One of my "underdogs" (see Tuesday's post) will be in the Spingold final tomorrow. However the cost of today's dog fight will be the lost of my other remaining underdog today.
At the top level of bridge we see that bidding agreements matter.
In the Round of 32, Lynch vs. Markowicz match, these were the pair of hands on board 9:
Both pairs got to 6 for a push. The question is whether your agreements are sophisticated enough to handle not only this particular deal, but the hands where we slightly vary the cards, such as:
In a match yesterday, the fantastic BBO Vugraph coordinator and commentator Roland Wald remarked that this is not the event to start inventing bids in. He wasn't talking about this next board but could have been:
White vs. red DeKnijff - Wrang bid this 1C-(1H)-2C-(3H)-4H-5NT-7D-(X), for down 1 and lose 11 IMPs to the 3NT +490 in the other room. As the commentators noted, 3NT is down on a heart lead, but after the auction 1C-3NT, a spade was led from a doubleton instead of leading from longest and strongest.
Key here is having sophisticated enough agreements to get to a minor suit small slam instead of 3NT, and to have the meta agreements in place to cover bids such as 5NT on the above auction. It looks like one meant it as "pick a slam partner", while the other took it as a grand slam invite of some sort. Yet another hand to file away under the heading: Don't bid grands unless you are a lock for the contract. The De Knijff team lost by one IMP.
The system base can deliver swings too:
The Blanchards (Robert and Shane) playing for the Rigal team arrived at a one heart contract with one standard bid:
For the Lynch team, the Poles (and pseudo Russians when playing on Russian national team) Balicki and Zmudzinski used a Polish club system to get to 4S:
1C(weak NT OR 4-4-4-1 exactly OR 15+ natural OR 17/18+ any)-
1H(can be as short as 3 if weak notrump and no 4cM, can be 17/18-21 with 4+Hs)-
1S(spades, not enough to bid 7+ 1S over 1C)-;
The pointed suits were friendly enough for +620 and 11 IMPs, on their way to a win and a semi-final match against the Meltzer team. However is this a question of base system, or allowing light but shapely responses to one level openings? Style can matter too, and the semi-finals will be fun to watch to find out what really matters to win.