We played in the nationwide Instant Matchpoint game at the club recently, and there were some interesting hands and even more interesting results. The hands in the competition are pre-dealt and analyzed by Richard Pavlicek, one of the prominent players of the last 30 years. He attempts to predict what may happen within the auction and play of the hands, and also recommends the action that he favors. We do not frequently act as he predicts, but on this hand, Charlene made precisely the call of 2 notrump that he recommended. Normally, that call shows at least 5-5 in the minor suits, but her values are so concentrated that she felt that she had to take some action, and letting partner choose the best fit is often superior to calling a suit on one's own.
North was reluctant to sell out to the contract of 3 clubs when her hand holds such promising length and strength, so she bid hearts, and when her partner raised to game, ended up in a contract she could not make. The inevitable four losers sink the contract, so we were able to push the opponents out of their depth. The action involves the risk that north-south may find a penalty double and score a large plus by setting our contract, but as the cards lie on this hand, they will get only five tricks and a score of 100. So anyone who bids and makes even 2 hearts will beat that score.
No one in Boise scored a high percentage, so I don't think the winners will place nationwide. The north-south winners were the frequent partners Kathy Dowen and Lucien Stratton, while Art Crawford and Craig Jones won east-west. This win is a feather in Art's cap because he is a recent graduate of the beginners' courses and played against very experienced competition east-west. I will feature some of the other hands in the next few columns.
Many players in the district are competing in the regional tournament in Kalispell, Montana, where the final of the North American Open Pairs competition will determine who gets a subsidized trip to the Fall Nationals in Hawaii. You could compete in this next year if you learned bridge!