Blue Brothers

Ron Tacchi reports from the Fall 2023 NABC Atlanta.

Photos source: ACBL

Having led after the semifinal, Italy’s Aldo Gerli and Andrea Boldrini went on to win the three-day Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, their 58.64% and 53.23% sessions being just enough to keep their closest challengers, Tom Townsend and Ben Hadley-Pritchard of the UK at bay while they in turn held off third placed Liam Milne and James Coutts of Australia. It is the first NABC title for Boldrini, but the second for Gerli, who won the Wernher Open Pairs at this this year’s Summer NABC in Chicago.

Deception can play a significant role in every phase of the game. In the second semifinal session of the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, Jay Barron was last to speak with this collection:

♠AQ4 KQ8643 A5 ♣A7.

Eschewing the routine 1 he opened 2NT and saw his partner, ACBL Bulletin columnist George Jacobs, raise to 3NT. East led a club, and this was the layout:

Board 26. Dealer East. All Vul.

Declarer wrapped up 12 tricks for a 91% score.

I managed to get a couple of deals from the runners-up:

As is often the case, a trump lead would be good, but West led a Spade and declarer took dummy’s Ace, played a Heart for the nine, ten and King, ruffed the Spade return, ruffed a Heart, cashed the ♣A collecting West’s King, drew trumps and knocked out the A for +670 and 97%.

If East goes up with the Q at trick two, he can switch to a Club and the defenders are one step ahead.

South led the ♣6 and declarer won with dummy’s Ace and played a Diamond for the Jack and King. South switched to the 7 for the ten, Jack and Ace and declarer went to dummy with a Spade, took a second Diamond finesse and then cashed his winners. He was assured of +660, but followed his instinct by taking the Club finesse for +690 and 92%. +660 would have been 84% but +630 (should South find a Heart lead) would be only 27%.

Without the double, 4♣ would be asking North to transfer to his suit.

East led the 3 and that was -200 and a whopping 17 IMPs for Zimmermann who ended the set leading 80-53.

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