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Bowling Along 3 - Manic Monday
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The team's Monday started with a thumping on BBOcourtesy of Brazil. My wife & I started our day much earlier with a trip to Lyon Part-Dieu to meet our daughter Rachel and her boyfriend, down for the day from Paris.

Nothing much went right for us at the table. 27 was a prime example:

West
AJ109
9
AQJ762
64
North
4
J8652
K85
10987
East
82
AQ74
10
AKQJ52
South
KQ7653
K103
943
3
D

Our EW landed in 6, which has some challenges but is very playable. On K lead, our declarer won, drew trumps, knocked out the Q, and eventually fell back on the heart finesse. That lost for a disappointing -50.

In the other room, our South opened 3 and Brazil's West overcalled 4. Oops, that was non-leaping Michaels and could have led to a seriously bad contract. In an unclear situation, they stopped in the poor 6. However, North blandly led his partner's suit and the helpful layout (including the lack of communication) led to 12 tricks.

Much grinding and gnashing of teeth ... and 14 out on the way to a 34-IMP loss (2.69 VPs) and a big fall out of the top 8.

South Africa and Australia are fierce but friendly rivals in cricket and rugby. That spirit carried over into a tight 27-22 win for us in round 5 (11.48 VPs). We were very happy to get a win on the board after 3 straight losses.

I found the swings in this match uninspiring but I did like our positions on a couple ofpartscore hands where our side chose to play 1NT whilethe South Africans chose 2 of a suit.

On board 4 we gained 1 playing 1NT making 2 instead of 2 making 2 in a 5-3 fit.

On board 15 we gained 5 playing 1NT while South Africa went a couple off in 2 in their 4-3 fit.

These are little hands and seemingly little decisions, but over the course of a 16-board match, and a long tournament, they add up.

The last match of the day pitted us against another cricket-fanatic country in Bangladesh.

Hand 23 was interesting around the room.

West
J8643
A873
K1042
North
Q7
A6543
Q2
8653
East
AK952
2
K54
AQJ7
South
10
KQJ10987
J1096
9
D

A lot of Souths opened 4 but against us they opened 3.

The hand with spade length and shortage in their suit is often right to act. On this hand, double by West would certainly simplify things. However, West is pretty skinny and so it went P-4-X. Now West has another problem - how much and how flexibly to bid. After 4, our East pushed on with 5 assuming a helpful 8 count opposite (with at least 4 - hands without will usually pass out 4X).

That got us to slam for 13 handy IMPs in on the way to a 24-IMP win (15.74 VPs).

Tattoo status: The win over Bangladesh got us back to 8th - by just 0.02 VPs over Italy. We have USA1 next and my tattooist points out that although they can barely spell cricket, they do know a little about bridge.

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