Shangai hands (12) - Three out of four


U.S. teams are going quite strongly in Shangai and all of them are in qualifying position except the USA II (Nickell) Open Team -but never write off these guys before it's over. Their performance is all the more commendable since all US teams are playing with a severe handicap; I mean their national propensity to open 1NT with a five-card major. This is a costly habit, as evidenced by the following board, Board 5 of round 12, where all four US teams in the Open and Ladies series opened the South hand with 1NT and three out of four paid heavy penalties. For instance, playing for USA I against Sweden, H. Weinstein had to open 1NT as South; Garner passed, making three, 11 away against the 650 at the other table. JoAnna Stansby for USA I Ladies also was obliged to open 1NT, was raised to 3NT, down 2, 13 away. Eric Rodwell also had this hand:
:

--------

Brd 5    9653
North    A4
NS       JT98
         AT6
         Meckstroth
JT               72
KT8753           962
642              AK3
K9               J8742
Versace          Lauria
         AKQ84
         QJ
         Q75
         Q53
         Rodwell

 W   N   E   S
================
     P   P   1NT
 2D! 3NT P   P
 P       
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Rodwell opened perforce 1NT, and over Versace's overcall (showing hearts) Meckstroth jumped to 3NT. Low heart led to the queen, then declarer cashed five rounds of trumps (West discards one heart and two diamonds, while East sheds one diamond and two clubs). Then club to the ace, club back. If Rodwell plays low, he will make, but, obviously frustrated by his being constrained to play in a vastly inferior contract, he put the queen, down one, 13 away.
Only the US II Ladies avoided the common fate; no, Quinn did not open an unAmerican 1S; she also opened the national notrump, but Sue Picus used Stayman, so 4S was reached. Still, they lost 1 imp on the board although | don't know whether it was due to the opening bid.
All in all, 37 imps were lost by the three teams because of the 1NT opening. Will the Americans be able to win the trophies despite their national notrumpitis?

P.S. Needless to say, I am being facetious here!


Nikos Sarantakos



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2007 Nikos Sarantakos
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