PHOENIX — Several national titles have been gained here over the last few days at the Fall North American Championships.
On Monday, the Mitchell Open Board-a-Match Teams was won by Jim Mahaffey of Winter Park, Fla.; Tony Forrester from England; Marc Bompis and Jean-Christophe Quantin from France; and Josef Piekarek and Alexander Smirnov from Germany.
The Marsha May Sternberg Women’s Board-a-Match Teams was captured by Phyllis Fireman of Chestnut Hill, Mass.; Shannon Cappelletti of Delray Beach, Fla.; Benedicte Cronier and Sylvie Willard from France; and Marion Michielsen and Meike Wortel from the Netherlands.
And the Super Senior Pairs for players aged 70 or older was taken by Mark Laken of Glyndon, Md., and Ed Lazarus of Baltimore.
On Tuesday, the Senior Knockout Teams was won by Vinita Gupta of Woodside, Calif.; Billy Miller of Las Vegas; Bart Bramley of Dallas; Lew Stansby of Dublin, Calif.; and Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell of Clearwater Beach, Fla. In the final, they defeated Carolyn Lynch of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Mike Passell of Las Vegas; Garey Hayden of Tucson, Ariz.; and Cezary Balicki and Adam Zmudzinski from Poland by 156 international match points to 81.
The Lynch team started the 64-board match well, gaining 19 imps in the first quarter. But Gupta took the lead in the second session and iced the match with a third quarter of 57 imps to 1. The last set was quiet.
The diagramed deal occurred early in the second session.
In the given auction, Miller (South) sort of compromised with his three-club rebid. That would typically have denied four hearts, but his hand was a tad weak for a two-heart reverse and too strong for a two-club rebid.
Then it was easy for Gupta (North) to rebid three diamonds, and three no-trump was reached.
Balicki (West) led a diamond. Declarer won with dummy’s ace and played a club to his queen. When the jack dropped from West, South continued clubs from the top and eventually took 10 tricks: two spades, one heart, two diamonds and five clubs.
At the other table, Passell (South) opened two clubs, showing six-plus clubs and 11 to 15 high-card points. (Yes, he might have upgraded and begun with one club, promising 16 or more points.) Lynch (North) responded two spades, forcing for one round and denying four hearts. After South rebid three clubs (fewer than three spades and at best a stopper in only one red suit), North passed. This was cautious, especially with two clubs and one heart, rather than the other way round.
Meckstroth (West) led the diamond jack. South took 12 tricks: two spades, one heart, two diamonds, five clubs and two heart ruffs in the dummy. But the Gupta team gained 10 imps on the board.