The participation in the weekly exclusive tournaments has stabilized with 620 players in the MP tournament and 821 players in the IMP one.
After a one-week break from a magnificent score over 80%, ixmiq1 🇳🇴 exceeded the threshold and won the tournament with 81.36% followed by Ipanema 🇫🇷 with 78.92% and cannibal_jack 🇫🇷 with 76.21%.
Luc Bellicaud 🇫🇷 made it to the top 10 again and tops my friends’ list.
With one bad board, I finished 102nd with 61.91%.
This week’s IMP tournament was very exciting with two grand slams which brought big swings.
The best players were Fred Camiré (CAN) and hugn (HK) with +48 IMPs followed by vodka47 (SK) with +46.
I took the screenshot when I had finished playing so it doesn’t show those who played after my live stream. I have missed both grand slams but still scored +26 IMPs, which secured me a spot on the main screen of my friend’s list.
Let’s find out how to reach grand slams
The first slamish board came on number 2.
You have the following hand and your partner responds 4♣ (transfer to ♦) after your strong 2NT opening.
How do you evaluate your hand and what is your bid?
You have 20 HCPs and a very flat distribution. On the other hand, your HCPs are all in the primary values, which is great for a slam. Partner’s 4♣ is showing 5+♦ but in reality, it often indicates 6 cards.
When you are in the slam zone, you should start by counting winners. You might have 6 in diamonds, 2 in spades and clubs and hopefully one in hearts. It means that for the slam you only need the ♥A and ♦AQxxxx in partner’s hand and you have 12 tricks from the top. But how to figure out if you have 13?
If you cannot ask for the queens, you won’t be able to count to 13 winners. On this board, it is partner’s responsibility to try for a grand slam since you can show 3 key cards and 3 kings after partner asks with 4NT and 5NT.
Unfortunately when I accepted the transfer by 4♦, partner showed the heart control. I showed the spade control to allow partner to ask for the key cards. North failed to ask and decided to bid 5♦ to deny the club cuebid. This way, you cannot reach the grand slam unless you gamble. Still, you should raise to a small slam, which about 100 players didn’t do.
Making all 13 tricks was not a problem even if diamonds split 3-1. About ¼ of the field reached the grand slam and scored +12 IMPs.
The second slam came on board number 5
You have the following hand and your partner opens 1NT:
This hand is a good test of your partnership understanding. You only have 4 losers and partner promised 4-5 good honors so unless you are missing two aces, you should end up in slam.
What is the best approach to find out if you have 13 tricks?
You can either bid Stayman or if you find a heart fit, you can splinter to confirm hearts as trumps and ask for key cards and an extra king. If your partner responds 2♠, you need to force with diamonds, which depends on partnership agreements.
I have decided to go “the easier way” and transfer to diamonds to be able to ask for the necessary honors. Unfortunately after 3♥ which shows the spade shortness, partner jumped to 5♦ so I couldn’t try for the grand slam. Still, you should raise to 6♦. If partner holds ♠KQ, he will bid 3NT and not 5♦ so 2 aces are guaranteed.
Grand slam in diamonds is based on a club finesse which does not work. Only 36 players found the best contract of 7♥. Even though hearts split 4-1, you can just ruff one spade in South hand, draw trumps and run the diamond suit for 13 tricks. Here is how the bidding can go if you decide to bid Stayman first:
The 2♠ overcall makes it more difficult. Argine does not offer a way to show a strong hand with a heart fit after partner bids 3♥. 4NT is treated as quantitative and North will pass it. You have to force with 3♠ and bid 4♦ after 3NT which is natural. 4NT is now a key card for diamonds. Because you hold the ♥KQ and ♦KQ you don’t mind which suit you use for Blackwood. This way you can count to 13 tricks and win +15 IMPs.
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
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My previous exclusive tournaments analysis are available here.