Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Mission Possible?

Now, gentlemen, let us do something today which the world may talk of hereafter

Admiral Collingwood before the Battle of Trafalgar.

Two great teams in the semifinal played Thursday and Friday and one had to lose.  Nickell started the last 15 boards down 236 to 185, 51 imps.  That is a lot to overcome against a good team in form.

The boards provided a few opportunities but not enough and winning would have required a significant mistake or two by Fleisher and they were just not going to fall on their swords!

Nickell did make the most of almost all their chances and had all the big swings.  Nickell picked up their first swing on Board 109, the third board of the set.

Board 106 Both Vulnerable (hand rotated)

h_thumb2 1052
d_thumb12 A92
c_thumb2 Q7
h_thumb2 Q98
d_thumb12 QJ1064
c_thumb2 J5
  Rodwell (Martel)
h_thumb2 A3
d_thumb12 83
c_thumb2 A98432
h_thumb2 KJ764
d_thumb12 K75
c_thumb2 K106


Levin ended in the heart game after Weinstein showed an invitational hand with three trump.  The opening lead was the d_thumb12Q,  How do you play the hand?  You really would like to get rid of your potential diamond loser in case you have two trump losers.  One possibility is to play on clubs.  If you can set up a club discard then you can afford to two in the trump suit.  And that is what Levin did.  Unfortunately the club jack was doubleton offside and there were two trump losers but other bad things happened and it went down 3.  This might have been duplicated but at the other table Martel who had c_thumb2A98432 doubled an artificial club bid for Hamman to ask for a club lead, definitely not the lead the defense wanted as it turns out.  14 imps towards the comeback.  The game was not reached at either table in the other semifinal.

On the next board though in a competitive auction Hamman and Zia pushed too hard for a non-vulnerable 5c_thumb2 game in a competitive auction while Levin and Weinstein judged better to stop in 4c_thumb2 making.  5 imps to Fleisher.

A bit later on Hamman and Zia got to a decent heart slam and got a favorable lead to make it easy while Weinstein and Levin ground to a halt in 4NT. 


h_thumb2 KQJ53
d_thumb12 9
c_thumb2 Q872
Board rotated
h_thumb2 A104
d_thumb12 AK32
c_thumb2 K105


Weinstein Levin
1NT 2d_thumb12
2h_thumb2 2s_thumb2
2NT 3c_thumb2
3h_thumb2 3s_thumb2
3NT 4s_thumb2
4NT all pass

After Levin had shown clubs and hearts with slam aspirations and cuebid spades twice Weinstein took a conservative path and chose to play in 4NT.  12 more imps.  In the other match Diamond reached the slam and also had clubs led.

There were too more significant swings to come for Nickell. two slams and a partscore but the deficit was just too great.  The most interesting of the swings was this deal.

h_thumb2 1085
d_thumb12 AQ52
c_thumb2 AJ8
Board rotated
h_thumb2 9
d_thumb12 KJ1087
c_thumb2 75432
h_thumb2 76432
d_thumb12 63
c_thumb2 K
h_thumb2 AKQJ
d_thumb12 94
c_thumb2 Q1096


Zia Hamman
1NT 2s_thumb2*
3c_thumb2* 4NT
5c_thumb2 5d_thumb12
all pass  

Hamman’s 2s_thumb2 bid could have shown a weak hand with clubs so Zia’s response showed a maximum.  After that Hamman chose to bid the slam.  The opening lead was a c_thumb23 and Zia chose to rise with the c_thumb2A believing that Stansby was unlikely to lead away from the c_thumb2K into the strong hand.  One he had made that incredible play the diamond finesse insured the contract but Zia also guessed to play spade correctly taking all the tricks.  In the other room the auction was a quick 1NT-3NT making 6.  In fact no other pair reached the slam.

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