18th European Youth Team Championships Page 4 Bulletin 5 - Friday, 12 July  2002

Where is the Nine of Clubs?

Round 5 Czech Republic vs England

Board 13. Dealer North. All Vul.
  ª 9 8 6
© A 7 6 5 3
¨ 7 6
§ Q 9 7
ª K J 10 4
© J 8
¨ A J 8 5 4
§ J 3
Bridge deal ª A Q 7
© Q 10 4 2
¨ 3 2
§ A 6 5 4
  ª 5 3 2
© K 9
¨ K Q 10 9
§ K 10 8 2

West North East South
Burgess Pulkrab Birdsall Vozabal
  Pass 1NT Pass
2§ Pass 2© Pass
2ª Pass 2NT All Pass

After a weak not rump opening and an invitational sequence, the English pair reached 2NT and the king of diamonds was the obvious choice of lead for David Vozabal. When it held the trick, David faced an interesting problem. With 11 HCP and such a bad diamond situation, passive defence was unlikely to be successful, so a club switch seemed to be necessary, hoping to find partner with the §Q plus a major-suit ace. But where was the §9. If declarer held that card, he might win North's queen of clubs and knock out his ªA, should that be his entry, before playing on hearts. It seems that South requires his partner to hold either the §9 or the right major-suit ace, but…

All the problems were solved when David put the §K on the table! After this nice switch it became irrelevant who had the §9 and which ace partner held. The contract was defeated by a trick as partner would always be able to play the third round of clubs through declarer's nine should that prove to be necessary.

Bad Break - What Bad Break?

A five-zero trump split will often spell doom for declarer's hopes but Italy's Stefano Uccello managed to overcome just such a nasty surprise to land his contract in the Round 8 match between Italy and Austria.

Board 16. Dealer West. East/West Vul.
  ª Q 6 4
© A K 9 8
¨ K 9 8 3
§ Q 2
ª K J 9
© 10 7 5 3 2
¨ A 4
§ K 10 8
Bridge deal ª 8 7 5 3 2
© -
¨ J 10 7 6
§ 9 5 4 3
  ª A 10
© Q J 6 4
¨ Q 5 2
§ A J 7 6

West North East South
Gogoman Uccello Gogoman Guariglia
Pass 1NT Pass 2§
Pass 2© Pass 4©
All Pass      

For Austria, Adele Gogoman led a low spade, run to West's king. Anna Gogoman returned a low trump and Uccello got a shock when his eight scored with East showing out. Uccello ran the §Q to West's king and back came a second trump, won by the nine. Uccello led a diamond to the queen and ace and back came a third trump. He won, cashed the ªA, and crossed to the ¨K to cash the ªQ, pitching dummy's losing diamond. The ace and jack of clubs were cashed and Uccello had a high crossruff for the last two tricks. No problem!

Almost a Sure Thing

Board 8. Dealer West. None Vul.
  ª A Q 4
© K J 4
¨ A K 9 3
§ Q J 9
ª 10 8 5 2
© A 5
¨ Q J 10 5
§ K 5 4
Bridge deal ª K J
© 7 3 2
¨ 8 7 2
§ A 10 8 7 2
  ª 9 7 6 3
© Q 10 9 8 6
¨ 6 4
§ 6 3

West North East South
  Birdsall   Burgess
Pass 2NT Pass 3¨
Dble 3© All Pass  

In the Round 9 match between England and Sweden, the Swedish West found a bit of a frisky double of the 3¨ transfer. Gareth Birdsall completed the transfer anyway and had to play 3© on the lead of the ¨2 to the ten and ace. You might think that declarer had three obvious losers in clubs and hearts and that the fate of his contract would rest on his ability to divine the spade position and so play the suit for one loser. You know nothing! See how the play went.

Birdsall played the ©K at trick two and the Swedish West won and returned the ¨J. Birdsall, perhaps imagining a six-one rather than four-three split to explain the double, ducked to preserve his king from being ruffed! West continued with another diamond and the nine scored, dummy pitching a club. Birdsall drew trumps ending in hand and threw the other club on his ¨K. Now he played the §Q and East covered.

There is a sure way home from here - pitch a spade and let the §A hold the trick. If East returns a spade it is obvious that you have a second spade trick and nine in all, while discarding on a club return establishes the jack and dummy's last spade goes on that card.

Birdsall fell from grace slightly when he ruffed the club and ran the ª7. As the cards lay, that play was good enough, as East is again endplayed. However, give East ªK2 and West ªJ1085 and the ª7 will be covered by the eight and, if declarer puts in the queen, a spade return leaves him with two more spade losers, so the ending is not quite a sure thing for declarer (on the actual lie, if the ª7 is covered by the eight, East returns the jack but dummy's ª96 are then equals against West's ten).

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