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How to win a World Open Pairs session
(Page of 10)

Bill and I were literally (and not in the teenager sense of literally) fortunate to win session 10 of the 96-table pairs qualifying in Wroclaw with the impressive-sounding score of 76.6%. Several factors operated in our favour:

  • The sessions are all (incredibly) short at 10 boards
  • 48 of the best pairs in the world were playing some teams event instead
  • A lot of pairs are apparently gunning it to try to make the next stage

We played ok but actually a lot of it was just catching. The session was 5 lots of 2 board rounds, with Bill North and me South. We started with board 3 against one of the many many Polish pairs playing Polish club:

West
A732
72
98
AJ643
North
986
J54
K10542
102
East
Q5
KQ863
AJ
KQ98
South
KJ104
A109
Q763
75
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
P
1
1
2
P
2
P
2N
P
3N
P
P
P
D
3NT West
NS: 0 EW: 0

Overcalling 1 for the lead turned Bill off the easybeat lead. The lead worked well enough for 1 off though, and a 72.9% score when some of the field made game, and some of the EW's went safely plus in a partscore.

On board 4, I was unwilling to go quietly and stared a big fat 0 in the face:

West
1064
AK98
KQ2
A106
North
AK
72
A93
KQJ432
East
872
QJ10654
1084
5
South
QJ953
3
J765
987
W
N
E
S
1NT
X
2
P
3
P
P
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Bill's X was strong, even though their 1NT was strong. All sorts of jokers open all sorts of not-really strong 1NT's, and we've found there's good value in being abale to ping them for money. Or matchpoints; whatever :)

Dummy was ... not exactly what I was looking for. It looked like they were making 3H but I was in big danger of going for the magic -200. After K, A, I decided my best chance was to "naively" offer up the opportunity to tap me again. So, I cashed AK and put K on the table, They helpfully did indeed try to tap me again, behaved and I scored up +200 instead of the -200 I deserved. 86.6% on the board when some of the field made partials EW, some went -100 and a few made a bit less in something NS.

Our next opponents were from Norway. Board 5 was a straightforward signalling situation for us:

West
J52
A105
A832
AJ9
North
108764
62
765
Q53
East
A9
J87
KQJ4
K864
South
KQ3
KQ943
109
1072
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT West
NS: 0 EW: 0

Bill slung a to the Q and A. Declarer crossded to K and tried a to the curious 9. I had said 10 reverse Smith (in the context it's more like "I have a better idea") and Bill found the now-obvious switch to hold declarer to her contract for 84.0% to us when the field was mostly making 10 tricks (or more).

The round finished on Board 6 with a relatively quiet 1NT contract:

West
AQ54
Q965
1053
K3
North
K1093
J
KQ96
10954
East
72
A874
J84
QJ76
South
J86
K1032
A72
A82
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

After the lead (a lead is theoretically better) I had no trouble racking up 9 tricks - like a lot of the field - for a 56.4% score

The third round brought another Polish pair to our table. Board 7 was kind of an accidental system triumph for us.

West
J1032
Q108
K
KQ743
North
KQ87
QJ10942
AJ6
East
A
J9543
A865
1082
South
9654
AK762
73
95
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 North
NS: 0 EW: 0

In 3rd seat Bill decided to open a full weight 2, thereby avoiding the badly breaking fit. West should really have balanced his side into some 's, so making 2 on the nose got us 70.7% when some EWs went plus playing 's and others went plus defending 's.

Board 8 was a mish-mash 3NT that Bill navigated nicely to 10 tricks and an 84.6% score

West
AJ854
J43
J6
A43
North
K1032
Q9
K952
K97
East
76
107652
A8
J1085
South
Q9
AK8
Q10743
Q62
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0

Bill won the obvious lead in dummy to play a to the K and A. East continued 's, Bill got 's right, then got 's right, then knocked out A and claimed. A lot of pairs missed game, and many of those who got there only made 9 tricks.

The 4th round brought us ... another Polish pair. I popped a bit of preemption into their auction on board 9 and the wheels fell off.

West
J7543
Q62
1082
K8
North
106
KJ8
Q64
A10952
East
K82
A1094
A
QJ643
South
AQ9
753
KJ9753
7
W
N
E
S
P
1
3
P
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 East
NS: 0 EW: 0

4 was not a thing of beauty and Bill was happy to pass it out and take it in hundreds. 3 of them, as it turns out for an 87.6% score, with most of the field going plus in a partscore our way.

On board 10 our oppos were left holding the baby in a highly competitive auction.

West
97
Q1075
97
A10963
North
J652
6
AQJ10863
4
East
A
A98
K42
KQJ752
South
KQ10843
KJ432
5
8
W
N
E
S
1
2
P
4
5
5
6
X
P
P
P
D
6X East
NS: 0 EW: 0

I slung my stiff . Bill dropped a trick by returning his stiff but +200 was 52.2%. +500 was worth only an extra 7.6% because a chunk of the field was playing and making game in (usually 650 for those who object to playing chicken at the 5 level).

Our last round was against Howard Weinstein and Adam Wildavsky, making it 5 out of 5 very pleasant opponents.

West
643
AK75
10753
93
North
AKJ97
83
A98
852
East
Q5
J96
J642
AJ104
South
1082
Q1042
KQ
KQ76
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
P
P
D
2NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0

Adam kicked off with 10, Bill winning the K to try a to the J and Q. Adam switched to a . Bill crossed to his 9, leaving the 's blocked to put the 5 on the table - blocking the suit. Adam hopped A and continued 's. That was 9 tricks and 80.8% when, somewhat surprisingly, a lot of the field bid game but, less surprisingly, played 4 and dribbled off to the losing finesse. Phew.

Board 2 was our last board

West
KJ109
AJ10
98
KJ92
North
543
87532
Q106
Q10
East
A872
94
J532
A86
South
Q6
KQ6
AK74
7543
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

EW were awkwardly caught by our weak 1NT (the eagle-eyed will have noticed that we're chicken and play it 12-14 vul). They needed to duck a round of 's and then draw all of mine to get me 2 off. Getting out for 1 off was very handy versus all the partials making EW and scored 90,3%.

We had a pretty big slice of luck but we were there to catch it, and that's often all there is to huge scoring runs. It wass fun while it lasted!

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