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Marge Way and Misha Novakovic crowned Open Pairs champions

Big congratulations to Marge Way and Misha Novakovic who are the 2022 Bridge Club Open Pairs champions after a dramatic and wafer-thin victory over Ed Betteto and David Sykes in second and Elizabeth McKee and Linda Pollett in third.

The margin of victory was just one match point between the top two pairs, while Ed and David finished a crazy one hundredth of a match point ahead of Elizabeth and Linda in third. All in all, probably the closest finish of a top three that I can ever recall.

David and Ed had a good lead after the first session with an excellent 66.27 per cent game, followed by three pairs on around 59 per cent, with Margie and Misha in fifth place with 55.56 per cent.

The second session provided quite a turnaround to get to the final placing and I would imagine that both Ed and David, and Elizabeth and Linda can point to half a dozen hands where a couple of points should have been gained – but that is bridge and everyone has their story!

The top three pairs are all excellent players and would certainly have each fancied their chances – Margie has been at the top level of the game for years and while Misha may have played a lot less bridge and have less points than the others, he has long been recognised as a player who can compete with the best.

Congratulations to all three pairs and also to Lynanne Bolton and Peter Donnellan for winning Flight B and to Lorna Anderson and Delton Outerbridge for a second-place finish in B and winning Flight C.

Bridge results often hang on a knife-edge, where one bad or lucky break can turn an event, and I looked up the three boards played between the winners and the second placed pair in the second session to see if there was any of this.

The round did prove pivotal with Margie and Misha picking up 11.5 points out of 18 – they had two good results on boards 10 and 12, collecting nearly maximum points on those two, but then registered a zero on board 11 where they bid a slam that was slightly less than 50 per cent, which failed.

The result exhibits the fine lines that sometimes separate a top from a bottom and is a good example on the risk/reward of bidding slams. See Figure 1.

Figure 1

Marge and Misha reached the pretty aggressive contract of six hearts played by the West – the two hands had a combined point count of just 25 HCP so this was always going to be a top or bottom type result, but the singleton Ace of spades was a big holding and the hand had a chance – in fact about a 40.7 per cent chance!

Clearly if diamonds break 2-2 (40.7 per cent) or if North has a singleton Queen or Jack and declarer takes the inspired second round finesse, the hand will make, as one club in the West hand can go away on the long diamond leaving only one loser.

If, as on this hand, the South hand held the singleton honour there is no way to avoid a diamond loser as North will be left with Q9 or J9 over the Ace-10. So the correct play is to cash the diamond King and if North produces, either Queen or Jack make a decision on the drop or the finesse.

I would favour the finesse on the theory of “restricted choice” where North with doubleton QJ could have played either card, and thus a singleton is more likely. Working against that is whether, with a singleton, North might perhaps have led it looking for a ruff? Hmmmm ….

Should this slam be bid? Borderline – I don’t have the actual bidding but if East -West found the diamond fit as well as the heart fit, there is case for it. On another day, even with five points, East could have four small hearts and KQxxx of diamonds and the slam would be laydown.

Final verdict? It often depends on how the session is going – if I am having a good session I would stick with the field and stay out of the slam, but if I needed a home run or two I would bid it.

My general approach is to take my plus scores and just bid the obvious slams, as the risk-reward leans against going for the borderline ones. Quite often you can garner a top by making an overtrick or two.

Too many players stretch into slams, and in the long run that is losing bridge, especially in a field where most pairs would stay out of the slam zone.

On this hand four of the six other pairs were in four hearts, one was in five hearts and at the last table N/S found a good sacrifice in four spades doubled for -100 – even five Spades doubled for -300 would be a good.

Congratulations again to the winners!

Tournament schedule update

• The Mixed Pairs was cancelled due to lack of sufficient pairs.

• The Junior Pairs is being held today, November 19 at 9.30am and is open to all pairs with fewer than 100 master points.

• Junior Teams will be held on Tuesdays, November 22 and 29 at 7.15pm.


Thursday, November 10

1. Jane Smith – Magda Farag

2. Rachael Gosling – John Glynn

3. Marge Way – Misha Novakovic

Friday, November 11


1. Stephanie Kyme – Diana Diel

2/3 Molly Roraback – Charles Roraback

2/3Judy Bussell – Magda Farag


1. Lorna Anderson – Delton Outerbridge

2. Aida Bostelmann – Heather Woolf

3. Rachael Gosling – Dorry Lusher

Monday, November 14


1. Marge Way – Magda Farag

2. Linda Pollett – Peter Donnellan

3. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray


1. Louise Rodger – Dorry Lusher

2. Sancia Garrison – Martha Ferguson

3. Caroline Svensen – Jane Clipper

Tuesday, November 15


1. Erika Jones – Caitlan Conyers

2. Marion Silver – Duncan Silver

3. Barbara Elkin – Neil Gilbertson


1. Malcolm Moseley – Mark Stevens

2. Sarah Bowers – Stuart Clare

3. Wenda Krupp – Jane Gregory

Wednesday, November 16


1. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

2. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray

3. Magda Farag – Joe Wakefield


1. Pat Siddle – Diana Diel

2. Tracy Nash – Des Nash

3/4 Sancia Garrison – Martha Ferguson

3/4 Linda Pollett – Bill Pollett

Thursday, November 17

1. Linda Pollett – Elizabeth McKee

2. Jane Smith – Peter Donnellan

3. Lynanne Bolton – Magda Farag

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Published November 19, 2022 at 7:42 am (Updated November 19, 2022 at 7:42 am)

Marge Way and Misha Novakovic crowned Open Pairs champions

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