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Bridge 1/7
The closest final of the year
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    The final of last year's World Transnational Open Teams was exciting. It was also truly transnational, pitting Victoria Gromova, Tatiana Ponomareva, Alexander Dubinin and Andrei Gromov from Russia, and Cezary Balicki and Adam Zmudzinski from Poland against Michel and Thomas Bessis (father and son) and Franck Multon from France, Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes from Italy, and Pierre Zimmermann from Switzerland.
    Zimmermann led by 23 international match points after 39 of the 48 boards. This was deal 40.
    After Zmudzinski (North) passed, Fantoni (East) could not open two spades, because that would have promised 10-13 high-card points. Then Balicki (South), despite his singleton, chose to open one no-trump (showing 15-17 points) because if he opened one diamond and partner responded one spade, he had no palatable rebid. North used Stayman to find the 4-4 heart fit, then invited game, which South accepted.
    Nunes (West) led the club queen. Declarer won with his ace and played a heart to dummy's nine. East took his king, cashed the spade ace, and returned his second club. South won with his king, drew trumps, and cashed dummy's diamond king. When West played the jack, the odds favored taking a second-round diamond finesse, but Balicki led a diamond to his ace. Why?
    If West had had a singleton diamond, he surely would have led it.
    At the other table, Gromov (East) opened two diamonds, showing a weak two-bid in either major — and it was passed out! Gromov went down six, but gained 4 imps.
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