Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

So Much To Blog About … So Little Time

The word is that Sao Paulo may not be the ideal tourist destination.  Ray and I are wondering about our decision to go there rather than watch vugraph (and comment on it) right here at home.  But go we will on Friday.  For now I am having a wonderful time watching.  Its like a bridge orgy.  To start with how is everyone doing.  Sao Paulo on the WBF Site has the results and more.  I have been using the links at the top of the page on bridge blogging to move from place to place on the net as I watch.

After three rounds of the Bermuda Bowl, nobody’s pick (well nobody I know) Argentina is leading the Bermuda Bowl field.  Is this a kind of home field advantage.  They are closely followed by the Netherlands and Norway. USA 2 is in a safe sixth spot having soundly thrashed USA1 in the third round robin match beating them 56-18. USA I hasn’t actually won a match yet although they did come close to getting a draw from Guadelope.  Its early days of course but we are expecting better.


Canada Master Point Press in Sao Paulo

In the Venice Cup USA 1 is leading the field after thrashing Egypt and Germany and getting the better of USA 2 by a small margin in a match I was watching.  Most of the teams at the top of the pack are no surprise.  Canada Master Point Press has had a modest start.  They are in 13th place after a good win against Barbados and losses to Egypt and Spain.  I am sure it feels good to get the first day under their belt.  Tomorrow looks like a day where they can pull ahead.  They have a tough match against France but have two easier matches against Morocco and Jordan.  They should be able to end up with about 55 VP. Go girls.  We are all behind you.  Of note Germany had a tough day too mainly because they got clobbered by USA 1 and got pushed into the “minus” ending up with 4.23 VP.  They did beat Sweden and had a big win against New Zealand.

In the Senior Bowl USA 1 won all their matches and lie in a qualifying position in sixth place in a bunched field.  So keep up the good work, Bobby and team.  USA 2 is in the second spot trailing England by a few VP’s.

I watched throughout the day and did commentary on the third 16 board match.  I was watching the Open Room in the Venice Cup USA 1 versus USA 2.  Board 1 showed that some times science is not the way to win.  Would you want to be in a slam off the ace and king of a side suit? Your hand is

South Sanborn



Sanborn heard her partner open 1 in first seat.  She bid Jacoby 2NT and heard her partner bid 3NT which I assume is a balanced hand with more than a complete minimum.  She cuebid 4♣ and her partner refused to cooperate and bid 4.  That might suggest a spade card since she might have made a courtesy cuebid with a diamond control even if she had a minimum.  My own choice would have been 5 trying to coax a spade cuebid from partner.  But Sandborn made the bid that was bound to get their side to a slam off the top two spades if, as was the case, partner didn’t have a spade control.  She bid Blackwood.  When partner showed one keycard she bid the slam.  The Closed Room got to the slam in a similar fashion.  In both cases East did not find the spade lead and the slam made.  Here is the whole hand.

Board 1. Dealer North. None Vulnerable.

♠ 106

K J 10 8 4


♣ K Q 7 2

♠ A 9 7 4


9 6 4 3

♣ 9 8 4 3

Bridge deal ♠ K J 8 5 3

7 2

8 7 5 2

♣ 105

♠ Q 2

A Q 9 6 3

A J 10

♣ A J 6

As you can imagine this was generally a big swing hand around the room. 6was bid exactly half the time in the Venice Cup. Of the twelve times it was bid it was made 8 times and failed 4 times. I am not sure exactly what this all proves. I am somewhat happy to say that in the Canada Master Point Press did not bid this “slam” nor did their opponents Spain.

In the Venus Cup this Board accounted for a swing of 11 or 14 imps (14 imps when the slam was made at one table and defeated at the other) in an amazing 7 out of 11 tables.  And are the Open Teams more scientific than the ladies?  Not really.  They too bid the slam 1/2 of the time.  And the old guys?  They bid it 16 out of 22 times accounting for a big swing in 9 of 11 tables.  The third round had started off with a bang.

The first action board in my featured match was Board 2.  You are in a vulnerable 4.  At the other table your partners have saved in 5 and gone for a modest 300.  So would you rather be in the clubhouse with +300 or on the course with a possible +620.

Can you (should you) make 4 on this deal.

Board 2. Dealer East. N-S Vulnerable.

♠ A K 8 7 6

A K 6 5


♣ Q 10 3

♠ 10

9 8 3

9 5 4

♣ K 9 7 6 4 2

Bridge deal ♠ Q J 5 3

J 4

A Q 7

♣ A J 8 5

♠ 9 4 2

Q 10 7 2

J 10 8 6 3 2

♣ –

The opening lead is the ♣A which you trump in dummy.  The obvious choice seems to be to get spades going so you might lead a spade from dummy now, as did our declarer Levitina noting that West followed with the 10.  If the majors break there is no problem but it looks like spades may not break.  You want to lead a spade from dummy just in case and then give up a spade and ruff one if necessary.

If this all works with the club ruff already in, you will have two ruffs in dummy, four other trump tricks, and three spade tricks.  Not enough.  You still need another trick.  Can you really manage another ruff in dummy?  If you ruff a club now and spades don’t break you are not going to make it on best defense.  You simply don’t have the communications to do what you need to do as we will see in the variation that happened at our table.

Let’s say that you believe the 10 and decide that spades are definitely not breaking.  It may be better to shift your attention to diamonds.  Let’s say you lead out the D10.  West wins and returns a trump say.  You can win in dummy with the H10 as it turns out and run the DJ.  Even though this loses the diamond suit might be good.  (It is on the hand).  There are many variations but this line does work with the favorable diamond position and the trump break.  I can also tell you that 4H was generally made (although not always).

At our table declarer ruffed a club and played a second spade.  West correctly did not ruff and declarer won the SK.  Seeing the bad spade split she realized that if she lead another spade now East could win and lead a third club.  She would now be in dummy with the HQ and all diamonds.  When she lead the diamond all sorts of bad things could happen.  So to avoid  this she lead the Dk.  After a trump came back she had only nine tricks but she had one shot.  She tried the diamond ruffing finesse.  When that lost it was curtains.

This is a complex hand.  And Levitina gave it a decent shot.

The only other significant swing in the match was a board where Sutherlin decided to let her partner play 2NT (the opening bid) with



This surprised all of us a bit.  It was lucky to find partner with a spade fit and in a rather pretty ending Sanborn was able to both squeeze and endplay Mancuso.  You can play throw the diagram below and enjoy it.


Luise LeeAugust 31st, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Argentina was actually my pick to win, by the way… (Of course, it was totally random, as I selected my picks by flipping over a cards from a deck for each team and then ranking the results). In my (admittedly primitive) ranking system, Argentina beat out everyone else with the draw of the Spade Ace!

MichaelSeptember 1st, 2009 at 2:54 am

Love to see you and Ray here.

Leave a comment

Your comment