Junior European Team Championships - Day 3

Submitted by English Bridge Union on

Before we delve into the bridge chronicles of the day, let’s take a step back to yesterday evening.

As I was walking through the gigantic venue that is hosting us, I came across a familiar face, that I wasn’t expecting to see here. There stood Laura Covill, a personal friend and an old friend of the U16 team. In fact, she was the team’s coach in Norway, when the U16 won the bronze medal in the last edition of the Europeans.

I wouldn’t miss the chance and this morning, after some phone calls, emails and paperwork, she became the coach of the team.

On top of the advice and support that she is bringing to the players, she has been giving me some respite from following the matches at the table.

So, for the whole day I could be seen pacing the corridors and gardens of the Konigshof. My tally for the day appears to be well over 10km!

To the bridge now.

We warmed up scoring 100 IMPs against Croatia; then Greece did not enjoy a much better fate. Sadly, as we did so, so did Poland, who won handsomely both their matches.

Before the so much anticipated head to head, they were 17.5 VPs ahead of us.

We needed a big win and boy, they did deliver! Despite 13 Imps lost once again because of my no-grand-slams rule, it was a deluge of IMPs in the good guys column.

We started off with this:

Board 1. Dealer North. None Vulnerable.

 2    8
 Q98742    KJT
 AQ4    K63
 QJ6    AT9842

Furness as North opened 2C (a technique we have already seen at work yesterday) and the auction was uncontested to 4S. East thought to try and cash the AC, the only lead that gives away the contract (the heart loser goes on the KC, using dummy’s six of trumps as a precious entry).

At the other table North opened 1S, 2C by East, pass by South and 2H by West. North jumped to 4S and after two passes Battersby bid 5C, duly doubled. On another day that would make; today the KC was offside; still a gain of 8 IMPs.

Then came this:

Board 2. Dealer East. N-S Vulnerable.

 T97653    842
 A63    Q52
 J87    KQT63
 J    Q2

The Polish South opened 1C, west overcalled 1S, 2C by North (in a Polish club context), 2S by East and 3NT by South.
In the other room after Norman opened 1C and West overcalled 2S, Furness found an imaginative 5C and Lucy, looking at her 18 count, raised to 6.

Another double digit swing came at board 9:

Board 9. Dealer North. E-W Vulnerable.

 3    J
 KQT65    9873
 T986    AK532
 AJT    842

Against 4S by South, Battersby led the KH. Declarer won, drew trumps and played a club from hand. Battersby rose with the A and switched to diamonds for a quick down one.

At the other table Furness opened an aceless ten count (not something that we recommend during our training sessions!) so 4S was played the other way round. West cashed Ace and King of diamonds with Furness following with the Q and the 4 in this order. That somehow did the trick, because East continued diamond, allowing a ruff and sluff.

One more big swing came when a frustrated polish pair bid a slam with no play.

When we finished counting the total said England 58 – Poland 19.

The fourth match of the day was very uneventful across the board. We managed to best Denmark by 2 IMPs.

Bulgaria, that was tied with Poland with one board to go, had an accident on the last hand, that allowed Poland to pick up a few VPs more than us.

The standing for the top :

Poland - 185.64
England - 181.95
Hungary - 162.94
Czech Republic - 157.96

Tomorrow is the final day and we play Israel, Estonia and Czech Republic. It’s all to play for.

By Giorgio Provenza

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