I played against Swedish expert, Peter Fredin, in the 2010 Blue Ribbon Pairs. He sat down at the table and asked me if I remembered a deal I played against him from 2002. "How could I forget?" was my reply. It was one of My Favorite 52. Click for the excerpt of the story from the book version.
I was wondering why he would bring up such a negative (for him) memory. Incredibly, less than 20 seconds later, this deal hit our table:
A 9 7 4 2
Q 9 4 2
|9 4 3 2
J 10 8 3
A 7 6 4
10 8 7 4 3
K 10 8 5 2
|A K Q J 7 5
A K 5
In 4th chair, Fredin opened the South hand 2. North bid 2 waiting and Fredin rebid 3NT (he is a sneaky, action-seeking guy). North raised to 6NT.
Deja vu? My partner led the J and declarer took the first 12 tricks for all the matchpoints (actually it was 76.5 on a 77 top. Clinging to my diamonds saved us half a matchpoint).
Should partner have laid down the A? In retrospect, I guess so. Then it would have been down 4. I know that some pairs played 3NT on this deal, down on a club lead. Note that on the 4 lead from West, that East had better not insert the 10 at trick one!
Anyway, I think it is more than ironic that Fredin should mention the 2002 deal where 6NT was off the first 5 tricks, and seconds later he would bid to 6NT in such a similar situation. Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.
This report from the Daily Bulletin of the 2011 World Championships, brings up another Fredin classic:
The Fredin Double Revisited
by Jos Jacobs
On the last board of Round 12 of the Transnationals Qualifications, a Bulgarian pair who shall remain nameless almost successfully attacked the world record, set in 1997 at the Montecatini Europeans by Swede Peter Fredin. On that occasion, he had doubled his learned German opponents in 4, reached after a bidding misunderstanding,only to see them run to 7, which proved unbeatable.This is what happened here on Wednesday evening:
Board 30. Dealer East. None Vul.
This bidding may need some explanation. 2 was a forcing relay over the natural 1 and 2NT showed a non-minimum with good hearts. 3 was a further relay and 3 then showed South’s actual 6-4. Now North, knowing his partner to hold some high-card points, then immediately settled for 6NT. West, on lead, might have let this go but he doubled and who can blame him? North now realized that against 7, a known 4-4 fit, the doubler’s partner would be on lead and thus might have a problem. Maybe, he also realized that whenever you ran from such a double, going to 7 would give you the greatest chance of success, historically speaking…Helmich proved absolutely right when East duly led the J. NS +1630. There is a convention nowadays against this sort of auction. A double after such wild bidding simply asks for a lead in the higher of the two relevant suits. So the combination of the double of 6NT, followed by a pass of 7 would neatly solve the E/W problem.