As in the recent running of the Kentucky Derby, the favorites never emerged from the pack in the Florida finals of the Grand National Team Championships held in Tampa, May 2-4. The dark-horse team of Helen Shanbrom (Tamarac), Richard Pavlicek Jr. (Ft. Lauderdale), Julius Freilich (Miami Beach) and Stanley Friedberg (Hollywood) captured the event with impressive wins against formidable opposition. This team will represent Florida in the national finals in Toronto, July 16-19, and curiously includes the oldest player (Freilich, 75) and the youngest player (Pavlicek Jr., 16) ever to do so.
Helen Shanbrom and my son only recently developed a partnership, and their results have been remarkable. Shanbrom is a very experienced player with over 6000 masterpoints; but more important, her easy-going personality allows the kid to play his best. They both bid aggressively, and it often takes careful play (plus a little luck) to bring home an optimistic contract, as in todays deal.
Shanbrom, South, stretched to respond 2 NT to my sons skimpy opening bid, resulting in a game with only 23 HCP. Nothing to worry about! Shanbrom brought it home in typical fashion.
West led a heart; eight; nine; king; then the spade queen was led to Easts king. East returned a heart and declarer allowed West to win the jack. West now could have beaten the contract with a diamond shift; but this was not obvious, and West returned a heart to dummys ace. Declarer led the club 10, covered by Easts king, and South ducked to keep East on lead. East could do no better than return a spade, won by Souths 10. The club ace was led to reveal the bad break, dummys spades were cashed, then the club finesse gave declarer her contract.
This resulted in a gain of 10 international matchpoints when the opposing team routinely played in a partscore.
© 1986 Richard Pavlicek