2020 Brazilian Trials, 3rd segment
At the start of the 3rd segment of 14 boards, the score was JEOVANI 66, BARBOSA 44, with Barbosa-Rodrigues facing Mello-La Rovere in the Closed Room while Campos-Tomasini played against VillasBoas-Brenner in the Open Room.
Not much to tell about board 1, both NS pairs ended in a diamond part-score, Barbosa scoring an extra trick. 1 IMP to BARBOSA. Board 2 was more interesting:
The only makeable game is 5 Clubs. How to reach that, however, it is not that easy, especially if East opens 1 Club and South overcalls 1 Spade. Most standard systems does not have a low level forcing bid to show a balanced game forcing hand, and this fact will eventually lead to West bidding 3NT sooner or later. Even after a spade lead, careful play in 3NT (especially cashing the Ace of clubs in the first round of the suit, else the club suit will be blocked and declarer will have to spend the Ace of hearts to get to dummy, with fatal results) will probably bring the contract home. South has to pitch 6 times (!) and declarer can make an extra trick in the ending if he reads the cards well.
However, 3NT was not played anywhere. In the closed room, Mello-La Rovere reached 5 Diamonds, after an instructive bidding mishap (West bid 2 Diamonds after the spade overcall, East raised that suit, and the partnership could no longer explore for 3NT and disentangle the correct trump suit. How do you think the bidding should go? It is worth a discussion with your partner). They were doubled and went down one. In the Open Room, Campos was doubled in 3 Spades. NS expected to win imps by going down only one, but the final score in the board was 7 IMPs to BARBOSA.
The next board presented a bidding challenge to East players:
What would you bid? The decision is definitely bounded by partnership agreement. In my view, the double should imply preference for 3NT and therefore not guaranteeing spades. The full hand:
La Rovere bid 4 Diamonds and ended in 5 Clubs, making after a defensive slip. Villas Boas had the right tool in his arsenal: 3 Spades, artificial, denying spades (the double would have shown 4 or 5 spades). Brenner bid 3NT and made 10 tricks. 1 IMP to BARBOSA.
In the next hand, the defensive slip came the other way, another 12 IMPs to BARBOSA.
Board 5 was a push, then Mello faced a lead problem on board 6:
What is your poison? Scroll down to see the full hand.
Mello led his singleton diamond, which was a disaster. As NS played 1NT in the Open Room, that was further 7 IMPs to BARBOSA, and the match had a new leader, BARBOSA 72 x 66 JEOVANI. Not for long, though. This was the next board:
The Open Room NS scored +110 in 3 Clubs. In the Closed Room, the bidding was as shown above. East, La Rovere, grabbed the opportunity to double the artificial 2 Hearts bid, ensuring a heart lead. Declarer ducked the first round, won the heart continuation, cleared clubs and took the third heart in the closed hand. This was the position:
Looking at the 4 hands it is easy to see that the winning option is to run the clubs and squeeze East. The other possibility was the simple spade finesse. Simple is often best, and declarer opted for that line, but this was not one of those times. Down 2, 8 IMPs to JEOVANI.
The next five boards saw JEOVANI bidding a slam off two Aces and a lot of overtricks going both ways. With two boards to go in the set, the score was 86-78 to BARBOSA.
The diamond lead went to the queen. Villas Boas followed with the club queen to the king and ace. Two more clubs were played, North ruffing. Tomasini now tried a small spade, looking to give partner a ruff when he makes the trick with the heart king, but that was not the actual position. Eight tricks to declarer, 110 for BARBOSA. At the other room, the bidding was...
EW reached a very thin 3NT. However, after the unfortunate lead of the Ace of diamonds by North, and with a lucky position both in hearts and clubs, declarer took nine tricks: Three hearts, three clubs, two diamonds and one spade. 600 to JEOVANI and 10 IMPs. Would declarer have succeeded after a club lead? I believe so, after playing hearts, the last heart in dummy has an impressive squeeze power over North. You can try all the scenarios in this link, just click play and use GIB!
The last hand of the set was a push. At halftime, JEOVANI leads by 2 IMPs, 88-86.
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