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A True Nightmare by Fernando Lema

Buenos Aires, March 11, 2014

From 21 to 23 February 2014, at the luxurious Hotel Danilovskaya in Moscow, was disputed the «Slava Cup», one of the most prestigious bridge events in Europe.

In the Slava Cup two tournaments are played simultaneously: the TOP 8 (a teams tournament) and the TOP 36 (a pairs tournament). In the TOP 8 competed some of the most powerful teams in the world, as the Monaco team: Pierre Zimmermann, Franck Multon, Geir Helgemo, Tor Helness, Fulvio Fantoni, Claudio Nunes, winner of the 2013 Slava Cup, this year the team arrived third.

At the end of the round robin, the top two teams advanced to the next stage: the final faced Ventin team:  Sabine Auken, Roy Welland, Juan Carlos Ventin, Dragan Markovich, Mustafa Cem Tokay, vs. The Netherlands team, the winners: Sjoert Brink, Berend van de Bos, Sebastian Drijver, Jiris Van Lankveld, Herman Drenkelfor.

During the first 14 boards of the final, there was played a very interesting board. In one of the rooms, declarer played and made a 3 partscore, at the other table their teammates defeated a 2 contract, let see what happened:

Dealer North, E/W vulnerable

Contract 3 by West; Lead: 2

Welland won the lead with his J, played a diamond to the A and continued with a trump to his 10, North took the trick with his J and returned a second spade.

West played the K and played another trump, South won with his A and played the J, Roy covered with his K, cashed the A, South pitched something and ruffed a spade in dummy.

Declarer left dummy with the 9, and won the trick, Welland lost a club trick, and a heart and claimed 9 tricks. Although one can say that a spade lead helped declarer, everything seemed normal.

Let see what happened in the other room, this was the bidding:


Ventin V. de Bos

Dragan Markovic

1 1 Double 1NT
2 Pass Pass Pass

Contract: 2; Lead: Q

Declarer won the lead with the A but decided to attack clubs right away, playing the 9, he won the trick and played a second club, Dragan played his A and continued with a diamond, West won with his K.

Declarer cashed the K and A from his hand and followed with a spade to the K. So far, the declarer had made  six of the first seven tricks and still had eight trumps in the seven cards end position, everything seemed a feast for the declarer!!! He must have thought, «I’m on my way to the ninth»… West did not know that he would be able to do just one more trick.

At trick number seven, declarer said: A diamond!!!…and the nightmare began! South covered, West ruffed with the 7 and North played his J, declarer must have thought (good…honor gone!).

Trick 9: North played back the Q, West ruffed with dummy’s 9, and South played his A, West played a spade. Now South returned the J, West ruffed with his Q and North his K, at this time all declarer’s initial joy…disappeared.

This was the three card end position:

  10 6

10 3

5 4 2


The nightmare followed with: North played a spade, South ruffed with his 7, North ruffed with his 6 the next trick to score 100 points in his column, plus his teammate’s 140 points, he got 6 IMPs for the team.

Most curious: the defense made five trump tricks without singletons in either hand. A nightmare for the declarer.


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