ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

MAASTRICHT , HOLLAND , MARCH 2000

 

 

The history of sports and games is littered with examples of matches played at a time of political unrest. A few have increased tension (e.g. the Hungary —Soviet Union water-polo battle at the 1956 Olympics and the El Salvador Honduras soccer World Cup qualifier of 1969) but the majority pass peacefully. This bridge match, in the fourth round of the Transnational Mixed Team Championships, was an example of the latter. It was reputedly the first time that teams representing Israel and Palestine had met in any kind of sporting contest.

The Palestine Bridge Federation was founded in 1995. Five years later it had about 100 members, representing most of the main cities of the West Bank and East Jerusalem . Three of their six-person squad came from East Jerusalem and the others from Ramalla, Nablus and Bethlehem . The four Israelis were from Tel Aviv (two), Petah Tikva and Givatayim.

The powerful Israeli team were the favorites to win the match, but the outcome was closer than anticipated. A low-scoring match ended 18—12 Victory Points in favour of Israel .

The bidding and play for this hand was the same at each table, but the hand has one interesting question: Should East—West sacrifice in Seven Diamonds (despite the unfavorable vulnerability)?

 

 

Dealer North

ª

K 9 3

 

 

 

EW Vulnerable

©

 A 8 5

 

 

 

 

¨

 4 2

 

 

 

 

§

 K Q 9 5 4

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

ª

8 7 6 5 4

 

 

ª

10

©

 

 

W                          E

©

7 6 2

¨

K 8 6 5 3

 

 

¨

A Q J 10 9 7

§

A 10 7

 

 

§

8 6 2

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

ª

A Q J 2

 

 

 

 

©

K Q J 10 9 4 3

 

 

 

 

¨

 

 

 

 

 

§

J 3

 

 

W

N

E

S

 

 

1§

2¨

2©

 

5¨

NO

NO

6©

 

NO

NO

NO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both Wests led a diamond and both Souths had little trouble making Six Hearts with a diamond ruff, three rounds of trumps, four top spades, one club (after losing to +A) and three more hearts. Six Hearts scored 980 points.

The strange thing was that Seven Diamonds went either three off (on an unlikely club lead) or two off on any other lead (if dummy's fifth spade is cannily set up). Assuming the contract was doubled, the sacrifice would have cost either 8(X) points or 500 points.

As Andrew Robson commented, after reviewing the hand in The Times (25 June 2001): You will probably only rarely see an example of a profitable sacrifice of Seven over Six when you are vulnerable and your opponents are not.'

return to homepage