WBF Online Women’s Teams – 16 to 18 February 2024

The World Bridge Federation (WBF) organised a worldwide tournament aimed towards women on online platform from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th February. 64 teams from 31 countries entered, from every continent.  

The Women’s Committee of the WBF organised this encounter via an online plateform to give female players from all over the world the opportunity to play at an internationally competitive level by limiting the costs (no travelling and a very low subscription fee: €40 per team). The aim was to encourage women to want to play in international events.  

The conditions of contest for the event were having an exclusively female team, registering oneself with the WBF (in order to get an international licence number) and being able to play all of the matches. All players on the team had to be of the same nationality.

I really wanted to take part with my teammates from the Under 26 Girls’ team (Wilhelmine Schlumberger, Constance Belloy, Clara Bouton). As the organisers allowed up to 8-9 per team and we were not all available throughout the weekend (National Mixed Pairs Final or on the train to the Biarritz festival), we asked other friends to complete our team.  

We were the only team to represent France:

With everyone’s availability, we rotated the pairs around a lot! I played the three matches on Friday evening with Wil, one on the Saturday morning with Constance, one on the Sunday morning with Clara (my regular partner) and to finish, two with Eloïse. 

There was an enormous organisational effort for the teams to be able to play their matches at correct times for their geographical area, all while maximising the number of deals played simultaneously.  

Our matches and our scores on the right (20 points for the match were shared between the two teams in each round): 

Friday evening: 

This first match started out very well for Wil and me, with 17.31 points out of 20 against Portugal; but we then suffered a heavy defeat against Denmark (1.63). For the last match of Friday evening, we encountered two interesting deals against a Turkish team:  

I was South, everyone was vulnerable and I had:  

West passed as Dealer, Wil opened 1♣, East overcalled 1 and I doubled to show 4 or 5 cards in Hearts (we play transfers over overcalls: this is the convention Cachalot).  

West used a cue bid of 2♣ to show a diamond fit in a hand of 10-11 points. Wil bid 2, which showed four cards in the suit, and East said 3

Even though I only had 8 HCP, I also had a shortage in Diamonds and a club fit with my partner. I thought there could be a game on.  

Over 3, 3 would be competitive, which is to say that we would like to play in a 3 contract, either to make it or to sacrifice against a 3 contract. Over 3, Partner is not allowed to bid 4.  

The only available call which would not bypass the 3-level in Hearts was therefore a double. In this situation, it is not penalties: it is a game try. Partner goes back to 3 with a minimum. With a maximum, she is able to bid game.  

I therefore chose to double and Wil accepted my invitation to game. Unfortunately, as the cards lay, we were always losing two clubs, a diamond and a spade. Still, the deal was “paid back” on the other side (on the other table, the opponents also played in 4 down one). 

The full deal: 

A card-play deal this time: 

Still against the Turks, green-against-red, I had in my hand: 

The opponents reached the contract of 4, I led my King of Diamonds and saw the dummy: 

Wil played the 7 of Diamonds and my King was taken by the Ace from East, who played back the 9 of Hearts; Wil took the trick with the Jack. She then played back the Jack of Diamonds.  

From my hand, I saw that we were making one diamond trick and one heart trick. The objective was to make two further tricks. I could hope to make my Queen of Clubs and then had to count on Wil having a spade trick. I definitely did not want us to play those two suits ourselves, at the risk of destroying one of our potential tricks. I overtook the Jack with my Queen and returned a trump. Declarer won the trick with the Queen and played back a club towards her Jack, taken by my Queen. I played yet another trump back.  

At this stage of the game, since she had to handle the Spades herself, Declarer was forced to give up a spade to Wil. Nevertheless, she played well, as after the spade finesse worked, she tried what is called a pinning play.  

Knowing about three cards in Hearts, probably six diamonds and two clubs in my hand, she knew that I held two cards in Spades. 

She therefore played the Queen of Spades, hoping to pin the 10 in my hand, which would have allowed her to make Dummy’s 9 and not give up a single spade trick.  

She was not rewarded and we scored some points on this deal, since on the other side, our teammates made the 4 contract. The opponent in my seat did not switch to a trump but her Queen of Clubs after having won the trick with the Queen of Diamonds.  

The full deal: 

Saturday morning 

This time, I was playing opposite Constance, against a Spanish team. We won this match nearly 20-0.  

A preferential deal: 

The opponents were in a 3♠ contract and I had been able to bid my five cards in Clubs during the auction:  

On the other side, our teammates had only been playing at the level of 2♠, South not having made the creative balancing bid at the 3-level on her five-card suit that I did.  

So, I led the Ace of Clubs with: 

In the dummy: 

Constance put the 10 and then the 7 on my clubs. After having cashed the Ace and King of Clubs, the third card I played was supposed to help her choose which suit to play once she had ruffed. Here, the Jack indicated a desire for her to play a heart back to me, whereas the 6 would have encouraged her to play Diamonds.  

At the table, I therefore played the Ace-King of Clubs, then the Jack as I had two honours in Hearts. Constance therefore played that suit and fortunately, the opponent put in the Queen.  

Upon seeing the full deal, we notice that the heart return gives away the contract and that I had done something silly in indicating a preference for that suit:  

If Declarer had played a small card, I would have had to put in the Jack. Later, when she played the suit again, she would have been able to finesse against the 10 of Hearts in order to only give up one trick in the suit.  

In the end, playing the 9 of Clubs was much better: according to whether Constance had had the Jack of Diamonds or the Queen of Hearts, she would have been able to choose for herself which suit to return following the club ruff.  

That was the only match I played on the Saturday. My team had a good run, winning all their matches that day!  

Sunday morning: 

On Sunday morning, I was finally able to play a match with my regular partner Clara , against an Irish team. We lost this match by a little, despite a good card. 

On the first deal (all green), I opened 1♠ in third seat with: 

My partner responded 2NT: after an initial pass, the bid is an alternative to Drury and shows a maximum four-card raise with a shortage.  

Although I had a minimum hand, game was not out of the question: if my partner had a diamond shortage, all my points would increase in worth. I therefore used a 3♣ relay, over which my partner showed her shortage, of course. She responded 3; bingo! 

I therefore bid 4♠, which I made after giving up a diamond, a heart and a spade trick. The deal was flat; but in a sequence where the opponents did not have any idea about the diamond shortage.  

The full deal: 

Sunday afternoon: 

I finished my participation in the event with two matches opposite Eloïse. To finish, I shall tell you about a bad decision on my part:  

Non-vulnerable against vulnerable, I had in hand: 

My left-hand opponent opened 1♠ in third seat. Eloïse made an Unusual 2NT bid, which showed a minor two-suiter of at least 5-5. East supported her partner to the 3-level, I passed and West passed too. Eloïse reopened with 4: she had five clubs and six diamonds. 

My left-hand opponent protected in 4♠ and Eloïse passed. It was my turn and I did not know whether I ought to pass or sacrifice. Unsure, I bid 5 as I was afraid that 4♠ was making but that was a bad idea: I only had defensive tricks and the opponents had been pushed to 4♠ by Eloïse. They were not giving the impression of having a 10-card spade fit; my partner had to have at least one. I should have passed wisely and seen what happened with the contract.  

The full deal: 

You can see that 4♠ was going down. Luckily, we only lost 4 IMPs on the deal by playing 5 undoubled minus three, while the opponents had been able to play in 4 (minus two). 

We won all our matches in the afternoon.  

We finished the competition with a total of 185 points, which took us to fifth place. We were very happy as there had been lots of good teams and we had formed ours however we could, with few “fitting” pairs.  

Here is the ranking of the top ten: 

Those who won the competition were part of an American team, as were those who were second. It was a Hungarian team who collected the bronze medal at this first edition of this international women’s tournament on online plateform.  

What did you think of this article by Margaux Kurek-Beaulieu? 

Share your view in the Comments section below. 

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