Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Australian Women’s Team Trial Finals

It is the third quarter of the Australian team trials with only 1 imp in it.   The open team is in the semifinals so I am going to focus on the women.  I don’t think I am going to be able to stay up to see the end.  I will have to check back in the morning.   To make the playoffs teams had to qualify by getting points playing in various events.   Six selected teams played a round robin and four went through to a semi-final.  It is interested that the team that came fourth in the round robin, Havas has made it through to the final against Bourke who handily won the Round Robin.  The Bourke team is more or less the same team that represented Australia in Beijing last year.  Elizabeth Havas was part of the team that played in Shanghai.

The team members are:

Felicity Beale, Di Smart, A Clark, L Fuller, Sue Lusk, Therese Tully Captain:Margaret Bourke

Elizabeth Havas, C Berman, C Lachman, Helen Snashall, E Caplan, N Giura

The Open Room is starting to get compares and I am waiting for something juicy.  The first three boards look to be very dull.  Perhaps I should get a book.  I am reading a rather interesting one called Fault Lines by Nancy Huston.  It is a Canadian title but very good nevertheless (Canadians see themselves this way – we need help from Dale Carnegie) and winner of several awards.  The book is told in four sections from a child’s point of view.  You are in modern times and meet four generations of a family and then in each major section you go back one generation.  I am currently in 1982 with Randall.  The family is partly Jewish and there are some mysteries going on but I am going to have to wait to the final section of the book in 1944 to get to the bottom of it I think.

Finally the possibility of a swing.   With all vulnerable, in third chair Lusk playing South for Bourke opens 2◊multi on a pretty terrible hand and this causes the auction to fall apart.


Here is the auction so far what is your choice?

Lachman Tully Snasha Lusk
  pass pass 2◊
dbl 2♥ (pass or correct) ?  


You Snasha hold

♠ K932
♥ A95
◊ 1073
♣ J64


What is your choice?

Double wasn’t alerted but I am pretty sure it shows cards.  Snasha bid 3NT.  Do you like that bid?  It doesn’t seem that bad but perhaps a bit light depending on the exact meaning of Lachman’s double. 

Now it is up to Lachman. Her hand:


♠ AQ84
♥ KQ
◊ AQJ854
♣ 10


I don’t really like the original double.  I can see why she passed 3NT though.  She doesn’t have any clear bid over it.  When Lusk found a club lead from here fourth queen, 3NT was down when 6♠ or 6◊ makes with the diamond finesse onside.  the other table was in a pretty normal 4♠.  So I guess that proves that even if a board looks flat an enterprising player can find a swing.  13 imps for Bourke and now with a few +1’s here and their the Bourke team has gone into the lead by 10.  It will be interesting to see if Lusk-Tully can keep their focus after the mishap. 

Live by the sword, die by the sword.  Lusk tries to put it to them again and this time it doesn’t work so well.

Here is the situation.  Your hand is

♠ AK5
♥ K974
◊ Q
♣ KJ543


You are vulnerable against not and you open 1♣.  Lachman on your left overcalls 1♥ and partner preempts 3♣.  Snashall on your right bids 3♥ and you bid 5♣?  This really has too many losers to be a bid to make.  Was she hoping for more hearts?  4♣ seems enough to me.  Down one double. off three top tricks. Lusk gives back 8 imps to the club partscore in the other room.  Bourke leads by two and the momentum is lost for the moment.

A few imps here and there and Bourke has gone into the lead by 7 imps with a chance for Havas.  In the Closed Room Bourke has missed a heart slam.  This looks quite cool.  Lusk has opened 2NT showing minors in first chair at favorable vulnerability.  Now Lachman has

♠ AKJ432
♥ 96432
◊ Q
♣ A

She makes a “practical bid” of 4♠.  I am starting to hate practical bids.  North bids 4NT and it is up to Snashall.  She has

♠ 98
♥ KQJ1075
◊ A10
♣ 876

and she doubles.  Does that show some defense?  South passes and perhaps Lachman should be hearts now.  Does she really want to defend at this vulnerability.  This is passed back to North who bids 5◊ and Snashall?  She doubles again predictably and this gets passed out.  There is a chance for +500 on the right defense.  Snashall has to ruff in with her trump ace to give her partner a club ruff and it looks like she is there.  Well done.  A small loss.

Perhaps a hard slam to bid after the 2NT bid still I don’t like the East-West bidding much.  You can assign the blame.

Things have taken a bad turn now for the Havas team with a doubled partscore disaster that I won’t describe.  It seems to me that one bad result can lead to another:  “The Big Mo”.  The sports psychologist gave me some tools to deal with a bad result to get your head screwed back on.  She said to imagine somewhere safe to put the bad result like a safe and then to put it there and lock it up for later.   It helps a bit but I know how hard it is.

I suppose the good news is that there are only two boards left before the break.  The 12 imps gives Bourke a 25 imp lead. 

Well the last two boards are quiet partscores and nothing strange happens.  Bourke has taken a good lead in the match but Havas has a quarter to get it back.

Later: The Bourke team won the fourth quarter and the match.  Congratulations to them all.  


Peter GillMarch 25th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Candice Berman was in the Shanghai team, using a different surname.

Linda, do all Canadian international reps like you get assistance from Sport Psychologists?

Or is it just you who is smart enough to do so on your own?

Here in Australia, there has been no official Sports Psychology training for our international reps.

Peter Gill

lindaMarch 25th, 2009 at 6:22 pm

It was just me. I did write an article about my experience and it was published in the Bulletin, I believe in Istanbul. After that a number of players came up to me and told me that they had some of the same issues. It would be great to get a bridge association involved and find a sport psychologist that might be interested in helping bridge players.

Here is a link to the article I wrote:

Peter GillMarch 29th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Thanks for the link, Linda – a very interesting article. I played below my best in our National Trials last week … and after reading your article I think I will make my first ever appointment with a sports psychologist soon. Two of Australia’s most successful elite bridge players see sports psychologists – if you can’t beat them, join them.

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