Monaco Triumphs at Reisinger Board-a-Match Teams

The Reisinger Board-a-Match Teams, the premier event at the Fall North American Championships last month in Phoenix, was won by the defending champions, Team Monaco: Pierre Zimmermann, Franck Multon, Fulvio Fantoni, Claudio Nunes, Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness. They finished just over two boards ahead of Norberto Bocchi and Agustin Madala from Italy, Krzysztof Buras and Grzegorz Narkiewicz from Poland, and Aleksander Dubinin and Andrei Gromov from Russia. Third were Martin Fleisher, Chris Willenken and Zia Mahmood of New York City; Michael Kamil of Holmdel, N.J.; Michael Rosenberg of Cupertino, Calif.; and Chip Martel of Davis, Calif.

For this article, I was assisted by Al Hollander of Phoenix, one of the Bridge Base Online commentators. He told me who was sitting where on which boards during the final session.

In board-a-match, your team gains one point if you outscore your opponents, whether by 10 points or 1,000.

The diagramed auction was by Fantoni (North) and Nunes (South). The one-spade opening bid was unlimited and forcing. West’s two-spade cue-bid showed a heart-club two-suiter. Three spades was weak with four-card support. (It is common practice in the tournament world to use a three-heart cue-bid and, sometimes, also two no-trump to show a strong raise of partner’s suit.)

Then, over East’s jump to five clubs, South had to guess whether to double or to bid five spades.

He preferred to declare, because he had that diamond suit hidden up his sleeve.

West led the heart queen, Rusinow, promising the king. Declarer had losers in hearts and clubs, so needed to pick up spades and diamonds successfully.

South, after winning with his heart ace, played a diamond to dummy’s king, ran the spade jack, played a spade to his queen, cashed the spade ace and returned to dummy with a trump. Then declarer ran the diamond ten and claimed plus 650 when it won.

At the other table, South opened one spade, and Zimmermann (West) overcalled two spades, also showing hearts and clubs. After North raised to three spades, Multon (East) competed with four clubs, which gave South the chance to show his diamond suit.

When North converted to four spades, East sacrificed in five clubs. South, having described his hand, doubled to say that he had some defensive values. Then North understandably passed.

Yes, he had all of his points in his partner’s suits, but he had no ruffing value.

The defenders took one spade, one heart and two diamonds for down two, plus 300. But Monaco won the point on the board.

The Edgar Kaplan Winter Regional will take place in the New York Hilton in Manhattan from Thursday through Dec. 30. Details are at acbl.org.

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