Tenerife hands (26) - Board 18

Before the last round in Tenerife, France had 5th place with 576 VPs, Israel being 2.5 VPs behind.

Up to this fateful board 18 of the very last round today morning, France was 19 IMPs ahead of Bulgaria which would give them a 19 to 11 win if maintained until the end. In the same time, Israel was beating Romania by 15, which would translate for 18-12.

This board turned around the situation:

Board 18, East dealer, NS vul

                         9 5 3
                         J 9 7
                         K J 7 2
                         Q 10 4

2                                K J 10 7 4
A 6                             K Q 4 2
Q 10 4                        8 6 5
AK76 5 3 2                 J

                        A Q 8 6
                        10 8 5 3
                        A 9 3
                         9 8
The Bulgarian West opened a Precisionate 2C and over parntner's 2D relay rebid 3C, passed around to South.

Would you balance as South?

Quantin did and the worst befell him -West redoubled and North chose 3D, doubled by East. The defence was interesting: Jack of clubs led, another high club cashed, then ace, king and queen of hearts (spade discard by West). East plays his fourth heart and Stamatov, West, ruffs with the queen. Declarer chose not to overruff, discarding a spade. Back comes a club to the 10, Karaivanov (East) doesn't ruff. So declarer finesses the nine of trumps, and West's 10 wins! All this means down 3, or 800 for Bulgaria.

At the other table, West opened 1C and East replied 1S. Now Palau rebid 3C -I would have bid only 2C. You? This led to 3NT, two down after a diamond lead by North.

So France lost 14 IMPs and 7 IMPs more in the two last boards to lose 14-16. Israel made 3C as EW and defeated a Romanian 3H (by EW!) as NS, so they gained 5 IMPs and 10 IMPs more in next board to win 21-9. The upshot was that Israel clinched at the last moment the last ticket to Bali.

Now, let's speculate a bit: Over 3C doubled and redoubled, Multon in North bid 3D. Imagine that he passes the redouble and he leads a low diamond! Then the defence prevails, scoring +200 instead of -800 and France... But is it humanly possible to pass the redouble?

In the end, the medals were won by the usual suspects. Italy made the four-peat, Norway was second and Poland was third. After having led the course from the beginning, Russia takes a slightly disappointing fourth place. All five teams (Israel was fifth) can make their mark in Bali.

After being among the leaders almost from the start, Greece dropped to a hugely more disappointing 10th place in the end. Unless I am mistaken, they only won one match during the second week. Had they merely managed an average of 16-17 IMPs in four or five of their late matches against teams out of contention they would probably have qualified, but it was not to be. It puzzles me why they didn't follow this sensible plan :-))

Anyway, Bali is too far away...

Nikos Sarantakos

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2001 Nikos Sarantakos
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