THE Coffs Coast congress, played recently at the Opal Cove Resort in Coffs Harbour, NSW, is becoming one of the more popular events on the calendar, with close to 500 players participating. Part of the reason is that it is equally accessible to players in Sydney and Brisbane, but it is more than this. It is well run by the Coffs Harbour Bridge Club and the venue is good, giving the event a holiday atmosphere. It also has one feature that is rare these days: decent prizemoney. Perhaps there is a lesson there for others.
The regular players are also well provided for with restricted events and there was a lecture from Ted Chadwick and David Beauchamp. The one negative I would add is the format; why does everything have to be Swiss? But I’ll leave that to another day.
The pairs event was won by Sartaj Hans and Tony Nunn, while Erwin Otvosi, Kennet Christiansen, Paul Gosney and Nabil Edgtton won the teams. Otvosi and Christiansen were also on last year’s winning team.
On deal one, Christiansen made his 6NT with the help of a squeeze. His one club opening bid simply showed a strong hand and Otvosi’s one diamond showed 0-7 high card points. There was some uncertainty about the meaning of the four no-trump bid, with Otvosi choosing to reply five clubs to deny holding an ace.
West led a spade and Christiansen made the essential play of letting East hold the first trick. He won the spade continuation and ran West — pass pass all pass North — 1 5 East — 4 pass South 1 4NT 6NT his six diamond winners. In the five-card end game, West was unable to hold both three hearts and three clubs so Christiansen was home. West came down to a doubleton heart so the A K 7 took the last three tricks.
On deal two, Edgtton-Gosney picked up a swing when Edgtton elected to open one club on the South hand. With only 8 HCP, notwithstanding the good shape, it was an aggressive move to open at the one level. North’s one diamond showed hearts. It is becoming common these days to play transfer responses to an opening one club. Two diamonds was fourth suit forcing. That is, it simply said we are not going to stop short of game. The two spade bid showed that the spades were five cards long. This meant the clubs would be a six-card suit; with only five the opening bid would be one spade.
You actually want to have the slam played by North to protect the king of spades but there weren’t any problems making six clubs, with both black suits being well-behaved. Paul Marston