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Good play, Charlie

Orlando (Florida, USA), December 7th, 2010

Peter Gill, BTC’s correspondent for Australia, shares an interesting hand he played in the Bridge Studio of Lake Park B-A-M Teams at the Orlando Fall NABC. Sitting West Peter opened 1H, rebid 2NT over his partner’s 2D, ending the auction by 3NT over his partner’s 3C.

Gill continues: North led S4 to the ten, king and my ace. I played D10 which South correctly ducked, as North discarded H2. I recognized South as Antonio Sementa from Italy. I once heard someone say that Benito Garozzo describes Sementa as perhaps the world's best card player, so his diamond duck was routine. I continued diamonds to the queen and king, as North discarded H3. South continued SJ to my queen.

The passed hand South had turned up with DKJ, SKJ and at least one point in hearts, so CK must hundred percent for sure be with North. Why ‘at least one point in hearts?’ With KQJ or any strong heart holding, North would surely discard S2, not H2, to discourage spades. Wanting two entries to dummy, I had two possible plays:

- CQ - which North might duck, or
- a small club to the jack, which would be foiled only if North was genius enough to rise with CK on C3 to deny me my CJ entry to dummy.

I looked to see if their names were on their Convention Card, so I could tell if North was a super expert card player or not. No clues there. No clues form North's card play so far. The previous board? No, Board 7 was the first board of the round.

I decided to go with the odds that North, who did not look Italian, as not an expert card player. I had to discard from dummy on SQ. A club or a diamond. Being greedy, I threw C6 away, trying for 660. Then I played a small club towards the AJ9. In went CK, like a flash. Foiled!

Who was this guy? I won CA, played a club to the queen, ducked a heart to Sementa who cleared clubs to beat 3NT by a trick. Sementa said "Good play, Charlie."

After we played the next board, Antonio Sementa left the table, and I asked North if he was Charlie Weed, the outstanding expert whom I'd heard of, but never met. "Yes, I am" Charlie replied. I told him how I'd mistaken him for a normal card player and almost fell out of my seat when the brilliant CK play happened.

If I simply played CQ from hand like a normal person, I had many ways to make 3NT, perhaps even with an overtrick. The other table was in 5D for plus 600, so we lost the board.

My partner Martin Bloom and I returned to our teammates Sally Strul and Jo Morse to score up at Board A Match. "We've had a rockcrusher," Jo said. Perhaps your teammates often greet you with such news, but it doesn't happen often to me. We scored 20 out of 24, losing only one board, my stuff-up on Board 7. 17 wins, 6 halves and just one lost board.

This felt like enough to win the 83 team BAM event, but Patricia Cayne, Dano de Falco, Alfredo Versace and Lorenzo Lauria scored 20.5 out of 24 to win the event. My greed in 3NT was costly.



Great story...but

Thanks for sharing this hand with us, Peter. The only thought that stuck with me was if one should maybe not be inclined to credit someone considered good enough to partner Sementa in a tourney like this to be capable of finding this play? Smile

Antonio Sementa often plays

Antonio Sementa often plays minor events at American Nationals with clients - hence my wrong assumption.

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