APBF Captains Log 7 June

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APBF Captains Log 7 June

Friday 7 June

Friendships are being renewed as the tournament gets underway.  The Hong Kong organisers try to get a single photo of all the participants, but it’s hard to fit more than 200 players and officials into one shot.  A few faces are missing.  As lunch is about to start we discover the shocking reason for one absence: Bobby Richman is being taken to hospital.  A short time later he is confirmed dead.  The news shocks all who knew him.  He was a friend to many, a marvellous player, and an entertaining raconteur and commentator.  He will be missed.  Understandably his team withdraws from their two scheduled matches for today.  Who could play after losing a teammate, especially one whose presence was so large?

The open team loses a low-scoring opening match to Thailand 26-15 in IMPs.  The new WBF victory point scale is in use so this converts to 6.96-13.04 VPs.  As these scales are not yet familiar the team converts back into the old scale to get a feeling for how they’ve gone.

Bridge at the top is about putting pressure on the opponents, so many players bid aggressively.  At the table I watched, one player held J876 KT73 974 63.  RHO opened 1S, pass, pass and partner doubled in the balancing seat.  He responded 2H and his partner rebid 2NT.  They were vul; he bid 3NT.  Another player held KT83 83 A82 J865 and heard LHO open 1S and partner overcall 2H.  After RHO passed he bid 2NT, which partner, also bidding aggressively, raised to three.  Neither contract was successful but it’s tough being a defender when the opponents are constantly bidding marginal games and you need to get the defence right to beat them.

Top-level players also put pressure on their opponents by opening one notrump with a wider range of hands.  Ian Thomson sallied forth with one notrump on A5 A8752 J5 AQ52.  Dummy tracked with all four tens but no honour card so he only made his three aces for -200.  Pick up 6 IMPs!  The opponents are cold for 4S but neither had an easy way to enter the auction.

The second match against the Philippines is looking much more promising but two swings to the opponents in the last four boards means we have only a small win, 45-42 IMPs.  This converts to 10.91 VPs so we are lying eighth at the end of the day.

The women’s team also had a slow start; all the Australian teams found it hard going today after the morning’s events.  Intriguingly, despite the new WBF scales having very few scores that are just integers, the women’s team managed two in two matches, losing the first to Chinese Taipei 5.00 – 15.00 and then defeating China Hong Kong 15.00 – 5.00.

Board 28 was probably the most interesting hand:  How do you reach 5C after an opponent opens 1C when you hold:

KQJ10x              x

xxx                     x

x                          AKJxxx

AKQx                  Jxxxx

 

1C 1S P 2D
2NT 3C*
4C 5C

*now has to be natural after partner shows a stopper
and of course 6C would be making if the overcaller held SA instead of KQJ10.  Sad to say, Barbara and Candice didn’t find that auction but will be able to do so in future, having discussed such situations in depth now.

After the entertaining Opening ceremony, with the traditional Lion Dance and buffet lunch for all the participants, partners and officials, the seniors played against one of the teams from Thailand.  Like a number of countries, Thailand has more than one team entered in the seniors’ championship.  Robert Krochmalik and Paul Lavings sat out in this first match and after a very close first half (down 4-1) we came home with a win 19 Imps to 14.  Under the new VP scale this translated to a win 11.48 to 8.52.  Our second match was against our friends from the long white cloud, New Zealand. Krockmalik/Lavings came in and Bilski/Brown sat out.  Here we won by 68 to 18 IMPs which translates to 19.16 VPs to 0.84.  So after two rounds we are lying fourth, but tomorrow will be telling as we play Indonesia first match (they are lying first) and then Chinese Taipei who are running third.

 

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