APBF Captains Log 9 June

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APBF Captains Log 9 June

Sunday 9 June

All of the Australian teams are there or thereabouts.  The seniors team remains in first place.  They compensated for their disappointing draw in the second match against one of the weaker teams by winning their third match by 65 IMPs, enough for 20-0.  As the second round robin begins in the seniors (the first was incomplete because of the number of entrants) they have won six and lost one with one draw.  The Lusk team has fallen back a little and is now in sixth place.

The women’s team moved up to third place after three wins.  The last showed one of the ways the new WBF victory point scale differs from those of the past: the women’s one-IMP win over Singapore was worth 10.31 VPs.  Under the old scale this would have been a draw but now any victory is worth something, and every additional IMP is worth something until you get a maximum.

The open team had a good win against Indonesia, historically one of the strong contenders in this event, but were less convincing in their loss to New Zealand and win over Malaysia.

Try your declarer skills.

A987
AK4
AJ84
Q3

T
QJ32
KQT2
AT54

You, South, open 1D.  LHO overcalls 1S, partner makes a cue raise and eventually Blackwoods you into slam.  How do you play 6D on the SK lead?  What if the lead was the HT?  Would your line of play be any different if East had raised to 3S?  What if West had shown a two-suited hand?  (Answer below.)

Bulletin 3 has a photo of the players from the 1973 championships.  If you look there you will find one of the current Australian team members.  Who, you ask?  Try to find Paul Lavings.  There are a few other well-known players that you might recognise.

Back to the play problem.  You need to make six trump tricks, four hearts, one spade and one club or five trump tricks and two clubs.  On the SK lead – and with no raise or two-suited overcall — you know little about the opponents’ distribution.  So Chris Hughes for the senior’s team won the SA and ruffed a spade.  He thought about using two heart entries to dummy (one for the second spade ruff and the other to draw trumps) but decided to play for the CK onside, figuring that a heart ruff was more likely than a club ruff as he had only six clubs and seven hearts.  The CK was onside – but clubs were 6-1 (yes the overcaller was 5-1-1-6), so he went down when the next club was ruffed.

The heart lead complicates declarer’s handling problems but also reveals something about the distribution.  A spade lead seems normal so this suggests shortness.  Even if it’s from length, RHO will be short.

However, without a two-suited overcall to guide her, Candice Ginsberg for the women’s team didn’t play any rounds of trumps before trying to return to dummy with a second heart, so LHO ruffed.  At the other table in the women’s match, there’d been a two-suited overcall, so the HT lead was marked as shortage, so you should play at least one round of trumps after the first spade ruff.  Despite that, the Thai declarer also failed.

Against the open team, Denny Sacul of Indonesia, who’d heard a three-spade raise on his right, decided after long thought to play the HT as being from shortness.  He calculated that he couldn’t make the hand if the overcaller had three diamonds and a singleton heart.  He won HA, SA, spade ruff, then play DK and DQ.  When West showed out he went to dummy with the HK and ruffed the second spade, then cashed the HQ, HJ and CA and had to make the two top trumps in dummy.  Despite this slam swing against them (Andy Braithwaite and Ian Robinson stopped in 3NT), the open team still won by 11 IMPs.

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