A notable event took place on the weekend of the 26th to 28th January. Indeed, those who dream of being able to kibitz high-level bridge were able to do so that weekend thanks to the platform Twitch, which was presenting a live stream, commentated by the biggest bridge players (like in televised sports matches), including our ambassador Luc Bellicaud.
We were able to follow the friendly encounter between France and Switzerland in several categories: Open, Ladies, Seniors and Mixed.
Léo Rombaut on the FFBridge Twitch TV microphone.
The line-ups of our French teams:
- France Green and France Blue Open pairs (the players rotated in each team): Combescure-Franceschetti, Bessis-Lorenzini, Aroix-Tignel, Levy-Mauberquez, Lhuissier-Bernard, Rombaut-Rombaut and Fragola-Jarjaille-Tabata
- Mixed pairs: Schmidt-Zochowzka, Thuillez-Reess and Sebbane-Rouanet-Labé
- Senior pairs: Abécassis-Bompis, Chottin-Pilon and Claret-Rocafort
- Ladies’ pairs: Clément-Lévy, Avon-Rolland, Halfon-Canonne, Tartarin-Leleu and our ambassador Margaux Kurek-Beaulieu
The line-ups of our Swiss teams:
- Open pairs: Multon-Zimmermann, Piedra-Nowosadzki, Kalita-Klukowski and Brink-Drijver
- Mixed and Ladies’ pairs (They played with one Mixed and one Ladies’ pair against the Ladies. The Mixed pair rotated.): Saesseli-Saesseli, Duc-Magnusson, Meyerson-Meyerson and Vegh-Balabanova
- Senior pairs: Collaros-Catzeflis, Hashimoto-Andersson and Derivaz-Zivkovic
The results in victory points:
- In the Open “Blue” category, it was the Swiss who won 253 to 251. A very narrow victory. For the Open “Greens”, it was the French who beat the Swiss 272 to 261.
- In the Senior category, 300 to 199 for the French.
- For the Ladies, 307 VPs to 190.
- And to finish, in the Mixed category, it was also the French who won with 225 victory points to 209.
Three deals from Margaux Kurek-Beaulieu
As I was playing the Open Pairs during this weekend of the 27th-28th January, I was only able to play just one match against the Swiss ladies, on the Saturday morning, opposite Anne-Laure Tartarin. On the other table, Donatella Halfon was playing with Marion Canonne.
I shall talk to you about a few interesting deals that I came across in this match (all of the categories played the same ones):
On this first deal, Anne-Laure opened 1NT as East with 14 points, due to her six cards in Clubs. The opening also had the effect at our table of preventing South from mentioning his six spades, vulnerable against non-vulnerable.
Over 1NT, I started as West by bidding Stayman with my four hearts. Opposite, a 2♦ bid came back. I knew that the opponents had 10 or 11 cards in Spades on their side.
Several contracts were therefore possible from my point of view: if Anne-Laure held a spade stop, 3NT could be our best game. If not, we would need to play in Clubs or Diamonds. I could not sign off in 3NT without checking for a spade stop.
Over 2♦, I bid 3♦, which was forcing to game and showed at least five cards in the suit. Anne-Laure bid her spade stop. I could then sign off in 3NT, my four cards in Hearts serving as a stop: there was little chance of losing five there, the hearts often being 4-3 or 3-3 with the defenders.
Here, the spade lead allowed us to make the Ace of Spades, six clubs and five diamonds. On the layout, 5♣ and 5♦ were also making and 4♠ by North-South was a good sacrifice against 3NT, red-against-green, for -200 against -400. If there had been interference by the hand with six spades, we would have been forced to play game in a minor.
Anne-Laure Tartarin and me against the only Swiss ladies’ pair
On this next deal, I was to open, still as West, with a 5422 21-count.
I had too many losers to open anything other than 1♥.
I had too much strength and a hand too balanced to say 2♠: the bid would have shown 6-4 instead. I started by doubling: the contract might be 2♥ and if my partner bid Clubs, it would be with five or six cards.
I chose to double once again: I had defensive tricks and I either wanted to play in our fit or double them in 3♣, failing that. Over my second double, Anne-Laure pulled to 3♥, which was the final contract.
I received a diamond lead, which I won with the Ace. I had one club loser, one in Diamonds and at least two in Spades, if the Ace was sitting under my King and the spades were breaking well.
I chose to play as simply as possible: after the Ace of Diamonds, three rounds of trumps, finishing with the 10 of Hearts in the dummy. Then, a spade towards my King and a spade. I still had trumps for ruffing, playing another spade to drop the third from each side, then ruffing and cashing the final spade.
3♥ exactly with 5 heart tricks, two aces and two spades, while in 3♣, it was difficult to cash in more than two hearts and the two aces since it would always be West who gained the lead.
For this third deal, we were non-vulnerable against vulnerable (again!) and South opened 1♠ in first seat.
As West, I had seven diamonds with the Ace and Queen and nothing on the side: a perfect hand for a pre-emptive 3♦ bid.
As East, Anne-Laure stopped every suit and had a fitting diamond holding. She could count seven diamond tricks and two aces. And if the opponents played Spades for her, that would be the tenth! She was therefore able to bid 3NT comfortably, which was the final contract.
There is no need to have 24-25 points to make nine tricks in NT if you can visualise your winners. Over a 3♦ opening, you should always bid 3NT opposite with East’s hand.
This is where it is important to know your partner: Anne-Laure knew that I had Ace-seventh in Diamonds, as it is not at all my pre-empting style to say 3♦ with Q9-seventh and I will rarely say 3♦ with only six cards.
If our places had been swapped and it had been Anne-Laure who had made the pre-empt, I would have been far less serene about whether I would even have my nine tricks!
The opponents were making ten tricks in Clubs and if South had bid his second suit with a 4♣ bid, we would no longer have had a winning contract: we were only making 9 tricks, which were in Diamonds or No-Trumps.
To conclude, I thought it was great to have a match organised between France and Switzerland in all the categories and I was delighted to be able to take part in the Ladies. The pair of ladies against whom I was able to play were really friendly and it was great to be able to score up with Donatella and Marion.
Playing this event also allowed me to play with Anne-Laure Tartarin for the first time and we got on very well.
Some photos from the Open group:
Julien Bernard against world number-one Pierre Zimmermann.
Maxence Fragola-Jarjaille and Nao Tabata against Sjoert Brink-Bas Drijver.
Alain Levy-Erick Mauberquez against Sjoert Brink-Bas Drijver.
Pierre Franceschetti-Baptiste Combescure against Fernando Piedra-Michael Nowosadski.
Photo credits: Agnès Fabre (FFB)