Mark Horton

Spingold report Part 1

Here are some highlights from the Spingold Teams at the ACBL summer nationals in Nashville.

All Quiet on the Eastern Front

The first set of the Round of 16 match between Cayne (the #2 seed: Charlie Weed NPC, James Cayne and Michael Seamon, playing with Italians Alfredo Versace and Lorenzo Lauria, and Fulvio Fantoni and
Claudio Nunes) and Mahaffey (the #18 seed: Jim Mahaffey and Mark Lair, playing with China’s Zhao Jie and Fu Zhong, and Sweden’s Fredrik Nystrom and Peter Bertheau) was a low scoring affair (27 to 14), but there were many points of interest. This deal shows how keeping quiet can sometimes be effective. At one table East overcalled and at the other East passed:

QJ104 A9752
QJ86 97432
432 QJ
K7 Q


Bertheau Lauria Nystrom Versace
1 1 Pass
2 2NT Pass 3NT
All Pass

East led the 5 and declarer won in hand with the king. There was no time to play on clubs so declarer simply cashed the top diamonds and must have been delighted with East’s contribution. He claimed 10 tricks and +430. Notice it would do declarer no good to take a finesse in diamonds on the second round, since if East held a singleton honor, West would hold four of them.

Cayne Lair Seamon Mahaffey
1 All Pass

Declarer made the same ten tricks for +130, but that was 7 imps for Cayne.

On this deal, North-South in the Closed Room had an accident but survived:

Q10874 K5
A8 9642
J75 10862
J52 1096


In the Open Room, Lauria opened 1NT with the North cards and was soon in 3NT, +690. In the Closed Room:

West North East South
1 Pass 1
Pass 2NT Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 3NT
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 5 Pass 5
Pass 6 All Pass

West needed to lead a spade to defeat this contract, but he tried the 5 and now declarer could win and attack trumps. West took the first round and played a second diamond. Declarer won, drew trumps and with fingers crossed set about the clubs. The 3-3 split meant he was +1430 – 12 imps to Mahaffey, who trailed 27-14 at the end of the set.

Mark Horton is a professional player/writer.
Enquiries can be sent to him at

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