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by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


 The 1999 Canadian (open) National Teams Championship (CNTC), and the Canadian Women's Team Championship (CWTC) were held in Toronto July 11-17, with the winners earning the right to represent Canada at the 2000 World Bridge Teams Olympiad in Maastricht, the Netherlands, next fall.

 Kraft: I hate to stir up the pot in our first week of columns, Kokes, but it's high time that I got this off my chest. For years I heard nothing but negative comments about the quality of women's bridge. Then, when I started to play with and against the finest women in the game, it became clear to me that most of what had been said amounted to a bad rap. For example, the most effective women are at least as aggressive as the men and often more so.


 Consider this deal from the Teams Finals:

Neither side vulnerable; North deals

  J 5 3
A 9 7 5 3
Q 10 2

 K 5

K Q 10 8 7 6 2
Q 6 4 2

9 3
A 4
K J 10 8
J 7 5

Q 10 7 4


A K 9 8 6 4 3

A J 8 6 2

West North East South
  Lacroix   Cimon
  Pass Pass 1
3 Pass Pass 4
Pass 4 Pass 5
Pass 5 Pass 6
All Pass      

 Opening Lead:

 In the CNTC Final, both Norths doubled 3
(negative), then converted South's 5 to 5. Both declarers played a high trump from hand and did not take the club finesse, losing a spade and a club for plus 400.

 In the CWTC final between GORDON (Dianna Gordon-Katie Thorpe, Francine Cimon-Martine Lacroix, Rhoda Habert-Beverly Kraft) and WINESTOCK (Sheri Winestock-Barbara Clinton, Barbara Saltsman-Nancy Koffler, Roisin O'Hara-Gloria
Silverman) both North/Souths reached 6


Martine's pass over 3 might seem conservative, but her spade length suggested Francine would be short there and reopen. Martine's courageous pass worked well when both partners were able to express their values accurately without undue strain. Francine played with care and skill after two rounds of spades. As East had not opened 2 (weak), Francine placed West with at least three hearts and seven spades, therefore at most three minor-suit cards. Starting clubs without touching trumps, Francine ruffed two clubs low, cashed the Q, and ruffed herself in to draw East's remaining trumps. Plus 920; 14 IMPs to GORDON when WINESTOCK's declarer followed the same line as the CNTC declarers for eleven tricks and minus 50.

 Two other reasonable variations: (1) lead the first trump to dummy's queen, then take two club ruffs with the deuce and ten; (2) play
K, Q, then K, club to the jack, club ruff to establish the suit.

 GORDON won the final by 92 IMPs. Gordon and Cimon will compete in their seventh consecutive Teams Olympiad (held every four years), a remarkable achievement. Although both are playing in new partnerships, they hope to do even better than they did in their last outing in 1996, when Canada won the bronze.

<Kokish: This aggressive stuff is vastly overrated in any case. But if it's the skill, intelligence, and bravery of women that you want to sell, I think you'll find some buyers out there. Just for the record, anyone would realize that the play in 6
would require more care than the play in game. It would be a bad rap of a different ilk to allege that the men would have gone down in slam if only they had bid a bit better.