The fourth IOC played immediately before the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City proved to be a very exciting event in a number of ways. Joey Silver who visited Florida immediately after delighted in telling the inside story of Canada's victory. Of course we always beat Italy he told me and in his inimitable style that they would have chosen Italy in the semi final if they had the choice ! The final is fully covered in the main article page . For the first time ACBL online e-bridge had live coverage of the final. Many Canadians were rivited by their computer screens as they watched the drama unfold. Very nice show guys and I hope that this is only the first of many top bridge events that can be covered live.
For those who were unable to watch the live show there is recorded vugraph of the final and an exciting segment of the semi final Canada V Italy at the ACBL online site. There is also coverage of the womens final USA v France.
The French women who were desperately unfortunate to lose the final of the Venice Cup once again showed their quality as a team this time with a comfortable win.
I found this hand to be most interesting and set them on the road to victory.
Kerri Shuman chose the lead of the spade 6 which went to the king, ace and Benedicte Cronier dropped the 10. Now Rose Melzer had a problem. On her partners double she knew there was another ace for the defense but was it in hearts or in clubs? Lets first look at declarers shape of 3 ? 7 ? If declarer held AJ in either of these two suits she could dispose of her singleton after taking a finesse.If declarer held the ace of hearts doubleton she would have to play a club or South would get squeezed between hearts and the ace of clubs on the run of the diamonds. However Melzer had seen her partner raise spades and lead the six. It looked from the play to the first trick That declarer held Q10 doubleton and partner 652. Therefore possibly it seemed to her that the six the highest spade was asking for a heart return by leading the highest spot card. In any event she knew that the six could not in any holding be the lowest card which may indicate possession of the club ace. Had declarer two spades and 3 1 in the other suits declarer would have to make 4 club tricks to dispose of her heart singleton . This would require her to hold AJ10 precisely and even then only make it if north led a club.Melzer took her chance with a heart return and declarer had no problem in chalking up plus 1090 . South could not be sure declarer was off two aces but with this possibility perhaps she could have led an antisystemic five of spades.After Croniers clever play of the 10 nothing would be crystal clear for the defence and in the event she earned her swing with this thoughtful play.In the other room the French opened 3spades which was overcalled by a practical 3nt by Sharon Osberg for 11 tricks and plus 460.This was a 12 imps swing to France.
To read the excellent bulletins from this tournament go to www.bridge.gr