Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seniors Final Day

Sad to say, our Senior Team did not move forward from the Round of 16. We were leading 41 - 9 after the first quarter, largely on the strength of two good slams bid by Jurek and Stephen that were not reached by the opponents. We were all very happy with the start but unfortunately the Hungarian client decided not to play at all, to give his team a good chance to come back, which they did!.

There were three slams that determined the outcome of the match. The Bowmans reached a very good, cold slam that was not reached at the other table, but Johnny pulled the wrong card from his hand - 22 imp swing. Then Doug and Ed reached an aggressive small slam that, if the king of trumps was on side was heavily favoured to make - it was about a 40% slam that was bid because of style differences. And finally, the opponents reached a grand slam that needed specificially a king doubleton onside, missing 5, and it was!

So today we had off and visited the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. The bad air quality is getting to me and my throat burns - I miss the pure air of Victoria!

The Transnational Mixed Teams started this evening. Our teammates - Stephen and Jurek, Pamela Nisbet and one of the members of the Polish women's team (Margaret...) - are playing the first two matches this evening and we start tomorrow morning.

This is my final message from Beijing - you can follow our progress throught the links on the CBF webpage.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Round Robin Final

Today was filled with emotion and we are all drained. I had very much hoped that our team could finish 3rd, so that we could have had some choice on opponent in the round of 16, and we did climb into 3rd twice but finally ended 4th. As it turned out, it was completely irrelevant, as Poland chose England, leaving us with Hungary, the team we would have chosen. We do need all our team to play well tomorrow. Up until yesterday, Doug and Ed were lying second in the Butler, and I expect they held their position today. Stephen and Jurek have been steady but the Beagles have had some shaky sets - they have played some super bridge but have had a few too many disasters. Board 26 was one of their finer results. They reached 6C with

W: A10 A9853 542 K75 opposite E: KJ7 Q72 - AQJ10642

North pre-empted 3D over 1C P 1H and south bid 4D over 4C. This is the information you have to work with, on the DA lead. After playing as many cards as possible, Johnny finally played the heart 3 and covered north's 4 with the 7, losing to the 10. In again, he led the QH, smothering the jack and claiming his contract, one of very few declarers in all the events to bring home the slam.

The senior round robin ended after the second match of the day and we all went to the Vugraph to cheer on our Open Team, who were playing Trinidad and Tobago in their final round, lying 14th, and needed a small victory to cinch a playoff spot. Alas, it was not to be, and although we did show a Q a couple of times, by the time the smoke cleared, we ended 9th!

Keep your eyes glued on the results tomorrow. Our Old Men will try their best and need all your Karma.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Days 5 and 6 in Beijing

Today is Day 6 and we have returned to our apartment, I have cooked a wonderful dinner, smoothed down with a couple of glasses of wine, and we are feeling rather good! We spent the day touring and, as all of you are aware, China is a small country with a small population, so it is no surprise that on top of the Great Wall of China we should bump into friends! Douglas and I had joined the Lebis and Jacobs from the Open team for a day's outing, and on top of the Wall we bumped into the Beagles, Stephen, Jurek, Kamel, Nick, Vince, Marc-Andre, John Rayner, and three members of our Women's Team! It was there that Jurek explained that Ed Zaluski had bribed the Vugraph operator with 100 yuan to switch his position with Doug! So while Douglas was not responsible for the errors that occured in their match against Indonesia, neither was he the architect of some of the nice declarer plays. We won't discuss the losses, but Hand 32 was a very nice hand for Ed:

.................Q 9 7 6 5 3
.................A 5 4
.................K Q 10 3
10 7 4 .............................K 8 6 2
K ..................................A J 10 8 4 2
J 9 7 3 2 ..........................K 10 8
9 6 4 2 ............................-
.................A Q J 9 5 3
.................Q 6
.................A J 8 7 5

Douglas and Ed reached 6C, on the following auction:

P 1H P(!) 1NT*
P 2C P 2D**
P 2H P 3C
P 3D P 3S
P 3NT P 6C

*shows spades
**fourth suit forcing to game

The opening lead was the 6S, Ed played the J and rho played the 10. Most experts Doug talked to would have pitched a diamond, and then a second diamond on the Ace, but Ed pitched hearts on the jack, then the Spade Ace. Note that there is no rush to pitch diamonds. If spades do not break, you can always pitch one of the QS, losing to the king, and one on the nine after. After ruffing the third round of spades, he cashed the KC and when lho showed out it was time for Plan B. He led a small diamond to the Q. Lho won the King and returned a heart, ruffed in dummy and Ed ruffed a spade, cashed the KC and led a diamond to the queen, drew trump and claimed. A very nice 14 imp pick-up, to lose the match 18-12 - the same result as the first match of the day. We are still in good shape and with two matches left to play tomorrow, expect to qualify for the Round of 16.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 4 in China

Today we had three matches. The first, against Poland, was very well played on both sides and our teams recorded the lowest Imp swings of all the teams (the same hands are played in the Open, Women's and Senior's) of 10-18.

The match against China was easy and we achieved the full 25 victory points. On record, the match against Guadaloupe should have been our easiest. I watched the vugraph and saw Russia losing to Argentina 51 - 0 with 3 boards to play. I also noticed that all the top teams in our division lost victory points at hand 23, when many good pairs (including our Bowmans) reached 6H from the West side, holding AQJ104 9532 Q AQ8 opposite a dummy of 97 AKQ8 A962 J42. A fine contract that takes both the spade king offside and a 4-1 heart split to go down.

But the brothers had their bidding boots on tonight. Hand 25:

North opened 1H, Billy overcalled 2D, south bid 2S and that was all Johnny needed to hear - he bid 6D. The play was simple.

At the other table, Stephen opened 4H, it went pass, pass 4S to him and he doubled to show one defensive trick. If Jurek had held only 5 spades that contract would have made but he held just enough for a set.

Then on Board 29 Johnny and Billy reached a very nice 6C that was missed at the other table on
A72 K104 A74 KQ106 opposite Q964 A8 K3 AJ953.

So a well earned 19 - 11 victory and we are in a comfortable 3rd place with 4 matches to go.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 3 in China

Today, another beautiful one here, with a little less smog because of yesterday's rain. The Seniors had only two matches scheduled for today, the first against Reunion (a small island between Madagascar and Mauritius), very nice people, but not the strongest of players. Trailing the field. Although there was very little in the match against good opponents, our men played well and the opposition slipped up from time to time, missing a couple of easy games. We took 24 out of 25 victory points. I kibbitzed Jurek on this hand:

In 3rd chair you pick up a 5/5 in the majors 21 count and hear your right hand opponent open 2S, showing 5+ spades and a minor. What is your action? Jurek doubled, lho bid 2NT, rho bid 3C, so Jurek doubled again. Lho now jumped to 5C - P - P back to you! Another red card hit the table and if north passes it should go down 3, for +500.

Stephen chose to bid 5 hearts and now he had to make it! The Ace of clubs was lead, and a diamond switch. Stephen won the Ace, cashed the Ace of hearts, then the Ace of spades, a heart to his king, hooked the spade and claimed..

The auction at the other table was not the same!

Douglas was not impressed with his own 2NT bid but his partner had told him he was allowed to to make the bid with a six loser hand! He figured his losers were three in the majors, two clubs and one diamond!

Declarer made her 3H contract, so we won 310 for 7 imps. Douglas points out that in 4H the correct line of play is (assuming the 2NT bidder has only 10 cards in the minors, which is usual) a 100% to play the A K hearts, escewing a finesse. If you finesse, and lose to the Q, then spades are going to split 5/1 and you don't have the communication to pick up the suit.

I chose to go shopping during the second match! No self-respecting woman would disagree with my choice.. I see that we tied a very competitive Indian team, so we are now back to 3rd.

regards to Canada,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day 2 In China

Day 2 in China was progressing according to plan - until the last match, when the wheels skidded! Never mind, 5 out of 6 wins is very respectable.

We walk miles to the venues and then to the Vugraph room, through countless security stops. There are hundreds of security guards around the playing site, and 5 metre high wire fences surrounding the hotels and convention centre. It seems that every street is 8 lanes wide and you have to find a way out and then cross them to get a taxi, or go to a restaurant. We shall all arrive home fit!

Match 1 today was quite routine and almost every team finished well before time. Our second match, against Ireland, had a little more action, and this was the most fun hand:

John and Billy reached 4H on this auction:

and lost a diamond, spade and heart, for +420

Stephen and Jurek had this auction:

The defence faltered slightly. The spade ace was lead, followed by the 4C. East did not realize that west was looking for a ruff on this line, so switched to a heart, that was ducked to the Q. On the run of the spades and clubs, west was squeezed and Jurek put him in with his stiff ace of hearts, to lead away from the KJ diamonds. Making +620, for 14 Imps.

Ed has a bad cold, so went to bed after the first match. We are hoping he will be back in form, tomorrow.

Goodnight from Beijing.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 1 in China

The Canadian Senior Team started out ablazing - maybe as a result of the fine wine and food served at the opening cocktail reception Friday night, or possibly because we all wore our blood red shirts! While our open team won all their matches, including beating Italy on vugraph, our "old men" were also having their way with their opponents, recording two blitzes and a small win, leading their group after day one. By and large, the team played very well.

The final hand of the first round secured the first blitz, when Stephen chose to take the white against red sacrifice against 6H:

On the penultimate board of the third round, Douglas had to pull a little magic to bring in an agressive slam and pull out a win against Finland:

Douglas won the KH lead, cashed the QC, could not afford a second club in case there was a vaulable signal available, and then led the 3H. Left hand opponent won the QH and quickly returned a third heart. Sayonara diamond loser! A 12 imp pick-up and a win by 8! We take 'em anyway we can!