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Medellin, June 3, 2016

Eighteenth-century Europe was abuzz with the frequent discovery of invisible and mysterious forces. Newton proved the existence of gravity. Benjamin Franklin captured and experimented with electricity. And thousands of spectators gathered in Paris to watch French inventor Jacques Alexandre Charles harness invisible gases to take flight in the first hydrogen-filled balloon. So, when charismatic Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer claimed to have discovered yet another invisible force — one that, he said, coursed through every living thing and was the cause and cure of every physical ailment — the finding seemed entirely within the realm of possibility to people living in the Age of Enlightenment.

Mesmer was very popular in French court. In his special salons he used to treat patients with the combination of light, music and incantation. This came to be known as mesmerism. Mozart was a big fan of Mesmer. He used to organize concert in Mesmer’s honor. Members of the French Academy of Sciences were commissioned to investigate his theories. Among the members were scientists: Antoine Lavoisier, Paris mayor Jean Bailly, Dr. Joseph Guillotin, and Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately they could not prove his theories in the absence of scientific evidence. Based on this theory, a Scottish surgeon James Braid, developed hypnosis in 1842.

That’s why Mesmerize means to hypnotize; to spellbind; to fascinate; to compel by fascination. And that’s what happens to any bridge player kibitzing Welland-Auken … They occupied the first position of the Round Robin’s Open Teams Butler, winning 1.56 IMPs per each board they played and they played 139 of them. ..Second position was for Gabriel Chagas and Villas Boas Miguel who managed to win 1.17 IMPs/ board playing 112 boards, third with 1.15 IMPs per board were Agustin Madala and Alejandro Bianchedi playing 111 boards.

Welland-Auken team won the Open Teams Round Robin, they defeated the Caracci team in the quarterfinals and in the semi-finals they faced and defeated Perula a team where several World Champions play. Let’s see some boards played by Auken-Welland in the third semi-final set, and see if at the end of the article you also feel mesmerized by their play…

Milner Perula
med 2016 Milner med 2016 perula

 The third semi-final set ended Milner 115 – Perula 85.

med 2016 tab 1 v

Board 1

 Auken opened 2, Upmark competed with 2NT, and after searching for the best contract the couple chose to play 4NT.

 Lead: 9

 Michielsen chose to lead the 9, Auken pitched a small heart and Lall’s A won the first trick, declarer cashed the J and played a diamond to the king, Auken won the trick with her ace to return the 6. Upmark played the 9 from his hand, South won the 10 and played a heart, declarer won with the K and run the 8.

Auken won with her 10, and returned the only card that defeats the contract: the J. Upmark claimed 9 tricks, one down…med 2016 tab 4

Board 4 

 Lead: 3

Welland led the 3, declarer played the 9, and after winning the trick continued with the Q. Auken covered with her ace and returned the 6, Welland won the trick with the 9 and played the K. Auken played the only card that defeats the contract: she unblocked the Q. South continued with more diamond, to declarer’s ace. But Upmark’s fate was sealed… when Welland won the K, he cashed the 10 for down one. At the other table  N/S played and made 3 = 7 IMPs more for Milner.

Board 8med 2016 tab 8 1

 Auken opened 1NT (14-16), her partner answered 2(forces 2), and Welland’s 3NT showed majors. Auken chose to play 4.

 Lead: 8

 Nystrom ducked the 10 and declarer left dummy playing a heart to her Q…K. Upmark insisted in another spade, now West played his A, to return a spade for his partner’s ruff…a diamond came back.

After winning with the A, Auken draw trumps and claimed. At the other table N/S played 1+2. 7 IMPs for Milner.

Med 2016 Tab 12

Board 12

 Auken opened his hand with 1, very often UNBAL, they open 1 = any BAL hand incl. any other 5-cd suit also 5422. Upmark competed with spades, Welland showed his FG hand with 4 cards support and short spades. After Nystrom’s 4, Auken asked for keycards, and when she saw Welland’s answer showing two of them, declared the heart slam.

Lead: 2

Declarer covered the Q with her A and begun to Set Up the fifth diamond. She run the 10 and West K won the trick. Nystrom return a trump, late…Auken won in her hand, ruffed a spade, ruffed a diamond in her hand, ruffed another spade in dummy and ruffed another diamond.

She continued with a heart to the ace, and ruffed another diamond…ace falls. She draw the last trump and claimed. At the other table the contract was 5 doubled…two down. 15 IMPs for Milner.