43rd World Bridge Teams Championships
Lyon, France • 12 – 26 August 2017
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Today New Zealand won the QF match vs Netherlands, and Whibley-Brown, Cornell-Bach, and Ware-Tislevoll become the first New Zealand team to qualify for the Bermuda Bowl Semi Finals.
This is an article written by Geo Tislevoll (August, 2014), about a Dutch youth (19 year old) player Bob Donkersloot.
Geo Tislevoll, Auckland, New Zealand
When people say bridge is a game where you always get new, different hands to play, it is true but also false. Bridge is very much about recognition.
To have seen the situations, to recognize patterns and different plays are skills where talent is needed but experience may be as important. Therefore the play by the Dutch youth player Bob Donkersloot on this hand must be mostly because of talent at his age of 19 years.
| Q 10 9 8 6
10 8 7 3 2
| A J 7 4
K Q 6 5 4
Dealer South N/S Vul
(i) Cue Bid
To read the diamond situation is not hard, it is almost for sure a singleton as East would not have led the 9 from A-9, J-9 or A-J-9.
The danger is that E/W starts with the diamond ace and a ruff followed by a heart through dummy’s king which will set the contract if West holds the ace of hearts.
While most players will automatically ask for the diamond king in the first trick, Donkersloot thought for a few seconds. The trump king must be onside to win the contract.
Is there anything that can be done with the dangerous red suit situation?
Perhaps there is no chance on best defence but he found the play that at least could trap the opposition. Instead of conceding the ace of diamond and a ruff, why not give away two diamond tricks?
Getting to this conclusion Donkersloot played low from dummy, an unusual and amazing play with such a diamond combination. This makes it hard for the defence to set the contract with the dangerous lay-out:
West wins the first trick with his diamond jack and cashes the ace. To set the contract, East must ruff the ace and play a heart, a difficult defence as the highly unusual diamond play by the declarer created an illusion; how can he have played like that with ten diamonds combined?
Alternatively the defence can set the contract by West winning the ace instead of the jack and playing back the jack to force East to ruff. But how can West know the 9 is a singleton, especially taking into consideration the declarer’s play in diamonds?
But alas… in real life it was not like this, the ace and queen of hearts are swapped in my diagram.
With the ace of hearts onside anyone would win 4S even with the “normal” play to the first trick. So the hand did not create any swing when it was played in the German Bridge Trophy 2014.
When showing this hand to quite good players, most of them did not see the play. Only the most experienced and talented ones did. And getting such a declarer problem on a piece of paper is surely something else than solving it at the table.
This beautiful play tells us that even though this time it was of no consequence, there will be many IMPs and MPs coming for the Dutch talent.