Writers Choice May – Norwegian team Championships 2017

Vikersund - the winners

Among the Norwegian Bridgefederations yearly championship we find the popular team championship where all teams starts out as equals. 8 teams qualify for the final during six knock-out matches. The knockouts start in October and the tournament ends with the final during a weekend in May.

This year 231 teams entered the tournament and already in the first stage, some of the favorites was knocked out (Helgemo among others). This is the charm of the event, every match has its own nerve and all teams stand a chance to qualify.

The eight lucky finalist were a combination of previous champions and first timers. The final was played the last weekend of May in Bergen – the second largest city of Norway.

Seven of the teams have qualified thru six knockout matches, the eight team are players from the club that host the event. This year Bergen Akademiske BK was the hosting club and therefor had a team in the finals without go thru the knockouts.

Most expected the final to be a fight between the teams of VIKERSUND and TOPBRIDGE 5. These are strong teams experienced from the Norwegian premier league and ranked a step or two ahead of the other finalists. The final have no room for mistakes, you need to play on top to grab the medals.


It didn’t take long before entertainment came up. Sam Inge Høyland have been among the very best Norwegian bridgeplayers since the late 80’s. At this deal he gave the opponents the chance to fail, and so they did!

Sam Inge Høyland had to play to his best as declarer at 4♥

I do not fancy norths bidding. Looking at all cards it seems like declarer has to give up 4 tricks in trump and clubs, but there was a way!

West led the ten of diamond, ace, small, small. A small heart came next to the jack and queen.

West continued with ♥ ace followed by another heart won by the nine.

Declarer played the position perfectly, he needed an endplay for a ruff and sluff to make.

He therefore continued with the ace of club (east needed to unblock the king, but who are up to that?) all followed low.

Diamond to the king was followed by a spade to the queen, the ace of spades and a spade were ruffed in hand.

The position had come down to this

South led a club and east found himself endplayed. He had to play spade or diamond; south discarded a Club, north ruffed!

Game bid and made was a solid start for Topbridge in the final.


Gunn Tove Vist is a familiar name to most people following the international women bridge. She has won the European Mixed teams and been a regular player at the Norwegian Ladies team the last few European and Nordic events.

At the Norwegian Team Championship, she played at the team from Studentenes BK. The team was by many ranked top 3 and expected to be in the medals. At the final the team did not play up to its best, they finished just short of the medals.

This board gave Gunn Tove a chance to shine, and so she did.

The modern opening of 3♥ sent them to a hopeless contract, we thought!

West led the ace of spades and turned a club. North took the ace and continued with ace-king of heart. A club ran to the queen. East did not pass the test when he failed to grab the queen of spade, instead he choose a diamond.

This was just what Gunn Tove had hoped for. She took the ace of diamonds, ruffed a diamond, ruffed a club and ruffed a diamond.

The position had come down to this

Now the time was there to play a spade. The opponents could choose who to win the trick. East would have to give a ruff and discard, and west would have to overtake partner’s queen.

The defense was lost and Gunn Tove could write the beautiful 620 and 10 IMP since the other team won 140 at the same board.


 

The hosting team did well in the tournament and finished third. This play surely made the spectators smile and gave Anders Dale the award for the best-played hand of the event.

All tables reached the spade game but only Dale found the way home. Dale, as west, became declarer.

North led 10♠ and Dale won with the ace. Next he played a club to the KING!

When he played another club south had no defense. He could not attach diamonds so he played a heart, Dale rose with the ace. He now could play another club and claimed his contract.

If Dale had misguessed the clubs and spent the jack north could have won with the queen and turned diamonds to hold the contract 1 down.


Final result

  1. Vikersund BK                                     102,34
  2. Topbridge BC                                    99,38
  3. Bergen Akademiske BK                 90,97
  4. Topbridge BC 3                                 80,64
  5. Studentenes BK                               67,68
  6. Stavanger BK                                     61,52
  7. Lundamo BK                                      38,09
  8. Kolbotn BK                                         19,38

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