Barnet Shenkin

The Cavendish Invitational Pairs by Barnet Shenkin prev/next

The Cavendish Invitational 2010.

Last Sunday I was fortunate to be able to commentate on BBO on the last session of the Cavendish pairs. This longstanding exciting auction pairs tournament carried a first prize of $201200 to the buyer of the first placed pair and $ 129,340 for second.

There were  many great players in the field but two stood out.  Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness from Norway have won the World Championship, the Bermuda Bowl. Bobby Levin and Steve Weinstein from USA  had won 2 of the last three Cavendish Pairs. Levin- Weinstein went for $62000 in the auction and Helgemo –Helness for 48000. To get their money back from the prizes Levin Weinstein had to. finish 4th or better and Helgemo Helness 6th or better
 With one session to play The Norwegians were in first place and the Americans second.  In this tournament your score is compared with all the pairs playing in the opposite direction.  With 23 tables in play if you made a game swing that nobody else bid or made you would get eg for a vulnerable one 12 imps  times 22 or264 imps.

Often you can do nothing if your opponents do something good against you or get lucky. Your fate sometimes is out of your own hands. I was commentating on the Norwegians.

In the event the Norwegians were passed by the Americans who won the event for a  quite remarkable third time in four years.

Dlr: West
Vul: None




Andsson. Helness Gustaws Helgemo
 p 1♦ x 1♠
x  xx 3♠
 4♥  p 5♣  p
 p  p

                                                               Against 5♣ Helness led the ♠6 . Declarer won and ruffed a spade  . I pointed out to have any chance of beating this North had to rise with the ♣ Ace when declarer leads a trump. otherwise he would be forced to open up hearts himself when thrown in with the ♣ Ace. So Helness did rise with the trump Ace and got out with the ♦ Q . Declarer was able to eliminate spades by ruffing cash the ♦ Ace  and the he had to guess hearts . He led the 10 from hand and went down 1 losing two hearts .Let's look at what happened against the winners Levin and Weinstein.                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                       Click next and see how declarer made the contract 

    Levin was in the North position and Weinstein South.Declarer was Bas Drijver from Holland. At the end when South played the ♥ 2 he  just had to guess to put in the 8 and he was home.
          You may think it natural that the best pairs rise to the top but in such an event even although it is over 5 sessions , a good test of bridge it is unusual for the two favorites to finish first and second.

Watching at the end brought me back memories of days gone by when playing with Michael Rosenberg we led the field with just one board to play.

The Year was 1978 . The tournament still with a star studded field was in New York City. Rosenberg and I had led from an early stage and just had to survive one final hand                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Dlr: South
Vul: N/S





 P 1♠   P 4♥ 
 P 5♣ 

When  North bid 5♣ I  had to decide whether to double for a club lead . If my ♠ King was a trick I would need to set up either a club or a diamond for the setting trick. But if I doubled partner would never find the diamond lead if that was necessary. I had been thinking while North was thinking as I could not think over the 5♣ bid- that would give partner unauthorised information. So I made a smooth pass and South bid 6♥  . Rosenberg led a low diamond. declarer pulled trumps and finessed in spades. I took the ♠ King and tried to cash a diamond - no luck. A club lead would have defeated the slam. Not doubling 5♣ was expensive . We lost a bunch of points and the tournament. We finished second. Roll on twenty years . I was at a summer national and this chap comes up to me . "Do you remember me"? he said. We bid 6♠ against you in the Cavendish.If you had x 5♣ ,we would have stopped in 5 and you would have won the tournament. I remember because we bought a piece of you in the auction. were poor students then and you cost us a lot of money !!     HE  REALLY MADE MY DAY !