24 teams entered the Flight A Reisinger (14 more were in Flight B). Everybody played three-way matches over two sessions, with one survivor into the quarterfinals. Seven of the eight seeds got through, but not without difficulty. For instance, we won our two matches by single digits. The finalists were the #8 seed TORNAY (George Tornay, Bob Sartorius, Augie Boehm, Jocko Roberts and myself) and the #2 seed SCHWARTZ (Richie Schwartz, Ravindra Murthy, Brian Glubok and Sam Lev). Both teams came from behind in the semifinals. SCHWARTZ trailed SOSLER by 24 IMPs after one quarter, and won by 13. TORNAY trailed KOPERA by 34 IMPs after one quarter, and won by 4. It would be 56 boards for the Reisinger championship.
1st Quarter There were only two big swings in the first quarter. The first was: HAND 1 East dealer E-W vulnerable North S A J H A K 9 8 D A K J C Q 10 6 4 West East S K Q T 8 4 S 7 6 5 h J 3 H 10 7 6 2 D T 8 6 5 2 D Q 9 4 3 C 8 C 7 2 South S 9 3 2 H Q 5 4 D 7 C A K J 9 5 3 Room#1: North East South West Bronstein Glubok Tornay Lev -- Pass 3 C Pass 6 C (All Pass)
Room#2: North East South West Scwartz Roberts Murthy Boehm -- Pass Pass Pass 2 C Pass 3 C Pass 4 C Pass 4 NT Pass 5 C Pass 7 C
The grand slam is a good one, particularly played by North. It makes if hearts split or the diamond queen is onside. From my perspective at table #1, knowing what preempts can look like at this vulnerability, I did not even know if we could make six. As luck would have it, the grand slam failed and we gained 14 IMPs. The other big swing:
HAND 2 South dealer Both vulnerable NORTH S 7 4 3 H A Q 10 7 5 D A 9 8 5 C K EAST S 8 2 H K J 9 D 10 7 4 C A 7 5 4 South West North East Glubok Tornay Lev Bronstein Roberts Murthy Boehm Schwartz 1 S Pass 2 H Pass 2 S Pass 3 S Pass 4 S (All Pass)
At both tables, the opening lead was the club queen, to the king and ace. What should East return? If I play a trump, as Richie did, declarer might have S AKJxx H xx D Kxx C xxx. Then he can win, lose the heart finesse, win another trump, play a heart to the ace and ruff a heart. Now he ruff s a club, leads a winning heart, and makes ten tricks. To stop this, I led a diamond. This defeats that line of play by attacking the late entry to dummy. But declarer's actual hand was S AKxxx H xxx D KJx C xx, and the diamond return cost 12 IMPs. This is the price for being out of touch, I suppose. Time was when opener would raise hearts with three ahead of rebidding a 5-card spade suit. Nowadays the spade rebid, which was chosen at both tables, is merely neutral, anything from the actual hand to a six-card spade suit with eighteen points. So, the quarter ended with SCHWARTZ ahead by 1 IMP.
2nd QuarterThe second quarter was full of swings. It began on an ominous note, as we bid a vulnerable slam that was not reached at the other table. Win 13? No, both contracts were saved against, so we were plus 800, minus 500, a gain of only 7 IMPs. Then came the deluge. We allowed a game to make which I could have beaten with a different lead, and George could have beaten with a different defense. We overbid to a poor game, got doubled, and went for 500. Then Rav and I held: S 643 H 108742 D Q42 C AJ. In third seat, partner opened 1S, I bid 2S, he bid 2NT. I passed, and he had a chance to guess the play to make, but did not. Richie and Rav reached 4S, which was rather a worse contract than 2NT, but received a very friendly defense to make it. Then:
HAND 3 South dealer N-S vulnerable NORTH S K 9 6 H A Q J 10 D K 6 2 C Q J 3 SOUTH S A J 4 2 H K 9 5 4 3 2 D Void C A 5 2 Room#1: South North Bronstein Tornay 1 H 2 NT* 3 D** 4 H Pass Room#2: South North Murthy Schwartz 1 H 2 NT* 3 D** 3 H 3 S 4 C (Dbl) 5 D*** 5 S 6 H Pass *Heart raise **Shortness ***Exclusion Blackwood
We had a slight misunderstanding. While we do not play the principle of fast arrival I equated George's 4H bid with a 4H rebid by opener over the Jacoby 2NT. This shows a minimum. If my diamond shortness did not suit George's hand, he might have the same hand minus the spade king, or the club queen. Actually, he was trying to show strong trumps, since he had nothing to cue bid. The slam is a good one. How would you play it on the nine of clubs lead? There are two lines of play. Line 1 is to eliminate diamonds while drawing trumps, then give up the third club. If West wins, great. If East wins, you are okay if he has either the queen or ten of spades. Line 2 is to draw trumps and finesse the spade. You make if the queen is onside, or if spades are 3-3, or if the ten is singleton or doubleton. I took Line 1, Rav took Line 2, and both lines worked - his with an overtrick! Then Lev-Glubok stayed out of game with 25 balanced HCP, a running 5-card suit and every suit stopped. The other table bid the game but misguessed the play to go down. And on the next board, George was defeated in 3H with nine trumps, while Richie made an overtrick in 2S with eight. Over the last nine boards, SCHWARTZ had outscored us 56-1! We got some back when our opponents got too high and went for 800, but when they went down in a 4-2 fit at the two-level, they gained 5 IMPs, as our teammates went down 300 in 2NT. The last board was interesting, too:
HAND 4 East dealer N-S vulnerable North S A J 8 7 H Q J 3 D K Q 10 6 5 C 9 West East S Q 5 4 S 9 6 H A T 9 7 4 H K 8 2 D 9 4 2 D 7 3 C J 2 C A K Q 10 6 5 South S K 10 3 2 H 6 5 D A J 8 C 8 7 4 3 Room#1: North East South West Tornay Lev Bronstein Glubok -- 1 C Pass 1 H Dbl 3 C 3 S Pass 4 S (All Pass) Room#2: North East South West Murthy Boehm Schwartz Roberts -- 1 NT(!) Pass 2 D* 2 H (All Pass) *Transfer
Augie's imaginative strong notrump stole the hand, and Jocko duly made 2H. In 4S, I had to find the queen of trumps. Brian led the CJ, and Sam overtook and shifted to a low heart. Brian won ace, led a heart to the king, and Lev switched to a diamond. I decided that Lev's bidding would be unaffected by whether he had the queen of spades, and that Glubok was likely to have more spades than Lev. So I finessed Brian for the lady, and gained 13 IMPs. But at half-time, SCHWARTZ led by 34 IMPs.
2nd HalfWe had been accustomed to coming from behind. We have probably come from behind in this tournament more than anyone else over the last few years. This is no doubt accounted for by the fact that we have probably been behind more than anyone else over that period. But regaining 34 IMPs against a team that was playing as well as our opponents would not be easy. When they gained 14 IMPs more in the third quarter, it was essentially over. The final margin was 58 IMPs.
Richie Schwartz and Sam Lev thus defended the title they won last year with different teammates. They beat us in the quarterfinals en route, but in each of the previous two years, we beat them in the semifinals. Ours is probably the number one sports rivalry that no one knows about. Maybe we will get a chance to renew it next year.