Friday, February 21, 2014

Bridge Blog 742: Bronze vs. Silver

It seemed like the whole crowd Friday afternoon at the Bridge Centre of Niagara in St. Catharines, Ont., was caught up in the Olympics, namely the men’s hockey semifinals, which were in progress as the game started. Canada vs. the U.S. Partner Selina Volpatti, who was following it on her smart phone, also brought along her tablet computer in case somebody wanted to watch it online.
The margin was 1-0 Canada through our first several rounds and a cheer erupted when that was announced as the final score. Canada goes on to play Sweden for the gold medal. Best the U.S. can do is win the consolation round for third place and bronze.
Meanwhile, Selina and I had a fine time on offense as North-South. We were declarers on 20 of the 27 boards and many of our risks paid off. One of our four top boards was this 4 Hearts doubled vulnerable contract, though it turned out not to be a risk at all. Both sides are vulnerable. West is dealer. I’m sitting North with this hand:
Spades: 8-5; Hearts: K-J-10-9-6; Diamonds: 10-7-5; Clubs: K-9-5.
West, Frances Aboud, opens 1 Diamond, I go 1 Heart. East, Viola Heywood, passes, though she shouldn’t. Selina jumps to 4 Hearts. Frances doubles and Viola leaves the double in. Viola’s opening lead is a Spade and Selina puts down what turns out to be the perfect dummy:
Spades: 6; Hearts: Q-7-5-4-2; Diamonds: K-J; Clubs: A-Q-6-4-3.
We lose the three Aces and that’s that. Plus 790. Here are the other hands:
Spades: 10-9-7-4-3-2; Hearts: 8; Diamonds: Q-8-6-3; Clubs: 10-7.

Spades: A-K-Q-J; Hearts: A-3; Diamonds: A-9-4-2; Clubs: J-8-2.
According to the hand record, it’s supposed to make 4 Hearts North-South. It also makes 3 Clubs. East-West, meanwhile, is supposed to make 4 Spades or 3 Diamonds.
According to the club website, only two other North-Souths played it in Hearts. The North who played it at 5 Hearts, doubled, went down one. Another North played it and made it at 4 Hearts, undoubled, for second-best board. Third-best for North-South was an East-West 5 Spades doubled, down two (!). Fourth-best was 2 No Trump by West, of all things, also down two, but not doubled. Seven East-Wests played it at 4 Spades. One made an overtrick. Two made 4 Spades exactly. Four went down a trick.
We wound up with a 53.70% game, fifth out of 12 North-Souths and third in the B stratification. In the Olympics, third would be bronze, but this week is a Canada-wide STaC (Sectional Tournament at the Clubs). That 0.85 of a point that we won is silver!

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