APBF Captains Log 8 June


APBF Captains Log 8 June

Saturday 8 June

Winning teams are generally happier than losing ones, so the open, women’s and seniors’ teams were all pleased to have won two matches today and to be climbing up the rankings.  As I write the official website misleads about the position of the women’s team as they have yet to be given the 12 VP for their fifth-round bye. When that is included they will be fourth, the same rank as the open team.  Meanwhile, the seniors’ team is out in front, despite a disappointing fifth-round loss, with the Lusk team running fourth. On a sadder note, the Klinger team – of which Bobby Richman was a member – officially withdrew from the event.

It’s still early days, but the big surprise to me so far is that China has not yet performed as well as expected in either the open or women’s.  Instead Japan is in front.  They had a convincing win against the open team in the first match today despite a good start for Andy Braithwaite-Ian Robinson.  Dawei Chen faced this problem on board one: he held AK86 4 QT4 KT863 and had to call after Andy had opened 1C (could be a doubleton if balanced), partner had doubled and Ian had passed.  He chose to pass and was probably cheered when dummy tracked with a zero count, albeit with three trumps and a stiff spade.  But the absence of a trump lead or switch from partner was bad news and Andy wrapped up a doubled overtrick.  However, the Japanese did little wrong after that and we lost the match 8-39 IMPs.  The women spoilt their record when defeating Korea: they were ahead by 21 IMPs so won their first decimal VPs, 15.19.

The second match was full of exciting deals.  The women were on vugraph for all to see how they handled the large number of slam deals: reasonably well, but so did their opponents.  Board 20 was a rare deal where North and South both had good hands, each with an eight-card suit: AQT 3 AKQT9652 5 opposite 7 AK7 7 AQT97642.  There was a clear gender divide, with only one pair in the women’s bidding the grand slam (and they played in the wrong suit), while about one-third of the seniors and nearly half the open fields thought they could take 13 tricks.  7D was cold on a side-suit lead but trickier on a trump lead as declarer had to decide whether to play for a squeeze, set up dummy’s eight-card club suit if they broke 2-2, take a club finesse or take a spade finesse.  All the declarers in 7D made it, including Bill Jacobs, who received a heart lead.  Ben Thompson raised to 7D, not deterred that Bill had gone one off in 7H the previous board when trumps broke 5-0.  The open team won their first match (yeah!) while the women had a smaller win against Japan and the seniors a convincing win against Chinese Taipei.

The open team had the second-largest win of any team so far when they defeated Macau by 72-16 IMPs in their third match.  (One of the seniors teams has a 20-0, which requires a victory margin of 60 IMPs or more in the 16-board match.)

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