Our team emerged from the recent International Team Trial event without distinction, but at least built some experience playing against some of the country's best players. As you all know, the event is concluding as I write, with some 50 boards yet to be played in the final between the Diamond and Fleishcer squads. Congratulations to my friends on the Weinstein team which defeated the powerful Meltzer and Welland squads on their way to a spot in the semifinal. Well done!
The event actually started well for our team--we won our first match and followed with two close matches, putting us above average at the first break. Unfortunately things headed south from there. Here's one hand from the second match where I broke one of my own hard rules--don't give away too much information in the bidding. I held this hand:
I opened 1 Diamond, heard a game-forcing 2 Clubs from my partner and rebid 2 Diamonds. He raised to 3 Diamonds...your call?
On the auction it isn't totally clear yet what the "right" contract is. One thing that is clear to me now is that making a lot of bids with this so-so minimum, semi-balanced hand is asking for trouble. A practical 3 Notrump bid here doesn't neccessarily end the auction--partner already knows that I have a fair hand with 5 diamonds. At the table, I chose to show my hearts and the wheels started to fall off. The player to my left, who happened to be ACBL hall-of-famer Peter Weichsel, doubled. This came back around to me and now, belatedly, I bid the obvious 3 Notrump. Weichsel found a killing spade lead from Qxx instead of leading from his KJxxx of hearts. We lost 11 IMPs on the hand and the match by 3. (As a side, I've been re-reading Zia's book "Bridge my Way" this weekend and I'm sure he would suggest an occasional 3 Heart bid on my hand if my major suit holdings were reversed--see Chapter 5)
All in all the team trials were a good experience and one that hopefully I will be repeating with more success in future years.
Main Event wrap-up
5 weeks ago