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by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


 The first World Junior Teams Championship, played in Amsterdam, attracted a field of only five teams. The event, staged every two years, has grown significantly since then, with the high water mark for participation (18 teams) coming in 1997, when Hamilton, Ontario was the gracious host.

 There are 17 entries (more than 100 players, no older than 26) for the 1999 WJC, slated for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, August 9-18. Both Canada and the USA have been allotted two teams, with Italy, Israel, Norway, Denmark, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Australia and Central America (pairs from Colombia, Venezuela and Martinique) completing the field

 Canada's teams have usually been serious contenders for the Ortiz-Patino trophy, with our best performance a silver medal in Ann Arbor in 1991.

 Canada 1 (David Halasi-Mike Nadler, Ben Zeidenberg-Darren Wolpert, David Grainger- David Brower, with co-captains Jonathan Steinberg and Les Amoiles) has acquitted itself particularly well in recent outings in North America and Europe, and has the experience and confidence to reach the knockout stage. Canada 2 (Ian Boyd-Erin Anderson, Craig Barkhouse-Colin Lee, Josh Heller-Gavin Wolpert, with Eric Sutherland as non-playing captain) is a younger, less experienced team that has been forced to shuffle its partnerships. Despite some notable achievents, Canada 2 will start as an underdog to survive the round robin.

 USAII has some very good players and all the European teams are strong. Australia usually sends a capable team. The Far East teams might surprise, as might Brazil, a team with a couple of very sound players.

Neither side vulnerable; West deals


  A K 10 6 2
Q 6 3
9 4 3

J 6

8 4
K Q J 5 2
A K 8 5 3
Q J 9 3
K J 7 5
10 7 6

10 2

  7 5
A 10 8 4 2
A 8

Q 9 7 4


West North East South
  Wooldridge   Heller
1 1 1NT 2
3 3 Pass Pass

 Today's deal features Josh Heller (Canada 2) and Joel Wooldridge (USAII), who joined forces to compete in the 1999 World Junior Pairs in Prague, Czech Republic in July. They topped the under-20 category and were seventh in the overall rankings (176 pairs). Josh was also one of four players presented with a World Bridge Federation Youth Award for all-around excellence at this year's World Junior Bridge Camp.

 West cashed two clubs against Heller's 3
contract and, despite East's high-low, switched to the K when a third club would have been more effective. Declarer won the A, crossed to the A, and called for the 3, planning to play the ten if East followed low. East played the jack, however, so declarer took his ace, noting the fall of the nine. He went to the K, ruffed a spade, and exited with a diamond, won by West, who belatedly played a third club. Declarer ruffed with dummy's queen and East erred by overruffing. Now declarer could ruff the spade return, draw trumps with the eight and ten, and cash a club for plus 140 and a near top.

 If East withholds the
K, maintaining the same trump length as declarer, he will be able to force the closed hand later or come to a second natural trump trick on power, defeating the contract in either case.