Saga of Summer National Pairs – Part 1

 

Before I say a word about the pairs event, I must congratulate team Maya Meera Sneha – The winners of Tolani Gold Teams Trophy. Special Mention to Sayantan Kushari and Sagnik Roy. They had very consistent sets through out and played a game of a maturity level way beyond their age. As far as I know, they are now the youngest holders of a national team title. Jaggy still continues to be the youngest ever national title winner. Congratulations guys, very well done.

Getting back to the pairs event – it was quite a disappointing end to the campaign for the teams trophy, with team bridgeduniya crashing out to Cogito in the Pre quarters.

As is usually the case, a lot of energy goes out of you when you get out of the key event, and it takes a while for you to build an enthusiasm for the remainder of the tournament. Such was the case when we played the 1st elimination of IMP pairs, just going through the motions and hoping we made the cut – without really trying or concentrating very much.

The night of 22nd June brought its own twist when I started running quite a high fever. Morning of the 2nd elimination, it didn’t look likely at all that I’d be able to play, and infact Joyjit and Paresh – our other leg – left for the venue with the instructions to inform the directors that Vivek and I won’t be participating.

However, with 15 minutes to go before the start of the event, I decided that I’d rather be playing than sitting in my hotel room all alone through out the day. A quick consultation with Vivek, who agreed to play so long as I felt up to it, and we were rushing to the venue, and calling directors to inform them that we had changed our mind and will afterall be playing.

Somehow managed through the day, playing more or less automatic, without really applying myself, but it was enough to finish 7th and secure a place in the finals.

Finals was a barometer event – all players play the same boards each round – field of 24 pairs, all play all for a total of 23 rounds and 46 boards. 

Considering I still wasn’t feeling very rosy, the directors allocated us the only fixed seat in the movement. That was very generous of them as that meant that we didn’t have to move around at all, and we were infact the home team through out. 

We started off against Raju Gulavani and Anil Tikare with what looks like a routine 2 contract :

 
1
None
North
N
Thak
964
AK865
J64
A10
 
W
Anil Tikare
K32
J3
Q7
K76532
 7
E
Raju Gulava
Q875
Q109
A85
Q94
 
S
Vivek
AJ10
742
K10932
J8
 

 There really was nothing to play after a spade lead, ducked and a trump return. Cashing top 2 hearts, and playing on diamonds resulted in 5 tricks for defence. As is usually the case though, being in the right contract is worth a little bit to the side going plus, and we picked 2 IMPs against the datum.

Board 2 was a bit scary when Raju and Anil bid upto an excellent 6  scoring all 13 tricks.

 
2
N-S
East
N
Thak
J9874
964
AJ52
3
 
W
Anil Tikare
5
A32
84
A1098542
K
E
Raju Gulava
A106
KQJ105
KQ9
KQ
 
S
Vivek
KQ32
87
10763
J76
 

 This looked like a good contract for them, as I feared that East may choose not to cooperate in slam bidding after 2N opening. However, majority of the field bid the slam, some in clubs, some in hearts. The datum was exactly 940, for no IMPs gained or lost.

Score after Round 1 : +2

What do you bid on this auction looking at the hand below:

E
Badal Das
AKQ1095
A96
10943

 

W
West
N
North
E
East
S
South
Pass
1
3
3
Pass
3NT
Pass
?
 

 Are you worth a slam try? Void in pd’s suit certainly doesn’t look good. In light of preempt a bad spade break looks highly likely. On the other hand, pd’s 3N probably included  K, and left to himself pd would certainly devalue it sitting under the preemptor. Is pass your best bet? 

This is the problem that Badal Das faced and elected to bid 4 . Not the best action on the cards as there were top 12 tricks, and pd did choose not to bid up his  KJ.

The full hand:

 
3
E-W
South
N
Thak
73
Q1087532
Q52
A
 
W
Aloke Sadhu
86
KJ
AK74
KQJ75
4
E
Badal Das
AKQ1095
A96
10943
 
S
Vivek
J42
4
J109863
862
 

 Opponents missing the slam was worth 10 IMPs, and a much needed boost to us.

I faced a lead problem on the next hand against the same opposition:

N
Thak
93
J73
A9653
J87

 

W
West
N
North
E
East
S
South
Pass
Pass
Pass
11
4
Pass
Pass
Dbl
All Pass
 
 
 
(1) 16+

Partner opens a precision  in 4th seat, West butts in with 4  and you make the obvious pass over pd’s balancing double.

Do we lead our doubleton spade, hoping to get a promotion when pd’s able to push the 3rd and 4th round? Or do we play a forcing game, choosing one of our Jxx suits. West’s original pass suggests a 2nd suit on the side for not preempting initially. The probability of that suit being spade is perhaps the highest, but it still doesn’t rule out pd holding 4 cards.

What do you do? I chose to lead a spade at the table, wrong!! Either  or  lead results in -3 for +800.  lead only resulted in -2.

 
4
Both
West
N
Thak
93
J73
A9653
J87
 
W
Aloke Sadhu
K742
5
KQJ10874
10
9
E
Badal Das
QJ108
98642
2
K43
 
S
Vivek
A65
AKQ10
AQ9652
 

 Picking up 500 was still worth 5 IMPs to us, and we had picked up some useful IMPs in this round.

Score after round 2: + 17

More in the next of the series.

 

 

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