18th European Youth Team Championships Page 7 Bulletin 5 - Friday, 12 July  2002

Round 9 Juniors - Greece vs Scotland

By Peter Gill

Having held England to a close match in the previous round, last-placed Scotland fielded the same four players to try to defeat Greece, and perhaps overtake Greece in the rankings.

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

West North East South
McCrossan Labrou Bergson Mylona
1ª Pass 2§ Pass
2ª Pass 3§ Pass
3NT All Pass    

Harold Bergson for Scotland won the heart lead with the queen and safety-played the clubs by finessing the nine, the expert play just in case North had five clubs. His virtue was not rewarded on this occasion, and he had to settle for 600 and a 1 IMP loss.

On vugraph, the Croatian South opened 2ª, Pass by East, 3ª from North to exert maximum pressure. All normal enough, as an aggressive style seems to be necessary to perform well in this event, but when West converted East's take-out double to penalties. Croatia were in big trouble. Martin Schaltz led ªK and switched to a club. He over-ruffed ª5 with ª8 on the third round of clubs, and played ace and another trump. Declarer went after diamonds, but Schaltz won the second round and was in control, his heart switch holding declarer to five tricks and 1100, worth 10 IMPs to Denmark.

If West discards a diamond instead of over-ruffing the spade, declarer appears to make the same number of tricks.

On Board 9, 3NT was played at three other tables, two of which made it on misdefence.
Would the Greek defence meet the challenge?

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

West North East South
McCrossan Labrou Bergson Mylona
  3ª Pass Pass
Dble Pass 3NT All Pass

Ioanna Mylona led ª7 to the jack and queen (first hurdle over; it is very wrong to play the ace here). Declarer obviously had to duck ªQ. Rather than set up a spade winner for declarer or open up the minor suits, Thanassis Labrou decided to switch to a heart, which went to Ioanna's ten and dummy's queen. It is not so easy for Ioanna, who does not know on this defence that declarer does not have ªA10x and is thus unaware that the defence has five winners, to know what the hand is. She ducked DQ on general principles, to damage declarer's communications on other layouts.  

Ioanna Mylona, Greece

Next came CQ, which she won with the king, and exited a club. Declarer won in dummy, and finessed the diamond again to Ioanna's king. There was no hurry to cash out, as it was perfectly safe to exit safely with a club, and make the last two tricks. That was the slow careful way to guarantee five tricks for the defence, a small gain of 4 IMPs when 3ª was passed out at the other table and failed by a trick.

Board 14. Dealer East. None Vul.
  ª K 9 4 3
© A Q 6
¨ K 5 3
§ A K 10
ª 10 6 2
© 8 7 2
¨ J 9 7
§ Q J 9 2
Bridge deal ª A Q J 5
© 10
¨ A 10 6 4
§ 8 7 6 4
  ª 8 7
© K J 9 5 4 3
¨ Q 8 2
§ 5 3

West North East South
McCrossan Labrou Bergson Mylona
    Pass 2¨
Pass 2NT Pass 3§
Pass 3¨ Pass 3©
Pass 4© All Pass  

2¨ was a Multi Two, 2NT and 3¨ enquired, and 3© showed hearts and a minimum.

North could have selected 3NT as the final contract, or jumped to 4© over 3§, but he chivalrously bid in such a way that his partner became declarer. This was a big winner when §Q was the opening lead, and Ioanna wrapped up her contract in double quick time, drawing trumps and repeating the club finesse. At the other table, 4© failed on a trump lead, the Scottish declarer preferring to play for a doubleton diamond honour rather than the double club finesse, although he could have combined his options better. 10 IMPs to Greece.

3NT would have made, and would be the choice of many expert players in the North seat, given the lack of ruffing potential in the North hand.

Board 15 was a lead problem:

West North East South
McCrossan Labrou Bergson Mylona
2NT Pass 3¨ Pass
3ª Pass 3NT Pass
4§ Pass 4NT Pass
5ª Pass 6© All Pass

Your lead from: ª943, ©654, ¨K954, §754? 3¨ was a transfer, 3ª showed four hearts and spade values, 3NT showed slam interest, waiting, without §A, 4§ was a cue, 4NT asked and 5ª showed three aces. Ioanna found a passive trump lead, unsuccessfully as partner had ¨A, both opponents had doubleton diamonds and declarer can claim 980 on any non-diamond lead. 11 Imps to Scotland, letting them back into the match. If one were leading up into the 2NT opener as declarer, then leading from a king into a potential AQ would be less attractive, but on the actual hand, leading through strength, most of the leading players would probably have found the diamond lead.

Board 20. Dealer West. All Vul.
  ª K 9
© A Q 10 9 7 3
¨ J 9 8 7
§ Q
ª Q J 10 7 5 2
© 6 5 4
¨ K 3
§ 6 5
Bridge deal ª A 8 6
© J 2
¨ Q 10 2
§ K 10 9 8 7
  ª 4 3
© K 8
¨ A 6 5 4
§ A J 4 3 2

West North East South
McCrossan Labrou Bergson Mylona
Pass 1© Pass 2§
Pass 2¨ Pass 3¨
Pass 3© Pass 4©
All Pass      

3© was a good bid, leading to a good contract. What would you do on §10 lead? Should one finesse? Thanassis Labrou knew the answer. The non-spade lead makes it highly likely that the opening leader has the ace of spades, so he finessed to the §Q. ©A, a heart to the king, §A for a spade discard and a club ruff allowed declarer to draw the last trump. Thanassis then played the diamonds safely to guarantee two tricks, running ¨9, with the intention of ¨8 next. This only fails if West has ¨KQ10x, which is impossible as then East's opening lead would have been a diamond. A quarter of the field went down in 4©, including the other table where a heart was led, so Greece picked up 12 IMPs, to win the match 22-8.

Thanassis Lamprou, Greece

My impression of the match between the two bottom-placed teams is that, although the bidding and card play was of quite a good standard, the players did not pre-empt on rubbish and put the pressure on by bouncing the auction, especially at favourable vulnerability, in the way that the top players here do. For example, on Board 20 in the West seat as dealer, almost all the top players did open 2ª or something similar, to put the pressure on.

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