18th European Youth Team Championships Page 7 Bulletin 7 - Sunday, 14 July  2002

Juniors Round 12

England v Norway & Israel v Italy

By Peter Gill

Let's take a look at the matches involving some of the leaders.

On Board 6, you hold ªAJ8652 ©QJ95 ¨54 §7. Partner opens 2§. You bid 2ª (we're forcing that on you, although two of the players in our featured matches responded 2¨. 2NT from partner (23-24 balanced), 3H from you, 3NT from partner. Your call? What are your plans? Will you insist on slam? Partner's next call is 4ª if sufficient., or 4¨ if you call 4§.

Partner held ªKQ ©743 ¨AKQ7 §AKQ4. As RHO holds ©A6, it is a four or six hand. Israel reached 6ª, down two when Francesco Mazzadi led ©A. The di Bello brothers stopped in 4NT, after an auction in which spades was the only unbid suit; 13 IMPs to Italy. England gained 17 IMPs by bidding and making 6ª, Gunnar Harr's non-heart lead from K1082 suggesting that he hadn't read the Greece-Scotland article in Bulletin 5. Norway had reached 7ª, which looks unmakeable, and as Nils Kvangraven was declarer and went down on a spade lead, we haven't bothered to put it through Deep Finesse. RHO held ª743 ©A6 ¨1096 §J10985. To find the justification for that remark, read on.

Board 11. Dealer South. None Vul.
  ª J 10 6 4
© 3
¨ J 10 9 8 7
§ K 6 3
ª A Q 7 2
© J 10
¨ Q 6 5 4 3
§ A 9
Bridge deal ª K 5 3
© A 8 6 5
¨ A
§ 10 8 7 5 2
  ª 9 8
© K Q 9 7 4 2
¨ K 2
§ Q J 4

West North East South
Hakkebo Birdsall Kvangraven Burgess
Dble Pass 3NT All Pass

England's Ollie Burgess led ª9. Nils Kvangraven won the queen (carefully preserving the king as a later entry to hand) and played ace and another club to South's false card of the queen. South continued with ©K which declarer ducked, ©Q was taken and a third club conceded to North. The diamond switch went to the ace but when spades didn't break, declarer had to go down. As we are about to see, the spade lead worked out well because at least it solved the problem of which heart to lead.

At the other table, South opened 1©, East bid 2© in response to West's double, West bid 3¨ and passed his partner's 3NT continuation. ©K was led and the contract was easily defeated. A flat board.

Italy v Israel
West North East South
Reshef lo Presti Ginossar Mazzadi
Dble Pass 3NT All Pass

Italy's Francesco Mazzadi led ©2 to the jack. Eldad Ginossar cashed §A and South won the next club with the queen. Unlike Burgess's identical false card above, this false card cost because, from his partner's point of view, it denied the jack. Thus, when South played ©K, North did not even consider the brilliancy of discarding §K. When North won the next club with his unjettisoned king, he had no more hearts. The low heart lead had not been terminal for the defence, but the §Q was the end of the defence in real life. The unusual jettison position was not duplicated at any other table, as every other South led either ©K or §Q or ª9, and almost everyone in 3NT went down. 400 to Israel.

The auction at the other table was:

West North East South
F di Bello Hoffman S di Bello Lellouche
Dble Pass 2© Pass
2ª Pass 2NT Pass
3¨ Pass 3ª Pass
3NT Pass 4ª Pass
Pass Dble All Pass  

The conversion to 4ª could have been right if the combined heart pips were slightly worse. ©3 was ducked to the queen, and North correctly discarded ¨8 on ©K continuation. ¨A was followed by a club to the nine. Declarer simply had too many diamond losers to cover, and ended up going for 300 after North exited in clubs. 12 IMPs to Israel.

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

West North East South
Reshef lo Presti Ginossar Mazzadi
  Pass 2ª Dble
4¨ Pass 4ª Pass
Pass Dble All Pass  

4¨ was a fit showing jump, lead directing. Ginossar's rather surprising diamond lead went to the ace and §A was cashed. A diamond ruff was followed by a club ruff. A heart went to the king and ace, ©Q was cashed. South exited with ªK and the contract had to go down: if declarer ruffs either his club or his heart loser in dummy, North gets two club tricks, or if he tries ªJ, North takes the ace and plays any non-trump to promote his ª9. 200 to Italy. Declarer should have retained §A as an entry and tried to set up the diamonds, in order to have any chance.

At the other table, West simply raised 2ª to 4ª, with North/South silent. Dror Lellouche found the better lead of a club. Declarer played a heart to the king and ace, and South exited boldly with ªK. This convinced declarer that South must have ¨K, so he finessed to ¨Q and ¨K, and eventually ended up losing five tricks for minus 200; a flat board.

With no interference, Stig Roar Hallebo enquired with 2NT in response to 2ª, 3© showed a six card suit with a singleton somewhere. That was enough for West who bid 4ª. A club lead was followed by a heart to the king and ace. Nobody wanted to try to set up the diamonds with ace and another, although after the club lead, the entries to dummy are very fragile for such a line of play. South cashed a couple of hearts, exited a diamond which went to the queen and king, and the contract once again drifted two down; minus 200.

Is it possible for East/West to avoid 'minus 200'? Yes, at the other table David Gold opened the East cards with a 2¨ Multi, and bought the hand in 2¨ for plus 90! 7 IMPs to England.

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

West North East South
Reshef lo Presti Ginossar Mazzadi
1¨ Pass 1ª 2©
2NT Pass 3NT All Pass

©3 went to the queen. A club to the ace was followed by another heart for 300 to Italy.

This is a typical Kokish-inspired 'good-bad 2NT' auction. For those who don't understand what that means (almost everyone, hopefully?), Eric Kokish is the world's top bridge coach. He has done a lot of coaching in Israel. That is one of the reasons why Israel is not far from the top of the world bridge tree. However, one of Kokish's pet toys is that in competitive auctions, one hardly ever wants to play in precisely 2NT, so 2NT might as well have another use, so it is just like Lebensohl, even though the opening bid wasn't 1NT. This is called the Good-Bad 2NT (some play the Bad-Good 2NT), although it seems to me that it obviously should be called 'Lebensohl After Suit Openings' or the like.

In my opinion it is a blessing that this American virus hasn't spread through Europe yet, as I think that in competition it is much better to bid the suits that one what one has, and not to try to wrong-side the 3NT contracts. Still, the Americans are denied by their bridge administrators from being allowed to play the most basic things such as Multi Twos, so I guess that if they see a bidding gadget that they are allowed to play, they all play it.

So 2NT was like Lebensohl, showing a good (or is it a bad - I can't tell from looking at West's hand, as it is a typical middle-of-the-road) 3¨ bid usually.

Yes, I have had partners in Australia, people whom Kokish has turned into outstanding players, who insist that I play this good-bad stuff. It is very, very bad. If Eric Kokish reads this, I suppose he can point out that elsewhere in today's Bulletin, I am described as Manuel from Torquay's Fawlty Towers, and 'I know nothing'.

For those whom I have convinced to start playing this convention, I think the good (or bad) hands go via a 2NT-3C relay, and with the bad (good) hands, one simply competes to the three level in partner's or one's own suit. The bits in brackets are if you play it in reverse.

Had North experienced how often the no trumps are played from the wrong side when this convention is used, he may even have led ©J, which would have been necessary had dummy had ©K9x opposite a bare ten, for example.

At the other table, East made 3NT on a heart lead for plus 690, and 14 IMPs to Italy.

The only South to find the club lead against 3NT at any of the twenty tables in the Juniors was Ioanna Mylona of Greece, who collected plus 300 when her partner Thanassis Labrou found the ©J switch. Good stuff.

The Norwegian pair was the only other one to use the good-bad 2NT in the Juniors event. North competed with 3©, leading Nils Kvangraven, who realised that his heart king was wrong-sided for 3NT, to make an inspired 3ª call in the East seat. This was of course raised to 4ª. South led ©A and switched to a club to the ace and another club, Nils Kvangraven rising with the king to play just two rounds of trumps before starting on the diamonds. The heart loser went away on the third diamond, then North had the choice of losing his trump trick or allowing declarer to discard his losing club.

Nils' exotic 3ª bid is easily explained (see long-winded discussion above), but why play double dummy like this? Counting is the answer. The clubs seem to be 3-3. The hearts are most likely 6-3; with a weak hand South would not bid with only five hearts. That leaves seven cards in the North hand. If he has three spades, then South has a singleton diamond which he would have led. So spades aren't 3-3. If North has four spades, he has three diamonds so the line of play will work. Hence he played for the 4-2 trump break.

Norway had only five players for the first few days in Torquay, while Nils became a father. Now that he is here and the partnerships are settled again, some pundits are expecting Norway to make a charge towards the lead.

England had a curious auction. South passed the 1ª response and West rebid 2¨. East's decision to rebid 2© would be the choice of at least some other good players (a forcing 2NT would be ideal), and West naturally enough jumped to 3NT. As is so often the case with such auctions, the weakness is in the second suit bid by dummy. Holding Gunnar Harr's 4-3-3-3 pile of rubbish, many players would not know what to lead, but Gunnar found the expert lead of ©J. 300 points and 14 IMPs to Norway.

Does a club lead defeat 4ª? France reached 4ª, after Guillaume Grenthe doubled the 2© overcall for take-out then his partner Jerome Grenthe simply bid 4ª. Peter Marjai for Hungary found the club lead to the ace and Gai Hegedus returned a club. Two rounds of spades were followed by the diamonds. Hegedus ruffed in, of course, and the defence was in control; down one.

In passing, the Dutch North found an obscure double of 3NT, inspiring his partner to lead a … diamond, of course. I guess this just isn't their lucky event. Minus 1000 because Zaitsev for Russia redoubled. See separate article.

Norway won 16-14 and Italy won 20-10, with about half the IMP turnover in each match being on the above four hands.

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