Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Sydney Ladies Team Finals – All I can say is Wow

The Neale team (Kim Neale – Linda King, Candice Berman – Nicoleta Giura, Anne Powell – Margaret Bourke) started the third segment of the Sydney Ladies finals with a slight lead over Scudder (Marcia Scudder – Inez Glanger, Kinga Moses – Nazife Bashar). Confession: I know several members of the Neale team, the charming Kim, Linda, Nick Fahrer’s wife and host of a feast on Saturday and the talented Margaret Bourke, Tim’s wife. I don’t know the other ladies and so I was rooting for Neale. In fact, the first thing I did when I got home after about 25 hours on planes was to look up the results.

To qualify for the final you had to come first or second in the round robin and Linda told me that she had come in third twice in the last few years. Coming in third isn’t so bad because you get qualifying points towards an invitation to the international trials based on points for placing first to third in specific events. However, this year she wanted first place.

The Scudder team were in no danger going in the last round, quite a bit ahead in first. But as it turned out Neale needed about 13 VP out of 25 which proved no problem when they finished with a near blitz.

The first major swing was Board 4. Try bidding these two hands with your favourite partner and see if you can do as well as Kim and Linda


♠ AQJ1084 ♥ QJ4 ◊ K5 ♣ A5



♠ 5 ♥ A865 ◊ AQJ98 ♣ Q103

This was their auction. I don’t really know the details of their system .  3♣ was certainly check back and I suspect that Linda may have (wisely) upgraded her hand from 17 to the 18-19 HCP range.  After that her choice to bid 2NT rather than 3♠ was inspired.

Linda Kim
1♠ 2◊
2NT 3♣
3♠ 4NT
5♠ 6NT
all pass  

This was a 13 imp swing when the East-WEst in the other room failed to get to the slam and put the Neale team a little more comfortably ahead 102 imps to 87.

This match was definitely played at the 6 level.  The very next board the Neale team won another 13 when they avoided a bad slam bid.  By Board 11 one side or another (or both) had written a bid with the number 6 on the table 4 times.  Board 11 was yet another slam swing but this Margaret and Anne had a chance to shine.

Glanger Powell Scudder Bourke
2♥ 3NT pass 4♠
pass 5♥ pass 6♠
all pass      


  ♠ J103  
  ♥ AK62  
  ◊ AQ  
Glanger ♣ 10942 Scudder
♠ 2   ♠ 8643
♥ QJ9875   ♥ 103
◊ J2   ◊ 1083
♣ AJ83   ♣ K765
  ♠ AKQ95  
  ♥ 4  
  ◊ K97654  
  ♣ Q  

The auction in both rooms started out exactly the same for the first 6 bids.  I feel that matches like this are composed of many decisions.  Some things are obvious but some are choices you have to make, to bid or to pass, to lead a short suit or a trump or whatever.  Here Powell had to decide if she had the right stuff to continue after Bourke’s 4♠ bid.   She decided, correctly that she had great cards for partner and that her hand was worth a slam try and 5♥ is the obvious choice.  Well done.

By this point the Neale team had pulled out to a 137-89 imp lead.  This was more a case of Neale doing some good things than Scudder making mistakes.  I think that in any event Neale would have won a lot of imps by bidding both slams. 

On the very next board Kim made a great pressure bid.  How do you like it (I love it).  You are white on red and are in third chair.  There are two passes to you.  What do you bid?


♠ 6 ♥ K965 ◊ 42 ♣ KQ10983

Kim started with 3♣ and when Moses bid 3♠, Linda’s 5♣ continuation really put it to Bashar who held ♠ Q72 ♥ AJ1042 ◊ Q1096 ♣ 2 and correctly sensing that she wasn’t going to get rich defending bid 5♠.  And now King and Neale followed up with a truly beautiful defence.  Here is the whole hand.

  ♠ Q72  
  ♥ AJ1042  
  ◊ Q1096  
King ♣ 2 Neale
♠ J95   ♠ 6
♥ 87   ♥ K965
◊ KJ75   ◊ 42
♣ AJ64   ♣ KQ10983
  ♠ AK10843  
  ♥ Q3  
  ◊ A83  
  ♣ 75  

As you can see  the lead of a small club followed by a diamond shift will beat the hand but who is going to do that.  King led a spade.  Moses won the spade lead in hand and immediately finessed the ♥Q.  And Neale ducked!  There is no declarer I know who is going to get this right now.  Moses thought she could count 11 tricks now with 3 hearts, a club ruff, 6 spades and a diamond so she gave up a club to set up her ruff.  This allowed the defenders to set up their eventual diamond winner.   But when Moses eventually repeated the heart finesse she was in for a surprise.  The third quarter ended with Neale up 155-89.  Scudder did fight back in the final quarter and in the end they made the match a lot closer but it was just not enough.

What a great match.  I just wish I could have seen it live.  Good going by both teams and my congratulations to the winners for some fine bridge.

1 Comment

Linda LeeOctober 31st, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Linda King emailed me an explanation of the bidding in the slam hand on Board 4. They play weak notrump so 2NT showed 15-19 (wide ranging). 3C was an inquiry and 3S showed the strong hand with spades. So Linda did upgrade her hand.

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