Buzz for April 2009
April's news consists of my report on the District 25 Grand National Teams Flight A final match, held Saturday, March 28, 2009 at the Bridge Spot, an excellent club in Woburn MA. Although Dean Panagopoulos ran a Saturday afternoon pair game during part of the match, the hubbub rarely bothered our contestants, the Gorsey team of (left to right in the picture)
Neil Montague, Bob Gorsey, Brett Adler, and Larry Lau, and the Cable team of
Amnon Gabay, Lorraine Cable, Matthew Dyer, and Joe Seo.
These four-person teams survived both a round-robin and a long semifinal held in Sturbridge back in January. The match would be 56 boards with no carryover, to determine who would be subsidized to represent New England at the 2009 Summer NABC in Washington DC. The four pairs differ in style and gadgetry. Cable-Dyer play 10-12 notrumps.
Board 1 (none vul, N deals):
. North S-Q97 West H-64 East S-AKJ D-A643 S-108632 H-Q72 C-10653 H-1095 D-K D-QJ52 C-AKJ974 South C-2 S-54 H-AKJ83 D-10987 C-Q8 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - P P 1H 1NT P 2H P 3S P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - P P 1H Double P 1S P 2H P 2S P 3NT P P P
Both Souths opened light in third chair. On a double-dummy basis, Gabay guessed correctly to devalue the West cards. However, after three rounds of hearts for a ruff, Montague cashed the ace of diamonds. Placing Gorsey with the trump queen for his opening bid, declarer cashed one high trump, ruffed a club to dummy, and finessed the SJ for down one.
Adler's 3NT should be defeated - for example, a heart ducked leaves declarer without resource. Anticipating a weak dummy, however, Dyer didn't want to give declarer a free finesse, so he led a small diamond to Adler's DK. This defensive start should not have proved fatal. Adler played four rounds of clubs from the top, and North was in again with the C10. Had Dyer cashed his DA, Adler would have no good pitch. Or, had Dyer led a heart to Cable's HK for either a spade or a diamond back, Adler would be a trick short. But Dyer led away from his SQ, giving the ninth trick for 400, 10 imps and first blood to Gorsey. Board 2 (NS vul, East deals):
. North S-9873 West H-10976 East S-KQ654 D-K6 S-J H-A8 C-853 H-QJ43 D-Q95 D-AJ742 C-KJ2 South C-AQ9 S-A102 H-K52 D-1083 C-10764 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - - 1D P 1S P 1NT P 2C P 2H P 3NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - - 1D P 1S P 1NT P 2D P 2H P 3NT P P P
Both Easts solved their second-round problem with an offshape 1NT rebid. Both Wests used artificial major-suit asks. Both Souths led clubs. If declarer picks up diamonds, knocks out the SA, and takes a heart finesse, he can make six, but neither managed all that. Push for 430. Board 3 (EW vul, South deals):
. North S-542 West H-AQ7 East S-1097 D-942 S-KQ83 H-J43 C-J763 H-K65 D-AK76 D-103 C-1092 South C-AKQ8 S-AJ6 H-10982 D-QJ85 C-54 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo Cable Adler Dyer Lau P P P 1NT P 2C P 2S P 2NT P 3NT P P P
Would you make a move over 1NT with the West cards? Both our Wests invited, even though they had to use Stayman to do so. The Souths led the H10. In 1NT, we'd all knock out the SA for at least 7 tricks. Needing more, both our Easts crossed in diamonds to run the S10, losing to the SJ. The defenses cashed hearts and played diamonds, and our declarers wound up down 3. Push for -300. Board 4 (Both vul, West deals):
. North S-2 West H-K62 East S-A10964 D-76543 S-KJ87 H-83 C-K1096 H-A9754 D-KQ92 D-J108 C-43 South C-J S-Q53 H-QJ10 D-A C-AQ8752 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - P P P 1C 1S 2C 3C 4C P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - P P 1H 2C 2S 3C 3S P 4S P P P
Neither North-South judged the perfect fit. Gorsey took his eleven tricks for 150. To beat Adler's 4S double-dummy takes a miraculous diamond opening lead and a club underlead back to get the diamond ruff. Of course Cable-Dyer didn't find that defense, but Adler had no good reason to pick up the trumps anyway, and so went down one. Still, that was two imps to Gorsey, now up 12-0. Board 5 (NS vul, North deals):
. North S-1065 West H-J108 East S-942 D-AKQ53 S-A87 H-A5 C-82 H-Q732 D-J10974 D-8 C-A73 South C-KQJ94 S-KQJ3 H-K964 D-62 C-1065 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - 1D 2C Double 2D Double P P 2NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - 1NT P P P
The Cable team failed in notrump partials at both tables. Lau led the CK against Dyer's 10-12 1NT, and the defense had seven tricks. Montague, who had also opened North's vulnerable filth, led the HJ, and Gabay had only the same seven tricks. Down one at both tables meant four imps to Gorsey, up 16-0. Board 6 (EW vul, East deals):
. North S-107 West H-QJ932 East S-Q982 D-J107 S-J3 H-K765 C-J108 H-1084 D-KQ4 D-A9652 C-A3 South C-Q65 S-AK654 H-A D-83 C-K9742 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - - P 1S 1NT P P 2C P P 2D P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - - P 1S P P P
Gorsey tried three rounds of spades against Seo's 2D, ruffed and overruffed. Declarer drew trumps and made three - there's no way to stop nine tricks.
Cable stole the pot for one spade, and should have made it. She ruffed the third diamond and led a club to the jack and queen. Lau returned a club to the ace, and Adler the S9 - S10, SJ, SK. Declarer only needs trumps 4-2 or better - cash the SA and play clubs from the top and you lose only two trumps, two clubs, and two diamonds. She couldn't make more than book if trumps were 5-1 anyway. However, she played the CK. This was still OK as the cards lie. Adler declined to ruff, so the CK won. She played a fourth round and Adler didn't ruff this either. Ruffing with dummy's S7 would still have been good enough, but Cable pitched and Lau scored his S3. That meant down one, only two imps to Cable instead of five, but they were off the schneider and trailing 16-2. Board 7 (Both vul, South deals):
. North S-KQJ97 West H-4 East S-54 D-KQJ1095 S-862 H-K9873 C-Q H-Q52 D-3 D-874 C-J10764 South C-8532 S-A103 H-AJ106 D-A62 C-AK9 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo Cable Adler Dyer Lau 2NT P 4C P 4D P 7NT P P P
Fifteen top tricks. Push for 2220. Board 8 (Neither vul, West deals):
. North S-AQ1098 West H-876 East S-KJ43 D-AJ6 S-52 H-A104 C-A7 H-K9 D-53 D-Q1074 C-K852 South C-109643 S-76 H-QJ532 D-K982 C-QJ South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - P 1S P 1NT P 2C P 2S P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - 1C 1S 3C Double P 3NT P P P
Hearts is the best strain. A diamond lead and some subsuquent razzle-dazzle can hold South to nine tricks if he declares hearts, but nothing can stop ten tricks in hearts played by North. Montague-Gorsey play a form of Bart over their forcing 1NT response, hence Montague's 2C. However, their auction left hearts on the shelf. The 2S contract can be held to eight tricks, but Seo led a diamond and Montague made 140. Against Dyer's 3NT, Adler-Lau pounded doggedly at their clubs. Dyer took a successful double finesse in spades, but he needed heart tricks and lacked the time. Down one meant 5 imps to Gorsey, making the score 21-2. Board 9 (EW vul, North deals):
. North S-1086 West H-973 East S-K7 D-9743 S-95432 H-Q8 C-J72 H-J2 D-Q6 D-K1082 C-AK96543 South C-Q10 S-AQJ H-AK10654 D-AJ5 C-8 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - P P 1H 2C P P Double 3C P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - P P 1H 2C P P 2H 3C 3H P 4H P P P
Gabay's 3C was cold. He used the CQ entry to dummy to lead a spade down, and lost only two hearts, a diamond, and a spade.
Dyer made a remarkable decision to compete freely to 3H with his flat one count. Adler led the CK and a low club to Lau's CQ, ruffed. Cable cashed the HAK, getting the good news. She should have continued SA, SQ, forcing Adler to exit the CA. However, she played the SQ without cashing the SA. Now Adler could insure defeating the contract by exiting with his other spade. However, he played his CA anyway, which Cable ruffed as East discarded a spade. When Adler showed out on the third spade, his shape counted out to 2227. Cable had only to cash her DA to catch him in a neat pickle. If he followed with the D6, a low diamond would endplay him, while if he unblocked his DQ, declarer could lead a trump to dummy's H9 for a diamond down. However, Cable didn't play the DA, she played the DJ. Down one, -50, but still two imps to Cable, now trailing 21-4. Adler has to preserve exit cards very carefully to beat this game against declarer's best possible effort, starting with a trick two double-dummy trump shift. Board 10 (Both vul, East deals):
. North S-AJ1076 West H-A10 East S-Q94 D-72 S-53 H-Q9732 C-10632 H-KJ65 D-964 D-J103 C-J7 South C-AK85 S-K82 H-84 D-AKQ85 C-Q94 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - - P 1NT P 2H P 2S P 2NT P 3S P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - - 1C 1D P 1S P 2S 3H P P P
The North-South cards mesh well, and 4S can't be stopped. Gabay led a diamond. Gorsey didn't pick up trumps, but still made 170. At the other table, Lau opened vulnerable cheese and Adler bought the hand with a hair-raising 3H bid. He bought well in trumps, nobody doubled, and he lost the obvious six tricks for -200 to lose an imp, making the score 21-5. Board 11 (Neither vul, South deals):
. North S-973 West H-Q5 East S-K82 D-AJ98 S-Q64 H-AJ632 C-AQ62 H-4 D-K2 D-Q10653 C-1093 South C-KJ84 S-AJ105 H-K10987 D-74 C-75 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo P 1H P 1NT P 2C P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau P P 1D P 1H P 1NT P 2C P 2NT P P P
The Cable team did a lot of bidding on a deal on which nobody can legitimately make much of anything. Against Gabay's 2C, Montague led a spade to the S10 and SK. Gabay's C10 held, as did a club to dummy's C8. A diamond to the king lost to the ace and the defense cashed two spades and switched to hearts. Declarer ruffed a heart, cashed DQ, took a diamond ruff, and ruffed another heart, but that's only seven tricks. Down one, -50.
Lau tried an offbeat opening lead of his singleton H4. Dummy's H7 held, as did Dyer's HQ at trick 2. Perhaps Adler would have done better to win his HA on one of these tricks and put the C10 through, clarifying the situation to Lau, but Adler was concerned the hearts might become established. On winning his HQ, Dyer tried a spade at trick three, and Lau made the good play of rising the SQ to force dummy's ace. A diamond to the eight lost to the ten. Best defence was still on track to prevail, but now Lau switched to a club, which ran to Dyer's CQ. A spade to dummy's SJ had to be ducked, and Dyer led another diamond down, winding up with two tricks in each suit for 120, to win 2 imps and trail 21-7.
Board 12 (NS vul, West deals):
. North S-3 West H-63 East S-QJ102 D-AQ9752 S-98765 H-AJ1092 C-AKJ3 H-Q84 D- D-K106 C-6542 South C-98 S-AK4 H-K75 D-J843 C-Q107 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo Cable Adler Dyer Lau - P 1D P 3NT P P P
5D by South is the only game that can't be beat, and 6D by South wouldn't be a bad gamble, but of course North squelched all that by opening 1D, as would almost everybody. A heart lead would doom 3NT, but both Wests led the SQ to declarer's SK. When the declarers ran the DJ, both Wests discarded encouraging hearts - Gabay the standard H9, Adler the upside-down deuce. Seo switched smartly to the HQ for +100. Lau played Adler for having led from S-AQJx and continued spades for -660 and 13 imps to Cable, now down 21-20. Board 13 (Both vul, North deals):
. North S-KQ8 West H-2 East S-75 D-9543 S-A6 H-AQ1064 C-AQJ73 H-J87 D-AKQ10 D-J872 C-98 South C-K1042 S-J109432 H-K953 D-6 C-65 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - 1C P 1S 2H Double 3H P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - 1C P 1S 2H Double 3H P 4H P P P P P
4H by West is cold. Adler made five on the lead of the SK by picking up the trumps, where Gabay held himself to four. Personally, if I were South, I'd save in 4S over Adler's 4H. Granted, West can go 5H and make it, but in practice he might double, and it takes very good defense to come to 500 instead of 200. Anyway, 650 vs. 170 meant ten imps to Gorsey, now up 31-20. Board 14 (Neither vul, East deals):
. North S-KQJ74 West H-A74 East S-82 D-873 S-A9 H-KQJ853 C-85 H-2 D-J2 D-A964 C-J96 South C-AK7432 S-10653 H-1096 D-KQ105 C-Q10 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - - 1C P 1H 1S 2C 2S 3H P 4H P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - - 1C P 1H 1S 2C 2S 3C P 3S P 4H P 5C P P P
Both East-Wests did well to stretch to thin non-vulnerable games, and make them on favorable lies of cards. They also did well to bypass 3NT, the one game that doesn't reach. 420 vs. 400 meant an imp to Cable, so the first quarter ended with Gorsey up 31-21 after the comparison. Nobody changed seats for the second quarter. Board 15 (NS vul, South deals):
. North S-Q854 West H-6 East S-A963 D-J4 S-J2 H-KJ543 C-KQJ942 H-Q9 D-AKQ D-107632 C-A South C-8653 S-K107 H-A10872 D-985 C-107 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo P 1H 2C P P 2S P 3H P 4H P P Double P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau P 2NT P 3NT P P
Despite West's impressive holding, the East-West cards can't make much, and at matchpoints any East-West plus score would be excellent. Dyer led the CK against 3NT. Adler knocked out the HA and went down two. In 4Hx, Gabay won his CA and tried a low spade up. Montague rose his SQ. Later when Gabay ruffed a spade in dummy, Gorsey's S-K10 fell, so Gabay's hand became high, and he lost only a spade and three trumps for down one and a push. Board 16 (EW vul, West deals):
. North S-8 West H-6532 East S-A107 D-K10932 S-KJ2 H-Q987 C-A42 H-J104 D-Q D-AJ865 C-QJ865 South C-K3 S-Q96543 H-AK D-74 C-1097 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - P P 1D P 2C P 2NT P 3NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - 1C P 1D P 1H P 3NT P P P
No defense should beat East's 3NT. Seo won the spade lead with his jack and led a heart. Gorsey won, Montague playing a reverse Smith H6, indicating dislike of spades. Gorsey switched to his D7 - DQ, DK, DA. When Seo knocked out the other heart, Gorsey continued diamonds, but now Seo played a diamond right back, establishing the suit, and thus made three for 600, losing two hearts, a diamond, and a club.
Lau won the spade lead with dummy's S10, and led clubs to the CK and CJ, both winning. A third club would result in 630, but Lau convinced himself clubs weren't splitting. Even so, playing on hearts would result in nine tricks. Instead, he led the DQ to the king and ace, then for some reason cashed his DJ. A heart was lost, and a spade came back. When another heart lost, Cable led her last club to Dyer's CA. Lau let go a diamond, so Dyer cashed three diamonds for down 2 and 13 imps to Cable, who surged into the lead 34-31. Board 17 (Neither vul, North deals):
. North S-Q9873 West H-KJ107 East S-10 D-4 S-J2 H-A3 C-A103 H-8642 D-KQ863 D-AJ752 C-J8652 South C-74 S-AK654 H-Q95 D-109 C-KQ9 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - P P 1S 2NT 3C P 4S P P 5D Double P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - P P 1S 2NT 4D 5D P P 5S P P P
When East saved, Montague-Gorsey settled for 300 but Cable-Dyer pressed on, scoring 450 to win four imps, increasing the Cable lead to 38-31. Board 18 (NS vul, East deals):
. North S-4 West H-K432 East S-Q853 D-AJ86542 S-A1096 H-Q985 C-6 H-107 D-K10 D-3 C-Q83 South C-AJ10974 S-KJ72 H-AJ6 D-Q97 C-K52 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - - P 1C P 1D P 1S P 2C P 2D P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - - P 1D P 1H 2C Double 3C 3D P 3NT P 5D P P
The choice of South's minor suit opening bid was according to style. Cable-Dyer open 1C with 15-17, 1D with 13-14. Adler led a club to Lau's CA. With the diamond finesse working, Lau has no legit defense. If he doesn't take a spade, it will go on the CK. However, when he cashed his SA, two hearts went on the black kings. His only real hope would have been to underlead in spades, but I doubt Cable would be fooled on the bidding.
Montague's 2C was a gadget, demanding that Gorsey bid 2D with any normal hand. However, since the 2D bid was involuntary, Montague feared diamond shortness and passed it rather than inviting game. Montague also made five, but you have to bid your games. The vulnerable game bonus meant ten imps more to Cable, in the lead 48-31. Board 19 (EW vul, South deals):
. North S-A103 West H-J103 East S-J875 D-K932 S-K64 H-K9542 C-KQ4 H-87 D- D-A10754 C-A1096 South C-J85 S-Q92 H-AQ6 D-QJ86 C-732 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo P 1H P 1NT P 2C P 2H P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau 1NT 2C Double 2S P P 3NT P P P
Gabay opened the bidding on fumes at unfavorable vulnerability. Montague led a diamond. With all suits splitting and both major suit aces onside, Gabay scrambled six tricks for down two.
Cable's 10-12 1NT generated action again. North-South can beat 2S doubled a trick, but not if North leads a disastrous CK. Dyer wisely considered his opening lead and declined to defend, overbidding to 3NT instead. It looks as if North-South can come to nine tricks with three diamonds and two in each other suit. Unfortunately, however, that requires losing a trick in each suit first, so West has time to get a long card going in whatever suit he leads, and thus any sound line of defense must prevail. Adler's 2C was either diamonds or the majors, and his pass showed the latter. When he led the C6, Cable decided that was a doubleton, so she ducked in dummy trying to cut communications, thus going down two instead of one, to lose seven imps instead of six, and reduce her team's lead to 48-38. Board 20 (Both vul, West deals):
. North S-AQ9 West H-KQ8 East S-K852 D-J107 S-73 H-1075 C-AJ52 H-A9 D-42 D-AQ965 C-Q763 South C-K1094 S-J1064 H-J6432 D-K83 C-8 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - P 1NT 2C 2H P 3H P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - P 1C 1D Double P 1NT P 2D P 2S P P P
Both declarers made 170 on this favorable lie of cards. There's a way to hold spades to 140, which wasn't found. 4H and 3NT are both cold with 17 high card points opposite 5. Few partnerships would bid this game, even vulnerable at imps.
Board 21 (NS vul, North deals):
. North S-84 West H-AK East S-KQ1095 D-106543 S-A32 H-Q76 C-KQJ9 H-J9843 D-K D-982 C-8765 South C-32 S-J76 H-1052 D-AQJ7 C-A104 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - 1D P 2D 2S 3D P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - 1D P 2NT P 3NT P P P
Adler-Lau started by running their five spades against Cable's 3NT. Cable later dropped the DK to go down only one. That play would make 5D, but Montague didn't lean far enough to his right to see the singleton king, and settled for 130, gaining six imps to trail 48-44. Board 22 (EW vul, East deals):
. North S-1074 West H-KQ10762 East S-Q6 D-10 S-AJ85 H-A94 C-QJ9 H-J5 D-AK4 D-Q953 C-A8754 South C-1063 S-K932 H-83 D-J8762 C-K2 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - - P P 1NT 2H P P 3C P 3H P 3NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - - P P 1NT 2H 3D P 3NT P P P
Montague led the HK. Gabay ducked some hearts, won his HA, lost a spade finesse, and later cashed his seven tricks for down two, -200.
Dyer led the D10, and Adler won dummy's DQ to lead a club towards his hand, ducking when Cable rose with the CK. She shifted to hearts. Adler won the second heart and ran the SQ to the SK. Cable returned the C2. Adler won the CA, noting the fall of the CJ. With a shrug of the shoulders, he tried a third round, which would have scored 600 if Cable had posessed the CQ. Alas, Dyer won and cashed four hearts for down four, -400, and five imps to Cable, up 53-44. Board 23 (Both vul, South deals):
. North S-J7532 West H-K9 East S-84 D-Q95 S-A109 H-A5 C-K82 H-J1063 D-KJ64 D-1083 C-AJ764 South C-1093 S-KQ6 H-Q8742 D-A72 C-Q5 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo 1H 2C Double P 2S P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau 1H 2C Double P 2S P P 3C P P 3S P P P
Declarer ought to lose a trick in each suit, but Gabay-Seo let one get away to lose an imp for 170 vs. 140, down 53-45. Board 24 (Neither vul, West deals):
. North S-Q72 West H-J87 East S-J D-KQ9 S-K1086543 H-1043 C-KQ94 H-K92 D-J642 D-107 C-A6532 South C-J S-A9 H-AQ65 D-A853 C-1087 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - P 1C 3S 3NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - P 1D 2S Double P 2NT P 3NT P P P
North's choice of minor suit opening bid was style again, as was East's level of preemption. Seo was overboard if doubled, but nobody knew it and he won 2 imps for his trouble by wrongsiding his opponents' 3NT. Lau led a spade away from his king and went -460, but Gorsey struggled in with only 400 on the SJ lead from Gabay on the other side, so Cable led 55-45. Board 25 (EW vul, North deals):
. North S-AK432 West H-KQJ5 East S-95 D-KQ3 S-J1076 H-10842 C-5 H-A76 D-AJ1065 D-74 C-A9 South C-QJ74 S-Q8 H-93 D-982 C-K108632 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - 1S P 1NT 2D 3H P 3S P 3NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - 1S P 1NT P 3H P 4S P 4NT P 5D Double 5S P P P
Cable-Dyer weren't on the same page during this auction. Dyer had to lose at least a trick in each suit, and wound up losing the long heart as well for -150.
Not that the Montague-Gorsey 3NT contract was a thing of beauty, mind you. Gorsey won Gabay's diamond lead in dummy, and played the HK to Seo's HA. A defensive diamond continuation would probably result in down two, but Seo decided to shift to the CQ to the CK and CA. Gabay played DA, D to dummy. Gorsey played on spades, losing the fourth round to East, for the fourth defensive trick. Seo should cash the CJ for the setting trick, but, trying to get to Gabay's diamonds, he underled it. Gorsey won the C10 and had nine tricks - four spades, two hearts, two diamonds, and a club. 400 and 150 added up to eleven imps, putting Gorsey back in the lead 56-55. Board 26 (Both vul, East deals):
. North S-832 West H-1083 East S-AJ96 D-KQJ S-K74 H-AK754 C-J1064 H-Q D-643 D-A98752 C-3 South C-952 S-Q105 H-J962 D-10 C-AKQ87 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - - P 1C 1H 2C 2D 3C 3S P 4S P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - - P 1C 1H P 2D P 3D P P P
Lau lost a club and two trumps for 130 in his safe 3D contract.
Of all the contracts declared in this match, I consider Gabay's 4S to be the most difficult to play, defend, or analyze. What happened at the table is that Montague led his DK. Gabay won dummy's DA, noting Gorsey's D10, cashed dummy's HQ and SK, led a another spade to the S10 and SJ, and, after some thought, tried a second diamond, hoping diamonds would split or if not, that Gorsey would err and let a heart go on Montague's diamonds. Montague cashed two diamonds, Gorsey discarding clubs, and exited with a third round of trumps to Gabay's SA. Gorsey won the fourth heart and cashed a club. Gabay claimed - down one.
First, let's consider the position at trick five, after the SJ won. The appearance of Gorsey's S10 means spades are surely splitting, but the trick one D10 suggests the actual position in diamonds. An alternative line that shouldn't work is heart ruff, club from dummy. If Gorsey wins this trick, 4S will be made. But Gorsey should see that he needs to get Montague in, and that he has no way over but in clubs. He should duck his C-AKQ, and Montague should win and cash the D-QJ. Then best defense would be for Gorsey to discard two hearts, and for Montague to give him a ruff. It also doesn't work for Gabay to cash one high heart and ruff the third, because now Gorsey could get in with a club and give Montague a heart ruff. The winning alternative is to cash both hearts discarding clubs from dummy, and play a fourth round. Dummy's trump is the S7, Montague's the S8, so Montague can ruff high, but if he does, Gabay can discard dummy's last club, and the defense has no winning reply.
There are many other ways for Gabay to play this hand given the DK lead, some of which work, and many of which don't. The deal is also complex if the defense begins with two rounds of clubs. I believe I have convinced myself that on a double-dummy basis, declarer can always succeed, but what a branching tree! Declarer can try for a scramble, or to establish hearts or diamonds. In some variations, the defenders must play trumps, while in others they must not. It took me a couple of hours to try everything I could think of for both sides, time that actual players simply don't have at the table. In any event, six imps to Gorsey, who led 62-55. Board 27 (Neither vul, South deals):
. North S-KJ973 West H-J1063 East S-Q64 D-A2 S-1082 H-75 C-104 H-K984 D-KQ8 D-93 C-K9632 South C-QJ85 S-A5 H-AQ2 D-J107654 C-A7 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo 1NT Double 2C P 2D P 3H P 3NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau 1D P 1S P 2D P P Double P 3C P P P
With the majors behaving, Gorsey's very pushy 3NT is cold for at least four. In fact, he made five on a heart lead. Somebody should have smacked Adler - he lost three spades, two hearts, a diamond, and a club, for down three, but -150 gained seven imps against 460, and Gorsey led 69-55. Board 28 (NS vul, West deals):
. North S-743 West H-A632 East S-Q10982 D-K654 S-KJ H-QJ C-82 H-1094 D-10 D-AJ8 C-AJ1053 South C-KQ964 S-A65 H-K875 D-Q9732 C-7 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - 1S P 2C P 3C P 3D P 3H P 3S P 4C P 4S P 5C P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - 1C P 2C P 3C P 3D P 3S P 4C P 5C P P
The half ended when the defenses scored two hearts and a spade for a push at 5C down one. Any game can be defeated - 4S by means of a club ruff, 3NT from either side, by North playing the DK on a diamond lead, or South winning a heart lead with the HK and shifting to a diamond. However, those defenses are harder to find than cashing three top tricks against 5C, either on the go or after winning the SA. Having opened that slime as West, I think I would have passed at my last turn on either auction, but then again, crime had paid off handsomely on several of the first half boards. The teams compared, agreed that Gorsey led by fourteen, 69-55, and broke for a 45-minute lunch. When they resumed, they switched seats. I'm going to record the last 28 boards as 29-56, although they were really 1-28 again. This means the vulnerability and dealer will appear to be wrong, but pay no attention. I know what I'm doing, I think. Subtract 28 from the board number, and the dealer and vul will be standard again.
Board 29 (none vul, N deals):
. North S-QJ1095 West H-97 East S-8632 D-AQJ2 S-74 H-AJ1083 C-A6 H-52 D-K6 D-9854 C-83 South C-KJ1052 S-AK H-KQ64 D-1073 C-Q974 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - - 1S P 2C P 2D P 3NT P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - - 1S P 2C P 2D P 2NT P 3D P 3S P 4C P 4S P P P
Lau led a heart. Gabay took a diamond finesse and eventually unscrambled his diamonds for 450. Dyer led the HJ, Gorsey also took a diamond finesse, but here the blocked entry position meant he couldn't unscramble his diamonds and had to settle for 430. An imp to Cable, who trailed 69-56. Board 30 (NS vul, East deals):
. North S-AKQJ6 West H-J East S-109872 D-4 S-5 H-A10943 C-KJ10765 H-876 D-9 D-KJ875 C-Q3 South C-A982 S-43 H-KQ52 D-AQ10632 C-4 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - - - P 1D 2D 3C P 3D P 3S P 3NT P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - - - P 1D 2D 2H P 3D P 3S P 3NT P P P
Seo won won dummy's HJ at trick one, successfully finessed his DQ, cashed the DA pitching a club from dummy, and led a club to dummy's CJ. With the CQ dropping, he had four spades, a heart, two diamonds and two clubs for nine tricks.
Dyer led the H10 to dummy's HJ, Cable following with the H6. Gorsey led a diamond to his ace, and a club to dummy's CK. Cable won her ace and returned the H8 to the HK and HA, dummy discarding a club. As the cards lie, with Cable holding both the DK and H7, Dyer can insure a set by returning a low heart. If Gorsey were to duck Cable's H7, Cable could cash her DK and Dyer would later score the CQ for the fifth trick - two clubs, two hearts, and a diamond. Alternatively, if Gorsey won the third heart, Dyer would have two good hearts to cash when he won the CQ. However, Dyer wasn't sure Cable had those two cards, and exited the S10 to dummy's SA. Thus Gorsey was given a second chance to make the hand, by leading a LOW club from dummy, a play that's possible on the bidding. However Gorsey played the CJ to Dyer's CQ, and Dyer returned yet another spade. Gorsey cashed dummy's winners for seven tricks, but Cable's last three cards were the boss club, the boss diamond, and a heart. No matter which black suit loser Gorsey came off dummy with, all he was getting was his HQ in the end. Down one and twelve imps to Cable, to trail 69-68. Board 31 (EW vul, South deals):
. North S-762 West H-AKJ76 East S-853 D-K107 S-KQ10 H-10854 C-KQ H-932 D-AJ3 D-Q98 C-J105 South C-7642 S-AJ94 H-Q D-6542 C-A983 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable P P 1NT P 2C P 2H P 3NT P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau P P 1H P 1S P 1NT P 2NT P 3NT P P P
Both Easts led clubs. Gabay made five, Montague six. An imp to Gorsey, who led 70-68.
Board 32 (Both vul, West deals):
. North S-Q87 West H-J9872 East S-6532 D-A82 S-AKJ94 H-A53 C-97 H-K64 D-J976 D-K5 C-Q5 South C-1086 S-10 H-Q10 D-Q1043 C-AKJ432 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - P P 1S 2C 2S Double P 3D P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - P P 1S 2C 2S 2NT P 3NT P P P
Our North-South's went overboard here. Lau underled in spades. Gabay tried a heart. The defense cashed six tricks. Gabay dropped the CQ at the end for down two.
In 3D, Gorsey pitched a heart on the second spade. Heart to HA, D to DK, D to dummy's DA. Losing club finesse. Dyer led away from his DJ to let declarer out for down one and three imps to Gorsey, who led 73-68. Board 33 (NS vul, North deals):
. North S-Q10985 West H-A9 East S-7 D-108752 S-63 H-J72 C-2 H-654 D-KJ9 D-AQ643 C-AQ9864 South C-K73 S-AKJ42 H-KQ1083 D- C-J105 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - - P P 1S 2C 2S 3C 3H P 4S P P 5C P P 5S P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - - P P 1S 2C 3C Double 4S P P P
Slam in spades is very high percentage. I'm not sure which of these stillborn auctions is least appealing, nor which call is worst in show. Montague's 2S and Seo's 4S are surely prime candidates. Montague at least had subsequent chances to try to show his monster hand for a single raise, but he took no advantage of them. In Seo's position, over Gabay's doubled 3C, slam possibilities should surely dance in one's head. All Seo needed from Gabay was good trumps, a very likely singleton club, and a working ace. A little thought might produce a 3H rebid or a 4D splinter bid, intending to bid a slam if Gabay cue bid in return. The actual 4S bid, however, was final, and Seo got no further chances. Adler didn't take his CA and didn't get it, so an imp to Cable for 710 vs. 680, to trail 73-69. Board 34 (EW vul, East deals):
. North S-AK54 West H-102 East S-108 D-K743 S-97632 H-75 C-Q84 H-K86 D-10862 D-AQ9 C-J6532 South C-A9 S-QJ H-AQJ943 D-J5 C-K107 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - - - 1S 2H P 2NT P 3NT P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - - - 1S 2H P 3NT P P P
Montague won Cable's spade lead in dummy and led a heart to the H10 and HK. Cable took her aces and Montague made four. Lau tried an offbeat lead of the DQ from AQ9. Gabay won and took a heart finesse, and wound up making five to win an imp and trail 73-70. Board 35 (Both vul, South deals):
. North S-A653 West H-AJ1093 East S-Q1098 D-76 S-J72 H-Q862 C-Q5 H-K D-QJ D-10984 C-KJ8 South C-109762 S-K4 H-754 D-AK532 C-A43 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable 1NT P 2C P 2D P 3S P 4H P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau 1D Double Redouble 2C P P 2H P 3H P 4H P P P
Both North-Souths bid thin vulnerable games. Gorsey and Gabay declared them well and made four for a push. Board 36 (Neither vul, West deals):
. North S-Q10 West H-Q92 East S-K9542 D-K8654 S-86 H-AJ64 C-A62 H-K7 D-92 D-J1073 C-54 South C-Q10983 S-AJ73 H-10853 D-AQ C-KJ7 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - P P P 1NT Double P 2C P 2H Double P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - P 1D P 1H P 2H P 3NT P P P
Seo won the spade lead in dummy, came to his hand with a diamond, and led a heart to dummy's H9. He eventually lost only two hearts and a spade for 430.
Dyer drove into a speed trap - not vulnerable isn't invulnerable. Montague led trumps, and the defense kept leading trumps. Dyer scored three hearts and a spade for down four, -800, nine imps to Gorsey, who led 82-70. Board 37 (EW vul, North deals):
. North S-J98532 West H-652 East S-AK6 D-Q9 S-Q1074 H-AK8 C-43 H-QJ743 D-K6 D-32 C-K10986 South C-72 S- H-109 D-AJ108754 C-AQJ5 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - - P P 1D Double 2S P P 3C P 3D Double 3NT P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - - P P 1D Double 2S P 3D Double P 3H P P P
I don't like Gorsey's pass to Montague's 2S very much. Here it gave Dyer an easy road to a vulnerable game. Adler faced a tougher problem over 3D. Should Lau bid more? Should Adler? 630 vs. 200 meant ten imps to Cable, who trailed 82-80. Board 38 (Both vul, East deals):
. North S-7 West H-984 East S-J102 D-AQJ63 S-AK9854 H-AQJ1062 C-QJ84 H-73 D-9 D-74 C-K95 South C-1076 S-Q63 H-K5 D-K10852 C-A32 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - - - 2S P 3H P 3S P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - - - 2S P 4S P P P
The SQ can't be picked up, but the CA and HK are onside, so 4S can't be stopped if played correctly - use the top spades as entries for heart finesses. 620 vs. 170 meant ten imps to Gorsey, to lead 92-80. Board 39 (Neither vul, South deals):
. North S-4 West H-10764 East S-AJ3 D-AKQ32 S-K92 H-KJ C-J95 H-982 D-9854 D-J106 C-K843 South C-A762 S-Q108765 H-AQ53 D-7 C-Q10 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable 1S P 1NT P 2H P 4H P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau P 1D P 1NT Double 2C 2H 3C 3H P P P
Gabay won the DJ lead and played three rounds discarding clubs from dummy, then led a spade to the S10 and SJ. A club tapped dummy, but trumps lay favorably for declarer, and Gabay merrily crossruffed for 170. Obviously, there are several ways to hold this to 140.
Gorsey opened cheese and Montague hung him for it. Here too declarer was blessed with a diamond lead, and he also discarded dummy's clubs and led a spade up. However, Dyer won and played a fourth diamond and Cable discarded a spade as dummy ruffed. Desperate, Gorsey ruffed a spade and took a heart finesse and ended up losing three trump tricks for down one. I don't think he can make it once Cable discarded that spade. Six imps to Cable, who trailed 92-86. Board 40 (NS vul, West deals):
. North S-1083 West H-108 East S-AQ42 D-943 S-5 H-J962 C-KQJ74 H-AQ73 D-AJ D-10872 C-965 South C-A832 S-KJ976 H-K54 D-KQ65 C-10 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - 1NT P P 2S P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - 1C P 1D 1S 1NT 2S 3C P 3H P 4H P P P
Adler-Lau were optimistic in the auction, not for the first or last time. Gabay led the CK and Adler won dummy's CA, took a spade finesse, then a heart finesse. The miracle in trumps didn't happen for Adler, and a trump came back. Adler played a club, and lost two clubs, a diamond, and a trump for -50. It is interesting to note that Adler could still make this contract by winning the second heart in dummy and leading a diamond towards the AJ. If Seo doesn't split, the DJ wins and the subsequent crossruff comes to ten tricks, but if Seo does split, and wins the second diamond to play his third trump (best, since he has no club to lead), the fall of the D9 means both dummy's diamonds would be good, and declarer would make 1 club, 3 diamonds, 2 spades, 3 hearts, and a ruff for ten tricks.
Gorsey suffered a worse fate in 2S - a heart to the ace and a trump through let the enemy play three rounds of trumps before the CA was dislodged. Gorsey wound up down three. -300 meant eight imps to Cable, now back in the lead, 94-92. Board 41 (Both vul, North deals):
. North S-AK65 West H-J3 East S-Q10874 D-83 S-J932 H-985 C-AK865 H-1072 D-Q76 D-KJ1054 C-J4 South C-3 S- H-AKQ64 D-A92 C-Q10972 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - - 1NT P 2D P 2H P 3C P 4C P 5NT P 6S P 7C P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - - 1NT P 2D P 2H P 3C P 3NT P 4C P 6C P P P
Montague tried a fancy 6S over the grand slam force. If he was suggesting 7NT he failed, but at least the 1500 grand slam bonus was secured. Fine biddings from Montague-Gorsey.
By contrast, the Gabay-Seo auction went off the rails when Gabay didn't raise clubs directly. Seo considered bidding seven at the end, but it would be too embarassing if the ace of trumps were offside! Thirteen imps to Gorsey, now back in the lead 105-94. Board 42 (Neither vul, East deals):
. North S-A5 West H-AQ843 East S-J72 D-Q10 S-9864 H-K752 C-10865 H-J9 D-K8652 D-AJ9 C-Q South C-KJ97 S-KQ103 H-106 D-743 C-A432 South West North East Gorsey Dyer Montague Cable - - - 1NT P 2C P 2S P P P Seo Adler Gabay Lau - - - P P 1D 1H Double 1S 2D P 3D P P P
The third quarter ended when both East-Wests opened on nothing and stole auctions that normally would end in small partials North-South. At least Adler had a workable trump suit. He ruffed up with the DK on the fourth spade and picked up North's DQ10, but he still lost a club, two hearts, and three spades for down two. By contrast, Cable scored no trump tricks, and wound up down three to lose 2 imps for -150 vs. -100, and trailed 107-94. The players changed seats again for the final quarter. Board 43 (NS vul, South deals):
. North S-K10 West H-Q1095 East S-AJ65 D-K952 S-Q9832 H-A74 C-Q104 H-KJ8 D-J4 D-Q106 C-8765 South C-KJ S-74 H-632 D-A873 C-A932 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo P P P 1S P 2C P 2S P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau P P 1H 1S 2H 3H P 3S P P P
Both declarers guessed clubs to make 140. Push. Board 44 (EW vul, West deals):
. North S-K9 West H-KQ943 East S-QJ107 D-72 S-A82 H-765 C-AJ85 H-J102 D-K853 D-QJ109 C-103 South C-942 S-6543 H-A8 D-A64 C-KQ76 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - P 1H P 1S P 2C P 2D P 2H P 4H P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - P 1H P 1S P 2C P 3NT P P P
The defense cashed four spades against Cable, but the hearts broke and she scored 400. The same break let Montague hold his losses to two spades and a diamond for 420 to win an imp and lead 108-94. Board 45 (Neither vul, North deals):
. North S-3 West H-A632 East S-AJ982 D-AKQ942 S-76 H-109 C-A2 H-K8754 D-J73 D-1086 C-J75 South C-K103 S-KQ1054 H-QJ D-5 C-Q9864 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - 1D P 1S P 2H P 3C P 3D P 3NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - 1D P 1S P 2H P 3C P 3D P 3S P 3NT P P P
3NT is cold. Both declarers made an overtrick for a push at 430. Board 46 (NS vul, East deals):
. North S-K864 West H-64 East S-A75 D-AQ10875 S-9 H-AK8 C-K H-Q1097532 D-KJ2 D-93 C-Q984 South C-A75 S-QJ1032 H-J D-64 C-J10632 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - - 3H P 4H P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - - 2H P 2NT P 3C P 3H P P P
Lau's 3C was a step response, indicating a minimum weak two bid. With the CK dropping, 4H is making on any reasonable line of play. 420 vs. 170 meant six imps to Cable, now behind 108-100. Board 47 (EW vul, South deals):
. North S-3 West H-K9763 East S-65 D-42 S-QJ1082 H-AJ542 C-A9763 H-Q10 D-Q95 D-KJ106 C-842 South C-Q5 S-AK974 H-8 D-A873 C-KJ10 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo 1S P 1NT P 2D P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau 1S P 1NT P 2D P 2H P 2NT P 3NT P P
Gabay led ace and a heart against Gorsey's 2D. Declarer should make this - cash the five side winners ending in dummy to lead a heart, or else ending in hand to lead a spade. Either way, trump tricks are slowly promoted. Because declarers spots in the majors all turn out to be working, it also works to just play on trumps. But Gorsey won the HK and played a third heart immediately. Seo discarded a club, and the contract went down one.
Dyer won the SQ lead in dummy, led a heart to his HK, finessed the CJ, and ran off the first nine tricks. Very well done by Cable-Dyer. If Adler had risen his heart ace and shifted to diamonds, Dyer could still get home by dropping the CQ and jettisoning dummy's blocking club on the HK. 400 to go with 50 meant ten imps to Cable, now back in the lead 110-108.
Board 48 (Both vul, West deals):
. North S-K832 West H-Q62 East S-965 D-K105 S-J74 H-J87 C-A82 H-AK95 D-J9874 D-A63 C-K6 South C-Q75 S-AQ10 H-1043 D-Q2 C-J10943 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - P 1C Double 2NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - P 1NT Double P P Redouble P P 2D P P P
Gorsey's 2NT was a raise to 3C, but Montague feared that contract and passed. Gabay led a diamond to the D10 and DA. Seo returned a heart. Gorsey came to hand in spades and drove clubs. When he got in with his CQ, Seo cashed three hearts, but that was all. Making two.
Cable's pass of the double demanded a redouble, which she passed with her nine count opposite 10-12, going for the jugular. Adler ran in terror. Right! He lost three spades, a club, a diamond, and a heart, down one, to win an imp and trail 110-109. Board 49 (NS vul, North deals):
. North S-A732 West H-K9654 East S-J8 D-3 S-Q65 H-102 C-973 H-J873 D-AK7642 D-Q95 C-Q104 South C-KJ2 S-K1094 H-AQ D-J108 C-A865 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - P P 1C 1D 1H 1NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - P P 1NT 2C 2H 3D P P P
Seo's 1NT was cold. He won a spade and ran six diamonds. The defenders had the rest. Plus 90. Montague tells me this board has convinced him a negative double is better than a one heart response with the North cards.
Vul against not in third seat, Cable's 1NT was 12-14, and Adler's 2C showed diamonds or majors. Lau lost the five top tricks for minus 50. He'd do worse defending 2H or 2S, both of which make for North-South on normal play. Still, that was four imps to Cable, who led 114-109. Coming round the far turn and into the home stretch, seven boards to play. Board 50 (EW vul, East deals):
. North S-A97 West H-Q98 East S-KQ D-AJ83 S-J8432 H-J C-KQ5 H-K D-K976 D-Q52 C-J107632 South C-A984 S-1065 H-A10765432 D-104 C- South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - - P P 1D 1NT Double 4D P 4H P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - - P 3H P 4H P P P
Adler led a spade. Cable dropped the HK and took a successful ruffing hook in clubs, but she had to lose two tricks. Seo led a diamond, trusting Gabay's third chair opening had been lead-directing. Montague was able to set up a diamond for a twelfth trick to win an imp for 480 vs. 450, and trail 114-110. Board 51 (Both vul, South deals):
. North S-AK8 West H-94 East S-109 D-Q86 S-J532 H-QJ873 C-AQ1054 H-K2 D-AK D-J1074 C-J873 South C-K96 S-Q764 H-A1065 D-9532 C-2 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo P 1H Double P 1S P P 2H P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau P 1H 2C Double P 2H P P P
Dyer cashed his SAK and shifted to diamonds. Declarer led a heart to the king and ace. Cable returned a club to Dyer's CA, and he played the CQ to the CK, ruffed. Declarer still lost the last club for down one.
Montague hadn't shown clubs. He led out three rounds of spades ruffed. Declarer tried a club up. Montague rose to return a diamond. The club king was ruffed by Gorsey, and the fourth spade through resulted in down two. 200 vs. 100 yielded three imps to Gorsey, now trailing 114-113. Board 52 (Neither vul, West deals):
. North S-Q9862 West H-85 East S-7 D-AQJ972 S-AKJ1043 H-Q107643 C- H-K2 D-K4 D-5 C-6543 South C-AJ107 S-5 H-AJ9 D-10863 C-KQ982 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - 2H 3H 4H 4NT P 5D P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - 2H 4D 4H 5D P P Double P P P
Montague's 3H was Michaels, and Dyer's 4D was leaping Michaels. Fearing a complete crossruff, both Easts led their singleton trumps, won by dummy's D8. Both declarers ran the CK, pitching a heart. It's hard to see, but the only way to beat 5D now is two rounds of spades, letting West overruff dummy. Both our Easts switched to hearts. Declarer can get home by ruffing a club, drawing the last trump, and conceding a spade. He has enough entries to set up the fifth club for his eleventh trick. In practice, neither declarer found this line. Montague drew a second trump without ruffing a club and came up a trick short. Dyer tried to ruff a spade in dummy and got overruffed. By doubling 5D, Lau won 2 imps for Gorsey, now in the lead again, 115-114. Board 53 (EW vul, North deals):
. North S-J652 West H-A952 East S-A93 D-A93 S-KQ10 H-J4 C-52 H-Q76 D-QJ10654 D-872 C-Q3 South C-AK94 S-874 H-K1083 D-K C-J10876 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - P 1C P 1D P 1NT P 3D P 3NT P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - P 1C P 1D P 1NT P 2C P 2D P P 2H P P 3D P P P
Adler's 2C was two-way new minor forcing. The Adler-Lau 3D contract lost two hearts and two diamonds.
Gabay-Seo stretched to game. Montague-Gorsey led hearts and cashed a long heart when they got in, to nip 3NT a trick. Five imps to Gorsey, now up 120-114. Board 54 (Both vul, East deals):
. North S-AJ93 West H-K7 East S-K52 D-1054 S-6 H-9852 C-8652 H-QJ3 D-8632 D-AQ9 C-73 South C-AQJ1094 S-Q10874 H-A1064 D-KJ7 C-K South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo - - - 1C Double P 1S 3C P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau - - - 1C Double P 2S 3C 3S P P P
Against 3C, Montague-Gorsey relentlessly persisted with spades. Seo could never get to dummy, and all he took was six clubs and the DA for down two. With the spades and diamonds all onside and the hearts dropping, Dyer took eleven tricks in his 3S contract, to push the board at 200. Board 55 (Neither vul, South deals):
. North S-Q West H-AQJ10743 East S-AJ743 D-93 S-K109 H-92 C-543 H-K85 D-AQ1082 D-5 C-8 South C-AKQ976 S-8652 H-6 D-KJ764 C-J102 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo P 1S 3H 4NT P 5H P 5S P P P Cable Adler Dyer Lau P 1S 4H 4S P P P
Both Norths led ace and a heart to hold declarer to 450 and a push. The same ruff holds clubs to eleven tricks, but an anti-percentage 6NT would happen to make. One board to go with Gorsey still leading 120-114. Board 56 (NS vul, West deals):
. North S-108642 West H-J74 East S-AQ D-106 S-K953 H-K63 C-A63 H-5 D-874 D-AQ932 C-KQ1097 South C-J85 S-J7 H-AQ10982 D-KJ5 C-42 South West North East Gorsey Gabay Montague Seo Cable Adler Dyer Lau - 1NT P 2C P 2D P 3NT P P P
You can't ask for a better all-deciding board. Vul against not, it's quite risky to overcall 2H over Stayman with that South hand, but it's also risky not to overcall, as Gorsey found out when Montague led an unimaginative spade. Declarer knocked out the club ace, won the heart shift, and ran his tricks. Gorsey blanked his DK in the endgame, but Gabay was cashing his nine tricks in any event, so all Gorsey did was turn 400 into 460.
If South were to overcall, it would be hard for East-West to go plus. They can't beat 2H, and 3NT won't make on a heart lead. The best they can do is 110 or 130 in a minor. That would be a loss of 7 or 8 imps. But Cable passed just like Gorsey did. Last chance for Dyer. No, Dyer led a spade just like Montague. Cable kept her diamond guard in the same ending, so declarer was held to 400. She won two imps, but lost the match by four, 120-116.
I wish to congratulate Bob Gorsey, Neil Montague, Brett Adler, and Larry Lau on a thrilling nail-biter victory, and I wish them luck in Washington DC this summer. I would like to thank all the players for letting me watch, and also those who helped fix errata in the first draft. Remaining errors are mine.
That's it for the GNT this year, as I won't be able to report on the Flight B final. If you didn't know it already, I hope this year's two GNT match reports have convinced you that contract bridge at a high level is a very difficult game. No player I've ever kibitzed has gone 56 or 64 boards without making errors, and that includes national and international stars I've watched at NABC's. I hope these reports are accurate snapshots of the state of the art in New England. If I report might-have-beens as well as the facts, it's only to make points we can all learn from. I can't promise to gloss over mistakes, but I don't write about them to denigrate anybody. I hope these players are still my friends, even when in my opinion they made questionable bids or pulled the wrong cards. Like all bridge players, I do the same myself and so I suppose, dear readers, do you.