January 19-22 2017


Copenhagen Bridge Invitational
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Top Battle

This moment may be decisive for the tournament. Leaders by a rather large margin, Israel's Yaniv Zack-Michael Barel, play aginst Bessis-Bessis.

In the recent break I asked Juan Carlos Ventin of Argentina who he thought would win the tournament now that he himself was chanceless. He replied like this:

"I love Bessis-Bessis. I believe in them because they always have a strong finish. They did it one month ago in London and I think they will do it again."


His guess for the runner's up would be the Israeli. Should they win, it would be a massive success for Barel, who also won the pro/am Thursday evening.


Juan Carlos gave me a hand from his and Swedish partner Frederic Wrang's round against Kasper Konow-Anders Hagen from Denmark:

12 S T 8 4 3
W/NS H T 8 3
  R K 9 3
  K 9 5 3
S 7 5 2   S Q J 9 6
H 6 2 H Q J 5 4
R Q 8 7 4 R A J 2
K Q J 6 4 K K 2
  S A K
  H A K 9 7
  R T 6 5
  K A T 8 7


Hagen Ventin Konow Wrang
1NT* D P P
2H* X 2S All Pass








*14-16 HCP

*Two-suited hand


With 4333 shape and vulnerable against not Ventin wisely decided to pass his partner's D of 1NT. The opponents ended in 2 peaceful spades.

Lead: S3

The lead went to the SJ and K. Wrang cashed the HK, getting a discouraging H3 from his partner. He now played a small club that ran to the king, and declarer continued clubs. Wrang cashed the KA, the HA, the SA and exited with a heart. Declarer was now stuck in dummy and also had to give up a diamond trick. A good ending after a start that could have resulted in a catastrophe, had Ventin chosen to bid after the double.


Going into the last round the Israeli look like winners. They gained 8 imps against Bessis-Bessis and now have a lead of 30 imps.


  Before the last round Runde Total Plac.
17 Michael Barel - Yaniv Zack 0 114 1
19 Thomas Bessis - Michel Bessis 0 84 2
14 David Gold - David Bakhshi -5 69 3
16 Marty Fleisher - Michael Kamil 20 62 4


Exhibitional Bridge

With three rounds to go the excitement is intact. The Israelians who have been battling in front most of the tournament now have lead of 22 imps to Bessis-Bessis who bid and made thre out of three slams in the last round. However this can change within one round. The overnight leaders Gotard-Piekarek from Germany have dropped to seventh place, and Askgard-Bjarnarson lost most of the imps they gained in the previous round.


Michael Barel - Yaniv Zack 10    103     1
Thomas Bessis - Michel Bessis 26 81 2
David Gold - David Bakhshi 15 78 3
Gregers Bjarnarson - Michael Askgaard -20 66 4
Peter Fredin - Björn Fallenius 20 47 5
Marty Fleisher - Michael Kamil -9 46 6
Josef Piekarek - Tomasz Gotard -10 42 7
Jon Baldursson - Thorlakur Jonsson 20 25 8
Sabine Auken - Roy Welland -17 23 9
Martin Schaltz - Lars Blakset 8 23 9


This hand is an example of the beauty of the bridge game:

7 S A 9 8 5 2
S/All H A 9 5
  R A 3
  K K 8 6
S J 3   S T 6
H Q T 8 7 6 3 H J 4 2
R J R T 8 5 4
K J 9 7 4 K A T 5 3
  S K Q 7 4
  H K
  R K Q 9 7 6 2
  K Q 2

(N is declarer)

Askgaard Hanlon   Hackett
P 1S P 3S
P 4NT* P 5K*
P 6S P P
All Pass      












*Asking for aces

*1 or 4 aces

Bertheau assumed his opponents were missing an ace and doubled hoping that his partner had either the RA or the SA or that they would think he was void in diamonds and do something silly. 6S is lay down so he did very well to double and make Jason Hackett run to 6NT.


After the D it is tempting to play E for JTxxx of diamonds, and in that case Bertheau's D would be genius. However Hanlon found a much safer ana elegant line:

Lead: H2

He took the lead with the HK and played SK, spade to his ace. Now he played a small club towards the queen. If E rises declarer has 12 tricks, so he is forced to duck with the KA. After winning the KQ Hanlon played a R to his ace, seeing the Jack. Now he could again choose to finesse the RT: however he simply cashed all his tricks and squeezed E to bare the KA and threw him in to play a R.


The Irish Misfortune

Tommy Garvey and John Carroll had a hard time in the 15th round against Danish pair Gregers Bjarnarson - Michael Askgaard who are now up to 2nd place 20 imps ahead of number 3 with four rounds to go.


On the first board the Irish ran into a 2K precision opening:


10 S T 7 5
E/All H A Q T 8
  R A K J 4
  K J 8
S J 6 3 2   S A K 8 4
H K 6 5 4 3 2 H J
R T R 7 6 3
K 6 4 K K Q T 5 3
  S Q 9
  H 9 7
  R Q 9 8 5 2
  K A 9 7 2


Askgaard Garvey Bjarnarson Carroll
    2K* P
P 2R P 3R
P 3NT All Pass  









* 10-15 with either 6+K or 5K and 4 in a major

Lead: K4


The lead went to the KT and declarer's ace. He has 7 top tricks and it seemed a good chance to play for the double finesse in hearts, assuming E had 4 spades. So a heart to the ten and the stiff jack and three down for -300 and -7 imps.


The next board was no consolation:

11 S 862
S/Ingen H EKB3
  R T76
  K B86
S B4   S KD5
H T96 H D752
R EKDB9 R 85432
K 432 K 5
  S ET973
  H 84
  K EKDT97

Askgaard Garvey Bjarnarson Carroll
2R 2S 3K* 4R*
D 4H 5R P
P 5H P 6S
All Pass      











* Transfer to diamonds

* Splinter


With two unavoidable spade losers the contract went down and Askgaard-Bjarnarson up to second place.


Having Zia for breakfast

The Danish juniors selected for this summer's international tournaments are practising at the Tivoli Hotel while the stars play. It is an excellent opportunity for the young players to be close to the stars and sense the atmosphere of an international event such as the Copenhagen Bridge Invitational.

And is there a junior in the world who does not dream of a private bridge lecture with Zia Mahmood?


Right after breakfast he gave the juniors a pep talk. The theme was the four F's in bridge:



First of all: Have fun. According to Zia that is the most inportant thing in bridge.



Bridge is about being able to keep a constant focus during play. If declarer takes a long break during play, it means there is a problem. Use that break yourself to figure out where it is buried.



Forgetting a bad board is the biggest challenge in bridge. The world's best all struggle not to let a bad board affect the next board.



If you do all of the above and it is still not working, you walk out the door, look up to blue and sunny sky and scream "FUUUUUUUUCK"


Thank you for enlightening us, Zia.



To be or not to be vulnerable

Early Sunday morning the Danish world junior champions Dennis Bilde - Emil Jepsen play against Lille world champions Fredrik Nyström - Johan Upmark.

The players are gently teasing each other in their respective Scandinavian languages.


Vulnerable against not Johan Upmark picks up this hand after Jepsen has opened.

S T 9 6 3 2  H A K Q 9 8 5  RK 7

Your bid?

6 S 84
Ø/ØV H T62
  R ED3
  K ET832
S T9632   S KDB5
H EKD985 H 3
R 7 R T9542
K 7 K DB5
  S E7
  H B74
  R KB86
  K K964


Upmark picked up 3H from his bidding box, turned the board so Bilde in next hand became vulnerable and looked at him as if to say "taste that". Bilde gave him a long look, then jumped to 5K and turned back the board, putting the pressure on Nyström. He decided to double with the remark:"Now you have to decide whether or not you want to be vulnerable."

Upmark led the A, K, and after the Q cashed as well, Nyström remarked: "That was a good start for me", all laughing. The contract went down 2 when clubs were 3-1, however that also meant that EW were cold for 4S.


  The current top 3 Runde Total Plac.
17 Michael Barel - Yaniv Zack 14 74 1
14 David Gold - David Bakhshi -1 64 2
1 Gregers Bjarnarson - Michael Askgaard 13 55 3


Bilde vs. Bessis

Bilde and Bessis are already world champions and among the stars of the future. The first board of their encounter was this cute little slam:


17 S A J 4 2
N/None H Q J 7 3
  R 9 7 6
  K T 8
S Q 9 7   S K T 8 6 5
H A K T 2 H 9 6 5
R K Q J T R A 8 2
K A K K B 3
  S 3
  H 8 4
  R 5 4 3
  K Q 9 7 6 5 4 2

(the board is not rotated due to time pressure so W is declarer)

T. Bessis Bilde M. Bessis Jepsen
  P P 3K
D P 4S P
4NT P 6NT All Pass








Lead: K10

The lead went to the KJ, Q and ace. Thomas Bessis played the SQ, Dennis playing the S4, his partner his stiff S3. Thomas played the S9, Dennis playing the S2 in the attempt to lure Thomas into thinking he had Axx from the beginning. However Thomas let the S9 run and made his slam.




28 S K Q T 7 2
W/NS H K 8 3
  R J 4 2
  K A 3
S 4 3   S A J 9
H A Q 9 6 H 7 4 2
R K 9 6 3 R A Q 5
K K 8 5 K Q T 7 2
  S 8 6 5
  H J T 5
  R T 8 7
  K J 9 6 4

(due to lack of time W is declarer)

Fredin Brogeland Fallenius Zia
1K 1S 3S P
3NT All Pass    







3S was encouraging 3NT, happily bid by Fredin.

Lead: SK


Fredin ducked the lead and Brogeland continued with a small S to dummy's jack. Although diamonds are 3-3 Fredin still needed two tricks from either hearts or clubs. There was a genuine risk that N had both the H K and K A as entries to his spade suit. How would you attack the suits? Fredin cashed three diamonds and played a club to the queen and ducked the next round to the bare ace. 9 tricks worth 7 imps.



  Current top 3 Runde Total Plac.
15 Josef Piekarek - Tomasz Gotard 23 69 1
14 David Gold - David Bakhshi 1 65 2
16 Marty Fleisher - Michael Kamil 4 65 2


Two Slams with Crown

By Ana Roth

February 22, 2013: Today is the first day of the main event of the II Copenhagen Bridge Invitational. This is an IMPs-Pairs tournament with matches of 8 boards each. Today we bring you two slams that we could follow in the VG of BBO.




After two Pass, Martin Schaltz opened his hand with a 1 bid, Dennis Bilde begun to describe his hand with a double and South raised the bets with a 3 bid showing 5 or more diamonds and a weak hand. Jepsen seeing his 4 diamonds immediately concluded:

1) his partner had a diamond void.

2) and all his values and distribuiton was useful

So he showed his squalid 6 clubs. Dennis declared the spade slam.

Lead: A.


When declarer saw the dummy and the lead, located the missing high cards in opener’s hand and played accordingly. Ruffed the lead, continued with the A, ruffed a heart with the A and followed with a club to his Q. Ruffed another heart in dummy and returned to his hand ruffing a diamond. Now was trump time (4 rounds), North after the first two rounds of spades, pitched two diamonds. Now Bilde played his Q, and Schaltz had to win with his king and play club and give declarer his 12 trick and a very deserved 980 score.


In another table Hanlon & Hackett also arrived to the spade slam and Hanlon, the declarer, played a similar and also winning line. The same lead A. Hanlon ruffed to continue with to the A, heart finesse to the Q and ruffed a heart in dummy. Now club finesse, and trump time. Fleisher in North, in the first trump round played his 7, in the next two he pitched diamonds, and in the third one knowing what was going on he through a heart, but that made declarer’s 9 the 12 trick. If he would have pitched a diamond the end would have been exactly as Bilde’s end…


In the second match of the day N/S Fredin-Fallenius vs T.Bessis-M.Bessis in E/W.

In the last hand of their match F-F developed a nice bidding sequence and reached a nice slam:




After an initial Pass from Thomas Bessis, Peter Fredin opened the bidding with a 1 bid, meaning:

1=2+, if BAL can have 5 + , but cant have 5 or .

Fallenius answered 1= Relay, inviting or better. Fredin redeclared 1NT Bal:

11-13, No 5 clubes (332), posible 5 (332) or 17-19.

The 2 were a relay FG and the 3 showed the 17-19 PH with 5 clubes (332).

3 another relay. After Fredin’s 3NT, Fallenius invited to slam with 4 forcing a 4 answer, to continue 4NT, showing a better hand than if he would have said 4NT directly.


Fredin accepted the invitation asking partner to chose the slam, when Falleniues suggested to play in spades, Fredin’s doubleton… he change to 6NT.

Declarer received a heart lead, he won in his hand and continued with the spade finesse and when it worked claimed 12 tricks.


Contributed by Ana Roth for cbsnews.org. See original article


Day 1: The silence has entered the Tivoli Hotel

By: Christina Lund Madsen

On the first day of the main event of the Copenhagen Bridge Invitational the dress code has been downgraded and the play upgraded.


A kibitzer remarked to another: "The man you see standing right there with his slippers on is the best player in the world." He was talking of Zia who was highly amused about this hand:


2 S K T 9 7 6 4
Ø/NS H 6 2
  R 7 3
  K T 4 3
S Q 3   S A J 8 5 2
H 7 4 H Q 8 5
R T 9 8 R Q 4
K K Q 9 8 7 6 K A J 2
  H A K J T 9 3
  R A K J 6 5 2
  K 5


First I will give you the auction at the table where Kamil - Fleisher played against Jens Auken - Søren Christiansen:

Auken Fleisher Christiansen Kamil
    1S 2S
P 3K P 3S
P 4K P 4S
P 5K P 5R
P 6K P


All Pass      












How do you bid this hand? My initial thought as Kamil presented the problem was "Should I bid 6R or 6H?" Kamil would try to give his partner a chance to get out below slam. 3K was P/C and now Kamil gave it two tries before he settled for game. However where many fear that their partner will think that after bidding 2,3,4S it is natural, Kamil had instead convinced his partner that he had clubs. So now they ended in slam despite Kamil's admirable efforts.


The auction was somewhat different for Zia - Brogeland against Schaltz - Blakset. Zia overcalled 2H to lure his opponents, thinking with such distribution he would never be let to play there. So he earned a well deserved 200 points for 11 tricks and said to his patient Norwegian partner "I bet you we'll make a plus score on this hand." Boye knowing Zia tends to be right did not take the bet.


He was almost right, however had to give up 3 imps since 5 pairs stopped in game and 4 went off.


The Gus Hansen System

By: Ana Roth

In the Pro/Am the organization decided to show the defending champions: pokerstas Gus Hansen and Tom Hanlon during all rounds to watch one of the world’s most lethal poker players’ approach to bridge.
Although the partnership’s system was not published anywhere on the Internet, we learned that the system they were playing was developed by Gus Hansen (the non professional bridge player) and emailed to Tom Hanlon (the professional bridge player) on February 7, 2013. These were some of their characteristics:
1) 1 Opening = 9-13 or 14+ with 4+ clubs,
2) Opening: 1R, 1H, 1S = 4+ and 14+ HCP.
3)  1NT Opening = 18+
4) All doubles over 2K or better = penalty
The tournament was divided into two segments of 14 boards each, with a 30 minute break between the two segments. At the end of the first half the defending champions were in fifth position with 89 points accumulated, though far behind the leaders who had 159 points. The second segment was not good for our protagonists whose system played against them in several boards, and their opps were too lucky in many of the other boards.
One hand in which their system helped them to earn 23 points out of the 25 at stake was board 20:

20 S A K Q J
W/All H A 9 7
  R J T 6 5
  K A J
S 8 6 4   S T 9 5
H K 6 3 2 H 8 4
R A Q 3 2 R K 7 4
K K 6 K 9 7 4 3 2
  S 7 3 2
  H Q J T 5
  R 9 8
  K Q T 8 5

Foss Hanlon Christiansen Hansen
1R D P 1H
1NT D 2K D
P P 2R P
P D All Pass  










All doubles above 2K are penalty, so Hansen passed the third one happily and scored  +1100.
A hand in which the system made them lose several points was board 24, where they didn't find a cold game since Hansen couldn't double.

24 S 8 4
W/None H A K T 6 3
  R J 8 2
  K A Q 2
S A Q 5 3 2   S K T 7
H Q 9 H 5 4 2
R K 6 4 R 9 5 3
K 8 7 6 K J T 5 4
  S J 9 6
  H J 8 7
  R A Q T 7
  K K 9 3

Kiær Hanlon Carroll Hansen
1S 2H 2S 3H
All Pass      







Kiær opened 1S and Hanlon competed with 2H but when Carroll raised his partner with 2S, Hansen couldn't double to invite to game and chose to bid 3H. They were lucky that the defense didn't take all their tricks and they could score 200, but the hand still cost them 11 points and left them with no hope of recovery before the last round.

Impressions of the pro/am

I will leave it to David Gold of England to describe the CBI pro/am:

"I shook hands with a Prince, I played bridge against Gus Hansen. I doubled him in three hearts and they only made nine tricks although they were cold for ten. I had an incredible evening. I have never been to an event like this before."

David forgot to mention that he played with the most beautiful girl in the room, placed 5th and won three silver candlesticks from Danish designer Georg Jensen.


The pro/am tournament was won by Helle Rasmussen and Michael Barel from Israel. Helle plays on the national women's teams and to put it in Barel's words: I know I am so lucky to have her as a partner at this event. I checked the last hours of the auction every second minute to see if she was outbidden."


A battle at the auction and a battle for the win. Now Barel's main challenge is how to bring home the enormous silver bowl he received as winner of the event. 


The Prince with blue blood

By Christina Lund Madsen

In this moment I sit behind Thomas Bessis of France who is playing with HRH the Prince Consort of Denmark. As I arrived at the table they were playing against Marty Fleisher and Jens Krusaa, who were among the leaders. I could sense a distinct tension and witnessed the most vibrating auction so far this evening:

S / ALL  


  K 8 5
   T 7 5
   T 9 8 6

 A 9 2


 9 6  A J T 7 4 3
 Q 9 6 4 3  -
 B 4 2  A 7 5 3
 6 5 3  J 8 4


 Q 2

   A K J 8 2
  K Q
   K Q T 7


Krusaa Bessis Fleisher HRH
P 2 2 4
P P 4 D
All Pass    














An aggressive auction by HRH rewarded by +21 out of 25 after gaining 800 for down three.


I had just uploaded the board above when HRH with his contagious smile informed me of a new RD:

14 S 2
E/None H A 7
  R Q J T 6
  K A Q T 7 6 2
S T   S J 9 7 3
H Q 6 3 2 H K T 8 5 4
R 8 7 5 4 2 R E K 9 3
K 8 4 3 K
  S A K Q 8 6 5 4
  H B 9
  K K B 9 5
Johansen Bessis Jakobsen HRH
All Pass      









12 tricks and a magnificent score of 1280 and plus 25 out of 25 possible. David Gold - Nadia Koch were in the somewhat more ambitious contract of 6, also doubled. However they forgot to redouble. And by the beauty of bridge their 1210 for a doubled slam making could not beat a game redoubled making with two overtricks.


 HRH the Prince Consort of Denmark at the CBI pro/am 2013


Danmarks Bridgeforbund - T: 4847 5213 - F: 4847 6213 - E: dbf@bridge.dk