These teams played the 5th International Team Trials in June 11-18,1999 in Memphis, Tennessee. The winner would represent the US in the world championship in bermuda januari 2000. This aricle describes the most interesting deals of the tournament. Barry Rigal is the author of most of the stuff.

 

These were the teams:

 

1.††† GOLDMAN TEAM††††††††††† ††††††††2.††† ROBINSON, Steve

††††††††† George Jacobs†††††††††††††††††††† Peter Boyd

††††††††† Ralph Katz††††††††††††††††††††††† Fred Stewart

††††††††† Alan Sontag†††††††††††††††††††††††††† Kit Woolsey

††††††††† Roger Bates†††††††††††††††††††† ††††††Mike Becker

††††††††† Peter Weichsel††††††††††††††††††††††† Michael Kamil

††††††††††† (Claude Vogel)

†††††††††††

3.††† WOLFSON, Jeff†††††††††††††††††† 4.††† CAYNE, Jimmy††††††††††††††

††††††††† Neil Silverman††††††††††††††††††††††† Chuck Burger

††††††††† Michael Rosenberg ††††††††††††††††††††Mike Passell

††††††††† Zia Mahmood†††††††††††††††††††††††††† Michael Seamon

††††††††† Chip Martel†††††††††††††††††††††††††† David Berkowitz

††††††††† Lew Stansby†††††††††††††††††††††††††† Larry Cohen

 

5.††† BRAMLEY, Bart†††††††††† ††††††††6.††† SCHWARTZ, Richard

††††††††† Sidney Lazard†††††††††††††††††††††††† Drew Casen

††††††††† Howard Weinstein††††††††††††††††††††† Marc Jacobus

††††††††† Steve Garner††††††††††††††††††††††††† Steve Weinstein

††††††††† Bobby Wolff†††††††††††††† ††††††††††††Bobby Levin

††††††††† Dan Morse†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Brad Moss

 

7.††† DEUTSCH, Seymon†††††††††††††††† 8.††† ONSTOTT, John

††††††††† Billy Cohen†††††††††††††††††††††††††† Steve Beatty

††††††††† Sam Lev†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ron Smith

††††††††† Barnet Shenkin††††††††††††††††††††††† Mark Lair

††††††††† Paul Lewis††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Billy Eisenberg

††††††††† John Mohan††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Garey Hayden

 

9.††† RAPEE TEAM†††††††††††††††††††† 10.††† BRACHMAN, Malcomb

††††††††† John Solodar††††††††††††††††††††††††† Eddie Wold

††††††††† Russ Arnold†††††††††††††††††††††††††† Curtis Cheek

††††††††† Grant Baze††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Billy Miller

††††††††† Bruce Ferguson††††††††††††††††††††††† Eric Greco

†††††† †††Dennis Clerkin††††††††††††††††††††††† Geoff Hampson

††††††††† Jerry Clerkin

 

11.†† EKEBLAD, Russ††††††††††††††††† 12.††† SMITH, Ron

††††††††† John Sutherlin††††††††††††††††††††††† Linda Smith

††††††††† Gaylor Kasle††††††††††††††††††††††††† Bernie Yomtov

††††††††† George Steiner††††††††††††††††††††††† Jim Foster

††††††††† Fred Hamilton†††††††††††††††††††††††† Allen Hawkins

††††††††† Kyle Larsen

 

13.FINBERG, Richard††††††††††††††† 14.††† MARTEL, Jan

††††††††† Brian Ellis†††††††††††††††††††††† ††††Sally Woolsey

††††††††† Gail Carns††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Becky Rogers

††††††††† Robert Zwack††††††††††††††††††††††††† Michael White

 

15.KRANYAK, Ken

††††††††† John Kranyak

††††††††† Gene Benedict

††††††††† Bob Brandow

 

 

After the round-robin these were the results in the quarter-Finals

 

Captain†††† 1-1516-30 31-45 46-60 61-75 76-90 91-105 106-120TOTAL

1. Goldman 15†† 19†† 43†† 19††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 96

8. Ekeblad 31†† 38†† 12†† 24††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† 105

 

Captain†††† 1-1516-30 31-45 46-60 61-75 76-90 91-105 106-120TOTAL

4. Cayne††† 41†† 51†† 6†† 34††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† 132

5. Bramley7†† 15†† 45†† 11††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 78

 

Captain†††† 1-1516-30 31-45 46-60 61-75 76-90 91-105 106-120TOTAL

6. Schwartz 31†† 17†† 25†† 14††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 87

3. Wolfson8†† 7†† 47†† 33††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 95

 

Captain†††† 1-1516-30 31-45 46-60 61-75 76-90 91-105 106-120TOTAL

7. Onstott 44†† 22†† 12†† 10††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 88

2. Robinson 9†† 32†† 11†† 30††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 82

 

 

 

It's Goldman-Cayne, Wolfson-Robinson in the Semifinals

 

 

†††† ††††††††1-1516-3031-4546-6061-7576-9091-105 106-120Total

Goldman33††† 52†††† 17†††† 15†††† 16†††† 22†††† 47††††† 48†††††† 250

Cayne††† 48††† 23†††† 48†††† 18†††† 27†††† 16†††† 14†††† 27†††††† 221

 

Wolfson24††† 40†††† 44†††† 47†††† 19†††† 31†††† 56††††† 31†††††† 292

Robinson 58††† 64†††† 23†††† 42†††† 26††††† 2††††† 4††††† 22†††††† 241

 

 

So itís Goldman-Wolfson in the final, and in one of the most closely contested final matches in recent memory, the team captained by Jeff Wolfson (Neil Silverman, Michael Rosenberg, Zia Mahmood, Chip Martel, Lew Stansby) outlasted The

Goldman Team (George Jacobs, Ralph Katz, Peter Weichsel, Alan Sontag, Roger Bates, Claude Vogel) in the 1999 International Team Trials to join the Nick Nickell team to represent the U.S. in the 1999 Bermuda Bowl, to be held in Bermuda in January, 2000.

The lead exchanged hands no fewer than four times over the course of the match, and the two teams were never separated by more than 18 imps until the final score was registered. The Wolfson squad outscored their opponents 47-25 in the final 15-board segment to add to an 11-imp lead going into the segment. The two teams were actually within 1 imp, with The Goldman Team leading, at the end of the sixth segment.

It is a tribute to both teams that before play began in the match their captains agreed to let the bridge at the table decide the victor rather than technicalities or appeals. True to their words, not a single incident marred the match. When the final score was tallied, the teams shook hands and the losers warmly congratulated the winners, true to

the spirit of friendship and good sportsmanship.

 

††††††† 1-1516-3031-4546-6061-7576-9091-105106-120Total

 

Goldman†† 23††† 39†††† 33†††† 6††††† 33†††† 35†††† 33††††† 25††††† 227

 

Wolfson†† 19††† 46†††† 12††† 17††††† 28†††† 46†††† 45††††† 47††††† 260

 

 

But enough small talk, letís look at some interesting deals. I read them in the daily bulletins and most of them are written by Barry Rigal, an expert writer.

 

 

From the "Greed is a Terrible Thing" Department Barry Rigal

 

Are you a disciple of Gordon Gecko ("Greed is Good") or do you believe in going for the best result possible rather than the best possible result?

Dan Morse and Bobby Wolff extracted a pound of flesh, in the form of a non-vulnerable lost undertrick, Friday.But was it worth the strain?

 

 

††††††† ††††††††††††††S K 9 2

Dlr: West†††††††††††† H Q 7 3

Vul: E-W††††††††††††† D 5

††††††††††††††††††††† C K J 10 9 7 2

S 8 3†††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††S 7 4

H A K 10 5 2†††††††††† †††††††††††††††††H J 8 6 4

D J 10 7 6 3††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††D A Q 9 2††

C 8†††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††C A 6 3

††††††††††††††††††††† S A Q J 10 6 5

††††††††††††††††††††† H 9

††††††††††††††††††††† D K 8 4

††††††††††††††††††††† C Q 5 4

 

West†††††††† North†††††††††† East††††††† South

Morse††††† ††††††††††††††††††Wolff

Pass†††††††† Pass††††††††††† 1D††††††††† 1S

2H†††††††††† 3C††††††††††††† Pass††††††† 3S

4D†††††††††† 4S††††††††††††† Pass††††††† Pass

Pass

 

With Wolff East and Morse West the auction went as shown. Morse led a top heart and shifted to a club. Wolff correctly read this as a singleton and dutifully played back the C3 -- suit preference for diamonds. Morse ruffed the club, then paused: Could Wolff have SQx HJxx DKQxxxx CA3 or the like? If so, unless he cashed the heart now it would go away. Eventually he

got it right and collected +100. But was that extra +50 worth the grey hairs for Bobby? At least one table did let through 4S from precisely this position, so the point is not just an abstract one.

 

 

Three from the First QF Segment by Barry Rigal

 

 

††††††† ††††††††††††††SK 8 4

Dlr: North††††††††††† H10 8 7

Vul: N-S††††††††††††† DA 5

††††††††††††††††††††† CK J 10 6 5

SA Q 5††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††S10 7

HK Q 6 4†††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††HA 5

DQ 8 4††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††DJ 7 6 3 2

C8 7 2†††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††CA Q 4 3

††††††††††††††††††††† SJ 9 6 3 2

††††††††††††††††††††† HJ 9 3 2

††††††††††††††††††††† DK 10 9

†† †††††††††††††††††††C9

 

The play here was of considerable interest: for example, when Stansby declared 2NT after a weak NT auction Casen led theC10 and his feeble club spots were good enough to set up the suit. Stansby put in the queen and played a diamond up. Casen won and cleared the clubs, eventually scoring up +150.

By contrast, Weinstein-Levin stopped in 1NT after the unopposed auction Pass-1C-1D-1NT. They scored up +150 on a spade lead to the queen when the defense failed to set up the spades.

In Cayne-Bramley, Larry Cohen defended 3NT as North and led a low club. David Berkowitz took the queen and now the clubs were dead; but David played a spade and Larry won the king, returned a spade, then hopped up with the DA to clear the spades and set the hand.

In the other room Passell-Seamon as E-W had to deal with North opening 1C. They reached 3D by East on a competitive auction, and on the C9 lead Seamon won the CQ and crossed to dummy with a heart to lead a trump to the jack and king. Although the defense could get a club ruff, that was only their fourth trick.

On Board 14 Mark Lair as South found a spectacular swindle to score up 2H. After a mini notrump by Fred Stewart, East, Ron Smith as North reopened with 2D, a transfer,and Mark got to 2H. The defense found the trump lead and Lair was in hand.

 

†††††††† ††††††††††††††SA 10

Dlr: East††††††††††††† HK Q 8 7 6

Vul: None††††††††††††† DQ 3†††††

†††††††††††††††††††††† CJ 6 5 2

SK 7 3†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SJ 9 8 6

H10 5 2†††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††HJ 4

DK J 10††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA 9 2

CK 7 4 3†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA Q 10 9

†††††††††††††††††††††† SQ 5 4 2

†††††††††††††††††††††† HA 9 3

†††††††††††††††††††††† D8 7 6 5 4

†††† ††††††††††††††††††C8

 

What to do next? Well, if you try to take your club ruff, you will surely never get an eighth trick, although you do get a

seventh winner. But Lair advanced the spade queen at trick 2! When Woolsey quite reasonably ducked (Stewart followed with the SJ -- just to rub it in!), Lair had his trick and tempo. He switched to clubs and wrapped up +110.

 

 

††††††† ††††††††††††††††††SJ 6 5 2

Dlr: East†††††††††††††††† H3

Vul: E-W††††††††††††††††† DQ J 5 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK 9 8 6

S 9 8†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S A Q 7

H J 9 5 4†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† H K 10 8 6 2

D 9 6 4 2†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† D K 8 7

C J 10 3††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C A Q

†††††††††††††††† †††††††††SK 10 4 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA Q 7

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA 10

††††††††††††††††††††††††† C7 5 4 2

 

West†††††††††† North†††††††††††† East†††††††††††† South

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1H†††††††††††††† Dbl

Pass†††††††††† 1S †††††††††††††††1NT††††††††††††† Pass

2H†††††††††††† 2NT†††††††††††††† Pass†††††††††††† 3C

All Pass

 

The N-S cards on Board 6 are difficult to judge precisely. There was a wide disparity in the levels competed to. For instance, Schwartz-Casen had the auction shown in the diagram above.

On a heart lead round to the king and ace Schwartz should probably have ducked a trump at once. Instead, he ruffed a heart, finessed in diamonds, cashed the DA and HQ, then ducked a club. Martel cashed the CQ, CA, and then gave declarer a ruff and discard setting the hand by force, whichever hand Schwartz ruffed in.

By contrast, in the match between Cayne and Bramley, Larry Cohen overshot the mark in the auction but recovered in the play. As North, Larry jumped to 2S over the double of 1H and David Berkowitz jumped to game. On a low trump lead Larry guessed to run this to hand and returned a trump. The defense played a third trump and Larry now ducked two clubs to drop the ace. One diamond finesse and a ruffing finesse later he had racked up +420.

††††††††††††††

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

More from Sunday's Quarterfinals by Barry Rigal

 

 

†††††††† †††††††††††††††††††SK 5 4 2

Dlr: East†††††††††††††††††† HA 5

Vul: Both†††††††††††††††††† DA Q J 10 6

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C7 5

SJ 10†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SQ 9 8 7

HJ 10 7 4 2†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† H3

D7 3††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK 9 8 5 4

CJ 9 8 4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C10 6 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA 6 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK Q 9 8 6

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† D2

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA K Q 3

 

The third set between Robinson and Onstott was a very quiet affair, but this deal had the potential for a large turnover. Both tables reached the excellent 6NT Ė as indeed did most of the rest of the field. Weinstein-Garner stayed out of the slam to pick up a fortuitous 13 imps. When Smith as North declared 6NT Becker led a spade and continued the suit when in with the DK. Now all squeezes were completely dead and Smith went one down. Boyd had a chance as North after a heart lead. He took the HQ and finessed in diamonds, and when the defense won to shift to a club, he might well have reasoned that both the hearts and clubs were offside. That being so, the winning line is to cash the clubs and hearts at once, then run the diamonds. That catches East in a simple spade-diamond squeeze. Of course, if either hearts or clubs are guarded on

his left, he can perhaps play for a double squeeze, and that is what he did, going one down for a flat board.

 

 

†††††††† ††††††††††††SJ 8 5

Dlr: East††††††††††† H9 8 7 6 5 4

Vul: None††††††††††† DK 5 4

†††††††††††††††††††† C10

S10 6 4 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA 9 3

H3†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK J 10 2

DA Q 9 8 2†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DJ 3

CQ 8 3†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK 9 7 6

†††††††††††††††††††† SK Q 7

†††††††††††††††††††† HA Q

†††††††††††††††††††† D10 7 6

†††††††††††††††††††† CA J 5 4 2

 

Levin as North reached 3H after Rosenberg as East opened a weak NT and Zia bid spades as West. Rosenberg led the SA and continued the suit. Levin was in dummy and played the CA and ruffed a club, finessed in hearts, ruffed a club, cashed the HA, and ruffed another club. Now he went over to dummy's spade winner and had reached the crossroads:

 

††††††††††††††††††††† S---

††††††††† ††††††††††††H9

††††††††††††††††††††† DK 5 4

††††††††††††††††††††† C---

S10††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S---

H---†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK J

DA Q 9†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DJ 3

C---†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††C---

††††††††††††††††††††† S---

††††††††††††††††††††† H---

††††††††††††††††††††† D10 7 6

††††††††††††††††††††† CJ

 

If Rosenberg had the DA he could be endplayed with a club to lead away from it. If Zia had the DA, playing a club would not work -- Rosenberg would ruff, draw the trump, and leave Zia with two winners. Levin got it right; Rosenberg had already shown his weak NT values by then. When he led a diamond from dummy it would do Zia no good to rise with the ace and play a spade; Levin could ruff in and still collect his DK at the end.

Only the DJ lead beats 3H I think: When Wolff found this lead against Seamon-Passell it was one of the few pickups of the set for Bramley.

 

†††††††† †††††††††††††SQ 8 6

Dlr: South††††††††††† HQ 8 4 3

Vul: E-W††††††††††††† D9 8 7 6 5

††††††††††††††††††††† C7

SJ 7 5††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA 10 4

HA J 10 6 5 2†††††††††††††††††††††††† HK

D---††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††DQ J 4 2

CA K 10 3†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CQ J 9 5 4

††††††††††††††††††††† SK 9 3 2

††††††††††††††††††††† H9 7

††††††††††††††††††††† DA K 10 3

††††††††††††††††††††† C8 6 2

 

Six clubs looks an excellent contract here Ė though the bad heart and club splits mean that it is by no means cold. Zia and Michael reached the best spot after a slight misunderstanding: is 1H-2C-4D Keycard, Exclusion Blackwood, or a void? Well, at least now they know! (Mind you, one other eminent pair reached the giddy heights of 7C after a very similar accident.) Steve Weinstein on lead knew about dummy's diamond void so he carefully resisted leading the suit, but his choice of a spade turned out to set up declarer's twelfth trick. On a top diamond lead declarer can (which is not to say that he will) succeed by ruffing out the diamond suit and giving up a spade.

 

 

†††††††† ††††††††††††SJ 10 8 4 2

Dlr: West††††††††††† HA Q 7 3

Vul: E-W†††††††††††† DJ 5

†††††††††††††††††††† CA 6

S7 5†††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††SK 6 3

HJ 9 8 5†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK 6 2

D8 6 3†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DQ 10 9 7

CK Q 7 5†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CJ 9 3

†††††††††††††††††††† SA Q 9

†††††††††††††††††††† H10 4

†††††††††††††††††††† DA K 4 2

†††††††††††††††††††† C10 8 4 2

 

Martel declared 4S on the D10 lead, and could have made his life a lot easier by running the lead to his hand. But he hopped up with the ace to take the hearts finesse, and eventually maneuvered to score his small trumps in hand while ruffing the hearts in dummy.

Levin received a club lead. He took the ace, crossed to a diamond, and finessed in hearts. Rosenberg accurately shifted to a trump: Levin won the ace, cashed the HA and ruffed a heart, then played the DK on which Rosenberg contributed the queen. Now Levin ruffed the third diamond high, ruffed the fourth heart, and in the ending:

 

†††††††††††††††††††† SJ 10 4

†††††††††††††††††††† H---

†††††††††††††††††††† D---

†††††††††††††††††††† C6

S7†††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††SK 6

H---††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† H---

D---††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† D10

CK 7 5††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CJ

†††††††††††††††††††† S---

†††††††††††††††††††† H---

†††††††††††††††††††† D4

††††††††† †††††††††††C10 8 4

 

led dummy's diamond. Zia ruffed in with the S7 and when Levin overruffed, he had to lose the last three tricks. (If declarer discards his club here he can still survive.)

Meanwhile, Passell, on the Cayne team, received an initial trump lead. He put up the queen and led a diamond to the jack and queen. Back came a second trump and he overtook in order to be in hand to lead a heart to the ten and jack. He won the club return, cashed the DAK to pitch the club loser, drew the last trump, and then guessed well to duck a heart and then play off the HA to drop the king. Passell's line was perhaps based on the idea that East's opening trump lead was unlikely to be based on two or three small hearts and the king of trumps.

Mark Lair displayed his excellent card-reading skill yet again to bring home a highly delicate slam after some exuberant bidding had got him to the stratosphere.

 

†††††††† ††††††††††††††††S4 3

Dlr: West††††††††††††††† HA 6 4 3

Vul: Both††††††††††††††† DK 8 5

†††††††††††† ††††††††††††C9 7 4 3

S10 9 6††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK 7

H9†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HQ J 7 5 2

D9 4†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DJ 6 3 2

CQ J 10 8 6 5 2††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA K

†††††††††††††††††††††† ††SA Q J 8 5 2

†††††††††††††††††††††††† HK 10 8

†††††††††††††††††††††††† DA Q 10 7

†††††††††††††††††††††††† C---

West†††††††† North†††††††††††† East†††††††† South

†††††††††††† Smith††††††††††††††††††††††††† Lair

Pass†††††††† Pass††††††††††††† 1H†† ††††††††Dbl

3C†††††††††† Pass††††††††††††† Pass†††††††† 3S

Pass†††††††† 4H††††††††††††††† Pass†††††††† 6S

All Pass

 

On the heart lead Lair won in dummy to finesse in trumps, then returned to the dummy with the DK to repeat the finesse. Now he ran all the trumps and cashed the DA to produce a classic strip-squeeze:

 

†††††††††††††††††††††† S---

†††††††††††††††††††††† H6†††††††††††

†††††††††††††††††††††† D8 5

†††††††††††††††††††††† C9

S---†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S---

H---†††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††HQ J

D---†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DJ 6

CQ J 10 8 6††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK

†††††††††††††††††††††† S2

†††††††††††††††††††††† HK 8

†††††††††††††††††††††† DQ 10

†††††††††††††††††††††† C---

 

On the last trump Becker was forced to relinquish his CK and now two rounds of hearts forced him to lead a diamond into the tenace, for the contract and a 13-imp pickup.

 

 

†††††††† †††††††††††††SA J 10 9 6 2

Dlr: South††††††††††† H6

Vul: None††††††††† †††D10 6 4

††††††††††††††††††††† C8 7 2

SK Q 8†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S7 5 4

H10 7 3††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK Q 8 5

DA Q 9 3†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DJ 8 2

CA J 6†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK 10 3

†††††††††††††††††††† S3

††††††††††††††††††††† HA J 9 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††† DK 7 5

††††††††††††††††††††† CQ 9 5 4

 

Bart Bramley found an imaginative line to come home with his thin game here. He reached 3NT in two bids after opening a strong NT and was favored with a spade lead round to his hand. He played a heart to the queen, ran the DJ (covered all around), then played a second heart to discover the bad news. He ducked this round to South, who had to decide which suit to play. Since it was unclear to him which black ace his partner had, he opted to shift to a club. Now Bramley cashed out three rounds of clubs ending in dummy and had to guess who had the D10. While South's failure to play diamonds indirectly suggested possession of that card, straight mathematics made North a slight favorite to hold it. Bramley played the odds by cashing the DQ and exiting with a diamond, endplaying North to give him a spade trick and an entry to the thirteenthdiamond for nine tricks. Well done!

 

 

†††††††† †††††††††††††SK Q J 10 6 3

Dlr: North††††††††††† HK 9 5

Vul: None†††††††††††† D8 6

††††††††††††††††††††† C3 2

SA 4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S8 5

HA 7 6 3††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HJ 10 8 2

D9 4 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† D A Q 10 7 5 3

CK J 8 6††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA

††††††††††††††††††††† S9 7 2

††††††††††††††††††††† HQ 4

††††††††††††††††††††† DK J

††††††††††††††††††††† CQ 10 9 7 5 4

 

Four hearts is the ideal spot here, although 5D has some sort of play. The eight-card fit looks the soundest game. Steve Beatty found a way to 4H from the East hand, and on the predictable spade lead he took the SA, unblocked clubs, crossed to the HA, and cashed the CK to pitch his spade. Now he took the losing diamond finesse and Steve Robinson found the excellent shift to the C10. (If he plays a spade, declarer ruffs and exits with a heart and is in control.) Beatty had to guess whether to play North for Cxx or CQxx -- both were possible on the play thus far. He guessed wrong by ducking in dummy

and ruffing in hand. Now he exited with a trump and another spade tapped him out. The best he could do was to lead winning diamonds; Boyd ruffed the third round and exited with a spade, leaving dummy with a losing club at the end for down one.

In the Wolfson-Schwartz match, Rosenberg played 4H on a spade lead and set out to get a count on the hand before committing himself. He guessed to win the spade ace, crossed to the CA, and advanced the HJ, run to the king. The defense cashed their spade winner and shifted to a diamond. Rosenberg went up with the ace and exited with a diamond, and South won and got off

play with a club. Rosenberg took the king and ruffed a club, thus getting a complete count on the North hand as 6-3-2-2. So he knew it was correct to play South for a now-bare heart. Had North been 6-2-2-3 Rosenbergwould have tried to pin the H9. Nicely done.

 

Fool Me Once Shame on YouFool Me Twice ...by Barry Rigal

 

 

Bart Bramley and Bruce Ferguson fought out a duel on Saturday; it finished with honors even when Bruce tried to go to the well once too often. This was the first part of the story (hands rotated for convenience to make South declarer).

 

††††††††††††††††††††† None vul. Dealer North.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA K Q 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† H- - -

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D7 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA K T 8 5 4 3

†††††††† SJ 4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ST 9

†††††††† HK J 7 5 3††††††††††††††††††††††† HQ T 8 4

†††††††† DA J T 3††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK Q 9 8 2

†††††††† CJ 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CQ 7

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S8 7 6 5 2

†††††††† †††††††††††††††††HA 9 6 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D6 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† C9 6

 

When Howard Weinstein and Steve Garner were N-S against Ferguson's teammates (the Clerkins) their auction started 1C-(1D)-1S. Now, when West introduced his hearts, Weinstein made two slam tries but stopped in 5S when Garner denied a diamond control. No such subtlety for

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† -††††††††† Ferguson††† -††††††††† Baze

††††††††† -††††††††† 1C††††††††† 1D†††††††† 1S

††††††††† 2S†††††††† 3D††††††††† Pass†††††† 3S

††††††††† Pass†††††† 4D††††††††† Pass†††††† 4S

††††††††† Pass†††††† 6S††††††††† All Pass††

 

Having accomplished his mission of sounding like a man with a diamond control, Bruce happily leapt to slam. One can hardly blame Bart Bramley too much for leading a heart. That meant 13 tricks for The Rapee Team and of course bragging rights for Bruce. However, the time for retribution was not far away.

Towards the end of the evening session along came the following deal:

 

†††††††††††††††††††††† None vul. Dealer West.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA Q 9 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK Q J 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK 9 7 4

†††††††† S7 4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ST 2

†††††††† HT 9 8 6 4 2††††††††††††††††††††† H- - -

†††††††† D8 7††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA K J T 6 5 4 2

†††††††† CA Q J††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CT 6 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK J 8 6 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA 7 5

†††††††††††††††††† †††††††DQ 9

††††††††††††††††††††††††† C8 5 3

 

The field was sharply divided in their results here. A fair number of players with the East cards simply sacrificed in 5D at their first turn. This was a very sensible idea since this contract was not much worse than the club finesse -- although admittedly one might not expect to find dummy with so much in declarer's first-bid suit. But at the two tables in the grudge match different routes were followed. When Ferguson and Baze held the E-W cards Lazard opened 1D, Baze jumped to 4D, and Lazard reopened with a take-out double. Bramley converted to 4S to end the auction and Ferguson led the CQ. Bramley

looked askance at this, said "You are not going to fool me twice!" and then put up the king!

The result at the other table was equally bizarre. Jerry Clerkin opened the North hand 2D to show a three-suiter with short diamonds and Garner overcalled 3D only. Now Denny Clerkin jumped to 4S (less strong than 3S) giving Weinstein a choice of leads, and he too solved his problem by starting with the CQ. Here Denny could hardly be blamed for ducking, and now Weinstein took the two heart ruffs for two down and an 11-imp pickup.

Of course at other tables (for instance where Berkowitz was sitting West facing Larry Cohen) the more mundane defense of a heart lead allowed the defense to collect the two aces and the two ruffs, but where would the story be in that?

 

 

The Round of Eight: The (Almost) Final Countdown by Barry Rigal

 

 

Going into the final 30 deals, two of the matches were still in the balance. I watched Onstott take on Robinson, and saw Beatty and Onstott recover somewhat from a terrible first four deals to hold the loss on their set to 10 imps. But those first four deals had been very painful.

The first hand saw John Onstott take a couple of rational but expensive decisions. First of all he picked up SAJ32 H95 DA5432 CK5, and heard Woolsey on his right open 4H (he had a Namyats 4C opening available for a stronger hand). Pass or bid? Onstott, swayed by his excellent hand for Poker, doubled, and that ended the auction. The question now on the lead is which ace to lead -- or is a trump best?

The answer is, "None of the above." The winning shot is the CK. Had Onstott found that he would have beaten the game and collected the 1999 ESP award, but in reality he was never going to do that. This was the full deal:

 

†††††††††††††††† †††††††††None vul. Dealer South.

 

††††† ††††††††††††††††††††SK Q T 8

††††††††††††††††††††††††† H3 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK Q J 8

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA 7 6

†††††††† SA J 3 2††††††††††††††††††††††††† S9 7 5 4

†††††††† H9 5††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK 8 6

†††††††† DA 5 4 3 2††††††††††††††††††††††† DT 7 6

†††††††† CK 5††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CQ 9 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S6

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA Q J T 7

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CJ T 8 4 2

 

Then Woolsey-Stewart had a bidding accident of sorts to reach 4H after a strong 1C from Stewart, and Onstott was on lead. Holding SJ9642 H6 DJ1098 CAKJ and having bid and supported spades to the three-level, he decided to lead a spade immediately rather than a club (I am not sure that this decision is entirely defensible) and found that the club lead was essential to set the hand. This was the full deal:

 

††††††††††††††††† †††††††N/S vul. Dealer West.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA 8

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††DA K 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CQ T 9 5 4

†††††††† SJ 9 6 4 2††††††††††††††††††††††† SQ T 5

†††††††† H6††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK Q 8 5

†††††††† DJ T 9 8††††††††††††††††††††††††† D7 6 5

†††††††† CA K J †††††††††††††††††††††††††††C8 7 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK 7 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HJ T 9 7 4 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DQ 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† C6 2

 

Note that on a top club lead the ensuing defense is not trivial: If East has a trump trick and the SK, a spade shift may be essential at trick two. Perhaps East should echo in clubs to ensure a continuation? On the spade lead Woolsey arranged to ruff a spade in dummy and discard a club on the top diamonds to register +620 for a 12-imp gain.

When, on the very next deal, Beatty took a flier with an advance sacrifice against a strong club and went for 500, his side was 28 imps in the hole on the set after three deals. A misdefense to 1NT then cost another 5 imps. However, they settled down thereafter and recovered some at their table to enter the final set down only 13 imps.

 

Meanwhile, Team Goldman had lost its comfortable lead against Ekeblad and their margin was down to "only" 22 imps as the final set began. It would be a traumatic set for most of the N/S pairs, who were destined to go plus on only a couple of the 15 boards -- if their opponents made the right decisions. And that was generally the case where the featured players were involved. The boards were also very stimulating.

 

†††††††††††††††† †††††††††Both vul. Dealer East.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SJ T 8 7 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HQ 8 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK 9 8 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† C7

†††††††† SQ 9 5†††††††††††††††††††††† †††††S- - -

†††††††† HA T 9 2††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK J 7 5 3

†††††††† DA††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DQ J 7 6 5 4

†††††††† CQ J T 9 5††††††††††††††††††††††† C8 6

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA K 6 3 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† H6

††††††††††††††††††††††††DT 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA K 4 3 2

 

Eisenberg and Hayden started well when they got away with an uncontested auction here; they played 4S and when the bad trump split came to light, Eisenberg played a diamond to the king and collected +620. Since Lair-Smith had competed to the five-level and doubled 5S for +200 after overcalling with the West cards and competing with 4NT over 4S, they collected 13 imps for Onstott. By contrast for the Ekeblad team, Hamilton- Larsen had also bid on to 5H but had been doubled there for -200; a good position except that in the other room 4S had inexplicably gone one down. That meant 7 imps for The Goldman

Team rather than 10 imps the other way. Everybody missed a grand slam that turned out to be a five-or-seven hand (and might have been construed as such at at least one of the four tables) on a finesse for the HK. Then came a pivotal board for the Ekeblad team.

 

††††††††††††††††† ††††††††N/S vul. Dealer West.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SQ 4 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† H6 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DT 8 7 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CQ 7 3

†††††††† S9 6††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA J T 5

†††††††† HA 9 8 7 3††††††††††††††††††††††† HK Q 5

†††††††† DK 9 3†††††††††††††††† †††††††††††DA J 6 5 4

†††††††† CA J T††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK 8 7 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HJ T

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DQ

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK 9 8 6 5 4

 

While 6H is excellent, one can imagine missing it very easily. Katz and Bates played 4H making +480. If that was undercooking it, contrast the result by Hamilton-Larsen, who played 7H from the West seat. Of course on a club lead declarer has it easy. He takes the ruffing finesse in clubs, unblocks hearts, crosses to the DK and draws trumps, then ruffs out the diamonds. No problem. But try it on a diamond lead, as Larsen got! Now the communications are shot and the best he could do was to rise with the DA to ruff a club and then hope for miracles. None were forthcoming: the DQ came down, trumps were three-two, but that was still only 12 tricks.

A couple of boards later Becker and Kamil played 2H down on a six-zero fit after a weak-two opening whereas Smith-Lair found their six-three club fit for +130. At this point Onstott had recaptured the lead while Goldman looked comfortable. The next deal reduced that comfort zone a little.

 

†††††††††††††††† †††††††††N/S vul. Dealer South.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA T 9 8 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† H2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK 9 7 6 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CT 6

†††††††† SK††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S6 4

†††††††† HK Q T 8††††††††††††††††††††††††† HJ 6 5

†††††††† DA T 5 3††††††††††††††††††††††††† DQ J 8

†††††††† CQ 9 7 5 †††††††††††††††††††††††††CA J 8 3 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SQ J 7 5 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA 9 7 4 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK 4

 

Both tables in Goldman-Ekeblad played 5C doubled as a sacrifice over 4S. When Hamilton got the D2 lead he smelled a rat, and put up the ace to draw trumps and escape for -300. Bates received the same lead and also sniffed the air for a while, but finally decided to take the finesse. Disaster! The roof fell in on him and a quick cross-ruff later the defense had collected all four of their trumps separately and recorded +1100 for a 13-imp pick-up.

 

†††††††††††††††† †††††††††E/W vul. Dealer South.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SQ T 9 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA K Q 5

†††††††† †††††††††††††††††DK 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CT 8 5

†††††††† SK J 8 5 3 2††††††††††††††††††††† S7 6

†††††††† H3††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HJ 8 7 4

†††††††† D7 6 4††††††††††††††††††††††††††† D3 2

†††††††† C9 6 4††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††CK Q J 7 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HT 9 6 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA Q J T 9 8

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA 3

 

Both pairs in Onstott-Robinson missed the grand slam here. Remarkably on the top club lead there was no way to make more than 11 tricks! This was therefore a push board. (Most tables saw South use RKCB and count the tricks when North produced the HAKQ. After 1D-1H-4D-5D-6H Hayden did not raise Eisenberg to seven. Personally, I think if partner can bid a slam off the three top heart honors you owe him a courtesy raise.) A large payment has been dutifully pocketed by the Bulletin staff who have mercifully decided not to publish the names of the N-S pair in another match who stopped in 4H here and picked up a slightly less-than-merited 11 imps for their pains.

 

†††††††††††††††† †††††††††Both vul. Dealer West.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK Q 6 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HT 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CT 7 3

†††††††† SA J T††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S9 8 7 3

†††††††† H4 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA K Q 9 3

†††††††† DQ T 9††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK 8 7

†††††††† CJ 8 6 5 2††††††††††††††††††††††† CK

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S5

†††† †††††††††††††††††††††HJ 8 7 6

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DJ 6 5 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA Q 9 4

 

What is there about that North hand that would persuade you to enter a live auction? Ekeblad backed in after 1H-1NT-2D-2H and Bates sawed him off with the East cards. Best defense nets +800 I think (the ace and king of hearts, followed by a low one ruffed by West, start scoring all the E-W trumps separately). In fact, the defense only collected +500, but that was good enough for 9 imps. Hayden also backed in to the Becker-Kamil auction but he was not doubled and escaped for -100.

Coming to the final deal, Goldman had sewn up his match while Onstott led by 9 imps. There was still plenty of drama out there, though!

 

†††††††††††††††† †††††††††None vul. Dealer West.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† ST 9 7 5 3 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HQ 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D4 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CQ J 4

†††††††† SQ 8††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK

†††††††† H9 8 3†††††††††††††††††††††††† †††HA J T 7 6

†††††††† DQ T 9 6 2††††††††††††††††††††††† DA K 8

†††††††† C7 5 3††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK T 9 8

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA J 6 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DJ 7 5

†††††††††††††††††††††† †††CA 6 2

 

Lair and Smith collected +50 with the E-W cards against 4S, but Becker-Kamil bid to 4H (1H-Dbl-2H- 2S-4H). Consider the effect of a diamond lead. Declarer wins in dummy and finesses in hearts. To beat the hand, South must duck! Now declarer can be denied an entry to dummy to cash the diamonds. Of course a club lead or shift after cashing the SA beats the hand by force. But Eisenberg led a heart and now there is no defense to the game. Declarer has the entry to dummy he needs and enough discards on the diamonds so as to have no problems. So Becker racked up +420 for a 9-imp pick- up -- tieing the

match. It would be extra boards, the final score being 179 all after 128 boards -- the lowest score that I can recall ever having seen in a match of this length.

 

 

Three from the Semifinals by Barry Rigal

 

††††††††††††††††† ††††††††N/S vul. Dealer West.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S9 7 6 2

††††††††††††††† ††††††††††HA Q 6 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA 8 5 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CT

†††††††† SK Q T 8††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA J 5 4 3

†††††††† H5††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK J T 8 4

†††††††† DJ T 9 6 2††††††††††††††††††††††† DQ

††††††† CJ 5 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S- - -

††††††††††††††††††††††††† H9 7 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK 7 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA Q 9 8 7 6 3

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††† ††††Passell††† Katz††††††† Seamon†††† Jacobs

††††††††† Pass†††††† Pass††††††† 1S†††††††† 3C

††††††††† 4S†††††††† Dbl†††††††† All Pass††

 

In The Goldman Team versus Cayne, Michael Seamon made a far-sighted deceptive play which he was later up to capitalizing on -- big time. Against 4S doubled George Jacobs started with the CA, on which Seamon dropped his...king! George eyed this with suspicion but decided to believe declarer and shifted to a low diamond. Had he found the heart shift Ralph Katz would still have had a chance of finding the underlead of the DA to George's king to obtain a club ruff. But the diamond shift put the fate of the contract squarely on Seamon's shoulders. Katz won his DA, cashed the HA, and continued with a second

diamond. Seamon ruffed and later guessed to ruff out South's DK to obtain a pitch for his club loser for a nifty +570.

 

Not satisfied with this Seamon started the second segment with another savvy bit of declarer play.

 

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† -††††††††† Seamon††††† - †††††††††Passell

††††††††† Pass†††††† 1H††††††††† Pass†††††† 2D

††††††††† Pass†††††† 2H††††††††† Pass†††††† 2NT

††††††††† Pass†††††† 3D††††††††† Pass†††††† 3H

††††††††† Pass†††††† 3NT†††††††† All Pass††

 

E/W vul. Dealer West.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SJ

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA J 9 7 6

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA 9 8 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CJ 7 6

†††††††† ST 9 8 5 3††††††††††††††††††††††† SA K 7 6

†††††††† HQ 8†††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††HT 5 4 3 2

†††††††† DQ 7 4††††††††††††††††††††††††††† D2

†††††††† C9 8 5††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SQ 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK J T 6 3

†††††††††††† †††††††††††††CK Q T 3

 

West led the S9 to the jack and king and East returned a low spade. Michael overcame his first hurdle when he rose with the queen and it held. On the HK he noted the fall of the eight from West and, needing this to be shortness (specifically queen doubleton), inferred that West would have longer diamonds. He backed his judgment by cashing the DK and finessing West for the queen on the next round. When the HA brought down the queen of that suit he had nine tricks without touching clubs and another nifty Bulletin hand for us to admire.

 

††††††††††††††††† †††††††N/S vul. Dealer North.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SJ 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HJ 8 7 4 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DJ T

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA K Q 9

†††††† ††SK T 6 4 3 2††††††††††††††††††††† SQ

†††††††† H9††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA K 6 2

†††††††† D6 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA 9 5 4 3

†††††††† CT 8 5 2††††††††††††††††††††††††† C7 6 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA 9 8 7

††††††† ††††††††††††††††††HQ T 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK Q 8 7

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CJ 3

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† -††††††††† Katz††††††† -††††††††† Jacobs

††††††††† -††††††††† 1H††††††††† Pass†††††† 1S

††††††††† Pass†††††† 2C††††††††† Pass†††††† 2D

††††††††† Pass†††††† 2S††††††††† Pass†††††† 3H

††††††††† Pass†††††† 3NT†††††††† All Pass††

 

On the lead of a low diamond Ralph Katz had no trouble collecting nine tricks and his contract. At the other table Peter Weichsel was defending 4H and led the DA, then switched to the SQ. Declarer won the ace, played a diamond to the jack, cashed the CK, and led his C9 to dummy's jack. The DK was ruffed and overruffed and declarer then erred by ruffing his third club in dummy (he does better to cash his third club and then ruff the fourth) and cashing the DQ to pitch his losing

spade. When he then tried to ruff a spade back to his hand he ended up two down for -200 and a 13-imp gain for The Goldman Team.

 

 

The Semifinals: Day 2 by Barry Rigal

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

The semifinals of the ITT featured stunning reversals of fortune on the last day of the matches. The Robinson team entered

with a reasonable lead over Wolfson and increased it in the first stanza, but Wolfson held their opponents to just 6 imps in the next two stanzas while scoring 87 imps themselves; then they increased their lead in the last session to win by what looked to be a deceptively comfortable margin. In the sixth set, Zia and Michael Rosenberg had a huge card. The following deal emphasizes that occasionally Zia's magic can achieve a result which, to the naked eye, would seem impossible.

 

††††††††††††††††† †††††††N/S vul. Dealer South.

 

††††††††† ††††††††††††††††S5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HT 4 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK 9 8 5 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK 9 5 2

†††††††† SA 9 8††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK Q J 6

†††††††† H9 8 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA K J 7

†††††††† DJ T††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DQ 6 4

†††††††† CQ T 8 7 6††††††††††††††††††††††† CJ 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† ST 7 4 3 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HQ 6 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA 7 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA 3

 

Zia played 3NT after the auction 1D-1NT-2NT-3NT and that put North off the diamond lead. The H3 went to the jack and queen; things were not looking good. Back came a spade (South reasonably did not want to open up the minors) and Zia won in dummy and passed the D10 -- well why not? North took his king and shifted to clubs, again not absurd. South won the ace and returned the suit. Has anyone done anything wrong yet? Zia followed with the C10 on the second round of the suit, sacrificing a club trick to make it look as if his hand was Sxxx H98 DAJ10xx CQ10x. Can you blame North for winning the king and returning the suit. Bingo! Nine tricks! Meanwhile in the other match, Cayne was retaining his lead in the sixth set but Ralph Katz was working hard for Team Goldman...

 

††††††††† †††††††††††††††E/W vul. Dealer North.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK J 8 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK 6 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA J 9 6 2

†††††††† SA T 8 5 4††††††††††††††††††††††† SQ J 7 3 2

†††††††† H5 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA Q 7

†††††††† DA T 5††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DQ J 8

†††††††† CK Q T††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C7 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S9 6

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HT 9 6 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D9 7 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††C8 5 3

 

The field found this one relatively easy. After North opened 1C all the Easts overcalled in spades and then drove quickly or slowly to game; the only issue was overtricks. But Katz opened the awkward North hand 1NT and froze both East and West out of the auction. All he collected was three tricks but look at the vulnerability. Minus 200 was not a great return with +620 available. In the seventh set I watched Martel-Stansby play virtually flawlessly against Boyd-Robinson. One hand where they gave their opponents some slight leeway was the following:

 

†††††††††††††††† ††††††††N/S vul. Dealer North.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S6

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA Q 6

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA J 7 6 5 2

††††††††††††††††† ††††††††CQ T 7

†††††††† SA Q T 9 2††††††††††††††††††††††† S7 5 4 3

†††††††† HJ 9 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HT 7 5 3

†††††††† DT 8 3††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK Q 9

†††††††† CK 3††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C5 2

†††††††††††††††††††† †††††SK J 8

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK 8 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA J 9 8 6 4

 

These days bidding minor-suit games can be seen almost as a confession of lack of machismo. Here, while 5C is excellent, real men get to play 3NT -- also by no means a poor contract. On the auction 1D-(P)-2C-(2S)-3C-P-3NT, Stansby was going to be well placed on a spade lead, as actually happened. Note that West's likely alternative lead is a heart. But it would be taking things to extremes, would it not, to double 3NT with the East cards for a diamond lead. I suppose it just happens to work -- although South could always wake up and run to 5C anyway. Robinson led a spade and continued the suit, hoping his

partner had the SJ; that was 660.

At the other table, Stewart-Woolsey bid (unimpeded) against Zia-Rosenberg: 1D-3NT-4D-4NT-P. A spade was led and South made ten tricks.

Then, on the final deal of the set, Robinson had a very tough auction when his opponents timed their sequence just right.

 

†††††††††††††††† †††††††††E/W vul. Dealer North.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK Q J T 9 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DQ 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CJ T 7 6

†††††††† SA K 8 7 3††††††††††††††††††††††† SQ J T 6

†††††††† H8 7††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† H6 4

†††††††† DK 6 4 2††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA T 9

†††††††† CA 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK 9 5 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S9 5 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA 5 3

††††††††††††††††††††††† ††DJ 8 7 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CQ 8 4

 

Martel opened the North hand 3H and Stansby raised to 4H. With those West cards would you double (intending to do what when partner bids 5C) or would you bid 4S and damn the torpedoes? Robinson passed and collected +150 in painful undertricks against the +620 that was rightfully his.

 

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† Zia††††††† -†††††††††† Rosenberg-

††††††††† -††††††††† 3H††††††††† Pass†††††† 4H

††††††††† Dbl††††††† Pass††††††† 4S†††††††† All Pass

 

The 4S game made five, +650 for Zia-Rosenberg.

 

Team Goldman had moved into an 8-imp lead against Cayne, and I watched Katz-Bates take on the two Mikers, Seamon and Passell. Both pairs played well, but in the final analysis the set hinged around two slams.

 

††††††††††††††††† †††††††N/S vul. Dealer East.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SQ 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HJ 8 7 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D9 7

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA 9 6 5

†††††††† SJ 9††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA K T 8 4

†††††††† HA Q T 9 5 3††††††††††††††††††††† HK 6

†††††††† D4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA K 5 3 2

†††††††† CJ 8 7 4††††††††††††††††††††††††† C2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S7 6 5 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† H- - -

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DQ J T 8 6

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK Q T 3

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† Passell††† Katz††††††† Seamon†††† Bates

††††††††† -††††††††† -†††††††††† 1S†††† ††††Pass

††††††††† 1NT††††††† Pass††††††† 3D†††††††† Pass

††††††††† 3H†††††††† Pass††††††† 4H†††††††† Pass

††††††††† 5H†††††††† Pass††††††† 6H†††††††† All Pass

 

When Seamon forced to game and raised hearts (note no 4C cue-bid)Passell played him for a mountain. His try for slam was a little optimistic; Seamon knew that the rest of his hand was a little bare but he had no real choice but to obey orders. The defense led a top club and shifted to diamonds. Then the question was whether there was a way to avoid going three down. In the end the defense prevailed and collected +150. Not important you say, but at the other table where 4H was the contract after a strong club auction, the trick was far more important. Here the defense began with two rounds of clubs; not such an accurate start. Declarer ruffed, cashed the HK to find the bad news, then took all the ace-kings in dummy, observing the fall of the SQ. Now he could lead a top spade and discard his club loser. North could ruff but declarer was down to all trumps and had just one trick to lose. Plus 420 meant 11 imps to Team Goldman.

 

†††††††††††††††† ††††††††Both vul. Dealer South.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HQ J T 9 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK Q 8

††††††††††† ††††††††††††††CT 8 4 3

†††††††† SQ 6 5††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA T 9 3 2

†††††††† H8 5††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK 7 4

†††††††† D7 6 5 4 3††††††††††††††††††††††† DJ T 9 2

†††††††† C7 5 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CJ

†††††††††††† †††††††††††††SJ 8 7 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA 6 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA K Q 9 6

 

Cayne held the South cards and heard his partner respond 1H to 1C. After a support double of the 1S overcall he heard Burger jump to 4H -- not an especially strong bid, more preemptive I assume. Cayne weighed his hand for a long time before deciding to pass. By contrast, Bates took a far more aggressive position with the South cards. He also doubled 1S and over Katz's jump to 3H he tried 4D, then bid 5H over the signoff. Katz unwillingly had to bid on but carefully offered 6C as an alternative trump suit and Bates was only too happy to accept. On the spade lead and devious heart shift by Seamon, Bates

finessed and made his contract.

Those two boards essentially constituted the margin of victory -- Cayne needing to get both right to win the match.

 

 

The Finals: Day 1 reported by Barry Rigal

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Segment one was relatively unremarkable, but one deal did catch my attention:

 

††††††††††††††††† ††††††††N/S vul. Dealer West.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† ST 7 3 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HQ 9 2

†††††††††††† †††††††††††††D6 4 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA K 6

†††††††† SK Q 6††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SJ 8 4

†††††††† H8 4††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK J 7 6 5

†††††††† DA Q J 8 7††††††††††††††††††††††† DT 9 5

†††††††† CJ 3 2††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††CQ 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA 9 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA T 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CT 9 8 7 5

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† Wolfson††† Jacobs††††† SilvermanVogel

††††††††† Sontag†††† Martel††††† Weichsel†† Stansby

††††††††† 1D†††††††† Pass††††††† 1H†††††††† Pass

††††††††† 1NT††††††† Pass††††††† 2H†††††††† All Pass

 

The auctions were identical at both tables and both Souths led a club. Silverman won the third club and played a heart to the jack and ace. Vogel cashed the SA and played a fourth round of clubs, Jacobs ruffing with the queen and overruffed with the king. That established two additional trump tricks for the defense for -50. At the other table, after two rounds of clubs, Martel switched to a spade. Stansby won the ace and reverted to clubs, Peter Weichsel pitching a diamond. At Trick

5 Weichsel played the H4 from dummy and passed it to Stansby's ten! Now there was no trump promotion and the defense was finished. Plus 110 was worth 4 imps for The Goldman Team -- their exact margin of victory (23-19) in the segment.

 

††††††††††††††††† †††††††None vul. Dealer West.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† ST 9 7 6 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† H9

††††††††††††††† ††††††††††DT 9 7 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CQ 7 5

†††††††† SA Q 2††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK J 8 4

†††††††† HA Q 4††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HK T 5

†††††††† DQ 8††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA 4 2

†††††††† CK J 8 4 2†††††††††††††† †††††††††CA T 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HJ 8 7 6 3 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK J 6 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† C9 6

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† SilvermanKatz††††††† Wolfson††† Bates

††††††††† Vogel††††† Rosenberg†† Jacobs†††† Zia

††††††††† 1C†††††††† Pass††††††† 1S†††††††† Pass

††††††††† 2NT††††††† Pass††††††† 6NT††††††† All Pass

 

Midway through the second segment both E-W pairs reached 6NT with the D10 lead. Silverman ducked to Bates' king, won the diamond return, cashed three rounds of hearts (Katz pitching a diamond then a spade) followed by four rounds of spades (Bates pitching hearts) and the DA, and now had to read the three-card ending. Perhaps Katz's early diamond discard convinced him that North had started with five of that suit, and thus only two clubs. He finessed Bates for the CQ and lost

14 imps when Vogel got it right in the other room.

 

††††††††††††††††† †††††††E/W vul. Dealer North.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SQ T

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HT

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA J 6 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA K 8 6 5 4

†††††††† SA J 9 3††††††††††††††††††††††††† S7 6 5

†††††††† HA Q 8 6 3 2††††††††††††††††††††† HK J 7 4

†††††††† DT 4††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††DK Q 8

†††††††† CT††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† CJ 7 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK 8 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† H9 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D9 7 5 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CQ 9 2

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† SilvermanKatz††††††† Wolfson††† Bates

††††††††† -††††††††† 1C††††††††† Pass†††††† 1S

††††††††† 2H†††††††† 3C††††††††† 3H†††††††† Pass

††††††††† 4H†††††††† All Pass†††

 

Katz led the CA against Silverman's 4H contract followed by a low club, jack, queen, ruff. Trump were drawn in two rounds followed by a diamond to the queen and a second club ruff. North won the next diamond and exited a diamond and Silverman had two possible lines: (1) play South for the S10 or (2) cash the SA and play North for honor doubleton in case his low spade is the ten. Neil wisely chose the latter and scored up +620. In the other room, Zia took a rather peculiar view and saved in 5C, which turned out to be the winning action (assuming West would have found the winning play in spades).

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† Vogel††††† Rosenberg†† Jacobs†††† Zia

††††††††† -††††††††† 1C††††††††† Pass†††††† 1S

††††††††† 2H†††††††† 3C††††††††† 4H†††††††† 5C

††††††††† Dbl††††††† All Pass†††

 

5C went down two for -300 and an 8-imp pickup for Wolfson.

 

†††††††††††††††† ††††††††None vul. Dealer South.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SJ T 6 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA K 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D8 6 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA 9 2

†††††††† S8 7 3††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SK Q

†††††††† HQ T 8††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HJ 9 6 5

†††††††† DK††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DT 9 7 2

†††††††† CK Q J 7 5 4††††††††††††††††††††† C8 6 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA 9 5 2

†††††††††††††††††††††††† H7 4 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA Q J 5 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CT

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† SilvermanKatz††††††† Wolfson††† Bates

††††††††† -††††††††† -†††††††††† -††††††††† 1D

††† ††††††2C†††††††† Dbl†††††††† 3C†††††††† 3S

††††††††† Pass†††††† 4S††††††††† All Pass††

 

Bates received the CK lead against his 4S. He won the ace and tried the losing diamonds finesse, and back came a second club, tapping him. Now he played the S9 from hand, East winning and returning a diamond for West to ruff. West got off lead with a third club and South was automatically down one. In the other room a heart was led against the same contract (from the North side) and Michael Rosenberg won and played the SJ. When the queen appeared he won the ace and played a second trump to the ten and king, won the heart return, drew the last trump, and cashed the DA. When the king came down he was able to ruff the fourth diamond, pitch a club, and lost only a spade and a heart for +450.

 

†††††††††††††††† ††††††††None vul. Dealer North.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SJ 9 7

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HT

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA Q J T 9 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CA 6 4

†††††††† SA K Q 2††††††††††††††††††††††††ST 6 5 4 3

†††††††† HA K 7 3††††††††††††††††††††††††† H9 4

†††††††† D- - -††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DK 7 6 3 2

†††††††† CT 9 7 3 2††††††††††††††††††††††† C8

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S8

††††††††††††††††††††††††† H Q J 8 6 5 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† D8 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK Q J 5

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† SilvermanKatz††††††† Wolfson††† Bates

††††††††† Vogel††††† Rosenberg†† Jacobs†††† Zia

††††††††† -††††††††† 1D †††††††††Pass†††††† 1H

††††††††† Dbl††††††† 2D††††††††† 2S†††††††† 3D

††††††††† 4S†††††††† All Pass†††

 

With both tables in 4S, the opening lead was key. Bates led a diamond and Wolfson carefully discarded a heart from dummy. Katz won the ace and shifted to a heart. Wolfson won in dummy and ducked a club to Bates, who gave Katz a heart ruff. But now Jeff had the time and trump entries to set up the clubs. By contrast, at the other table Zia led a trump. Jacobs won in dummy and ducked a club to Zia, who shifted to the HQ. Jacobs ruffed a club and then led a second heart which Rosenberg ruffed. Now Jacobs had no diamond winner for his game-going trick. On the next deal Roger bates handled his delicate 4S contract very carefully, finding a fine line of play.

 

††††††††††††††††† †††††††N/S vul. Dealer North.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† S9 4

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HJ 4 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† DT 3

††††††††††††††††††††††††† CK J T 7 5 3

†††††††† SQ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S7 6 3 2

†††† ††††HQ T 9 8 6††††††††††††††††††††††† HK 7 3

†††††††† D8 6 4††††††††††††††††††††††††††† DA Q J 7

†††††††† CA 9 8 6††††††††††††††††††††††††† CQ 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† SA K J T 8 5

††††††††††††††††††††††††† HA 5

†††††††††††††††††††††††† DK 9 5 2

††††††††††††††††††††††††† C4

 

††††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

††††††††† SilvermanKatz††††††† Wolfson††† Bates

††††††††† -††††††††† -†††††††††† 1D†††††††† Dbl

††††††††† 1H†††††††† 2C††††††††† Dbl††††††† 3S

††††††††† Pass†† ††††4S††††††††† All Pass††

 

Is 3S forcing? Ralph Katz thought so. A heart lead might have made things impossible but on a diamond lead and heart shift Bates went up with the HA and played a club. Silverman took his ace and played two more rounds of hearts. Bates ruffed, led the DK and ruffed a diamond, then cashed the CK and observed the fall of the CQ. Since Wolfson had three hearts,. four diamonds, and apparently only two clubs, he must have four spades. Thus, the only chance was the singleton SQ. Bates

played a trump to the ace and was pleased to see the queen fall; his contract was home.

"I guess 3S was forcing."