In the summer of 2016 the idea of a yearly national tournament cycle for youth bridge players got form. Nine events (including Dutch national championships) and the best five results counted for a final general individual classification in two categories: U-21 and U-26.

Kees Tammens
Kees Tammens

Monique Melchers (spouse of Hans, long-time sponsor of Dutch bridge) stepped forward as the enthusiastic patroness and, loudly welcomed by the young bunch, generously provided substantial prize money.

The event, established as the ‘t Onstein Jeugd Toernooi Circuit, grew in the second season to twelve tournaments. In the U-21 category first prize went to Tim van de Paverd; in the U-26 Thibo Sprinkhuizen was the strongest.

Both players will be on Dutch youth teams in the World Youth Championships in Wujing (CHI).

At Sunday june-24, seventeen youth pairs (Monique provided extra prizes for the kids pairs as well as for girls juniors pairs) came to Vorden to play in the bridge-farm of ‘t Onstein a match-pointed game as practice for the European Junior Pairs in Opatija. Amongst their opponents strong players such as Loek Verhees, Ricco van Prooijen, Simon de Wijs, Bob Drijver, Tim Verbeek and Berend van den Bos with all world titles to their credits. Monique and her partner also participated and finished nicely over average.

Junior Leen Stougie figured out the perfect plan in a good 6contract:

Dealer East. N/S Vul

J 10 3
K 10 9 4 3
8 6
A K 2
A K 8 6
A J 7 6
A K 7
7 5
West North East South
Pass 2NT
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 4NT Pass 6
Pass Pass Pass

North, Tim van de Paverd, described with the 3transfer followed by the jump to 4NT an invitational hand with five hearts. South accepted gladly. How would you play after the lead of Q?

‘It is only ONE trick’ can be an expensive idea, even in match-point scoring:

Dealer East. N/S Vul

9 5
8 4 3
K J 6 5
K 9 4 2
A K 10 2
A Q
8 7 4
J 10 7 5
West North East South
Pass Pass Pass 1NT
Pass Pass Pass

West leads 4 and you win 7 of East with 10. You start with J, at which the next three hands play a small club. 5 club to 9 and A in East who switches 7 and your Q loses to K in West who fires back J to your A. Are you satisfied with seven tricks or do you try for an eight trick in diamonds?

J 10 3
K 10 9 4 3
8 6
A K 2
Q 9 7 5
Q 8 5 2
Q J 10 3 2
4 2

8 5 4
Q J 10 9 8 6 4 3
A K 8 6
A J 7 6
A K 7
7 5

It sure looked like a textbook ‘declarer play’: take A, play K. Cash A and K and ruff a club. Play K and ruff a diamond, play 10 and finesse for Q. This solid plan fell to pieces when East showed out at K and the Q finesse failed.

“How on earth a player can pass non vulnerable against vulnerable in first position with eight clubs?”.

9 5
8 4 3
K J 6 5
K 9 4 2
Q J 8 4
K J 2
8 7 4
Q 8 6
7 6 3
10 9 7 6 5
A Q 9
A 3
A K 10 2
A Q
8 7 4
J 10 7 5

After Q you cash K and 10. If you decide to cash AK for seven tricks you end up with +90 and over 80%. If you go for a diamond trick you will only make

A in the end for -50 and under 40%, only because three East players with great courage bid (and made) 2. The good news at the Chinese buffet and prize-giving was that Monique announced that from 2018-2019 there will be a third edition of the ‘t Onstein Jeugd Toernooi Circuit.