to run.  When partner didn’t have the ♥Q the hand now made a lot of tricks and East-West ended up making 6 for +690

What is going to happen to East-West on this board in the closed room?

Closed Room

Groetheim Kordy Tundal Azzam
    1NT pass
2♥ pass 2♠ pass
4♠ all pass    

Norway got to the better contract and made it after the normal club, so only a loss of 2 imps to Norway.  Just a missed opportunity.  Norway leads 28 – 11.

I am in the closed room now with the open room far ahead.  It is 12:41 am.  Norway in the open room played Board 11 in 5◊ down 1.  I suppose it is basically on the spade finesse.  4♠ seems like the best contract in that it is one trick lower.

Nobody vulnerable Dealer South

  ♠ AJ986  
  ♥ K8  
  ◊ KJ10972  
Ahmady ♣ — Sadek
♠ 10753   ♠ K4
♥ AJ43   ♥ 107652
◊ A3   ◊ 65
♣ QJ2 Helgemo ♣ K976
  ♠ Q2  
  ♥ Q9  
  ◊ Q84  
  ♣ A108543  

Let’s see if they get thee.  Yep!.  Once Kordy chose to over call his shorter suit (spades) with the 6-5 spades is where they ended.

Closed Room

Groetheim Kordy Tundal Azzam
1◊ 1♠ DBL 2♣
2♥ 3◊ pass 3♥
pass 4◊ pass 4♠
all pass      

Now he has to make it.

The defence started off with the ♥2 which Groetheim won with the HA as Kordy unblocked the ♥ K.  Groetheim caahed the ◊A which probably was the best  and continued diamonds.  Kordy ran the ♠Q losing to the ♠K and a heart came back – the moment of truth.  He has to finesse against the ♠10.  What clues does he have.  The ♥2 suggested five hearts .  So he knows that Groetheim had four hearts  and two diamonds.  Could he be 3-4-2-5?  I need to check their card.  He got it right! woohoo.  The match which looked like a runaway is now close.  Norway leads 28-21.

Ahmady Helness Sadek Helgemo
1◊ 1♥ pass 3◊
pass 5◊ all pass  

They just never got their spade suit in.  This needs the spade hook which fails.

Board 12 is a push in a part-score down 1.  Board 13 is a routine 4♠.  So with two boards to go it is still only 7 imps.


Board 14 is going to be a swing.

Dealer East Nobody vulnerable.

  ♠ A987  
  ♥ K10742  
  ◊ A106  
Ahmady ♣ 5 Sadek
♠ 1Q6432   ♠ J5
♥ Q   ♥ J83
◊ J83   ◊ KQ5
♣ QJ2 Helgemo ♣ A109
  ♠ K10  
  ♥ A965  
  ◊ 9742  
  ♣ QJ6  

Open Room

Ahmady Helness Sadek Helgemo
    pass pass
1♠ pass 1NT pass
pass 2♥ pass 3♥
all pass      

Closed Room

Groetheim Kordy Tundal Azzam
    1◊ pass
1♠ 2♥ pass 4♥
all pass    

7 imps to Egypt.  It is a dead tie going into the last 2 boards. 28-28

Board 15 looks good for Norway.

Board 15 North-South vulnerable Dealer South

  ♠ Q54  
  ♥ 1074  
  ◊ A106  
Ahmady ♣ Q983 Sadek
♠ 109732   ♠ AK86
♥ AQ6   ♥ J93
◊ Q2   ◊ KJ973
♣ 765 Helgemo ♣ 10
  ♠ J  
  ♥ K852  
  ◊ 854  
  ♣ AKJ42  

Open Room

Ahmady Helness Sadek Helgemo
1NT DBL 2◊ 2♠
pass 4♠ all pass  

Closed Room

Groetheim Kordy Tundal Azzam
pass 1NT DBL 2♣
2♠ 3♣ 3♠ pass
4♠ all pass    

Norway made 5 and won back 6 imps.  To lead by 6.  But there is a swing possibility on the last board too.

The result in the open room is 5♠ down 2 for 300 to Egypt. Not a good result  at all.  Here is their auction.  Let’s see if the closed room can get to the cold slam.

Board 16 East-West vulnerable Dealer West

  ♠ K876  
  ♥ 5  
  ◊ AKJ109  
Ahmady ♣ 843 Sadek
♠ Q5   ♠ A9
♥ AQ632   ♥ K10987
◊ 653   ◊ 7
♣ A72 Helgemo ♣ KQ1095
  ♠ K10  
  ♥ A965  
  ◊ 9742  
  ♣ QJ6  

Open Room

Ahmady Helness Sadek Helgemo
1♥ DBL 2NT 4♠
pass pass 5♣ pass
5♥ 5♠ dbl all pass

The auction starts out the same but Tundal decides to Blackwood once his partner bids hearts really.  He doesn’t have all that much more information except that North has some cards and likely some values in spades.  His hand does have a lot of playing strength and who can argue with success.  6♥ is good for 15 imps.

Closed Room

Groetheim Kordy Tundal Azzam
1♥ DBL 3NT pass
4♥ pass 4NT pass
5♠ pass 6♥ all pass.

So Norway wins what turned out to be a rather exciting match 49-28.

It’s only 1:30 AM and the match is over.  This was match that was mostly about bidding.   Interesting, in the Israel Netherlands match.  Both pairs reached 6♥ but Israel saved in 7◊ which went 4 down.  Even with the modern scoring that was only 800 and a great save.  This was their auction

Bakkeren Herbst Bertens Herbst
1♥ 2◊ 4NT 5◊
pass* pass 5♥ pass
5♥* pass 6♥ pass
pass DBL* pass 7◊
pass pass DBL all pass

The Dutch East took the same view of his hand as the Norwegian East.  He wanted to be in slam over a 1♥ opening if partner had enough aces.  When South bid 5◊ the pass must have showed an 1 or 3 key cards (DEPO I guess).  When partner signed off in 5NT must have showed 3 keycards.  I am not sure what the North double showed but it might have been I have one trick and that’s all.  Save if you don’t have a likely trick.   The Israeli’s won the match by 20 38-18 with 12 of them coming on that board.

I think it was a big miss by Egypt to sell out to 5♠ doubled.

It’s now 2:15 and I can’t wait for the next match.  I noticed Fred Lerner just logged in so I am not the only one.

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