A look back at the Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018

The Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018 took place in Drammenshallen, Drammen from August 3rd through 11th 2018.

Drammenshallen is a sports hall, home arena for Drammen Handball Club, and also used by a lot of local sports clubs. It’s also a former well known concert arena, hosting artists like U2, Dire Straits, Iron Maiden, Sting etc. Drammen is a beautiful town located around the Drammen river at the fjord of Drammen, some 40 km southwest from Oslo, with nearly 70,000 inhabitants.

Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018

The festival comprised the following main tournaments:
Norwegian Junior Pairs, Mixed Pairs, Women Pairs, Senior Pairs and Open Swiss Pairs Championships, Norwegian Mixed Teams and Open Swiss Teams Championships, Swiss Imped Pairs and Patton Teams. All of these tournaments are open for international participation. Membership in the Norwegian Bridge Federation is mandatory for Norwegian citizens and residents only. In addition there were one session side tournaments each session (two each day) and social tournaments each night at the main hotel.

Prior to the festival, a junior camp was organized outside Drammen, with 70 participants. Some of these where beginners, taking lessons on the camp, most of them having played bridge for some time.

Funbridge sponsored the festival with GOTO BRIDGE 18 for all winners – a very popular prize. In addition there were daily tournaments on Funbridge for all festival participants where the top three each day won a 1-month-subscription on Funbridge. All participants also got a discount on Funbridge subscription during the festival. The Norwegian Bridge Federation would like to thank Funbridge for their support – and encourage other festival organizers to have tournaments on Funbridge on the side – it was very popular among the festival participants.

Results of the Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018

Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018: junior pairs medal
Junior pairs medal winners of the Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018

The Norwegian Junior Pairs Championships started as the junior camp closes. 16 pairs participated; the pre tournament favourites Christian BAKKE – Marcus Andreas SCHEIE winning the gold, more than three boards clear of the runner-ups; Joakim SÆTHER – Mia STATLE. This was Bakke’s fifth straight win, with five different partners!

The mixed pairs Championships had 183 pairs competing. The tournament format was swiss pairs movement over 30 and 3 board rounds. Mother and son Gunn and Fredrik HELNESS won the gold after a strong finish, two boards clear of runner-ups Håkon KIPPE – Maja Rom ANJER, who where leading the field for a long time.

Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018: mixed teams medal winners
Mixed teams medal winners of the Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018

Anne Birgitte FOSSUM – Tolle STABELL, Aksel Hornslien – Siv THORESEN and Jo-Arne OVESEN – Ingunn URAN took home the gold medals in the mixed teams championships, topping the 86 teams field 6 VPs ahead of Espen FASTING – Vicky CHEDIAK and Anne Lene JOHNSEN – Jan Erik OLSEN.

The 27 pairs IMPs across the field tournament was won by John Inge FREDHEIM – Willy MYHRE.

Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018: swiss pairs medal winners
Swiss pairs medal winners of the Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018

The swiss pairs championships saw 104 pairs competing for the gold medal. Four pairs would also qualify for the Open Norwegian Pairs Championships, taking place in Lyngdal late in September. Topping the field was Christian BAKKE – Tor Eivind GRUDE, 1.4 % ahead of Terje LIE – Jo-Arne Ovesen.

In the senior pairs, Bjørn FJELLSTAD – Kai JØRSTAD took home a clear victory, beating 97 pairs in the effort. The format was a match pointed swiss pairs movement over 32 rounds. Silver medals went to Hans HIORTH – Harald NORDBY. Nordby was heading the national master points tables for a long time, before Tor Helness (1st) and Geir Helgemo (2nd) overtook him some years ago.

Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018: women pairs medal winners
Norwegian women pairs medal winners

In the women pairs 51 pairs competed in a match pointed swiss pairs movement; 24 rounds of 4 boards. The winners were Tonje BROGELAND – Åse LANGELAND, nearly a board clear of silver medalists Maja Rom ANJER – Pernille LINDAAS.

Patton teams was won by team “Patton”; Erik BERG – Øyvind SAUR and Tor Eivind GRUDE – Lars Arthur JOHANSEN, topping the 55 teams field ahead of “Hickothepooh”; Kent André LIENG – John Ivar SEIERSTEN and Arnstein NYMOEN – Jan Olav RØSENG.

The last weekend, the swiss teams ended the festival. Winners where team “Hauge”; Boye BROGELAND – Espen LINDQVIST, Rune HAUGE – Erik SÆLENSMINDe. They where 14.5 VPs ahead of runner-ups “Skien Bridge Club”; Geir Egil BERGHEIM – Odd A. FRYDENBERG, Kai JØRSTAD – Ronny JØRSTAD.

A couple of boards from the Norwegian Bridge Festival 2018

From the swiss pairs championships:

S A 10 9 8 6 4
H Q 3
D 10
C A J T 9
S 7
H A 10 9 2 
D Q 6 4 3 2
C 7 4 2
orientation S J 3 2
H K 8 7 5
D 8 7 5
C K 8 6
S K Q 5 
H J 6 4
D A K J 9
C Q 5 3


Odin Svendsen
Christian Bakke
Fredrik Helness
Tor Eivind Grude

Lead: C2.

Many received a diamond lead, giving declarer an easy twelve tricks. If Grude tries the club finesse, Helness can hold him to ten tricks by switching to hearts. Grude didn’t believe Svendsen would lead from the club king sitting behind a strong NT opener, so he raised the club ace, and showing good technique, playing a spade to the king and a spade back to the ace, followed by the diamond ten to the ace. He discarded a heart on the diamond king and led the jack to the queen and ruffed in dummy. A spade back to the carefully retained queen gave entry to the nine of diamonds, and another heart discard from dummy. Twelve tricks, and nearly 75 % on the board for the eventual winners.

Another board from the swiss pairs, winning the prize for the best played hand on the festival:

S K 10 3 2
H 5
D Q 10 8 5 3
C A 9 2
S Q 7 5
H A K J 9 7  
D K J 9 6
C 10
orientation S 9 8 6 4
H 10 4 3 2
D A 2
C 8 5 3
H Q 8 6
D 7 4 
C K Q J 7 6 4


West North
H. Eide
East South

Not a textbook take out double by Harald Eide, leading to an original contract.

West led the heart ace, winning the trick. East most probably gave suit preference for diamonds, but west, taking no chances, switched to the club ten.

If you win the club in hand and play ace, jack of spades, west obviously will cover this. Then you can discard a diamond on the spade ten, ruff a spade and a heart, but have no entry for the last heart ruff. You lose two hearts and a diamond for one off. The solution is simple, win the club with the jack and lead the spade jack to trick three. West ducked this, and a heart ruff was followed by a spade back to the ace and another heart ruff. The spade ace dropped the queen, and a diamond was discarded. When west couldn’t ruff the spade ten, twelve tricks was there, and a sky high score for declarer. If West covers the spade jack, you have an extra entry to your hand for a heart ruff, so you still get eleven tricks. Very well played by Nils Kvangraven!

The 2019 Norwegian Bridge Festival will also take place at Drammenshallen, Drammen. The dates are 2nd through 10th August. Information will be provided at the festival website: http://bridgefestival.no. At the moment, only information for 2018 is available at the website.