Monday, 21 August 2017

Taming the Russian Bear. Venice Cup, Lyon, Day 9

The 43rd World Bridge Championships are being held at the "Cite Centre de Congres" in Lyon, outside of which there is an enormous statue of a "Russian Bear".   We enter today's play, confident in the belief that three lions on the shirt will be more than enough to cope with a lone bear!

At the half-way stage of our quarter-final we are leading the Russians by 133 IMPs to 98.  There are 48 boards to go so this is a significant but not, as yet, decisive advantage.

Having clear bidding agreements in a well organised system can reap big rewards.  This is illustrated by the following hand that helped us to establish our lead.

                                   ♠ A 8
                                   ♥ K Q 8 5 4
                            ♦ J 8 2
                                   ♣ J 7 2
♠ K Q J T 7 6 4 3
♣ T 6
Bridge deal♠ -
T 9 3
K T 5 3
♣ A K Q 8 5 4
♠ 9 5 2
J 7 6 2
9 7 6 4
♣ 9 3

At one table, the opening bid was 1C, indicating a strong hand or a weak NT - the "Polish Club" system.   Nevena Senior overcalled 1H and East showed her clubs.   Some confusion ensued in that, East's bid was merely competitive and West became worried that East had a string of clubs but a poor hand.   This uncertainty led to the slam being missed.

In contrast, Fiona Brown and Sally Brock bid:

1S              2C   (FG)
3S              4C   (cue-bid)
4NT           and on to a nicely bid slam

Fiona's jump to 3S announced that spades were playable opposite a void.   This was a useful agreement to have because it enabled Sally to cue-bid 4C with confidence.   In a standard system, a 3S rebid is necessary, merely to indicate a non-minimum opening, so this board can be seen as being a good hand for the treatment that 2C is forcing to game.

Indeed, it was one of two hands in the second stanza of the match when our pair bid a making slam with a very strong suit opposite a void!

The overnight scores, after 48 boards, in each of the quarter-finals are given below:

Sweden        97          Israel        107 - the winners of this match are our potential semi-final opponents

Russia          98          England   133

Indonesia     101        Poland     103

China           88          Netherlands  70

Looking forward to a good day's play !

Derek :)

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