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Hall and Sykes crowned 2020 open pairs champions

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Fig 1
Fig 2
Fig 3

Charles Hall and David Sykes are the 2020 Open Pairs Champions at the Bermuda Bridge Club, having won the event over two sessions last Saturday. In second place were Bill and Linda Pollett, and Margie Way and Misha Novakovic placed third.

The winners got off to a great start with a 67 per cent game in the morning session but were still not far ahead of the Polletts, who had a 64 per cent game. The only other pairs that were still realistically in touch were Molly Taussig-John Glynn in third, and Way–Novakovic in fourth. None of the leaders had a great game in the second session, though Linda and Bill were the steadiest, but David and Charles did enough to hold on comfortably in the end to win by two boards. Winning Section’s B and C were Heather Woolf and Aida Bostelmann, who had two good sessions.

Many congratulations to the winners, who have both won multiple events at the Bridge Club over the years and have represented Bermuda abroad. Both of them have a really solid game with a real understanding of bidding structure, and for me that is the major strength of their partnership. Well done also to Linda and Bill who are consistently in the frame, and to Margie and Misha who are also always in the running for these big events.

This was the first major event since the Club re-opened and well done to all 14 competing pairs for making the championship so successful while adhering to all the Covid protocols that allows for a safe experience through a long day of bridge.

Today’s hand came up in a Teams game on BBO on Wednesday, and sitting North was a bright guy from New York who I have known for years who is now hooked on the game and has asked me to help him progress. (Fig 1)

Partner opened a 13/15 NT and after a Stayman sequence got to play 4 Hearts.

East had no attractive lead and started off with the Spade 9. West won this and led one back hoping it was a singleton, which it wasn’t, and partner was now in pretty good shape - if he was careful and did some thinking. But watching the hand I knew just how this was going to go.

Partner won, and drew three rounds of trumps ending in dummy to come to this position (Fig 2).

Tackle it before reading on.

At the table partner played the spades in dummy throwing two losing clubs, and did what many bridge players live for, he took the Diamond finesse. This lost to the Queen and eventually partner slid to a one trick defeat. The full hand (Fig 3).

On winning the Queen of Diamonds, the defence played Clubs and when Diamonds were not 3-3 the contract failed.

Did you see the right play? Declarer should realise that the doubleton Club in dummy restricts his Club losers to two, so he should throw the lovely looking J9 of Diamonds on the Spades! Now all the defence gets is a Spade and two Clubs.

This is the 100 per cent right play at Teams, but how should declarer proceed at pairs where overtricks are richly rewarde ? Tough one – if the Queen of Diamonds is right and Diamonds are 3-3, declarer could actually make 11 tricks and even if the finesse fails the contract makes if Diamonds are 3-3 or the 10 is in the hand with the doubleton - all in all probably about a 75 per cent chance.

So what do you want? A making contract and a reasonable score, or the 50 per cent chance of a clear top, 25 per cent chance of an average but a 25 per cent chance of going down?

What would I do? Really depends on where I am in the game. If I am having a good game and just need to avoid a bad board I go for the 100 per cent play , but if I feel we are behind and need a few home runs, I throw Clubs and go for the Diamond finesse. Simple looking hand, wasn’t it?

CLUB RESULTS to November 20:

Friday 13 November

1. Martha Ferguson - Judy King

2. Linda Pollett - Molly Taussig

3. Julia Patton - Janice Trott

Monday 16 November


1. Gertrude Barker - Jane Smith

2. Lynanne Bolton - Allyson Eadie

3. Julia Beach - Joseph Wakefield


1. Stephanie Kyme - Elizabeth McKee

2. Martha Ferguson - Judy King

3. Judith Bussell - Dorry Lusher

Wednesday 18 November

1. Wendy Gray - Richard Gray

2. Peter Donnellan - Lynanne Bolton

3. Charles Hall - Molly Taussig

Thursday 19 November

1. John Glynn - Rachael Gosling

2. Elizabeth McKee - Linda Pollett

3. Betsy Baillie - Lisa Ferrari

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Published November 21, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated November 20, 2020 at 6:25 pm)

Hall and Sykes crowned 2020 open pairs champions

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