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