Meet the Masters WBT Masters Reykjavík Iceland January 22-25 2024 

The World Bridge Tour, which aims to celebrate and grow the game of bridge for players and spectators, recognises that bridge is the finest card game in the world and the only mind game where humans still outperform computers

Their aim is to strive to promote the many positive aspects of bridge and increase its popularity, resulting in more attention and media coverage, as chess, poker and e-sports have achieved. WBT has established contacts with national broadcasters, and aim to have WBT tournaments on-air as soon as possible. 

WBT is designed to be an arena for all competitive bridge players. Through their prime events and Challengers Cup they offer tournaments for a wide range of players. For face-2-face events, teams may have a maximum number of players of 6, whereas in online events, that number goes up to 10.  

The WBT Champions Tour that now starts its fourth edition was launched in 2021 and caters for bridge players at the highest level and for those who enjoy kibitzing top-level bridge. 

In 2023, the total prizes awarded amounted to a staggering €340000. 

The WBT Masters Reykjavík is organised together with the Reykjavík Bridge Festival and the Icelandic Bridge Federation. It is the first event of the 2024 WBT, and is held in the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavík. 18 teams will play 16 10-board rounds of Swiss over the first three days, at the end of which the top two will advance to Thursday’s 36 board final, with the next two teams playing off for third place. 

During the event, you can follow the play at every table, including Geir Helgemo, Boye Brogeland, Sabine Auken, Dennis Bilde, Jacek Pszczola, David Gold, Michał Klukowski, Sjoert Brink, Bas Drijver, Jaggy Shivdasani, Peter Fredin, Gunnar Hallberg and host of other World, European and National Champions.  

Playing Times (local times = UTC) 

Monday

15:00 – 16:15 Swiss (R1)   

16:25 – 17:40 Swiss (R2)   

17:55 – 19:10 Swiss (R3)

19:20 – 20:35 Swiss (R4)  

Tuesday

10:30 – 11:45 Swiss (R5)  

11:55 – 13:10 Swiss (R6)  

13:20 – 14:35 Swiss (R7)  

15:30 – 16:45 Swiss (R8)  

16:55 – 18:10 Swiss (R9)  

18:20 – 19:35 Swiss (R10) 

Wednesday

10:30 – 11:45 Swiss (R11) 

11:55 – 13:10 Swiss (R12) 

13:20 – 14:35 Swiss (R13) 

15:30 – 16:45 Swiss (R14) 

16:55 – 18:10 Swiss (R15) 

18:20 – 19:35 Swiss (R16)

Thursday

10:00 – 11:30 Finals (R1) 

11:45 – 13:15 Finals (R2) 

13:30 – 15:00 Finals (R3) 

Meet the Masters

Round Robin

L’équipe Apres-Bridge Champs a remporté ses quatre matchs pour prendre la tête du classement après la première journée des WBT Masters à Reykjavik. Il y a eu des donnes intéressantes ! 

Apres-Bridge Champs won all four matches to top the table on day one of the WBT Masters in Reykjavik. There were some exciting deals! 

Board 2. Dealer East. N/S Vul. 

Left to their own devices, you would expect NS to finish up in 3NT (that happened on 12 occasions) but circumstances alter cases: 

De Botton v Sandfia

Open Room 

The VuGraph operator whimsically described East’s bid as ‘a fresh modern style opening’. If North had bitten the bullet and reopened with a double, I dare say South would have passed and collected 500. As it was EW only had to pay out -150. 

Closed Room 
1) 2NT: Forces 3♠
2) 3: Forcing. 

NS were celebrating their selection as part of the England team for the European Championships. 

East led the Q and West won and returned the 4 to declarer’s king. The J lost to West’s king and when West exited with the 2 declarer took two tricks in the suit and played the ♣2 to the queen followed by two more rounds of the suit, West winning with the ♣K. Declarer could not be prevented from scoring a club ruff, +620 and 10 IMPs, setting up a winning start. 

Apres-Bridge Champs continued their winning ways, finally having their colours lowered in Round 9 when they lost narrowly to Edmonds. Normal service was resumed in the last match of the day, with the leaders finishing well clear of the field. 

Final Day of the Round Robin 

On day 3, the leaders lost three times, but after the penultimate round they were assured of a spot in the first-place showdown, which might explain their heavy defeat in the last round which saw them deposed at the top by Mavericks. Remarkably, the top two did not meet in the Swiss! 

Meanwhile, Edmonds and Milner would contest the third and fourth place playoff.

Mavericks and Edmonds enjoyed a carryover advantage of 10.1 IMPs.

These were the teams that made it to the final and play-off: 

Apres-Bridge Champs 

Players: Dennis Bilde, Martin Schaltz, Dorte Bilde, Sabine Auken, Morten Bilde, Roy Welland 

Edmonds

Players: Sebastiaan Drijver, Jodi Edmonds, Michał Klukowski, Sjoert Brink, Jacek Kalita 

Milner

Team Captain: Hemant Lall 
Players: Michał Kwiecień, Krzysztof Buras, Jacek Pszczola, Włodzimierz Starkowski, Reese Milner

Mavericks 

Team Captain: Subodh Maskara
Players: Keyzad Anklesaria, Debabrata Majumder, Subash Gupta, Jaggy Shivdasani, Rejeshwar Tiwari, Anal Shah (capitaine non joueur) 

Final: Mavericks against Apres-Bridge Champs  

There was a sensational start to the final. On the opening deal, Welland-Auken bid a 23 count 3NT. The critical decision for the defence came at trick three. North, having taken trick 2, held KJ85 and could see 1072 in dummy. A heart switch was indicated, but which card do you play? 

A low heart works if partner has four cards headed by the A (and would give declarer a guess if South has only three hearts headed by the ace). The J works if South has a holding headed by the A9. North went with the J only to find declarer with Q9 so that was a 7 IMP swing. 

Board 2. Dealer East. N/S Vul. 

Open room
1) 1 : Spades. 

East led the ♠10 and West won with the ♠A and returned the ♠7 for the eight, nine and a ruff and shortly thereafter declarer claimed 11 tricks, +650. 

Closed room
1) 2 : Hearts.

North led the 3 and South won with the A and returned the 4, declarer ruffing and playing a club for the king and ace. Back came the Q and declarer ruffed and tried ducking a spade (a low diamond is best). North won with the ♠J and continued with the ♠K, declarer winning and only now playing a low diamond. South won with the king and North could claim the rest for seven down, -1700 and 14 IMPs. 

A slam on a finesse that failed, an unfortunate line of play and a misdefended slam saw the Apres-Bridge Champs take the first session 69-3. The champagne was on ice! 

The second session was closely contested – I must show you this deal: 

Board 14. Dealer East. None Vul. 

Closed Room

In the other room, West had taken 11 tricks in 4 Spades. 

North led the ♠9 and declarer won with the ♠10, cashed the ♠K and went to dummy with the ♠A to play a club to the queen. North won and switched to the 4, declarer winning in hand, cashing the ♣A and ruffing a club. He ruffed a diamond and cashed his winners, but North could hold on to the Q10 for one down. 

Do you see the brilliant opportunity that was missed? 

Having ruffed the third club in dummy, declarer leads the K, forcing South to play the A. That transfers the diamond menace to North, and now cashing winners will result in an inspired red suit squeeze. 

Apres-Bridge Champs edged the set 39-33 to extend their lead to 62.9, at which point Mavericks threw in the towel. The winners collected €12,000; the runners-up €8,000. 

The other match was much closer. With 5 deals to go Edmonds led 65.1-60, but could not hold on, Milner winning 75-66.1 to secure €6,000 and leaving Edmonds with €4,000. 

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