Maurizio writes

 
 
 

Following a period of years where the Spingold mostly started with a round of 64, in Toronto the number of entries allowed the organisers to assign only two byes in the first round, meaning all started with a proper round of 128. Therefore the two finalists arrived at the finish after quite a long and tough journey.

LAVAZZA, fielding their classic line-up (Bianchedi, Bilde, Bocchi, Duboin, Madala, Sementa), had had a more difficult path than their counterpart, DIAMOND. This foursome (Broegeland, Diamond, Lindqvist, Platnik, a new line-up after many years with Hampson-Greco and Bathurst-Lall in it), had twice seen opponents concede before the end of a match, and were never challenged on the way, while LAVAZZA had to overcome strong opposition in two matches.

DIAMOND started with a bang: after two dull hands, they piled up 25 IMPs in the next two.

Board 3
Dealer South
E-W Vul

9 8

A 9 6 3 2

K J 10 5 3

8

A K Q J

K J

9 4

A Q 10 3 2

N

W

E

S

10 5 4 3 2

10 8 5

Q 8 7

6 5

7 6

Q 7 4

A 6 2

K J 9 7 4

 

West

North

East

South

Madala

Lindqvist

Bianchedi

Brogeland

 

 

 

Pass

2 NT

All pass

 

 

 

2 NT by West

 

Lead:  3

 

Down 2 — EW −200

 

West

North

East

South

Diamond

Bocchi

Platnick

Sementa

 

 

 

Pass

2 NT

Pass

3 !1

Pass

4 ♣!2

Pass

4 !3

Pass

4 

All pass

 

 

 

1.      ª

2.      four ª and § control

3.      transfer

 

4  by West

 

Made 4 — EW +620

Not much to be said: Norberto Bocchi's decision to pass 2NT was totally reasonable, but proved expensive when his counterpart decided to transfer, at the other table, and declarer playing in 4ª guessed hearts (following the obvious, but disastrous club lead from North): 13 IMPs. Immediately afterwards a defensive problem.

Board 4
Dealer West
Both Vul

K

A 10 3 2

9 5 2

A K Q 10 6

N

E

A Q 8 7 6

K J 7 6 4

A 8

9

 

West

North

East

South

Madala

Lindqvist

Bianchedi

Brogeland

Pass

1 NT

2 !1

2 NT!2

3 

Pass

4 

All pass

 

  1. majors
  2. puppet to 3§

 

4  by West

 

Lead:  A

 

Down 1 — EW −100

 

West

North

East

South

Diamond

Bocchi

Platnick

Sementa

Pass

1 

2 1

Pass

3 

Pass

4 

All pass

 

  1. alerted

 

4  by West

 

Made 4 — EW +620

 

Both North’s led the §A, and saw partner's 3 - in both cases, the order of priority in carding was: reverse count, low encouraging, suit preference - then had to decide how to continue. Up to you now.

Bocchi cashed another club, while Lindqvist switched to diamonds. Better the Norwegian, who had the big advantage of knowing his partner had diamonds.

Board 4
Dealer West
Both Vul

K

A 10 3 2

9 5 2

A K Q 10 6

J 10 4 3 2

9 8 5

Q 10 4

J 2

N

W

E

S

A Q 8 7 6

K J 7 6 4

A 8

9

9 5

Q

K J 7 6 3

8 7 5 4 3

Madala won the Ace, cashed the ªA getting good news, and got to hand with a spade to finesse in hearts. Down one.

Diamond ruffed, played two rounds of spades and he too played a heart towards the Jack. The difference was that Sementa was endplayed, having only minor cards left! 12 IMPs.

Three flat hands followed, then LAVAZZA turned the match upside down in the second half of the segment.

4 IMPs to start, thanks to a standard underpointed opening bid by the two Americans, quite typical in modern USA bridge, especially for Precision players. Sometime they prove to be expensive, but some other offer good dividends. This time it was a loser.

Board 8
Dealer West
None Vul

A Q J 8 2

A Q 5 2

10 9

9 6

10 5 4

10 9 7

A K J 8 7

Q 7

N

W

E

S

K 3

K J 4

Q 5 2

K 10 4 3 2

9 7 6

8 6 3

6 4 3

A J 8 5

 

West

North

East

South

Madala

Lindqvist

Bianchedi

Brogeland

Pass

1 

Pass

1 NT

Pass

2 

Pass

2 

All pass

 

 

 

 

2  by North

 

Lead:  2

 

Down 1 — NS −50

 

West

North

East

South

Diamond

Bocchi

Platnick

Sementa

1 !

1 

2 

Pass

2 

2 

3 NT

All pass

 

3 NT by East

 

Lead:  6

 

Down 2 — EW −100

 

Then 8 IMPs more, thanks to accurate system preparation by the "LAVAZZA boys".

Board 9
Dealer North
E-W Vul

7 4 3

Q J

A 9 4

Q J 10 7 2

Q J 8 5 2

K 9 6 5 3

K

K 9

N

W

E

S

10

A 10 8 7 2

Q 8 5 2

6 4 3

A K 9 6

4

J 10 7 6 3

A 8 5

 

West

North

East

South

Madala

Lindqvist

Bianchedi

Brogeland

 

Pass

Pass

1 

2 1

Pass

4 

All pass

 

  1. both majors

 

4  by East

 

Lead:  A

 

Made 4 — EW +620

 

 

West

North

East

South

Diamond

Bocchi

Platnick

Sementa

 

Pass

Pass

1 !1

2 !2

2 !3

4 

5 

Dbl

All pass

 

 

 

1.      5+ (0r 4441) unbalanced

2.      majors

3.      clubs

 

5 × by South

 

Lead:  3

 

Down 2 — NS −300

 

The two Norwegians did not have the right tool to defend against the opponents' overcall, but the Italians did.

Two almost flat deals followed (1 IMP to LAVAZZA in board 12), quite uninteresting, then 4 IMPs to DIAMOND.

Board 12
Dealer West
N-S Vul

A 4 3

A K J 7

2

A Q J 8 7

K Q J 10 9

2

Q 9 7

K 6 5 4

N

W

E

S

8 7 6

Q 10 9 8 6

K J 3

10 3

5 2

5 4 3

A 10 8 6 5 4

9 2

 

West

North

East

South

Madala

Lindqvist

Bianchedi

Brogeland

1 

Dbl

2 1

Pass

Pass

Dbl

Rdbl2

3 

3 

All pass

 

 

 

  1. weaker raise
  2. good for a bad raise :)

 

3  by West

 

Lead:  A

 

Down 1 — EW −50

 

West

North

East

South

Diamond

Bocchi

Platnick

Sementa

1 

Dbl

2 !1

3 

Pass

4 

All pass

 

 

1.      weaker raise

 

4  by North

 

Lead:  8

 

Down 1 — NS −100

 

Sementa's aggressive style pushed NS too high in the closed room, and so inevitably happened in the other room as well.

However, before the siren LAVAZZA placed a terrible "one-two".

Board 13
Dealer North
Both Vul

Q 6 4

7 3 2

9 4 3 2

K 5 2

J 8 2

9 4

J 10 6

A 9 6 4 3

N

W

E

S

K 9 7 5 3

A Q J 10 6

A K Q

A 10

K 8 5

8 7 5

Q J 10 8 7

 

West

North

East

South

Madala

Lindqvist

Bianchedi

Brogeland

 

Pass

1 

Pass

2 

Pass

3 

Pass

3 

Pass

4 

Pass

4 

All pass

 

 

 

4  by East

 

Lead:  Q

 

Made 4 — EW +620

 

 

West

North

East

South

Diamond

Bocchi

Platnick

Sementa

 

Pass

1 ♣!1

Pass

1 !2

Pass

1 

Pass

2 !3

Pass

2 

Pass

2 ♠!4

Pass

4 

All pass

 

1.      16+

2.      negative

3.      puppet to 2©

4.      a better raise than an immediate 2ª

 

4  by East

 

Lead:  Q

 

Down 1 — EW −100

 

In its first steps the hand developed in an identical way: §Q to the Ace (small stylistic difference: Bianchedi ditched the ¨Q, and Platnik the ©10; better the Italian-Argentine, I believe, who spread some fog around), ©9 to South's King and another club, ruffed by East. Here the two paths diverged. The American continued with a small spade, and the defense didn't have any problem in giving him trouble: a further club followed, and declarer, badly reading the situation, lost trump control. In fact, Platnik played another spade, while to get home he should have stopped, cashing his red winners first instead of drawing trumps... In the other room, Bianchedi tabled the ªK, and this convinced Brogeland to duck. There was then no longer the option to fatally force East: 12 IMPs to LAVAZZA.

DIAMOND was still ahead 29-25, but Diamond-Platnik’s habit of aggressiveness proved to be very expensive once again on the following deal.

Board 14
Dealer East
None Vul

A Q 7

A 9

K Q 7 5 3

A J 8

6 5 4 2

A 8 4 2

K 7 6 4 3

N

W

E

S

J 10 8 3

Q 8 7 6 4 3

J

5 2

K 9

K J 10 5 2

10 9 6

Q 10 9

 

West

North

East

South

Madala

Lindqvist

Bianchedi

Brogeland

 

 

Pass

Pass

1 !1

Dbl

1 !2

2 

Pass

3 NT

All pass

 

 

  1. 2+ clubs
  2. hearts

 

3 NT by North

 

Lead:  5

 

Made 6 — NS +490

 

 

West

North

East

South

Diamond

Bocchi

Platnick

Sementa

 

 

2 

Pass

Pass

Dbl

Pass

Pass

Rdbl

Pass

2 

Pass

Pass

Dbl

All pass

 

 

2 × by East

 

Lead:  K

 

Down 5 — EW −1100

 

Without the trump lead EW could have escaped cheaply - after a diamond, declarer can cross-ruff the first six tricks winning 5 IMPs - but Sementa brilliantly tabled the ªK, and the result was down 5, 1100 and 12 further IMPs to LAVAZZA, who, after a dull hand, went into the changing room ahead by 8, 37-29.