Neil Kimelman

2012 CNTC A Final

No one Vul., IMPs, you hold as south: ♠QJ87652 ♣KQ10965

West          North          East           South
pass           pass            1♦                 ?

1) What is your plan?
2) What would your plan be if east opened 1NT, 12-14?

As some of you know I just returned with our team from a very successful Canadian Bridge Championship (CBC). Along with my teammates, Bob Todd, Doug Fisher, Don Pearsons, David Sabourin, and Jonathan Steinberg, we came second in the CNTC A event.

Although we are not representing Canada at the World Bridge Olympiad, we are all very proud of our performance and lost to a better team.

One of the key differences between playing in this type of event versus playing at the club is that the hands are much more distributional, thus exciting. ‘Flat’ hands are usually removed from play as they do not generate interest, swings, or determine the better team (the latter point is up for debate).

Here is the most extreme example, a hand from the 6th of 8 schedule 16 boards segments of the final. When I held this hand my priorities in order, were to:

1) Show my suits
2) Show my extra distribution and playing strength,
3) Deny a lot of high cards, and
4) Assuming I can do all this, let partner make the final decision

Fortunately we were playing Klinger. Unlike Michaels, I can show all my two suiters in one bid. Here 2 shows spades and clubs. The bidding continued:

West           North       East         South
Wolpert    Pearsons  Amoils     Kimelman

pass            pass         1             2
2♠1             pass         3♥             4♠

1Limit raise or better in support of diamonds.

So my first bid achieved my first objective. My 2nd bid achieved my 2nd and 3rd objective.

By bidding game in spades I show a very strong playing strength hand, with no extra high card strength. Since my first bid described at least 5-5 in our partnership, 4♠ described exactly 7-6 shape, since I didn’t bid 4, which I would call with 6-6. Also, with 16+ HCPs I would double first, and then bid 4♠. So I was in good shape as far as describing my holding. Before I continue this saga, here is the full deal (hands rotated):


          ♠AK                          ♠J4
          A653                      K1097
          J7543                     A962
          ♣J8                          ♣A74


The bidding then took a much unexpected turn:

West           North       East         South
Wolpert    Pearsons  Amoils     Kimelman

pass            pass         1             2
2♠1             pass         3             4 

4 !!           pass!!!     pass          4♠!!

I assume Darren Wolpert accidentally bid 4, thinking my spade bid was at the three level, not the four level. For some reason my partner chose to accept this bid. He would have been better off to call the director and Wolpert would have likely made his bid sufficient by bidding 5. When it got back to me I decided to make sure partner knew my distribution and repeated my previous call. The vugraph operator now had the biggest problem at the table, as she had to figure out how to show this ‘illegal’ auction!!

The story ends with E-W bidding 5. My partner doubled and we beat it three for +500. We lost 3 IMPs as the bidding at the other table went:

West        North      East     South
Fisher     L’Ecuyer Todd   Demuy

pass         pass      1NT1      3♠
3NT         pass       pass      4♣
Pass        4♠ double    All pass

1 12-14.

4♠ is cold.

Lessons to Learn

1) It is important to be able to show your suits at the earliest opportunity.

2) It is best to play two suited overcalls as either weak or strong. With around an opening points, bid your suits naturally.

3) If you have strong suiter, you must double at your next opportunity, so partner knows you have some defence as well as offence.

4) Know your rights when the opponents commit an infraction, such as an insufficient bid. North did not take enough time to consider the bidding and his options on this hand.

5) Notice that Demuy in the other room accomplished the same goals by showing in weak hand with the 3♠ call, and then showing his extreme distribution with his next bid. However, he didn’t quite show this extreme a distribution.

6) Distribution is extremely powerful, and can neutralize strong high card holdings, as on this deal.



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