Krzysztof Jassem

Sweden – Poland BB Final 1

In the qualifying round-robin Poland played solid bridge against Sweden, winning the match 21-0. That gave them a carry-over lead of 10.5 IMPs. It took Sweden another three boards before they finally managed to score their first IMP against Poland.

Two boards later came the first significant swing of the match.

Gawrys had an easy ride for 10 tricks when the ten of spades was led. Ace and king of spades and a diamond that went to South’s ace were the first three tricks. Without doubt, North now held the queen of hearts since he had opened the bidding. 

For the same reason Wrang went one off in the same contract, where three rounds of spades were played, South naturally pitching a club on the third round. Knowing that North had ace-king-jack six times in spades he surely didn’t have much more than a jack. When the heart finesse lost to the queen it was 10 IMPs to Poland.

Sweden soon scored a huge swing.

When North made his heart transfer at the four level, Gawrys didn’t risk making his otherwise quite obvious spade overcall. Klukowski led a club and Nyström had no problems pulling trumps, unblock the king of clubs to enter his hand a pitch dummy’s losing spade on the ace of clubs for eleven tricks.

The Polish Club gave Wrang opportunity to overcall and when East raised he knew that Four Spades must be a good sacrifice if not even making.
Mazurkiewicz led a potentially killing trump and Wrang had to change plan and to try set dummy’s clubs. Declarer needed the ace of diamonds to be with South to have the three entries needed to dummy so that if clubs were 3-3 he would make his game.
He won the trump lead in hand to play a club. North won with the queen and returned the jack of diamonds, which ran to dummy’s queen.
Then came a club ruff, spade to the nine, and the nine of clubs and when North pitched a heart (eight) declarer did the same. South won with his ace and cashed the ace of diamonds, noticing the two, nine and seven. Instead of cashing the ace of hearts Mazurkiewicz must have believed that partner had played second-fourth from KJ96 in diamonds and played another round of the suit. Declarer won with the king, entered dummy with a trump and claimed his contract. 15 IMPs to Sweden.
Why on earth it might be right not to cash the ace of hearts before playing a diamond is written in the stars.

When South led the five of spades Gawrys went up with the ace to collect his eleven minor suit winners for twelve tricks.

Sylvan, had upgraded his hand to a 14-16 1NT and when North led the five of hearts he was on a guess. With the ten in hand, he naturally called for a low card. Mazurkiewicz won with the jack to return the suit for one down. 11IMPs back to Poland.

Four Clubs was a strong two-suiter with clubs and a major, Four Diamonds asked, and Four Hearts told the full story. North made a natural slam try happily accepted by South. West led a spade, ruffed by declarer. A club to the queen, heart to the jack and a ruff in clubs constituted the first four tricks. Declarer then pulled trumps and ducked a diamond for twelve tricks.

When South overcalled North didn’t make any attempt to reach the excellent slam. Declarer was held to ten tricks when he played on dummy reversal lines. Mazurkiewicz ruffed the spade lead, played a club to the queen, cashed the ace of diamonds and ruffed a second spade. He then entered dummy with a diamond and ruffed a third spade. Nothing could prevent declarer from ruffing dummy’s last spade with the ace of hearts and scoring three more tricks with dummy’s king-queen-ten of trumps. 11 IMPs to Sweden.

The first set finished 39-37 to Poland, who with their carry-over led 49.5-37. Another tight match may be in prospect and might not be for kibitzers with weak hearts – it might be just too much!