Tenerife hands (1) - Queen vs Jack

The 45th European Championships begun yesterday at Tenerife, Spain. Bridge fans all over the world have the chance to enjoy what is perhaps the toughest top-level event; Bridgeplaza is offering free Vugraph and Yvan Calame at the Swiss Federation site is offering the equivalent in "html-vugraph". Hats off to all those who are working to keep bridge accessible to all.

Here is a hand from the 1st round, Italy v Scotland

Board 20, West dealer, Both vul

                             K Q J 9 8 7 4
                             A K 10
                             9 7

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

                            A 6
                            7 4 3
                            Q J 8 3
                            K Q 8 6
The auction was identical in both rooms: West opened 1D, North jumped at 4S which came back to West who doubled. Would you bid 5H as East? Probably not although it turns out that it is very cheap, only down one.

Les Steel, East for Scotland led the queen of hearts; West did not overtake and a second heart was ruffed. Now declarer had 11 tricks for 990. In the other room, however, Dano de Falco led the jack of hearts. I ignore the lead conventions they use, but Guido Ferraro, West, knew them well: he overtook, returned the two of diamonds for partner to ruff, won the club return and gave him a second ruff for a breathless down one and 15 IMPs for Italy -which was a tad more than the final margin, 55 to 41 for Italy.

The great majority of EW pairs did not find this defence, it seems (only 7 out of 29 managed to beat 4S). One of them was Ukraine against Luxembourg, but there was a twist: the Ukrainian East led a club.

Greece has begun well, I am rooting for them. In their match against Germany, both EW pairs did what perhaps is the sensible thing, i.e. go to 5H and both NS pairs went to 5S. The Germans refused to take further insurance but did not beat 5S, so they lost 4 IMPs when the Greeks went on to 6H (!) doubled and down 2.

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2001 Nikos Sarantakos
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