Bridge World Extra! Newsletter

CHALLENGE THE CHAMPS

Challenge the Champs is a continuing bidding battle in which leading pairs compete, bidding deals from actual play (taken from old tournament reports or submitted by readers). Awards assigned to final contracts are estimates of the matchpoint expectancy on a 12 top in a strong pairs contest.

ROBERT LIPSITZ AND NEIL SILVERMAN
vs.
MIKE PASSELL AND GENE FREED

Our Champs are Robert Lipsitz and Neil Silverman, who were holders of the Rosenblum Cup when they bid this match. LIke many expert pairs, they use Bridge World Standard with a lot of gadgets and a few home-brewed variations, notably in this case a wide spectrum of artificial high-level openings at the two, three and four levels. In an earlier match, the Champs had one of the highest scores ever recorded in this feature.

The Challengers are Mike Passell and Gene Freed. Passell has been an international star for many years; his partnership with Freed was relatively new when this match was bid, but had already been a force in national events. The Challengers also use Bridge World Standard, with only a few special frills.

East dealer
North-South vulnerable

WEST
S 4
H A J 5
D Q 9 7 5 4 2
C A J 8
EAST
S 10 9 8 6 5 3
H 9 4 2
D A K
C K 7
Silverman
--
1 D
2 D
Lipsitz
Pass
1 S
3 D
Passell
--
2 D
2 NT
2 NT
Freed
1 S
2 S
3 S
Pass

This was not the right time to avoid a light, distributional opening with the East cards, but we agree with Lipsitz' decision. In spite of the spade spots, which afford some security, the East hand has minimum high-card values, and they are all in short suits. The East hand got bigger when West rebid diamonds, but there wasn't anything to be done about it. In spite of the side aces, West, with awful diamonds, could hardly do more.

For the Challengers, Passell, West, took a slightly optimistic view in driving to game. His aces on the side were positive features; still, he had a misfit, and his own suit was weak. However, East's minimum opening proved to be just what the doctor ordered, justifying Freed's irreducible opening bid. Few did as well in the 1985 Epson Open Pairs.

Awards:
3 NT 10
2 NT 8
3 D 6
2 S 4
4 D 3
3 S 2
5 D 1



South dealer
East-West vulnerable

WEST
S 7 6
H A K Q 4
D A 8
C Q J 9 6 3
EAST
S 10 9 3
H 10 9 5
D K Q J 10 9 4
C 4
Silverman
1 NT
2 D
Lipsitz
2 C
Pass
Passell
1 H
2 C
Pass
Freed
1 NT
2 H

Silverman's choice of one notrump with five-four distribution and weak doubletons strikes us as quite eccentric. However, he may have been influenced by the awkwardness of the other choices: a one-heart opening would show at least a five-card suit; a one-club opening would leave him badly placed after a one-spade response. Meanwhile, one notrump worked out fine. Lipsitz, East, used Puppet Stayman. West's two diamonds denied a five-card major, and East felt it was not worth his while to invite game.

For the Challengers, Passell thought one heart came closest to describing his hand. No quarrel from us. Expecting hearts to be playable at any low level, Freed sensibly ignored diamonds and used a sequence that showed his strength in support of hearts. West, with extra high-card values but a short trump suit, saw no game possibilities opposite a weak sequence.

Awards:
3 D 10
4 D 6
2 H 5
4 H 5
1 NT 3
3 H 3
5 D 2
2 NT 2








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