Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Sydney, the spring nationals and burr

Ray and I dropped in to watch the Open Pairs at the Spring Nationals. This was the second day out of three in the qualifying round. Ray watched this hand played by Fruewirth and Del Monte. Fruewirth arrived in 6H on this hand.  Here was their auction.

Fruewirth Del Monte

1 2

4 4NT

5 5NT

6 all pass

Only about one quarter of the field reached this excellent slam and I think the 4 bid was very helpful in getting there.

The hand was friendly and everyone who bid it did make it.  But in our quest for declarer perfection, how would you play it on the lead of the Q?

Board 12    
Dealer W  
Vul N-S  
A5 7
AQJ9742 K8
J5 AT64
75 AQT862

At the table Fruewirth won the spade and took an immediate club finesse (putting in the queen).  This lost and a diamond came right back taking out dummy’s entry.  Now he drew trumps in two rounds and continued to run hearts.  North who held the singleton J threw it away to end the party early.  There really isn’t any squeeze without an earlier spade ruff so basically Fruewirth was playing for split club honors with a club break (Jxxx onside wouldn’t have been good enough).

Ray wasn’t crazy about this line and asked me if I could see a better one.  The only other line I can come up with is ruffing a spade right away and then running a lot of trump with the idea of guessing the ending and making it either on the squeeze or possibly an endplay.  Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Here is the whole hand and most approaches will work.

Board 12 QJ98432  
Dealer W T6
Vul N-S K9
A5 7
AQJ9742 K8
J5 AT64
75 AQT862

Let me tell you more about the tournament.  Only one event was being played, the Open Teams and there were 30 teams playing.  So it seemed very small by North American standards.  The technology was outstanding.  Everyone was playing preduplicated boards.  All the teams, boards, board results, match results are on the web for everyone to review after the game.  I loved it.  I know the events are much larger in the ACBL but if anyone out there is listening, this is just so very wonderful and it would be great if we could do the same thing at our tournaments.

The other interesting thing is that they were not using bidding boxes, they were using silent bidders.  Each player wrote their bid on a shared pad.  If it was an alert the partner of the bidder circled it and in your turn you could ask the meaning of the bid.  This system is great for the directors because if they are eventually called to the table (say after the play) there is a record of the bids and alerts so there can be no confusion.

Ray and I have been quite worried about alerting our bids so I was happy to see that at the table I was watching the players seemed quite confused about what was and was not an alert.  So we won’t be the only ones who are mixed up.

There is lot more to talk about but I am running out of steam.  I will however voice one complaint.  Yesterday was the coldest October 22nd for the last 40 years in Sydney,  just in time for our arrival and today was raining and not much warmer.  We love the city but we would like to see it in the sunshine… and soon.

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