World Youth Open Championships

The World Youth Championships are taking place in Opatija, Croatia. The event, which features pairs and teams events in four age/gender categories, takes place from 20th - 29th August.

Update: Congratulations to Laura Covill (pictured, far left) who has won the bronze medal in the Under 26 Women's event.

In the Bronze medal play off match Laura's team (consisting of herself and 3 Dutch players) lost the first set heavily but fought back in the 2nd to reduce the gap to 25 imps with 16 boards to play.
In the final set the Chinese opponents went for a big penalty and after that the floodgates opened, Laura's team emerging winners by 23 imps, having won the last set 56-8 (picture).

In the Under 26 Open teams England won another Bronze medal by defeating Australia, the team that had won the round robin. Mirroring the success in the girls event they too started by losing the first set and reducing the deficit in the second. Once again in the final set England white washed their opponents 52-4, to emerge winners by the deceptively comfortable margin of 32 imps. Well done to Ben Norton, Shahzaad Natt, Stephen Kennedy and Tony Ye (picture). David Bird has written an account of a deal, well played by Shahzaad Natt, you can read this below.

Congratulations to Zane Soonawalla & James Cater (picture) who won the B Final of the Under 16 event.

In the final day of the pairs event, England pairs made it through to the A final in every age group. They finished in the following positions:

In the U26 Women Hanna Tuus and India Leeming were 4th and in the U16s Jasmine Bakhshi playing with Markus Bertheau from Sweden were 9th, and Henry Rose/Jamie Fegarty were 10th.
In the U21 Open Oscar Selby/Harry Madden (13th), Theo Anoyrkatis/Andy Cope(21st) and Liam Fegarty/Patrick Gaudert(15th).
In the U26 Open Shahzaad Natt and Ben Norton finished in 17th place.

Representing England

Age Pairs Events Players
Under 26 Open Pairs Shahzaad Natt & Ben Norton
Junyuan Ye & Stephen Kennedy
Under 26 Women's Pairs India Leeming & Hanna Tuus
Under 21 Open Pairs Harry Madden & Oscar Selby
Alexander Pemberton & Imogen La Chapelle
Ben Lewis & Joseph Clark
Liam Fegarty & Patrick Gaudart
Elizabeth Gaham & Sam Anoyrkatis
Andrew Cope & Theo Anoyrkatis
Under 16 Open Pairs Antoinina Mauve & Amelia Mauve
Jacob Potter & Thomas Potter
Zane Soonawalla & James Cater
Jamie Fegarty & Henry Rose
Jasmine Bakhshi & Markus Bertheau (Sweden)
Age Teams Events Players
Under 26 Open Teams Shahzaad Natt, Ben Norton, Junyuan Ye & Stephen Kennedy
Under 26 Open Teams India Leeming, Ian Robson, Eshan Singhal & Hanna Tuus
Under 26 Women's Teams Laura Covill (England), Malene Holm Christensen (Netherlands), Esther Visser (Netherlands), Janneke Wackwitz (Netherlands) & Bas Van Engelen (Netherlands)
Under 21 Open Teams Theo Anoyrkatis, Andrew Cope, Alexander Pemberton & Oscar Selby
Under 21 Open Teams Jamie Fegarty, Liam Fegarty, Patrick Gaudart & Ben Lewis
Under 16 Open Teams Jasmine Bakhshi (England), Markus Betheau (Sweden), Anders Brogeland (Norway), Are Borgar Landsvik (Norway), Tonje Aasand Brogeland (Norway) & Peter Bertheau (Sweden) (NPC)

ENGLAND UNDER-26 TEAM CLAIM WORLD BRONZE - By David Bird

The NATT team, representing England in the Under-26 world championships, finished 2nd in the Swiss qualifying stage. They eventually lost to the USA in the semi-finals, but won a play-off against Australia for the bronze medals.
Shadzaad Natt played excellently on this deal against Italy:

Dealer West. Both Vul.
♠ Q 6 4 2
♥ K 10 4 3
♦ K 8 6
♣ Q 9
♠ J 9 8 5 ♠ A K 10 7 3
♥ Q 8 6 ♥ A 9
♦ J 10 2 ♦ 4
♣ J 7 6 ♣ A K 10 4 3
♠ -
♥ J 7 5 2
♦ A Q 9 7 5 3
♣ 8 5 2

West North East South
Norton Scata Natt Donati
Pass Pass 1♠ Pass
Pass 1NT 3♣ 3♦
4♠ All Pass

Ben Norton had 12 losers in his hand (if you add one for no aces… maybe you should add another for no kings). Marc Smith and I, who were commentating on Bridge Base Online, rated a 2♠ response as ‘normal’. Norton saw it differently and passed. Scata protected with 1NT and Norton then recovered well, jumping to 4♠ over partner’s 3♣ rebid.

Donati’s ♥5 lead drew the queen, king and ace. Natt then played the ♠A, discovering the 4-0 break. At trick three he found the exotic shot of the ♣10 to North’s queen. A diamond to South’s queen was followed by the ♥J and a third heart to force declarer. However, Natt could then play a club to the jack, pick up the remaining trumps and claim ten tricks. Brilliant!

West North East South
Gaiotti Ye Chiarandini Kennedy
Pass Pass 1♠ Pass
2♠ Pass 3♣ Pass
3♠ Pass 4♠ All Pass

Here West did find a spade raise and East then had visions of a possible slam. His 3♣, nominally a game-try, attracted no interest and he signed off in game. Stephen Kennedy’s ♥5 lead again drew three big honours. Chiarandini then played the trump ace, South discarding a diamond. After a heart to Junyuan Ye’s 10 and a diamond to the queen, declarer ruffed South’s ♥J. He was still on track for a make but would have to step carefully.

Declarer played the ♣AK next and good news arrived when the ♣Q fell from North. However, there was also some good news for the defenders, which was to become apparent. Declarer had failed to unblock dummy’s ♣J.

When declarer attempted to cross to the ♣J, Ye ruffed. A diamond return forced declarer to ruff with the ♠7. The next club was ruffed with the ♠J and overruffed with the ♠Q, That was one down.

If declarer had made the far-sighted unblock of the ♣J, he could have continued with a trump to the 8 and queen. He would then ruff the diamond return with the ♠K, overtake the ♠10 with the jack and draw North remaining trumps. Finally he could return dummy’s preserved low club to his ♣1043. It would have been a virtuoso performance. As it was, NATT gained 13 IMPS.

Many congratulations to our team: Stephen Kennedy, Shahzaad Natt, Ben Norton and Junyuan Ye.