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Cruise Control

Cruise Control

Marty Fleisher’s crew skates to Vanderbilt win

2018 ACBL President Jay Whipple (center, jacket) presents the Vanderbilt Trophy to (from left) Brad Moss, Joe Grue, Eric Greco, captain Martin Fleisher, Chip Martel and Geoff Hampson.

The squad led by captain Marty Fleisher won the 2018 Vanderbilt Knockout Teams following a blowout in the first quarter of the final against Nick Nickell and company, who were the defending champions. FLEISHER – the No. 2 seed in the event – won the opening set 56–0 and went on to defeat NICKELL by a final tally of 133 to 95.
Playing with Fleisher was partner Chip Martel and teammates Brad Moss–Joe Grue and Geoff Hampson– Eric Greco. The now-familiar lineup for Nick Nickell was Ralph Katz, Jeff Meckstroth–Eric Rodwell and Robert Levin–Steve Weinstein.
Both squads had relatively smooth sailing throughout the early rounds. Indeed, there were fewer upsets overall in the 2018 contest, producing a rare final in which the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds
faced off. This is Fleisher’s second Vanderbilt win; the first was in 2011, with Martel (who has seven wins in the contest) as a teammate. Grue also has two Vanderbilt titles. For Moss, Greco and Hampson, it was their first Vanderbilt victory.

Semifinal Round

In the penultimate round, FLEISHER met 2017 Spingold winners John Diamond–Brian Platnick and Boye Brogeland–Espen Lindqvist. FLEISHER picked up 12 IMPs on this freak layout from the first
quarter:

Dlr: East ♠ K 8 6 4
Vul: E-W K J 8 3 2
Bd: 6 8 2
♣ 7 4
♠ — ♠ 10 9 5
7 Q 10 6 5 4
A K J 10 9 4 3 7
♣ A K Q 6 5 ♣ 10 8 3 2
♠ A Q J 7 3 2
A 9
Q 6 5
♣ J 9
West
Diamond
North
Grue
East
Platnick
South
Moss
Pass 1NT
5 Dbl All Pass

The decision by Moss to open an unorthodox strong 1NT with his 6=2=3=2 pattern initially seemed to have backfired. Diamond was doubled in 5. He ruffed the opening spade lead, drew two rounds of trump and conceded a trump and a heart. Plus 750.
Moss had the last laugh, however, because East–West found the club slam at the other table after the normal 1♠ opening by South:

West
Hampson
North
Lindqvist
East
Greco
South
Brogeland
Pass 1♠
2NT 4♠ Pass Pass
5♠ Pass 6♣ All Pass

2NT was unusual for the minors, of course, and 5♠ commanded East to choose clubs or diamonds at the six level. On the ♠A opening lead, Greco had no trouble taking all 13 tricks. He ruffed the spade lead, drew trumps and ruffed out the Q, discarding all his hearts along the way. Plus 1390.
FLEISHER defeated DIAMOND 114–71.
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