Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Segment 8 of the final – was it fun? Not for me.

The question is was the last segment of the Open Trials fun to watch?  Was it good bridge?  Did the Diamond team just run out of boards?  Maybe if they had continued with destructive tactics the whole event they would have won.  Do you really think so?

I am not criticising Diamond who were behind 81 with 15 boards to go to come out swinging.  I doubt they would have won if they had tried to play their best standard bridge game.  But let’s keep in mind a few things.  The Bathurst team was up 81 imps.  They didn’t need to fight back.  They were willing to get psyched and stolen from.  Their goal was to not lose 81 imps.  They were willing to trade +300 for +420.  It didn’t matter.  They were playing defense.  Some of the Diamond’s team tactics would work and some would fail but they just had to sit there take the abuse and not lose 81 imps.  I doubt it was much fun.

A few of the attempts were interesting.  I liked Fred Gitelman’s comic 1NT for example with a fist full of clubs.  And got to play 2C redoubled making on a misdefense.  Other attempts failed.  Like a hand later where Fred shot a spade slam that had no realistic chance.

Even though the hands were swingy and even though the Diamond team bid two grands back to back that made when the cards where not too unfriendly (one was quite a bit better than the other) it is bloody hard to get back 81 imps in 15 boards from a strong team who is playing in form.

I wished that I could have seen the same bridge I saw in all of the other segments.  I enjoyed it a lot more.  But I understand the choice was ending it after seven segments or coming out swinging.

I am just surprised that some of the commentators were describing it as entertaining.


Dustin StoutMay 18th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I thought the last segment was exhilarating. Swing tactics are a part of Bridge, and any top-level player needs to be adept in this area. Diamond had a legitimate chance of a comeback, and I was on the edge of my seat watching.

Linda LeeMay 18th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Maybe I am too much of a purist. I think that one pair (at least) should have played straight bridge. When both tables “pitch” they can cancel each other out. And that way I could have watched the kind of bridge I like and you could have watch the edge of seat stuff.

RossMay 19th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

No I don’t think it was good bridge in the classical sense but I do believe they are entitled to play in whatever (legal) manner they want in order to achieve their goal.

As you mentioned Linda, I wonder if a top team would have the guts to play that way from the get go, and see if this style could hold up consistently against top flite competition. For sure it would put a lot of pressure on the oppos until they wised up.

We only usually see this kind of bridge when the result is almost a foregone conclusion.

Steven GaynorMay 20th, 2011 at 9:52 am

I was more than ‘good’ with Diamond’s tactics at the end. They are trying to win and it is all part of the game. It was great fun, great theater and I will be looking forward to another BBO broadcast. It made me REALLY want to be a player, not a spectator.

Dustin StoutMay 20th, 2011 at 10:57 am

Don’t get me wrong, I love Good Bridge in the “classical’ sense. And 99.9% of the time, that’s what it will be. How often do we get to see a final segment like the one in that match? Where a top level team is swinging, and the hands provide the chance for a comeback? It’s not very often, and in my opinion created good drama.

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