Shangai hands (13) - Almost slam

I was very busy in the past two days so I couldn't write here. Now let's try to catch up a bit.

In Board 25 of Round 15 the main problem seems to be whether EW will reach their 6H slam. Should they reach it they'll probably make it, although there were some casualties at some tables. But Argentina managed to score almost as much as a vulnerable slam, even if they stayed in game. How?
Well, they bid 3NT instead of 4H and South, Zia incidentally, doubled. But where did Zia find his double? Watch the auction:


Brd 25   A93
West     K9875
NS       Q
T87              QJ65
T2              Q63
T87632            J
KQ               85432
Rosenberg        ZIA

 W   N   E   S
 1NT P   2C  X
 2D  3C  P   3NT
 P   P   X   P
 P   P       

Matthew Rosenberg is one of the world's best players and well-known for immaculate ethics, but he is also known that he likes to psych once in a blue moon. He did that at the Salsomaggiore Olympiad (1992), when he opened a flat 2-pointer with 1NT (partner raised to three, psych gained 2 imps), he repeated it here. However, here the psych didn't turn out so well; I am not privy to the meaning of the various calls, for instance Lambardi' s 3C, but the fact is that Zia doubled the final 3NT.
On a low diamond lead declarer made 12 tricks, which gives the unusual score of 1350, almost as much as a slam would yield.
It seems that this West hand has some irresistible appeal, or at least so it seemed at this match. At the other table Ravenna also opened it, but he chose a slightly more orthodox weak 2D and this preempt worked when the Americans missed their heart fit and the slam, staying at 3NT. Making also 12 tricks but losing 12 imps.

Nikos Sarantakos

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2007 Nikos Sarantakos