My Partner, The Opponent by Ioan Bob (Romania)
The following hand gave rise to one of the most beautiful bidding sequences of the entire championship. It was distributed during the second half of the Finland-Romania match and though Kiema-Koistinen fully deserve our praise, the prima donnas of the board were the Romanian stars, Vova Valeanu and Serban Draghicescu.
Game All. Dealer South.
S 3 S QJT9764
H 52 H Q
D KJ9753 D AQ842
C A764 C -
In the Open Room, Fallenius-Nilsland had a fair result when they bulldozed the Greeks into doubling the contract of 5H.
Morath did even better! He bought the hand cheaply for 4S and got home with an overtrick when the lead was the CK.
The double game swing meant 17 imps to Sweden.
Not surprisingly, the hand also meant action in the
Romania vs Finland match. In the Closed Room, with Matei-Savin as
West North East South
Pass 2H 4S 5H
Dbl All Pass
it looked as if the keep-them-out-of-slam double had struck again. True, a pass would have worked even better here, as
North had no particular reason to go to slam with the bidding so out of control.
When the board was replayed in the Open Room we, Romanian supporters, feared the worst. The slam was a strong possibility with the Finns so fearlessly dynamic. And indeed they were! Just watch:
West North East South
Valeanu Koistinen Draghicescu Kiema
Pass 2H(2) 4C(3) 5D(4)
Dbl(5) 6H(6) Pass Pass
7D(7) Dbl All Pass
For me, this sequence is the purest of the whole
championships, with all four players close to perfection.
Let me explain why:
1. Precision style, clubs or clubs with a major.
2. Natural, forcing.
3. Spades and diamonds, void in clubs: the key bid forthe subsequent Romanian auction. Draghicescu made the winning bid on the board, with all other Easts preferring a non-descriptive 4S preempt.
4. Superfit, very, very short in diamonds.
5. Valeanu doubled for two reasons. First, to warn Draghicescu about the diamond position and second, to see Koistinen's reaction over partner's splinter and his double. Had North stopped in 5H, he would have doubled it (no diamond lead), knowing that Draghicescu's defensive trick must be in spades. If so, SA, spade ruff, followed by the CA, club ruff, should set the contract two tricks.
6. I love that diamond shortness!!
7. Nice try, but the jump to 6H was all Valeanu needed to know. With the DA in East, his hand could not be reached in time for the club ruff and the slam was a make. Backing the reasoning, he bid a courageous vulnerable 7D save with three potential defensive tricks: two aces and a club ruff. Nicely done, Vova.
Valeanu put complete faith in the Finnish pair's bidding expertise and fortunately for him, Osmo Kiema and Kauko Koistinen rose to the occasion.
As I always say: my partner, the opponents!