A macho bid, two endplays, a safety play and a squeeze By Christian Vennerød (Christian Vennerød was non-playing captain of the open bridge team of Norway and at the same time a well known television presentator.)
Hand of the year? Many players had the chance to shine on this hand, but Boye Brogeland was the only one to grab the opportunity. In the match against the Czech Republic Boye Brogeland did not want his opponents to buy the contract at the three-level just because they had 23 honour points. Vulnerable against not he balanced with a pathetic five card suit, found his partner with two cards in support, and was doubled without delay. It was Showtime!
Board 12. Round 2 in Open final. Dealer West/ NS vulnerable. This was Boye’s hand as South:
A Q 10 6 K J 8 7 2 10 8 2 9
The bidding with David Vozabal as West, Jakub Slemr as East, and Espen Lindqvist – Boye Brogeland NS:
Put yourself in Boye’s shoes. Do you feel that you now suddenly have the strength to come into the bidding? Vulnerable against not? After East had invited to game with “third suit”? Most mortals would not feel that this is a balancing hand, even in a pairs event at the local club. But BB (Norway’s Bridge Bomb — Boye Brogeland — not Brigitte Bardot this time) put both feet in and bid Three Hearts. Immediately doubled by Vozabal as West.
I asked Boye where he got the courage to bid like this, because it would not be fun to come with quite a possible result of minus 500 (or worse) on this hand. He replied: – Fun? Well, why do we play this game? It is of course in order to have fun. And what can be more fun than doing something that looks so dangerous that nobody else dares to try?
It is of course more fun if you also succeed. So put yourself once more in the shoes of the dare devil and make the hand. You are looking at 17 honour points and a 5-2 trump suit. No reason to become nervous.
West starts the show with ace, king in clubs as East follows with four and jack. You place West with six clubs and East with two. As West did not bid Two Hearts or 2NT, he probably does not have four trumps. You play a heart to the ten, which makes.
Now it is tempting to take a double finesse in spades through East, and use the heart ace as an entry to the second round of spades. But there is a danger that West has only one spade, so Boye played the trump ace before the nine of spades. East covered with the jack and the queen of spades won. The king of hearts cleared the trumps, which were 3-3 as expected from the bidding.
You would of course like to repeat the spade finesse, but you cannot really believe that West has the diamond ace as East invited game. There is no clear entry to dummy. But Boye had thought about this problem when he won the ten of hearts, and had his plan ready. Now came the diamond 8.
If East in addition to his diamond ace, also has either Q9, J9 or QJ, he will be endplayed. And that is was happened. East took the 8 with the 9 and returned the 5 of spades. Would you try the 6 as West used the 7 on the first round of spades? If East has five spades, it will be a delight to use the 6. But Boye had no intention of going down with 87 of spades with West. He had a safety play ready and used the ten. West was in fact out of spades and threw a club. This is the end position:Boye played his last trump and Slemr was squeezed out of his fifth spade. Boye has complete control of the count, so if East instead throws a diamond, Boye simply plays a small diamond from both hands. In reality the spade ace and another spade forced East to let the diamond king take the last trick. Contract made: + 730.
Being slightly generous, one may say that this hand contained a macho balancing bid, two finesses, an endplay in diamonds, a safety play in spades, a squeeze in diamonds and spades, an endplay in spades, and very accurate card reading.
Erik Rynning, who is the playing captain on the Norwegian seniors team, had the following comment when he was shown to the hand: – When you bid like a madman, you had better play like a genius!
All four hands: