17th European Youth Bridge Team Championships
Friday, 14 July 2000

Forty Balloons

Arseni Chour

In the only Russian bridge book for beginners there is a story about Winnie the Pooh and his friends, who learn how to play bridge. When they started to play their first rubber, they agreed on the following stake: one balloon (big and bright) for one rubber point. This story had a great success amongst Russian players, and now expressions like ‘went for eleven balloons’ are very popular.

From issue to issue of this bulletin I found an increasing number of balloons, gifted by one team to another. Fourteen, seventeen, twenty…what more?

In two boards of successive rounds, the Russian players acquired no less than forty balloons. Maybe it is not unusual here, but both parts of this collection were found at the very highest level of building - sorry, I mean bidding.


Part I of the story is non serious.


Round 11. Board 6. Dealer East. E/W Vul
  ª J 10 9 7 5 4
© 5 3
¨ 10 9
§ 10 6 5
ª Q 8
© A K Q 9 8 2
¨ K 7 4
§ Q 8
Bridge deal ª A K 6 3
© 7 4
¨ A 8 6 5
§ A 9 2
  ª 2
© J 10 6
¨ Q J 3 2
§ K J 7 4 3


West North East South
1NT 2§
6NT 7ª Dbl. All Pass

German Schools
Team Profile


Jenny Ewald, born 1981, with international experience, as she lived in New York, Hong Kong and Sydney before coming to Germany. Hobbies: horses, reading books, her friends, and will study biotechs.

Martin Stoszek, born 1980, of Polish descent, is making his alternative service and will study psychology. Hobbies: dancing like Travolta, and roller coasters.

Tamo & Janko Katerbau, born 1985 at the same time, Janko some seconds earlier, are pupils, and a very hopeful pair; one playing as strong as Schwartzenegger, the other clever like Danny de Vito. Hobbies: Computer games and badminton

Simon Morton, born 1982, with an Austrian mother, and an English father, lives in Switzerland and is playing for Germany; that’s a European! He will study economics. Hobbies: Stock-market (no surprise) football, skiing.

Alexander Smirnov, born 1987, is from Russia, and learned bridge when he was five, and is a pupil. Hobbies: Bridge, reading fantasy books, bridge and…bridge!

Claus Daehr, born 1955, npc of the team, is still trying to find out how bridge is played - but never will!

Hobbies: Chess, science and philosophy.

After a strong no-trump the Danish player sitting South bid 2§, alerted and explained as the majors. Nikita Malinovski decided that his hearts had good chances to run anyway because of his good pips and bashed 6NT. North looked at ‘Green v Red’ and decided to make a cheap sacrifice on a huge fit. Not quite right this time, as the cost was 2300.

(Declarer probably claimed he was unlucky he didn’t simply loose two or three IMPs against a possible 2210 or 2220)


Part II is serious.


Board 5. Dealer North. N/S Vul
  ª A Q 9 7
© A 10 9 8 7 6
¨ J 3
§ A
ª 10 8 6 4
© 5
¨ 6 2
§ K 8 7 5 3 2
Bridge deal ª K J 5 2
© J 3
¨ A Q 8 7
§ Q 6 4
  ª 3
© K Q 4 2
¨ K 10 9 5 4
§ J 10 9


West North East South
Krasnosselski Kelina
1© Dbl. 4©
4ª 5§ Pass 5¨
Pass 6© Pass Pass
7§ Dbl. All Pass


One heart was limited to 11-16 points, and the raise to Four Hearts was based on distribution. When West bid Four Spades, the right hand of Mikhail Krasnosselski made an uncontrolled move towards the bidding box (apparently a common disease at these championships) and the bloody red card.

However, sometimes he uses his brains too, and he found an ‘expert’ bid of 5§. With a maximum, Marina showed her diamond control, and Mike bid the slam. Now West decided to show his best suit. North led the ace of spades and a small spade. When declarer put up the king, he was held to just six tricks, -1700. Compared to the previous day it was just a pinprick!


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