Ray Lee

Down to earth

Well, it was a great ride, but it had to end sometime.

Stanza 4 yesterday was our high water mark — after trailing early, we came storming back and actually took the lead with four boards left.  Then 20-odd IMPs slipped away at the end of the set, and although we had won the session, we still trailed by 12.  This set was broadcast on the Chinese Ourgames Internet site, which is roughly analogous to BBO. It’s tough to navigate if you don’t read Chinese, but with the help of a friend my son Colin managed it, and was able to follow the play from back home.

There was no doubt that Linda, although improved over the day before, was not going to be able to play more than one set, so I elected to send the same four back in to do it again.  I’m still not sure whether I was right or wrong, but lightning did not strike twice, and we finished another 20 down, for a net of about 33.

That was Francine and Julie’s last appearance — Linda and Pamela went back in, while I kept Sylvia and Isabelle in to try to muddy the waters against Auken and von Arnim.  The good news was that we scored enough IMPs to win the match; the bad news was, so did they.

We did win two out six sets against Germany, and other than the France vs USA2 1-IMP nailbiter, it was by far the closest match of the quarters.  A great run had come to an end, and the little team that could had finally run out of gas.

This was a big swing hand in that exciting fourth set.


K J 5 2
Q 4 3
A 9 5
A J 4
Q 10 9 6 4 3 Box 7
A K 9 7 5 J 10 8 2
K J 6 3 2
Q 10 9 6 2
A 8
Q 10 8 7 4
K 8 7 5 3


N/S Vul.

West                 North              East             South

Auken                Francine        von Arnim    Julie

                                                  pass             pass

1                   1NT                     pass             3NT

all pass


West                 North              East             South

Sylvia                S-Meuer          Isabelle         Alberti

                                                pass            pass

1                    pass                  1NT             2NT

pass                 3                     pass            pass

3                     4                   4             pass

pass                  dbl                  all pass


At both tables West opened 1  in third chair.  Francine elected to overcall INT, and Julie raised to game.  The opening lead was a low diamond, which went round to the 9, West throwing the 10, suit preference for hearts.  Francine now played a club to the king followed by another back to the queen and ace.  That was nine tricks, and with hearts wide open she sensibly decided to settle for that rather than playing around with the spades for an overtrick.  Good thinking, in my opinion.

The excitement at the other table began when North did not overcall.  After Isabelle’s 1NT response, it was South who entered the bidding with an overcall of 2NT for the minors.  Despite having the hand with the most high cards, North gave a simple preference to 3.  With a 6-5 hand, Sylvia wasn’t going to let the opponents play in this contract, and balanced with 3.  North made another effort to catch up with 4, but undeterred by what must surely be wasted diamond cards Isabelle pressed on to 4.  By now no doubt thoroughly frustrated, North closed proceedings with a double. 

The defense started with the A, and a club continuation would have left declarer scrambling — in fact 4 went three down on this defense in the China-England match.  But at this point North, clearly worried about the spade position, found the catastrophic play of a small trump.  Sylvia won in dummy, and played a spade to South’s ace. The defense continued clubs, and declarer ruffed in on the third round.  Now came the Q, covered and ruffed, a heart to the ace, and a ruffing finesse against the J.  That was +590 and 15 big IMPs to Canada.

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