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March 31th 2014
Nickell rallies for Vanderbilt win
This was the Spring NABC Dallas 2014 last Bulletin heading describing Nickell’s incredible victory over the 2013 Vanderbilt Champion Monaco.
More than 5000 people around the world followed the alternatives of this clash of the titans in BBO and there is only one way to describe what we experienced: it was worth LIVE IT!.
Deserves a separate paragraph the excellent comments, especially Al Hollander he explained one by one all the 4 set’s bidding making it possible for kibitzers to enjoy the show. Thank you AL for a job well done …
The Monaco team was in the lead most of the match. The break came at board 58 when in one of the tables Nickell scored 17 IMPs winning a Grand Slam contract missing an ace, while in the other room Monaco only played a game. Now the match was 112-111 for Nickell. In the last 5 boards Nickell increased the gap, in the last board Monaco scored 12 IMPs, but a 2IMPs difference was enough for Nickell.
Lets see the board of the year:
Meckstroth opened 2, (in their system when vulnerable 2M often has 7 cards).
Nunes’s 4 showed 5+ – 5+ and the other Major. It was Leaping Michaels a convention commonly used over preempts.
No one at the table was sure about the 4 meaning, Fantoni showed his slam interest with a 4 cue-bid, but Nunes with two diamond losers did not accept the invitation. Rodwell now, who still did not know that N / S could won slam and competed with 5, Fantoni again tried to make a move toward the slam with 5, but it seemed that this did not give Nunes the security about the diamond singleton and he passed again. Rodwell took 5 minutes and finally sold out to 5, but we can guess that he visualized Fantoni’s diamond singleton/void?… and passed…
The A lead gave declarer the opportunity to make 13 tricks, and at the same time wear out a lot of energy …by the frustration.
At the other table the auction was heart-stopping:
Helness didnt open his hand and Levin opened with a 1 bid, Helgemo doubled and Weinstein said 1, now after his partner’s double Helness showed his weak heart suit with a 4 bid and Levin competed with 4.
Helgemo showing strength, an important suit and heart tolerance said 5, Weinstein who had already shown a weak hand with spades, showed extras = diamond singleton, six spades cards, besides his 4 heart cards assured him that his partner was short, with 5.
Levin at this point, thought for a very long time and declared the slam. Helgemo, the longer Bobby thought more sure he was that the slam was cold and as soon as Levin said 6, he sacrificed in 7. The bidding returned to Levin and now he stoppped for more than 5 minutes …
The Pass over 7 usually shows first round control and the double shows that you do not have it (Was Steve Weinstein’s pass a psyche to make everybody think he had a diamond void and so opps not lead the suit?, Remember that Weinstein is one of the best poker players in the world) … yet we all saw that a diamond lead was one down and a heart lead was 13 cold tricks.
So now the question was whether Levin decides to play the GS … what would Helness lead be…
Levin finally declare the GS and nobody doubled … indicating that all around the table were sure about the diamond void.
And that’s how Helness led the 2 … and Weinstein made his contract, adding 17 IMPs and perhaps even in the depths he felt that this year’s Vanderbilt stayed at home.
Let Your Heart See What Your Eyes Cannot