2013 World Wide Bridge Contest: Board 12

Eric Kokish Rodwell Weinstein Meckstroth
Eric Kokish Rodwell Weinstein Meckstroth

The World Wide Bridge Contest is a long-standing tournament in the World Bridge Federation’s calendar, 2013 is its 27th year, and I do hope you all enjoyed this event and found the hands interesting and challenging – my thanks go to Eric Kokish for his excellent and most entertaining commentary. Gianarrigo Rona, President, World Bridge Federation.

WWBC2013 M 012Where West starts with 1NT, North will have to decide whether to settle for a quiet pass, gamble on a thin, atypical high-card double or a two-suited action short a ninth card in the combination; very few will have a three-suited
option at their disposal.

If North passes, so will East. Although South can place North with quite a good hand when E/W have stayed so low, only the most aggressive Souths will reopen, his choice coming from a modern catalogue that includes but is not limited to: diamonds, a minor, some one-suited hand, four of a major and a longer minor, diamonds and a major, or hearts and another. Some of these methods will locate the heart fit but might convince North to take a shot at game, which doesn’t quite fetch despite a fairly favorable lie of the cards for N/S’s purposes. If N/S find a route to 2, the defenders have several alternatives to hold declarer to eight tricks, but must commit to one of them fairly early if declarer reads the honor location accurately. The effective defensive strategies include West giving East a  third- round heart ruff, West eventually leading a fourth round of spades for East to uppercut with his remaining trump to promote West’s 7, and East giving West a trump promotion by leading a fourth round of clubs if he still has the A as the late entry to arrange this.

Where West declares 1NT or perhaps 2NT (where East has competed with a nonconstructive delayed raise over 2 or 2), North will have to sacrifice a spade honor early to prevent declarer from using East’s club winners, perhaps after: A (attitude) lead, J from South; K (nine, three, four); Q. That kills the club suit but as South can’t gain the lead, declarer will be able to endplay North with the fourth round of spades to concede a late heart to the queen, declarer’s seventh winner.

As there are many ways North might go wrong on defense, there will be quite a few E/W +120s to go with the +90s. Where West is out of range for 1NT and starts with 1, many Norths will ignore their serious flaw in diamonds and double for takeout, while others will overcall in a major or perhaps even stoop to showing a major two-suiter; such is life in the Matchpoint jungle. Those players will usually find their heart fit and stop short of game, although some Souths will bury their hearts to show their six-card fit for a suit for which partner is expected to have some support.

Where East supports clubs it’s not clear where it will end; West can piece together eight tricks and might score fairly well even if doubled in 3, down 100, if there are lots of N/S pairs going plus 110 or +140 in a red suit. If West’s systemic opening is 1, North will pass and will more or less be obliged to pass again if East’s raise to 2 is passed back to him; 2 will go down at least one, but E/W should be in decent shape as long as declarer avoids down three, which would be a disaster. East might respond 1NT, however, and North might well double for penalty, implying a defensive holding in spades.

Unfortunately for his side, a spade lead won’t defeat 1NT if declarer guesses the play accurately (E/W +180), but if South prefers to lead from his heart sequence the defense will prevail (E/W -100).