World Team Championships - Bali 2013
While we were driving toward Juan Les Pins in order to play the French Cup, Claudio turned the radio off and said: "Do you remember about the 3NT I played in Bali versus Levin-Weinstein?"
He was speaking about a very nice board played during the Semifinal match of Bermuda Bowl. This is a very interesting hand from a technical point of view.
2 = weak
West leads the Q. Claudio counts his tricks and finds out they surely are at least 8 (1 in Spades, 1 in Hearts, 3 in Diamonds and 3 in Clubs).
If Clubs and Diamonds are well divided there are 11 tricks;
if only Clubs are well divided there are 9 tricks;
if only Diamonds are well divided there are 10 tricks.
Lead: do you duck?
The first problem that declarer has to face is whether he should duck the lead or not.
West surely has at least six cards in Hearts (he opened 2), and his partner should have two Hearts. South has an only Hearts stopper, and this seems a classic situation where declarer has to duck.
Anyway things are not so authomatic: as declarer is facing the same one-only-stopper-situation in Spades, ducking the lead is perfectly unuseful, because opponents can return a Spade instead of an Heart.
Claudio, thus, immediately takes. We will see that, hadn't he taken, he would not have been able to respect the contract.
Continuation of play
Claudio with self-confidence starts to probe the minor suits. From Clubs and/or Diamonds he will probabily obtain the ninth and maybe the tenth trick. Anyway lately he is particularly lucky in love, so in game he suffers the following conditions:
he plays a small Diamond to dummy and discovers that they are 4-0 (East discards a Spade).
He cashes the A and discovers that Clubs are 5-0 (West discards a Spade).
Now Claudio knows that West at the beginning was holiding 6 cards in Hearts, 4 cards in Diamonds and 3 cards in Spades.
When time gets tough...
Claudio has an only chance left, that's to say finessing Diamonds twice, but he does not have enough entries (only one, the A). So the only possibility is forcing the opponent to play Diamonds himself... But how?
Declarer also cashes the K, West discarding Hearts, then the Q, and West is now squeezed in three suits:
- if he discards a Diamond, Claudio's Diamonds become good (so Claudio can cash 5 tricks in Diamonds, 3 in Clubs, 1 in Hearts and 1 in Spades);
- if he discards an Heart, Claudio can lose a Diamond because he knows that his opponent can only cash 3 tricks in Hearts and 1 trick in Diamonds (while he can cash 4 tricks in Diamonds, 3 tricks in Clubs, 1 trick in Hearts and 1 trick in Spades);
- if he discards a Spade Claudio can force him to play Diamonds.
West discards a Spade, for the following situation:
Now Claudio plays Spades from dummy toward the Ace and K drops (but any card would be the same, the key element is that West now has an only Spade left).
Small Diamond covered by the 10 and taken by Dummy's King (East discarding Spades) and 7, hoping that East does not have higher cards (otherwise he can take and cash his good tricks).
Weinstein, resigned, shows his cards.
Had Claudio ducked the lead, the opponent could have played a Spade back and this situation would not have been possible, because East and West's commnications in Spades and Hearts would have been intact.
Bravo Claudio! :)
And finally we are back.
Bermuda Bowl in Bali finished and today, after a very long travel, we came back home.
Congratulations to Italy that was awarded the gold medal of these 41st World Bridge Teams Championships by playing an excellent match and deservedly winning versus Monaco.
Monaco thus won the silver medal, while the bronze one went to Poland, winner of the match for the third place versus USA1.
After 20 days of long staying in Bali we will rest for a couple of days before flying to Paris where we are going to play the first round of French DN1 (French Championship).
See you next week-end for live updates from Paris :)
Semifinals has just finished.
Italy ruled over Poland, which decided not to play the two last rounds.
Our Semifinal, Monaco vs USA1, was more strained. At the end we won with a good margin, but we played all the rounds. The matches were tranquil, well played in both of the rooms and beyond the final results both the teams played a good bridge.
Now we have to play the Final versus Italy, which is in a great shape and starts as favorite but not too favorite.
Carry Over is favourable to our opponents, which start with a 6 IMPs advantage.
In two days we are going to play 6 rounds of 16 boards each, so 96 boards in all.
Before starting I tell you about a nice board played by Claudio:
Contract: 4. Lead: Q.
The lead Q surely comes from a singleton, because during the bid the opponent said 2NT, so showing a good two suited hand.
In order to avoid a Spades ruff, Claudio played A and Hearts.
South took with the Q and returned a Diamond. His intentions were clear: he played his singleton Diamond in order to communicate in Clubs and let his partner play Diamonds again to ruff.
Now Claudio knows that if he plays the J the opponent can take with the King, play a small Club for his partner and ruff the Diamond return.
Declarer thus played the J and then the 10, covered by the King, then Spades again. South took and Claudio discarded his singleton and loser Club, so cutting communications among defenders. In this way, North could never play a Diamond for his partner's ruff. Discarding a loser on a loser allowed Claudio to make is contract. Well done!
See you soon for some updates :)
Quarter Finals are over.
Four teams among the favorites reached the Semifinal, even if the match between Poland and Netherlands in my opinion did not have a very specific favorite as both the teams are two bridge authorities.
Finally Poland demonstrated its great shape and easily won versus the world-title holders.
Italy easily won versus China, while both USA1 and Monaco had a hard match but at the end won with an about 50 IMPs advantage over their opponents.
Semifinals will then be USA1 versus Monaco and Italy versus Poland. In fact, when USA1 won the Round Robin, it had to make two choices, the former being its opponent for the Quarter Final, the latter being which match would have determined its opponent in the possible Semifinal.
Predicting is now almost impossible. Everything will depend on the team that will be able to play a better bridge and have an extra pinch of luck. Matches are surely very open.
Teams are going to play 96 boards, 48 boards per day divided into three sessions.
The winner of the Round Robin match will benefit from Carry Over.
May the best win and see you soon for some updates :)