Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Vanderbilt Day 2

I was assigned to do commentary on the fourth quarter match between Team Poland and Diamond.  I was delighted to see the quality of the players I would be watching but since the match actually started at a quarter to one my time I was also delighted to see a number of great commentators arrive, allowing me to leave early.  I had the pleasure of watching some great bridge and then coming back to the match more rested to see the rest.

Playing for Diamond was Greco-Hampson North South in the Open Room and Gitleman-Moss East-West in the Closed Room

Team Poland fielded Kwiecien-Jagniewski East West in the OR and Kotorowicz-Kalita North South in the CR.  Please forgive me if I make the odd spelling mistake of the Polish names.  I do have some Polish ancestory (great grandparents) but I have only ever seen their pictures.  Nice looking couple wearing very odd clothes in a sepia colored photo.

There were only 6 imps between the two teams after three quarters in a fairly low scoring match (1 imps for Team Poland and 65 for Diamond).  The last 16 boards provided some very good bridge, a lot of flat boards and 4 big swings.  Fortunately for the Diamond team 3 of them were their way.  The match ended 106-86 for Diamond.

Board 53

North dealer North-South vulnerable


s_thumb25 KJ1043

h_thumb25 A

Copyofd_thumb25 Q952

c_thumb125 Q75


s_thumb25 8

h_thumb25 K5432

Copyofd_thumb25 AK103

c_thumb125 A83



At one table, Hampson and Greco got to 3NT by and at the other Kotorowicz and Kalita arrived in 5Copyofd_thumb25 both from the North hand. Where would you like to be?

Lets start with 5Copyofd_thumb25, Kotorowicz received the lead of the c_thumb125J and he won he c_thumb125Q, a good start and cashed the h_thumb25A.  You could lead a club to dummy planning to throw a club on the top hearts and then play a spade.  Let’s say that you are able to create a spade winner this way.  You have four outside winners and need seven trump winners which seems plausible or you might be able to set up spades (you could afford to lose two).  North decided to lead the s_thumb2510  from hand which is another way to set up spades. 

Gitelman East won the queen and returned a heart ruffed.  Kotorowicz then led a club to dummy’s ace planning to cash winners and crossruff no doubt when Fred ruffed in and returned another heart. 


s_thumb25 KJ43


Copyofd_thumb25 Q95

c_thumb125 7



h_thumb25 K54

Copyofd_thumb25 AK103

c_thumb125 3


Now the defenders have two tricks and North can set up hearts by ruffing but he will still end with a club loser in the dummy if he draws trump.  It seems to me he is committed to a crossruff.  I think he has to throw a club from hand and win the heart in dummy and then crossruff.  He can ruff the club with his small trump but he is going to have to ruff a heart with the Copyofd_thumb259 so he will need some luck there and he will have to make two spade ruffs with the Copyofd_thumb2510 and Copyofd_thumb253.  It doesn’t look too bad (and it works on the lie of the cards).  But instead declarer ruffed the heart and there was no longer a play for the hand.

In the other room East bid 3c_thumb125 over 1s_thumb25 and Greco ended in 3NT.  The preempt was to help him along in a tough contract but on the other hand he did not get a club lead.  Here is the whole hand


s_thumb25 KJ1043

h_thumb25 A

Copyofd_thumb25 Q952

c_thumb125 Q75

s_thumb25 AQ752

h_thumb25 QJ109

Copyofd_thumb25 J74

c_thumb125 6

  s_thumb25 96

h_thumb25 876

Copyofd_thumb25 86

c_thumb125 KJ10943


s_thumb25 8

h_thumb25 K5432

Copyofd_thumb25 AK103

c_thumb125 A83

Greco’s approach was to set up hearts.  He started by playing a spade winning the jack in hand and cashing the h_thumb25A.  He played a diamond to the table and ducked a heart.  East won and returned a club which Greco won in dummy.  Another small heart from dummy sealed the deal and he could still get back for hearts on the Copyofd_thumb2510.  Easy peesy. 12 imps.

These guys are much better declarers then me but I wasn’t crazy about how Kwiecien played this hand in 4h_thumb25 and neither did the commentators.  What do you think?  (this time I rotated the hand for you).

Board 63


s_thumb25 103

h_thumb25 KQ754

Copyofd_thumb25 AQJ75

c_thumb125 8

s_thumb25 AQJ6

h_thumb25 932

Copyofd_thumb25 862

c_thumb125 K2

  s_thumb25 K72 

h_thumb25 A10

Copyofd_thumb25 93

c_thumb125 976543


s_thumb25 9854

h_thumb25 J86

Copyofd_thumb25 K10

c_thumb125 AQJ10

After Kwiecien opened 1c_thumb125 Polish, he got to be declarer in 4h_thumb25 because this pair played transfer responses to the opening one club bid.   The opening lead was a diamond.  How would you play the hand?  I like a ruffing finesse in clubs myself.  Its not a matter of whether it works or no, its just that you will be better placed if it losses.   Kwiecien took a club finesse and they cashed out for one down when it lost.  I know I am right on the lie of the cards but maybe his play has more merit than it intially appears?  (Yes see comments later I know drawing trump and claiming works well too!)

So these two swings were oddly on declarer play.

On the very last board of the match Greco and Hampson bid a grand where you needed to pick up the queen in a side suit missing four.  When Jagniewski showed up with four trump to Kwiecien’s two Greco decided to finesse the clubs playing Kwiecien for queen third.  It doesn’t seem unreasonable since their are more vacant spaces in the West hand.  Perhaps Bob will chime in here with the odds.  But it was wrong.  Fortunately for Diamond by this time they had imps to spare.

1 Comment

LindaMarch 19th, 2010 at 1:54 pm

One risk on the hand is a diamond ruff if you play trumps immediately. So the ruffing finesse discarding a spade does give you an extra chance that way too. Just playing trump and claiming will work on the hand as you point out.

Is that better than the ruffing hook? I am not certain.

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