Bridge and Cross­word

Country Life Every Week - - Contents - An­drew Rob­son

AL­THOUGH the English Open team fell away to fin­ish a dis­ap­point­ing 10th (out of 37) in the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest, the English Women won the Gold Medal, an­other fab­u­lous per­for­mance by them and putting us to shame.

The Eng­land Se­niors (over 60) also fin­ished tenth (out of 24), like us out­side the top seven and a qual­i­fy­ing place for the fol­low­ing year’s World Cham­pi­onships. Wales fin­ished 33rd in the Open Se­ries, didn’t field a Women’s team and fin­ished 21st in the Se­niors. Scot­land fin­ished 35th in the Open, 16th (out of 23) in the Women’s and 19th in the Se­niors.

The last-chance saloon for the Open team came in the penul­ti­mate match, against Italy, both teams need­ing a big win for a top­seven fin­ish. The Ital­ian cap­tain ap­par­ently be­fore­hand told the young pair who played us to ‘bid ev­ery­thing’ and all their slams duly came home.

We would have lost 20–0 had it not been for part­ner Tony For­rester land­ing this Six Hearts to­ward the end of the fate­ful match.

West led a trump, de­clarer win­ning dummy’s seven, see­ing East dis­card (a Club) to re­veal the 3–0 split. At trick two, he ruffed a club (East play­ing low). He cashed the Ace-king of Spades, dis­card­ing a Di­a­mond from dummy and ruffed a third Spade. He ruffed a sec­ond club and led his fourth Spade.

If West ruffed, de­clarer would over­ruff with dummy’s ten, ruff a third Club (high) in case West had a third Club, then cross to dummy’s Queen of Hearts to lead a Di­a­mond to his ten. West, stripped of all his non-di­a­monds, could win the Knave, but then have to lead a sec­ond Di­a­mond round to de­clarer’s Ace-queen. Slam made.

In prac­tice, West didn’t ruff the third Spade and now de­clarer had an­other way to win. He dis­carded a Di­a­mond from dummy, an el­e­gant Loser-on-loser play. East could win and do what he liked, but de­clarer could cash the Ace of Di­a­monds and have a high cross­ruff. Slam made.

A fine lead by West de­feated Five Clubs on our ul­ti­mate Bu­dapest deal.

If West had led a nor­mal Ace of Di­a­monds, de­clarer would have ruffed, cashed the Ace-king of Clubs, felling West’s Queen, and led the Queen of Spades. East would win the King and (say) lead a sec­ond Spade, but de­clarer would win dummy’s Ace-knave, shed­ding a Heart, then lead a Heart to the ten. This fi­nesse against the Knave would suc­ceed and merely the Ace of Hearts would be con­ceded. Game made.

Know­ing from the auc­tion that few, if any, Di­a­monds would live, West in­stead be­gan brightly with the ten of Spades. Pre­sum­ing (rightly) that the Spade fi­nesse was doomed, de­clarer rose with dummy’s Ace and, his last time in dummy, at trick two led a Heart (as he had to), plan­ning to fi­nesse the ten (as he had to).

East alertly rose with the Ace, cashed the King of Spades and led a third Spade. This pro­moted West’s Queen of Clubs into the third de­fen­sive trick. Down one.

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