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Gold Coast Experience

From Ian Bailey

For the first time ever I went to the Gold Coast congress, the largest in Australia. I was accompanied by David Dale, and we had hopes of some success although we didn't entertain visions of grandeur. It was a great experience, coming up against so many other people, some of whom whose names you have heard but never met. One in particular I played against was Bob Sebesfi, who I knew to be one of those who developed SWINE, but he did reveal he was also one of the architects of myxamatosis twos. And I can add he plays a pretty mean game.

The number of tables was mind boggling. We played in the seniors pairs, that had 28 tables, and the open teams, with a massive 226 teams. This is not to mention the open, intermediate, novice, rookie teams and the walk in pairs all playing at the same time.

The most common system played was standard. I was a little surprised we came across only one Precision pair and not one MOSCITO. I went to a lecture by Paul Marston on the 2 over one system and although he promoted this as the one to use I am not completely convinced it is the system to beat all systems.

As you can imaging the standard of play was pretty high, and I was quite impressed by many of our opponents. Very few gifts came our way! It taught me a number of things about bidding in competition that hopefully will bring me more success. And you will admit this is a very important part of the game.

There was a good contingent of West Australians - I can bring about 20 to mind. One did distinguish herself - Renee Cooper was a member of the winning team in the open teams. Well done Renee, you did us proud. We met Ron several times walking along Surf Parade wearing a worried look and got the impression he spent most of the day walking up and down the street.

How did we go, you might ask. Well, I would have preferred you didn't ask. But we did have a number of successes and although we can hardly describe our performance as distinguished, we were not disgraced.

We had one memorable match in the teams against a collection of young guns, Vanessa Brown, Leigh Gold, Mike Doeke, Will Jenner-O and Jonno Newman. There is not much to be learnt from the match. It was just memorable. You might like to see some of the hands. Maybe not, but I'll run through the match anyway. These were 14 board matches so we start at board 15. This was a routine 3 NT and we gave away a couple of overtricks.

Board 16 looked like this. Our opponents were Jonno and Will, if I remember rightly, and I will refer to them as JW to save endless typing of "our opponents". Dealer W, EW vul.

Board 16
West Deals
E-W Vul
Q J 2
8 2
K 10
K Q 7 5 4 3
A K 9 4 3
Q 5 3
A 9 6 2
10 7 5
A J 10 9 7 6
A 8 2
8 6
K 4
Q J 9 6 5 4 3
J 10

JW bid to 6 S, a 22 hcp slam depending only on the location of the K H. This time they were out of luck and since our teammates bid just game we had a pickup. I could have mentioned that we were sitting NS, but am confident that you have already worked this out. Then came board 17 - dealer N, nil vul.

Board 17
North Deals
None Vul
A 6 4 2
J 3
A Q 5
Q J 8 5
K 8 5 2
K 7 4 3
A 10 7
J 10 9
A 9 7 6
J 8 2
9 6 3
8 7 5 3
Q 10 4
10 9 6
K 4 2

Our weak 1 NT opening was doubled and we scrambled to 2S that was also doubled. Somehow I managed to establish the clubs for a critical discard before JW found all their winners and made the contract for a handy pickup. Now for board 18, dealer E, NS vul.

Board 18
East Deals
N-S Vul
4 2
K 10 8 6 4
A 4
J 9 5 4
K Q J 9 8
Q 5 3 2
A 8 3
A J 9 7 5 2
10 9 8 7 6
10 7 6 5 3
K Q 10 7 2

JW bid to 5 D. Yes, a 21 hcp minor game that depended only on a 2 - 2 trump split, including missing the A K J of trumps. This time it was a winner, but our teammates brought back +300 so our loss was limited. Now for board 19 - dealer S, EW vul.

Board 19
South Deals
E-W Vul
J 10
Q J 9 8 6 5 3 2
10 5
A K 6 4
A 7 4
K Q 9 5 3
Q 9 8 5
K 10
J 8 6 4
9 8 6
7 3 2
10 7 2
A K Q J 7 4 3

I overcalled west's 1 D with 4 H. It could have gone seriously wrong, but it propelled JW into 4 S, and we got our best defensive boots on to put this down 3 tricks. NS at the other table made a partscore in clubs so another few imp's in the kitty.

Board 20 was a partscore bid at both tables so little swing. Board 21 we went for 1700! Ouch! The less said the better. On board 22 we were too timid to bid game so lost out. We had 22 hcp between us - what was our problem? Board 23 was a game bid and made at both tables. On board 24, JW refused to bid game, despite a combined 22 hcp. What was wrong with them? 3 S made, but our teammates went to game so we lost out. Then came board 25, dealer N, EW vul.

Board 25
North Deals
E-W Vul
10 7 6
Q 7
K Q 9 7 5 4 3 2
Q 9 2
A Q J 4 3 2
8 6 4
8 5 4
K 10 9 7 5
K J 9
8 6
A K J 3
8 6
A 10 5 3 2
A 10

David showed some enthusiasm with his hand as did JW with their hearts. We can't let the youngsters push us around and it took me several goes, but eventually I worked out I had 8 clubs so bid 6. Since hearts were led, I could afford to knock out the Q S after drawing trumps to get a diamond discard, so contract made. This was a nice pickup when our teammates parted with only 200.

The theme continued on board 26, when we went to 4 H on (dealer E, all vul).

Board 26
East Deals
Both Vul
Q 10 5
K J 10 6
J 4
9 8 4 2
J 9 3 2
Q 10 7 6 5
Q 5 3
A 4
7 3 2
K 8 2
A J 10 7 6
K 8 7 6
A Q 8 5 4
A 9 3

Yes 23 hcp. Why not? You only need to find the J S to make the contract. Unfortunately something went wrong so one off, not good when - 300 came from the other table. Then on board 27 we doubled a 4S bid by JW but only managed one off - deep finesse can put it two off, but we squared the board. And to finish off, board 28 was a part score battle we lost.

After all this carnage, you might be a little surprised at the final result - it was 46-47 imp's. A losing draw! Now is the time to lament that 1700 on board 21. It would be nice to say that we can learn something from all this, but that would be stretching the truth. The one thing that can be seen is that games were bid in complete defiance of the rules taught to beginners about how many hcp you need to bid a game.

Well, as you can surmise, the remainder of the congress was composed of the good, bad and indifferent, with the occasional ugly thrown in for light relief. Overall, it was a great experience, and if you have never been, I would recommend it as something you can put on your bucket list.

Our team mates were Penny Styles and Sue Atwell who ably supported us and put up with our indiscretions.


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