European Pairs
Number 2 Monday 17 March 1997
Editors: Mark Horton, Brian Senior, Patrick Jourdain Web Editor: Panos Pavlides

Results Contents
OPEN, Qualifier, 1st session
SENIORS, Qualifier, 1st session
OPEN PAIRS, 1st Qualifying session
Tops and Bottoms by Kees Tammens

Up and Running

The Championships got off to an immaculate start when the first session started on time and ran like clockwork.

Most of the pairs we tipped in yesterday's bulletin have made a sound start, but pride of place goes to the former winners, Jean-Christophe Quantin & Michel Abecassis. They recovered from some poor boards at the start of the session to lead the field.

These are the leading positions in the Open:

1 Quantin Abecassis France 4996.8 64.19%
2 Gotard Holowski Germany 4947.5 63.56%
3 Abate Morelli Italy 4923.4 63.37%

In the Seniors, only two pairs were able to break through the 60% barrier and the leader board looks like this:

1 Gjolme Heggem Norway 1217.1 61.59%
2 Casapiccola Ricciardi Italy 1193.4 60.39%
3 Benbassat Varenne Switzerland 1178.8 59.66%

OPEN PAIRS 1st Qualifying Session

For the first session of qualifying I decided to watch one of the host nation's top pairs, Jan Jansma and Jan van Cleef. They seemed to have a mixed time of it over the first eight deals they played

Board 15. N/S Game. Dealer South.
Q 5 4
10 9 8 6 5 3
Q 2
9 4
9 8 6 2 K 10 7 3
Q 7 -
A 10 3 K J 8 7 6
A Q 6 3 J 7 5 2
A K J 4 2
9 5 4
K 10 8

West North East South
Witteveen van Cleef Gast Jansma

2(1) 2 All Pass

(1) Clubs and another

Our featured pair started quite well against another Dutch pair when they were allowed to play in 2 when their opponents might have made a partscore themselves had they competed.

Gast led a club and Witteveen switched to a low diamond to get a second club through. Witteveen cashed the second diamond now but that was it for the defense; +140.

Board 16. E/W Game. Dealer West.
9 8 2
K Q J 9 7 5 4
8 6 2 9 5 4 3
9 4 3 K Q 8 5 2
A Q 10 6 5 3
10 6 3 A 8
Q 10 7
A J 10 7 6
K J 7 4

West North East South
Witteveen van Cleef Gast Jansma

Pass 1 1 Pass
2 4 Pass 5
All Pass

But the two Jans did less well on the second board of the set as they reached the hopeless 5 when you would expect 3NT to be let through at a fair number of tables. Van Cleef lost a trump and two diamonds for one down; -50. Perhaps 4 wasn't so clever as West's simple raise leaves it quite possible that South has a heart stack, as here.

Board 17. Love All. Dealer North.
J 10 9
J 9 6 5
K 7 6 3
K 3
A Q 7 6 4 2 K 8 3
10 8 4 2 A 3
- 10 8 5 2
Q J 8 9 7 6 2
K Q 7
A Q J 9 4
A 10 5 4

West North East South
Donkersloot van Cleef Hooiles Jansma

Pass Pass 1
Dble 1 Pass 2
2 3 4 5
5 All Pass

Round two and more Dutch opponents. I prefer an overcall to the takeout double of 1 but it worked out O.K. for West who followed up with 2 on the next round. Though North/South hadn't started off particularly strongly, it sounded rather like a double fit to Donkersloot who was not prepared to defend 5 after finding a spade fit. It actually looks as though there might be just too much to do in 5 with the 4–0 trump split.

Van Cleef led K against 5 and Donkersloot ruffed and played ace and another heart. Jansma won and played a second diamond and declarer ruffed, took a heart ruff and played a club to the jack and king. Still the defense did not take their club ruff, van Cleef continuing with another diamond, but it didn't matter. Declarer ruffed the diamond, cashed A and ruffed the last heart with K. Now came a club off the table and Jansma won the ace and gave his partner a ruff with his trump trick; two down for +100. Not easy to judge just how good a score that would be.

Board 18. N/S Game. Dealer East.
A K 7
Q 2
8 4 2
A K Q 9 4
10 8 3 Q 9 6 5 4 2
A 9 5 7 4 3
K J 9 Q 10 3
10 8 7 3 2
A J 4 2
9 5
10 9
K Q 10 6 2

After a pass by East – no doubt there will be plenty of weak two openings around the room given the vulnerability – Jansma opened 2, weak with five hearts and a four card or longer minor. Van Cleef enquired with 2NT then bid 3NT when he heard that the suit was, as expected, diamonds. Hooiles led a normal low spade and van Cleef knocked out A to claim twelve tricks; +690.

Board 19. E/W Game. Dealer South.
K Q 7 6 5 2
10 8 7 6 5 2
- A J 10 4 3
A 9 4 3
A J 10 8 Q 5 3
K 10 9 8 5 3 2 A J 4
9 8
K 9 6 4 2
Q 7 6

West North East South
Franken van Cleef Verhees Jansma

1 3 Dble 3
4 4NT 5 5
6 6 Dble All Pass

Van Cleef showed the majors then used RKCB. I'm not sure what 5 showed but it convinced him to go on to 6 over 6 – the right decision unless East/West were going to go on to seven and get the trumps right.

Franken led a club and Jansma pitched dummy's diamond. Verhees won the ace and switched to a trump to the ace. Back came a second trump and Jansma won and played a spade, ducking when West showed out. He just had to lose a second spade now then could ruff the suit out for three down; -500 but a good save against the vulnerable slam.

Board 20. Game All. Dealer West.
K 7
A J 8 4
J 7 6 4 3
7 5
Q 10 3 9 8 6 5
K 10 7 6 Q 3 2
Q 8 5 2 A K
A 9 J 8 4 3
A J 4 2
9 5
10 9
K Q 10 6 2

North South
van Cleef Jansma

Pass 1
1 1
1NT 2

This one was not played as on the hand records where the deal is rotated by 180 degrees. It might well be passed out at some tables.

Jansma's 1 opening, got his side to 2, against which Franken led a diamond and Verhees quickly took two rounds of those then switched to a low trump for queen and ace. A second trump ran to the ten and Jansma led 9, Franken rising with the king. Jansma won the ace, ruffed a diamond and led a second heart to the eight and queen. Verhees switched to a spade and Jansma won in hand, cashed K and crossed to the K. A spade went on the J and the last heart was ruffed, making declarer's little trump en-passant. That was the vital eighth trick for +90.

France has a strong contingent here, and we watched four boards of Philippe Cronier & Maurice Saloma to see how they were faring. Two tops and a couple of middles was quite satisfactory.

First in view was one of the pairs from Poland:

Board 7. Game All. Dealer South.
A 9 8 3 2
7 4
Q 6
K J 8 4
Q 5 4 -
A 9 K Q 10 8 5 2
A K J 9 8 5 7 3 2
9 2 A Q 6 3
K J 10 7 6
J 6 3
10 4
10 7 5

West North East South
Henclik Saloma Gierulski Cronier

1 1 2 3(1)
Pass Pass 4 All Pass

(1) pre-emptive

East/West have an easy 12 tricks, though few bid the slam. They were unlikely to collect 13 tricks, because to play for the drop in diamonds was too dangerous as the play went. Cronier led K. Declarer ruffed, drew trumps, led a diamond to the ace, returned with a spade ruff, and then took a diamond finesse to ensure he had an entry to the good diamonds, for club discards. 480 to E/W, but above average for the French pair.

Board 8. Love All. Dealer West.
K 4 2
A Q 9 7 6
J 10 5
4 3
J 10 8 6 A 9 3
K 10 4 3 2 J 8 5
9 6 3 Q 8 2
A K J 7 5
Q 7 5
A K 7 4
Q 10 9 8 6 2

West North East South
Henclik Saloma Gierulski Cronier

2 Pass 2 3
Pass 3NT All Pass

(1) Polish two-suiter, at least 5-4 including hearts, with 6-11 points
(2) relay

Against North's 3NT, East led the eight of hearts, which ran to the nine. Saloma was relying on the clubs, and he threw a diamond from the table, a decision he regretted later. At trick two he finessed the ten of clubs. West won and returned a low heart. As East might hold Kxx, Saloma rose with the ace, ditching a spade from dummy, then led another club.

East put up the king, and played his third heart, which put dummy to a third discard. Declarer could not afford to throw a second spade, and he released another diamond, baring the ace, king.

West took his king of hearts and switched to the jack of spades. East won and exited with a diamond to put dummy on play.

At this point declarer could have cleared the clubs for one off. But if the Q was falling and the hearts were 4-4, he actually had the rest. Somewhat optimistically, he decided to go for the big score, throwing a spade on the club queen and cashing the top diamond. He then came to hand with a spade. As the hearts did not break he lost the last two tricks to West for 100 to E/W and a poor score.

The next pair to the table came from Ireland. One is called Cian Holland, which reminds us of the problem encountered by Britain's John Holland in the European Union Championships. To prevent boards going to the wrong table in the teams matches, you had to fill in the Truscott card with your name, and he duly put "Holland". When the board got to the other table, the opponent in his seat called the Director. "We are playing Britain," he complained, "not Holland ".

Board 9. E/W Game. Dealer North.
Q 7 3 2
A 10
K 10 8 7 5
10 6
A 9 6 K J 8 4
K 7 5 Q J 3
9 4 A 6 2
9 8 7 5 3 K J 2
10 5
9 8 6 4 2
Q J 3
A Q 4

West North East South
McCarthy Saloma Holland Cronier

Pass 1NT(1) Pass
Pass 2(2) Pass 2!
Dble Pass Pass 2NT(3)
Dble 3 Dble All Pass

(1) 15-17
(2) spades & a minor, at least 5-4
(3) sought partner's minor

West's original double was to show 7 points opposite the 15-17 notrump. The pair then seemed to slip into a doubling rhythm, for their only reason to double later was the knowledge that they had the majority of the points.

Against 3 doubled East led a trump, which ran to declarer's ten. Saloma showed quick appreciation of his best chance; he played ace and another heart. West overtook to play a second trump. When this came to East, he saw the danger of dummy's hearts and switched desperately to a spade. West won the ace and played a second spade to the jack but now the defence was over. East could only clear the trump. Saloma ruffed a heart to set up the suit, took the club finesse, and threw two spades on dummy's hearts. 470 for N/S was a clear top.

The deal makes a good double-dummy problem. Can 3 be beaten? Our reporter's analysis is given on.

We don't think 3 can be beaten.

The best lead appears to be the king or jack of clubs, attacking dummy's entries. If declarer plays ace and another heart, West will win, play the nine of spades to East's jack, who continues with the other high club. If declarer then tries to draw trumps, East wins the second trump, plays a spade to West's ace, and another spade removes dummy's third trump, leaving declarer with a losing spade.

However, declarer has a counter: when he wins the first trick in dummy he can play a heart to the ten. This avoidance play prevents the defence attacking spades so advantageously. East wins the heart and clears the club ace, declarer comes to hand with the heart, and plays a trump to dummy. Now he ruffs a heart to set up the suit and plays another trump. East rises and switches to a spade but when East wins the second spade he is endplayed. The only way to attack dummy's trump entry is to play the third spade and that will set up declarer's queen.

Board 10. Game All. Dealer East.
A J 6
J 7 5
Q 10 5
J 7 5 4
K 9 8 7 5 2 -
Q 3 A 10 4 2
K 7 A J 4 3
K 10 9 Q 8 6 3 2
Q 10 4 3
K 9 8 6
9 8 6 2

West North East South
McCarthy Saloma Holland Cronier

1 Pass
1 Pass 1NT! Pass
3 All Pass

Several tables opened the East hand and had to decide what to do after the expected spade response. The correct re-bid is 2, which is why many Easts chose to pass originally, but 2 would probably come to no harm.

By contrast, 3 was highly uncomfortable. A heart lead went to the king. Cronier cashed his ace of clubs and put his partner on lead with a trump. A club ruff was followed by a diamond. Declarer ran this to the queen and ace, came back to the diamond king, overtook the heart queen, threw a club on the good diamond, and ruffed a heart in hand with the small trump. He lost two more trumps to go two light. 200 to N/S was a top at the time.

Tops and Bottoms
by Kees Tammens

The chances are that this championship will be won by a pair from one of the strong delegations from Poland and France. Hasn't that been the case in all previous European Championships? Five winners have come from France and three from Poland.

Michel Abecassis and Jean Christophe Quantin, the European Champions of 1991 and 1993, sat down in the first round against Zawislak and Krzpowic. Who would win this first encounter between these two powerful nations?

The following deal produced some bidding which would have been more appropriate in a game of poker. Some fierce intervention by the French pair did not prevent the Polish pair reaching the excellent 6.

Board 19. E/W Game. Dealer South.
K Q 7 6 5 2
10 8 7 6 5 2
- A J 10 4 3
A 9 4 3
A J 10 8 Q 5 3
K 10 9 8 5 3 2 A J 4
9 8
K 9 6 4 2
Q 7 6

West North East South
Zawislak Quantin Krzpowic Abecassis

2 4 Dble 4
5 5 6 6
Dble All Pass

Quantin picked up the nice six-six and heard his right hand opponent open a natural 2. His bid of 4 showed both majors after which the Polish pair did very well to reach the slam. The French avoided -1390 by taking the save, but Abecassis could not avoid going down four; +800 to Poland.

There was more excitement to come.

Board 20. Game All. Dealer West.
K 7
A J 8 4
J 7 6 4 3
7 5
Q 10 3 9 8 6 5
K 10 7 6 Q 3 2
Q 8 5 2 A K
A 9 J 8 4 3
A J 4 2
9 5
10 9
K Q 10 6 2

West North East South
Zawislak Quantin Krzpowic Abecassis

Pass Pass 1 Pass
1 Pass Pass Dble
Rdble 1NT Dble 2
Pass Pass Dble All Pass

Abecassis had not won his two championships by letting opponents play at the one level, so he came in with a balancing double.

East was sure he had a big hand. First came the vulnerable opening bid on the slender eleven count, then the double of1NT and he was even more satisfied when his opponents ran to 2.

The lead was the A followed by the K and then a round of spades went jack, queen and king.

Abecassis played a club for the king and ace and West played a small heart. Things would have gone better for declarer if he had played small but he tried the jack (East could after all have had some points) which lost to the queen. Another heart went to the king and ace. Abecassis had lost all interest now and used the two entries to dummy for two ruffs in his hand, but the Polish pair had +500.

Losing a total of 1300 on the first two boards of this championship was not the ideal start towards the French pair's hopes of a third title.

As can be seen from the overnight standings, Quantin and Abecassis recovered very well from this poor start. We will publish some of their good boards in tomorrow's bulletin.

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