Just back from my favorite tournament, Tallinn Bridge Festival. For a long time this was undoubtedly the largest and strongest bridge tournament in the Baltics, but recently another tournament has claimed to be in this status - Vilnius Cup (each year held in Lithuania, in autumn).
As a rule, Tallinn Bridge Festival is attended by a lot of bridge players from many countries, unfortunately, this year there was unusually small number of Lithuanian, Polish and Belorussian bridge players. Perhaps it was due to Poznan Meeting, which has Polish championship open pairs in its program, as Polish bridge tournaments are very popular among Lithuanian and Belarusian bridge players.
This time, I will tell you more about Teams Tournament, where we got second place in the competition of 27 teams. I played with Uģis Jansons and our teammates were great Swedish players Lars Goldberg and Rob Walker. A team named “Silla” from Norway won the Teams tournament with such players as Geir Helgemo, Erik Saelensminde, Per Erik Austberg, Jorgen Molberg, Borre Lund, Lars Fröland. Against this team we got to play twice during the bridge tournament, the first match we won with 19:11.
Now lets move to some bridge deals, which occurred playing against Silla
There was an interesting board Nr. 33, in the first match we played against Norwegian team. All non-vulnerable, on the first hand my partner as North opens with 1NT (14-16), East (Geir Helgemo) passes, I bid STAYMAN 2C, and the West (Lars Fröland) doubles, which promises natural clubs! My partners redoubles for penalty . After minor hesitation I left that RDBL, because we have more points on our line and according to our partnership agreement, such RDBL from partner promises either 5card suit (or excellent 4cards suit). The lead was D3, from table - D8, East put D9, I took it in hand with the 10D. Then I continued with a small Club. After a slight moment of surprise when East (not West) showed Ace of Clubs, I managed to take nine tricks, which gave +760 against 3NT at the other table.
♠ J4 ♠ T9762
♥ 865 ♥ QJ7
♦ K43 ♦ Q972
♣ KT872 ♣ A
And now the “Fairytale gone bad”
We were in front of Silla with 17 VP, when we met them again in the last, decisive round (the tournament‘s format was 12x6 Swiss and Danish), and we bid 7NT against the same pair Geir Helgemo - Lars Fröland. After the spade lead from West everything looks too good to be true.
Think for a moment how you would play this contract...
At first sight, everything looks easy, there would be 13 tricks, if hearts are divided nicely, if not hearts, then Clubs are and you need only a finesse in diamonds ...
I tried heart, then clubs.. and capitulated. One off.
At the other table they also finished in 7 NT, but the declearer (Erik Saelensminde) initially tested C, which appeared to be breaking 5-0, and then bravely finessed Jack of Hearts!
♠ JT962 ♠ K73
♥ J976 ♥ 4
♦ K976 ♦ T843
♣ - ♣ T9765
It is a good decision in the battle for the first place. There is some confidence, that at the other table opponents will finish in 7NT, too. In that case, the identical declarer’s play of the contract gives another flat board, which is not sufficient for winning. From the other hand, the finesse gives great chances for catching the "big fish" (after revealing breakdown of Clubs it is more likely, that breakdown of Hearts will not be good, either).
Thus, the First place in Tallinn Teams has been postponed to year 2011, as I will definitely participate in Tallinn Bridge Festival 2011 again, and also recommend it to all bridge players (after all, more teams will participate, the bigger prizes there will be for winners !)
Pictures from the Tallinn Bridge Festival.