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Analysis of the Exclusive Tournaments #5 of Milan Macura

Last week of October broke all the previous records in participation.

We were very close to reaching 1,000 players in the IMP tournament (921 players) and we crossed the 1,600 line in both tournaments combined with 682 players in the MP event.

I have played almost a perfect game in MP scoring 78.69% and finished second, but the glory goes to Linnea Edlund from Sweden winning with 80.29%. Third place is shared by Mac Leonardo from Indonesia, Bengt Svensson from Sweden and Paul Sontag from Canada, all scoring 77.13%.

MPs Results

I have played almost a perfect game in MP scoring 78.69% and finished second, but the glory goes to Linnea Edlund from Sweden winning with 80.29%. Third place is shared by Mac Leonardo from Indonesia, Bengt Svensson from Sweden and Paul Sontag from Canada, all scoring 77.13%.

I have made an adjustment to present the top 11 players who made it to the final screen, congratulations to all.

top 11 mp leaderboard general ranking
Top 11 ranking of the MPs tournament – General
top 11 imp leaderboard general ranking
Top 11 ranking of the MPs tournament – Milan’s friends

IMPs Results

IMP tournament had only a few boards where you could score a lot, still two players succeeded to get over 40 IMPs – Peter Antal from Switzerland and Chris Stevens from the UK, both scoring +42 IMPs. Third place goes to Gerard Wertenschlag from France with +38 IMPs.

top 11 mp leaderboard general ranking friends
Top 11 ranking of the IMPs tournament – General
top 11 imp leaderboard general ranking friends
Top 11 ranking of the IMPs tournament – Milan’s friends

Interesting declarer play problem came on the last board of the IMP tournament

After standard bidding, you reach 4♥.

milan macura bridge tournament analysis bids

How do you declare when opponents start with two rounds of clubs and then play a trump?

milan macura bridge tournament lead

The contract seems to be easy. You have only two club losers and one spade loser.

So is there any problem?

Yes, people tend to get lazy when they have a standard contract to play where you draw trumps and establish your side suit.

But what if one of the suits breaks bad?

This board is exactly the one where you should take a break when you win the third round of trumps and think about what will happen if spades or hearts split 4-1, or worse.

Playing on a 4-4 fit gives you the option to plan to get rid of losers from either hand. South has to get rid of two diamonds, North hand has to establish the spade suit while drawing the trumps first.Usually, the safest way if you have high trumps on both sides is to cash your winners and crossruff the hand. That would work well if you have AK in spades. On this board, you either have to play the spade finesse OR you can simply duck a spade trick.

The main rule is:

“When you have to lose a trick, lose it as soon as possible so you have control of the game in the later phase.”

So the best play is to cash one more trump

So the best play is to cash one more trump – if they break, you can cash the last trump ending in South hand and play a small spade towards the ♠Q. This way you will lose only one spade trick if West started with ♠K10xx and East with a singleton.

If trumps do not break, you play a low spade, let opponents win the ♠K, win any return and draw the trumps. It is important to keep entries to both hands, that’s why you don‘t cash the diamond honors before losing the ♠K.

Here is the full board:

milan 4 hands

Less than ¼ of the field managed to win this contract, others went one or even two down.

milan macura most played contracts

There were plenty of interesting boards in the MP tournament. If you want to see them all, watch the full video on Funbridge YouTube channel.

I like the first board the most because it demonstrates different approaches playing MPs instead of IMPs.

You get the following hand and your RHO opens 1NT after your partner passed.

milan macura hand

Bad long suits, balanced shape, weak honors are factors which should discourage you from bidding. And indeed, in IMPs, I would not hesitate to pass this hand. But, in MPs, letting opponents play 1NT often produces a very bad result, especially if you don‘t have a good lead and you are not very confident in defending. 1NT is the most difficult contract both to declare and to defend.

These decisions are more about doing the math than following any rules

Décider ici relève plus de calculs que de suivre une règle particulière. Si vos adversaires réalisent le contrat d‘1SA, ils obtiendront un score de +90 et de +120 avec une surlevée. Si vous n’êtes pas vulnérable, vous pouvez chuter d’une si les adversaires font le contrat et de deux s’ils font une surlevée et se garantissent encore un meilleur score.

If your opponents make 1NT, they score +90, with an overtrick +120. When you are non-vulnerable, you can go down one if opponents are making and down two if they make an overtrick and still secure a better score.

If you manage to beat 1NT and score +50 or even +100, it is very likely that you can make your own contract for a better score.

Of course, there is always a risk that partner has no honors and opponents will double you for a huge score, but that is the risk you can take in MPs. The reward of pushing opponents higher or steal the contract is more often greater. Remember that every board has the same importance in MPs whereas the swing boards (slams, vulnerable games, doubled contracts) are more important in IMPs.

Based on the math, I chose a very aggressive 2♣ overcall to show both majors. Partner asked for longer suit and since I have only 4 cards, I chose the lowest one to give partner an option to show a weak invite with the 2♠ bid.

milan macura bridge tournament analysis bids

Partner puts a maximum hand on the table and you are happy to play in hearts where you have a 7-card fit. What is your plan after ♣J lead?

milan lead 2

The first thing that you should do is the HCP analysis

You have 21 HCPs together and East promised 15-17 HCPs. That means West has at most 4 HCPs and he already showed 1 HCP with the lead. Looking at missing honors, West has exactly one of these 3 honors: ♥K, ♥Q, ♦Q. There is no other combination of how to place 2-4 HCPs in West hand.

The other analysis you should make is the distribution one. The ♣J lead is an obvious doubleton or even a singleton. East promised a balanced hand so we need only a small piece of information to picture the full board.

Your goal should be to draw trumps and prevent EW from promoting East‘s low trumps. I chose the safe way to create an entry to dummy by playing a spade towards the ♠K. East won with the ♠A and returned a club which you win in dummy with the ♣10. Now you play the first round of trumps and East jumps with the queen.

I decided to duck the ♥Q to maintain entries to South hand for playing the diamonds later. East cashed both club winners. What do you play on the last round of clubs after West discards ♠2 in the third round?

You got the extra piece of information. West played the ♠6 first followed by the ♠2. That indicates an even number of cards in spades. The only possible combination is a 4-3 split since West promised a balanced hand without a 5-card major.

That means all spades became winners, and diamonds too since West is now guaranteed with the ♦Q. That means you have all winners except the ♦A, so you can even afford to ruff the club and get overruffed. But having a loser, it is best to discard it now to keep the trump control.

With the distribution of honors, 2♥ is making. But, if the red queens are switched, you go down in 2♥, and 1NT will make, maybe even with an overtrick.This board is a nice demonstration of MPs math. The top scorers pushed opponents to 2♦ and doubled them for minimum two down or beat 1NT three times, +110 still produced 85%.

Videos of Milan Macura’s tournaments

MPs tournament video

You can find all the boards in the video which is posted on the Funbridge YouTube channel.

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IMPs tournament video

You can find all the boards of the IMPs tournaments in the video I posted on my YouTube channel. Don’t forget to Subscribe to so you don’t miss my next Exclusive tournaments analysis.

And if you didn’t know it yet, know that I challenge 5 of you at the end of each IMP tournament video!

My previous exclusive tournaments analysis are available here.

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