Junior European Team Championships - Day 1

Submitted by English Bridge Union on

After a night where the horrible heat has made sleeping uneasy, we were finally at the table playing bridge.

And by “we” I mean “they”. I wish I could play a few hands. Being a Non-playing captain is a bit of a torture.

I describe it to my non bridge playing friends as walking in a room where the best food in the world is on display; you are starving; everyone else around you is eating and you are not allowed to do so.

We started off against France, winners of last years Europa trophy and likely to be a contender for the medals.
It was a hard fought and close match where in the end yours truly prevailed by 8 IMPs.

An interesting defensive problem arose at board 7.

Board 7. Dealer South. All Vulnerable.

 2    A85
 KJ86542    T
 65    K98742
 A98    K54

At the table I was watching S opened 1C, W overcalled 3H(!) and N bid 4S, ending the auction. E (Bedford) duly led her singleton Heart and declarer called for the Ace. W knows that either partner will not have another heart to return later on or N is about to ruff. Rather than encouraging in hearts should play the H2 suggesting a club entry.

W played the 8 instead and when declarer run the SJ to East’s Ace, Lottie thought for a while and played another trump. Declarer won, cleared the suit and played a club.

Here the defence has another chance to beat the contract. E should play low allowing partner to win with the Ace and return a diamond. At the table E rose with the King and played another club. Partner won and played a diamond, but it’s too late. Declarer refused the finesse and claimed when clubs were 3-3.

A touch defence missed at the other table as well.

Next up was Germany and clearly those kids have not come across the “eight ever, nine never” lesson.

Twice they cashed Ace and King having eight trumps and twice they dropped the doubleton Queen! Sadly, once they were in a slam and ended up making it. Here’s the hand:

Board 20. Dealer West. All Vulnerable.

 J874    T965
 Q982    J654
 AJ9    83
 Q4    T85

Our side was the better team though and despite this unlucky break they won by 17 IMPs.

After lunch we played the host team, the Netherlands.

It was a quiet match, with only one double digit swing. I’ll give it to you as a lead problem.

You have Q98xx – Ax – 10x – KQxx and open 1S.

Your LHO doubles, partner passes and RHO bids 3H. You pass and LHO bids 4H. Your lead. If you chose the King of clubs, as our Dutch opponent did, you have found the lead the gives away the contract. I know, it’s a tough game!

We picked a few more IMPs here and there and won by 19.

We then had a bye, which I spent on a lovely visit to the airport (you need to read yesterday’s blog to know why). There I found out that the queue to go through security is enormous; it goes through the whole airport hall and then outside the building. I estimate at least three hours that await us on Sunday. But we’ll think about it when we get there.

For now, we are looking forward to our first full day of play, with four matches and 48 boards. For most of our U16s, it will be just another day at the office (Yes, they play A LOT!).

By Giorgio Provenza (Youth Squad Leader)