Momentum part four
Things quietened down for a few boards – then another ugly hand. I held AK9 J832 105 9742 and heard one diamond on my right; two diamonds (forcing) on my left; 2NT on my right; 3NT on my left; all pass.
I did not enjoy finding a lead; but put my fingers on the spade ace. Here was the layout :
Turns out I had hit on a very effective opening lead – but then, you guys can see all the cards! Keith played the seven, and Klimo played the 8. We play upside down attitude and standard count, but this is a very specialized situation.
Anyway, I did not find the spade continuation. I switched to my third best heart. Klimo won and hooked a diamond and Keith continued hearts. At the crucial point in the hand Klimo had to guess the location of the club queen to make and he did so – rather confidently I might add. So this was a loss of twelve imps, versus a push had we beaten the hand.
The set’s carnage was almost complete. Two hands later I picked up Q963 103 AQ10 K843. I dealt and passed, red versus white. Campbell opened 1 spade on my left, and Keith overcalled two hearts. Klimo said two spades, and I made a responsive double. Campbell said redouble – (a terrific riverboat gambler type bid – he only had AKJ54 65 8732 Q2) – a pyschic redouble!
Keith bid three clubs over the redouble, and I had to take a bid. I felt I was done, and I passed. But the full layout revealed we had lost another ten imps – largely due to Campbell’s redouble, as we both pulled in our tails thereafter. Keith actually made six!
Vul: north south
Ten imps gone here and the lead was now back with Team Gartaganis – up around 25 imps with sixteen boards to play.
Still, it was anyone’s match – as long as Team Korbel did not dwell on the what-ifs and focussed on the here and now – and if the hands were lively enough.
Sure enough, our team got the better of a decent number of small swings, gaining 37 imps against losing only five imps with two key hands yet to be compared. On the first, Korbel – Wolpert bid a very reasonable 4 hearts on a 5-3 fit which ran into a defensive cross ruff and went down. Klimowicz and Campbell did well to land in 3NT which was in no danger and gained their side eleven imps.
The margin was down to around 8 imps in favor of Team Gartaganis when this fateful and deciding board hit the baize.
|Dealer:southVul: east west||Campbell|
Campbell opened 1 forcing club, and Keith overcalled two diamonds. They then discovered their heart fit and Campbell found out Klimo had specifically an ace, a king, and the heart queen. Perhaps forgetting Klimo had passed initially (and therefore could not have another queen – as they play 11-13 NT openers at this colour) Campbell pressed his good fortune and went for all the marbles with a bid of 7NT.
I led a diamond, and when dummy came down, I could feel a gasp from Klimo when he realized his predicament – for the second time in a few hours he was in 7NT requiring a finesse. He was also steamed to be there as he felt Campbell had erred in playing him for cards he could not possibly have.
Note seven hearts has extra chances – you can pitch north’s club jack on the diamond king, and make the hand with queen doubleton in either hand or any 3-3 club break – including queen third offside.
Anyway there was nothing to do but take the club finesse fairly early and pray. The bridge gods were smiling on Klimo this day and he chalked up plus 1520 and a win of eleven imps. Our teammates stopped accurately in 6 hearts, and instead of winning 14 imps, we incurred another 25 imp swing against us.
And that was the match ! The boards ran out, and the last team standing was Team Gartaganis – winning by 19 imps over 128 boards. I was pleased my team had all played tough and hard in the last segment, but that still only spells silver – not gold.
It was a very exciting match to play in and watch – I gathered enough material to regale my blog readers with stories and hands for weeks – but that’s for another day. There were many hands of interest – hands which any of us would like to take back and redo – don’t think the match was decided on luck vis a vis the two 7NT hands – yes there was an element of luck in those two huge hands – but as is always the case, the match was decided largely on mistakes – and only a few brilliancies.
Bobby Wolff sent me a generous email today with lots of good advice and a perspective of having won and lost his share of more big ones than most players on the planet. One point struck a chord, as it pertains to momentum at the table. I quote:
“Breaking it down …………… …… At this stage one bad board (especially an unlucky one, but even worse when an outright mistake is made) too often costs about 30 IMPs before some players return to normal.
What usually happens is that judgment becomes skewed, not unlike blackjack, but certainly (I do understand poker, but I, as yet, do not play) poker would be a shining example.
During those times it is best to withdraw from making any big decisions such as close slam bidding or daring declarer or defensive plays in bridge, but then in poker, merely acquiesce if a big hand appears rather than depend on judgment gone south.
Much easier said than done and possibly missing a great opportunity will cause a resounding loss.”
Never a truer word was spoken. In both instances of the momentum shift at our table in the final 48 boards, things changed as a result of a relatively innocuous part score hand – in and of itself not a big deal – but all aspiring and serious partnerships MUST develop defense mechanisms to cope with this sort of inevitable adversity.
The winners were all seasoned, experienced international players who got the best of us – and most importantly (true for both teams actually) never gave up or rolled over when things went badly – they played through their adversity and are worthy champions of Canada.
This summary from the late stages of the match unfortunately only has the perspective of events at my own table – for sure there were lots of interesting goings on between the Gartaganis’ and Korbel-Wolpert, and I hope we get to read about much of it in the near future.