From Sunday March 25 until Friday March 30 about 160 U-20 and U-26 bridge players gathered in Het Witte Huis in Amsterdam for the White House Junior Internationals 2018.
Tim Heeres (junior from 2003-2008) and Bob Drijver (junior from 2005-2011) did an excellent job in their first time as organisers. Next to sixteen European countries they welcomed teams from China, Japan and Singapore. 24 teams participated.
After a tough qualification of three days the top top-eight went on to the knockout quarterfinals, the winners going on to the semi-finals which produced Belgium and the Czech Republic as the final with the Belgian juniors emerging as winners after a phenomenal start.
Belgium took a big lead in the first set of 14 boards (44-0) of the finale but the Czech Republic fought with much courage back (40-62). Both teams battling intense for every imp. A part-score battle gave Belgium a definitive lead:
Dealer West. None Vul
|K 10 9 6 2
K 10 7 4
K J 6
|A 8 4
Q 6 5
K Q 10
10 4 3 2
|Q J 5
A J 2
J 9 5
A 9 8 7
9 8 3
A 7 6 4 3 2
After a diamond for A declarer played 9 ducked around for J. The next diamond was ruffed with 2. A small club to Q followed by 8, 6, 7 and A. East returned Q for K. Declarer played K for A and ruffed the third diamond. Now North played 10 for A in West. A club for J and K was the seventh trick so the contract went down one: +100 for the Czech Republic.
- No Majors
The lead was a surprising small club so declarer won the first trick with Q. A spade to 10 was won with J. East reurned a small heart and Q was for K in North. Declarer plyaed a small spade for Q in East who drew two rounds of trumps with A and J. Then a diamond for Q in West who returned a club for A in East and another diamond followed so all declarer made were two trumps, A and two tricks in clubs for three down: + 500 and + 9 imps to Belgium who sailed away to victory.
The Dutch juniors won the qualification but went under in their quarter final against the Czech Republic (54-63), losing 12 imps on the very last board. In the last session Thibo Sprinkhuizen gave the Netherlands an advance of 10 imps:
Dealer South N/S Vul
|A K 5 4
J 8 7 3
J 4 2
A K 6 5
A K 10 7 6 5
|Q 9 6 3 2
Q 9 4 2
K 10 3
Q 9 8
A Q 9 8 7 6 4
North led 5 for Q in South and 8 went to K. A second club came, K, A, ruffed by West who cashed A and looked suspicious at 10 in South. A, K and a diamond ruffed followed by 10 discarding the last spade from West. North ruffed but was end-played. A would give declarer Q and four ruffs. And after a heart return declarer simply took Q, A and cashed three free diamond tricks: +420 with 3 going one off at the other table. (Yes, we see with open cards that if North after K takes A and plays a third spade this will promote a trump trick for NS) . The junior bridge world owes big time to main sponsors Max Abram and Herman Drenkelford who make this event possible and hopes passionately there will be a White House Junior Internationals in 2019.
Results White House Junior Internationals 2018
Junior Team Team tournament: Winner: Belgium: Clovis Dehaye, Sam Bahbout, Dennis Dewit, Emiel Vandewiele, Robert Khomiakov & Jens Van Overmeire NPC: Wouter Van den Hove.
Runner up: Czech Republic: Erik Klemš (Playing captain), Martin Melčák, Jakub Vojtík & Lukáš Kolek
A: Finland: Maria Mylläri, Aapo Nieminen, Hermanni Huhtamäki and Oskari Koivu.
B: Norway: Katarina Ekren, Thea Hauge, Thea Indrebø, Agnethe Kjensli, Sofie Sjødal & Ida Øberg NPC: Elisabeth G. Sjødal
C: Denmark: Emil Buus Thomsen, Andreas Plejdrup, Søren Christian Bune, Victor Todd-Moir, Sophie Laura Bune & Søren Caspersen NPC: Birgitte Capion
D: Israel: Baniri Ilai, Khutorsky Nir, Sliwowicz Yonatan, Matatyahou Gal, Loonstein Tomer & Zeitak Aviv NPC: Loonstein Daniel
Pairs tournament: 1: Ilai Baniri-Assaf Yekteli ( Israel) 2: Laura Covill (Eng)-Guy Mendes de León (Neth) 3: Siyu Ren-Liu Yuchen (Singapore)
Pro-am Patton: 1: Gebakje : Guy Mendes de León-Niels van Bijsterveldt, Ruud van Rosmalen-Kees Tammens. 2: Latvia: Martin Maasik, Martins Balodis, Toms Straume, Elizaveta Gavrilova, Gints Freimanis & Janis Ilzins. 3: Het Witte Huis: Max Abram-Merijn Groenenboom, Tim Heeres-Andor van Munnen