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Milan Macura’s Exclusive Tournaments – October – #3

Another week is over and we know the winners of the two first Exclusive Tournaments of October, organized by bridge professional player, Milan Macura.

Find the analysis of the tournaments below.

If you have not played these tournaments yet, you can find them under “Get started/Practice > Exclusive tournaments” and search for Milan Macura.

Both the IMP and MP tournaments start on Saturday and end on Thursday every week.

The IMP tournament is played by Milan Macura and broadcast live every Thursday evening on his YouTube channel.

The video of the MP tournament is available on Funbridge’s YouTube channel every Friday.

It is really great to see that the participation is growing every month. This week, we had only one more player than last week though. Altogether 1,389 players played at both events, 778 in IMPs and 611 in MPs.

Results

I will stop mentioning Tarun 🇮🇳 scoring the top in both tournaments. I would only say that reaching over 80% in MPs or having an average of 6 IMPs per board is possible, but not in the long run. Sometimes you have to make a decision and even one bad decision on 8 boards will drag you down to 70%.

MPs

For the new leaders, Bernard 🇫🇷, jirawut 🇹🇭 and Alain 🇫🇷 get to the top in MPs, exceeding the 76% line.

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Top 10 ranking of the MPs tournament – General
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Top 10 ranking of the MPs tournament – Milan’s friends

I had a terrible session in MPs, scoring less than 40%.

I blame myself for getting used to play against human players and relying on a great partner Lars Arthur Johansen in Vilnius Cup for the previous 5 days.

We played mostly IMPs where you have to make slightly different decisions.

IMPs

Fabien 🇫🇷 and Jacques 🇫🇷 scored +48 IMPs.

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Top 10 ranking of the IMPs tournament – General
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Top 10 ranking of the IMPs tournament – Milan’s friends

I was proven right when I was playing the IMPs on the live stream.

If I would have misled Argine on board 5 with 1♦ opening with ♦953 instead of opening 1♣ with ♣KJ4, I would have scored +48 IMPs and get to the top.

Only the club lead gives away the 4♥ contract which everybody reached, but only few made.

I am still happy with +33 IMPs, beating Lars Arthur by 1 IMP.

Here is one of the boards from the IMP tournament.

You are holding the following hand and your partner opens 1♦ and after your 1♠ response jumps to 3♠.

How would you continue?

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3♠ shows an invitational hand with a 4-card fit, usually 15-17 HCPs but it can be less with a better distribution.

Your hand has only 6 losers, you know about a 9-card fit and you have a singleton. Yes, the singleton is in your partner’s suit, but it can still be very handy when you will try to establish partner’s 5-card suit.

Since partner has the invitational strength, he has to have a semi or unbalanced hand. That means you can count on 4441, 4351, 4252 and better distributions.

Based on the plastic evaluation, partner is more likely to have a disproportion in clubs and hearts because the difference between your hands is 3 cards. That means it is statistically very likely that partner has the singleton club.

Taking that fact into consideration, you can potentially make a slam even opposite a hand like this: ♠Kxxx ♥xxx ♦AKxxx ♣x.

If spades break 2-2 and diamonds 4-3, you can make 12 tricks opposite 10 HCP. And partner promised 15 HCPs.

Therefore you should go for a slam for sure.

I chose the 3NT bid which implies bad trumps and slam interest.

Partner showed a minimum hand by bidding 4♠ so I have ruled out the grand slam. After asking for key cards, partner showed 2 out of 5 key cards without the trump queen so I settled in 6♠.

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You get the ♥4 lead. How would you plan the card play with the following cards in dummy?

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As you might remember from my previous articles, you should make the plan analysing the losers in the hand with longer trumps.

If spades break, you have no losers in spades,  hearts and diamonds but you have four losers in clubs. So the plan should be to figure out how to get rid of all of them.

You have two extra winners in hearts in the other hand so you can discard two clubs on them. And because partner has a singleton club, you can ruff the other two.

The problem can be entries to your hand for two club ruffs.

That’s why you should win the heart lead in dummy with any ♥H and play ♣6 to the ♣A.

When you ruff the second club trick, East plays ♣8 and ♣Q, and West plays ♣5 and ♣9.

From the signaling methods by E-W, you should expect clubs to split 5-2. That means that before you trump another club, you have to draw two rounds of trumps.

If trumps do not split, you can still ruff another club if you play the ♠K first and then a small spade to the ♠A. If the third round of clubs gets overruffed by East, he can return only a heart or a diamond. If he plays a diamond, you win with the ♦Q and discard the ♥A on the ♦A, securing the two discards on heart winners.

The reward for making the slam with an overtrick is 10 IMPs since only half of the field reached the slam.

Here are the most played contracts

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Another slam bidding appeared in the MP tournament.

This time, reaching the slam was not that difficult, but how will you cope with the card play?

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You have no spade losers, no heart losers, no club losers, but you have three diamonds you have to discard or win in the North hand.

You need the diamond Ace with West to win the ♦K and then you have to guess the ♣K.

You can either play a direct finesse or you can finesse East opposite trumps.

Does the lead affect your choice?

If West leads a spade, your best chance to make the contract is to play East for the ♣K because then you can discard even two diamonds on the clubs and make the contract without playing diamonds at all.

But, at most tables, East led the ♦A and switched to a ♣5. In this case, you have to guess the ♣K immediately. The ♦A lead gave you another chance that the ♦Q drops in the second trick when you play the ♦K or if you play the ♦J from South and West covers with the queen and ♦10 drops from East.

You have also a chance to ruff two clubs and if the ♣K was originally with only two more cards, it will drop in the third round and you can use the ♣10 for the diamond discard.

Which chance should you choose?

West most likely didn’t lead a diamond from AQ. He can lead from A1072, but more likely he led from ♦Axx or ♦Ax. That leaves you with the 50-50 ♣K guess. If I would have done all these analyses at the table, I would have surely chosen the direct finesse.

Even in the video, you can see that the intuition told me to play a small club in the second trick.

Here is the reason: West, having only the ♦A, will try to find an honor in partner‘s hand. But, because he is holding ♦A and ♣K, he is not expecting partner to have another top honor since we bid the slam in standard sequence – that means we should have at least 30 HCP.

Only 158 players bid the slam and guessed it right. Most of the players misplayed the hand, same as I did.

Here are the most played contracts

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And the full deal

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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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Video of the MPs exclusive tournament of October – #3

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!

Video of the IMP exclusive tournament of October – #3

My previous exclusive tournaments analysis are available here.

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