Tenerife hands (18) - L'inutile precauzione

Sunday was black for the leading teams in Tenerife. With the exception of Russia, who scored 56 VPs in 3 matches and of Greece who scored a seemingly mediocre 51, all other leading teams scored less than average: Poland 42, Norway 38, and, unbelievably, Italy just 33 -in three matches!

Now Russia has 397,5; Poland and Greece have 383, Norway 363 and then there is congestion: Bulgaria caught Italy at 5th place with 356; Israel also has 356, Austria 355, Belgium 354,5 and France 353! Tomorrow Greece has another big hurdle to negotiate: Poland.

Italy lost 10-20 to Bulgaria in 21th round. The match didn't start well for the Blue Team:

Board 1, North dealer, Love all

                                 K 6
                                 A 4 3
                                 K Q 9 8 5
                                 Q J 9

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

                             Q J 5 2
                             K 9 8 5
                             10 4
                             10 8 2
Bocchi opened 1C (ambiguous), Duboin as South replied 1D, presumably weak, and Bocchi rebid 1NT. Now East doubled and I presume this is for penalties, for when it was passed out to Bocchi he ran to 2D. This was doubled by West, SOS-redoubled by South, so Bocchi bid his three-card 2H, promptly doubled by East. The defenders scored two clubs, two trumps, two ruffs (one club by W, one diamond by E) and ace of spades to collect 300.

But why did Bocchi ran from 1NTx? Barry Rigal tells me that with his 1NT rebid Bocchi showed 13-16 points. Alas, he was in the maximum for his range, but partner, not privy to this fact, could not redouble 1NT. Non-redoubling implied less than 7 points, so Duboin was also maximum for his possible range. Note that 1NT is always on (in fact, this was the contract in the other room: 1NT=).

Even the run from 2D was unlucky. 2D has some play and while the defenders can beat it (just by one) they have to be on their toes. There are a couple of real chances for the contract to make.

So the Italians escaped from +180 to -100 and from there to -300, losing 9 IMPs instead of gaining three. Certainly they were victims of the fact that both were maximum for their bids, but the whole operation turned out to be a "useless precaution" -to remember Rossini!

Nikos Sarantakos

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