|Russia 'Steppes' on Hungary|
We managed to catch the tail end of this round four encounter, the result of which saw Russia take an undisputed lead in the Championships.
In the Open Room East opened with Three Hearts. Do you think South should bid Three Spades now? One view is that you can afford to be cautious when the opponents open at the three level, but should be more aggressive if they start with a four level bid. Whatever, South passed and West's raise to game was followed by three passes. South should certainly have bid Four Spades at his last turn but at least the possibility of any defensive misunderstanding was avoided when the opening lead selected was the nine of diamonds. North tried to cash two tricks in the suit, so it was easy to switch to spades when he came in with the ace of hearts.
We know that the phrase 'Bulls Blood' is often associated with Hungary and judging by his bold opening bid maybe that is what Gál Hegedüs has flowing through his veins!
Rightly or wrongly we would have bid Four Spades now, but South's actual choice worked well when his partner doubled and he was allowed to buy the hand in that contract.
The net result was eleven IMPs to Russia.
This is the sort of deal that tends to produce lots of stories. Maurits van der Vlugt of the Netherlands reports on the happenings in the match he was watching.
Ricco van Prooijen did well to double 4©, which led to 4ª making 12 tricks on a heart lead. Not a bad result as at several tables East-West was allowed to play in hearts. However, Croatia took a different view with the North-South cards.
Marina Pilopivic took a rather unilateral view with the North cards, but luckily caught South with a suitable hand for diamonds. So suitable that Sasek boldly raised to slam. West doubled and now the spotlight was on East, Marcel Lagas. The double can hardly be based on heart tricks and must be suggesting something else. In the absence of any length in his hand it is unlikely that partner is going to ruff anything, so West may well have cashing tricks in a side suit. Which suit to lead?
Dummy, having passed over 3©, is likely to come down with a diamond fit and a running side suit. Looking at the quality of the black suits, the side suit is more likely to be spades, which would mean a club must be led. On the other hand however, with spades instead of clubs, West might have bid 3ª over 3©. (A very minor inference, as there are many hands where West could not risk partner raising to Four Spades when his side belongs in hearts. Certainly a difficult problem, which Lagas unsolved by leading an uninspired heart. Thirteen tricks meant 1740 points and 14 imps to Croatia, where a club lead would have netted the Dutch 13 imps. Luckily the match was still won, so the Dutch got at least some revenge for the 2-1defeat suffered recently in Paris.
Returning to our featured match, the next deal saw more aggressive bidding at both tables.
Three Diamonds clearly invited West to bid a major and Four Diamonds clearly invited East to bid a major. The result of all this fancy footwork was that the Russians were simply too high. Why North should have imaged his side had more than the three likely defensive tricks he could see is a mystery to us, but his partner had just enough to save him.
North was no doubt certain that his Four Club bid promised diamonds as well, but perhaps 3NT is a safer way of doing that, assuming that you feel the need to bid.
Once again a 'hair trigger' double paid off and Hungary collected 7 IMPs.
In the Open Room East-West remained silent and South became declarer in 3NT. West did well to lead a spade, but selected the five that was covered by the king and ace. East returned a spade and West dropped the jack under the queen. Crossing to dummy with the king of diamonds, declarer played a club to the queen and king. The spades were blocked but there was still no way for declarer to emerge with more than eight tricks.
In the good old days South would have double Two Spades for penalties and collected a juicy penalty, but in this era he had to move his side towards the same doomed game. East led a spade for the seven, jack and king and declarer took the same line in clubs as his opposite number. Winning with the king, West carelessly returned the five of spades and East ducked in tempo! A surprised declarer came to hand with the king of diamonds and hopefully played a club. His hopes were dashed when East showed out electing to discard the eight of spades! Not to worry, West still played back her remaining spade and that was another flat board.
|Juniors Round 4, Round 5||
Match of the Day Iceland v Greece
Russia Steppes on Hungary
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