Squeezing The Dummy

Friday, September 08, 2006

Nightmare Set Part 1

Recently I was almost a part of the greatest comeback in the history of junior bridge. Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side!

At the 2006 World Youth Teams in Thailand, Italy was down by 96 imps to the US team with 16 boards to go. 3 years earlier, USA had come back 60 imps in 1 set against Italy in the semi-finals, only to lose by half an imp. Would history repeat itself with the teams reversed? Would Italy come out firing on all cylinders? This is the story from my perspective, remember I did not know the running score while I was playing.

On board 1 we bid to a 21 HCP 5, but we had a 6-5 fit and a void so it seemed fairly normal. At the other table the Italians also bid 5, but got Xed so we lost 4 imps.

Italy 4 USA 0.

On board 2 our opponents got to a cold 3N with 25 highs and 2 6 card suits. Ari and I missed a profitable 4 save which would have been 500. At the other table the Italians found the save and our teammates bid on to 5. Joe Grue had to judge whether his LHO who had shown the majors was 5512 or 5422. However, as RHO had suggested equal length in the majors and he had 4 spades and 5 hearts between dummy and his hand, he knew it had to be the latter and played accordingly. Well done for a push.

Italy 4 USA 0

On the third board I had QT8 AKQT9 J2 K87. Red/White the auction started 3-X-4 to me. Not knowing what 4N meant, I thought my options were 5 or 6. Partner is a solid player at these colors, and I figured they'd bid slam at the other table so I just jumped to 6. Mateo Sbarigia found a killing diamond lead from 95 -- Q9874 QT9643. When dummy came down with AJ32 J642 A65 A5 I was still on a spade hook, but when that lost I was down. The lead was well reasoned; it sounded like we were ready for a club lead and with so much length in that suit it was unlikely they could set up a trick there. I was certainly worried about this result, and sure enough at the other table the contract was played from the other side and Grue was never going to find a diamond lead so we lost 17 imps.

Italy 21 USA 0

On board 4 I picked up this lovely collection: T972 T Q43 98743. With everyone vulnerable, partner opened 1 and RHO overcalled 2. I jumped in there with 3, preemptive. LHO bid 4 and my partner, Ari Greenberg, bid 5. This bid was designed to involve my judgement if the opponents bid to 6. When they did I had an easy 6 bid given my stiff heart and Qxx of partners second suit. This was a great save, going for 500, and I thought it was a sure plus position. Even if our teammates were +680 it was a 4 imp gain. It didn't work out that way, and we lost 15 imps! At the other table Grue did not overcall with 864 KQJ62 T65 AK and Kranyak did not bid over 3 with 5 A9753 A2 QJT52. Neither bid over 4 and it made. In my view, neither player did anything unreasonable. Grue had xxx of spades and Kranyak had a terrible suit with no way to show a two-suiter.

Italy 36 USA 0

After 4 boards Italy had made up 36 imps. If that pace was sustainable, they would win, but they were still down 60 imps with just 12 boards to play and were huge underdogs at this point.



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