Iceland won the Open event at the Nordic Bridge Championships (with Aðalsteinn Jörgensen – Bjarni H. Einarsson, Guðmundur Snorrason – Ragnar Hermannsson, Jón Baldursson – Þorlákur Jónsson and Guðmundur Páll Arnarson npc). Denmark (with Christina Lund Madsen, Fie Houlberg, Lone Bilde, Helle Rasmussen, Peter Kraunsøe npc and Bo Bilde coach) won the Women’s event.
The Nordic Bridge Championships were held in Keflavik (Iceland) from May 24th to 26th, 2013.
Iceland – known for viking weather and violently beautiful nature with a mixture of volcanos and lagoons – and for their famous bridge players.
The Nordic Championships were played as a double round robin in the open teams. After the first RR Iceland had more than 20 VP’s by the new scale down to Finland, Norway and Denmark, all tied. However the meeting between Iceland and Denmark in the sixth round brought some excitement back in the tournament, Denmark beating Iceland by 66-36, 16,73-3,27 in VPs by the new scale.
Why not a trump?
One of the boards providing the victory was the following featuring the young and unique Martin Schaltz.
A rare insight into Martin’s thoughts about what to lead:
“A diamond could be right with QJx in trumps without any other values because it increases the possibility of finding partner with two entries to provide several ruffs.
In this case a diamond lead appears to tear up partners holding in the suit; a heart lead could easily cost and to me seems like the passive approach – so why not simply a trump?”
Martin led the J of spades, taken by Jörgensens king, followed by the spade ace. Declarer now cashed three diamonds, overtaking the jack with the king in dummy, Martin pitching a heart and a club.
Next Jörgensen played a club to his king and ace, ending up losing 3 club tricks, 1 spade and 1 heart for down two.
At the other table Dennis Bilde was declarer in 4 spades on a heart lead followed by a spade shift. He played the ten of clubs, taking with the queen by East to play another spade. After three rounds of diamonds Dennis could finesse the ace of clubs with the last spade in dummy and pitch a club on the king of diamonds for ten tricks and 11 imps for Denmark.
Maybe you are thinking “that trump lead was not so extraordinary from QJx”. Then I ask you to take look at Martin’s next lead:
Martin was east, Lars Blakset west. North was Andreas Jansson from Sweden, South Daniel Sivelind.
The bidding went:
1S – 2NT – 3C (min) – 4S without interference from EW.
Martin’s lead: 8 of spades
Declarer asked for a small spade, Lars Blakset following with the 3. Declarer won cheaply, played a club to the ten snd led a spade to the queen – and king! Martin returned the jack of diamonds, which led to one down and a rather stirred North.
On the actual layout it is always down although the contract was led through at more than one table, including the other room, resulting in a ten imp gain for Denmark.
One more trip into Martin’s brain:
”Difficult hand to lead from. With 12 HCP I think it is risky to lead from Qxxx and AJx is out of the question.” (Mere mortals as myself might have thought it more risky to lead from Kx in trumps than Qxxx)
“Left is a trump. The swedes play 2MA opening as 12-14 with 6+MA including distribution, so when 3C shows minimum it has to be a 5-card suit. So they have a 5-4+ fit. I don’t risk a 6-4 fit where it seems silly to lead from Kx to have my king fall in the next round. However I do risk a 5-5 fit, however if so declarer would often try the ace if it is in dummy. So with a 5-4 fit a trump is the most passive lead.
It is interesting that Lars did not use the ten of spades in trick one. Apparently a mistake since I could have led from Qx and then declarer has a spade guess if Lars uses the ten. On the actual hand it had the opposite effect; when he doesn’t put in the ten the first time, declarer must have assumed he had KTx.”
The tournament ended as a battle between Iceland and Denmark; despite the large victory to Denmark in their tete-a-tete the Icelandic were as solid as the lavarocks covering their country and won 8 VP’s. 21 VP’s behind Denmark were Finland, who comfortably took the bronze.
Christina Lund Madsen