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Five Queens for Ostenda’s throne – Catherine D’Ovidio

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Ostenda European Women Championship.  ‘Neapolitan Club’ has interviewed five women: Catherine D’Ovidio (France), Sabine Auken  (Germany), Montserrat Mestres Rodriguez   (Spain), Gabriella Olivieri  (Italy),Elena Mihova  (Bulgaria).One question per one player, five questions. All the players had to answer their own question; four of five have answered the others’ too. We’ll publish the individual questions in five days, each dedicated to one player. In the sixth day, the five champions shall answer a collective question.

 A queen isn’t the wife of the king; she’s the woman who reigns, being or not married. For example, Elisabeth I Tudor, “the virgin”, reigned in England since 1588 to 1603; Isabella of Castiglia held the Spain (1474-1603); today, in England there’s Elizabeth II (1953); in Europe the queen is Catherine D’Ovidio, World Champion in 2005 and winner of European women championship since 2006. With her partner Danièle Gaviard, she plays almost natural 5CM (Five card major).

 We ask: Catherine, the “General approach and style” of your system royally states: “5CM, 1 usually 4 unless 4-4-3-2”. In your Convention Card is written that the opening with five clubs and four diamonds sometime could be 1 instead of the longer club suit. When and why?

Catherine D’Ovidio replies:

Look at this hand: ªx ©Axx ¨AKxx §Jxxxx

If we open 1§ we don’t any rebid after 1ª response so we decided this sequence ‘can be canape’

 About this, the others say:

Sabine Auken (Germany): No comment.

Montserrat Mestres Rodriguez (Spain): Me too used opening 1 dia with 5 bad club + 4 dia, since the opening of club has very bad rebid.

Gabriella Olivieri (Italia): Many open 1with longer clubs, but we cannot. Our system is an artificial one: doing so, we could have problems if the auction would move onward.

Elena Mihova (Bulgaria): It doesn’t sound strange to me to open 1 with 5 clubs and 4 diamonds. Playing Precision with the same kind of hand we open 1. This bid gives the flexibility needed to find a fit at 2nd level in the right suit which is of great importance when the play is at score level. I suppose that for natural bidders it’s more important to show their point range than to show particular distribution, so 1♣ – 1X – 2 probably would show stronger hand.

The French Team: Catherine D’Ovidio, Danièle Gaviard, Sylvie Willard, Benedicte Cronier, Veronique Bessis, Jonna Neuve

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