The Stratford Schapiro Spring Foursomes, Britain’s premier event, was reaching the business end. Can you reduce your losers to three on this tricky Four Spades from the round of 16?
Declarer won West’s Knave of hearts lead with the King, then crossed to the Ace of hearts to run the Queen of Spades. The finesse successful (as it had to be, to stand a chance in this iffy Four Spades), declarer led the Knave of Spades to the King and Ace. he crossed to the ten of Spades and ruffed the nine of hearts to eliminate the suit.
At trick seven, declarer led the nine of Diamonds. West would have done better to have played low (smoothly), whereupon declarer may have run the nine, playing for West to have the Knave and east the King. West instead rose with the King and exited safely with a second Diamond.
Declarer won in hand with the Ace and Diamonds, crossed to dummy’s Queen and needed to restrict the opposing Club winners to two. he led a low Club from dummy, hoping east could not insert the nine. If east had played the Knave, declarer would have covered with the King, letting West win the Ace-queen, but give dummy the ten.
When east played low, declarer covered with the seven. West could win the nine and cash the Ace, but declarer’s King was promoted. Ten tricks and game made.
On our second deal from the quarter final, we see Kent’s Derek Patterson appreciate the value of his eight-seven-six of Clubs.
West tried to cash the Ace of hearts, declarer ruffing and cashing the Ace of Diamonds to draw trumps. east’s double of Five Diamonds suggested he held both top Clubs. It appears declarer must lose three Club tricks. however, look at declarer’s eight-seven-six.
If West held the ten-nine, declarer could restrict his Club losers to two.
At trick three, Mr Patterson led and passed the six of Clubs (key play). east won the King and switched to the six of Spades. Declarer could have run this to dummy’s nine, but elected not to risk the deep finesse and instead rely on Clubs to split. he finessed the Queen and led a second Club to the nine, Knave and Ace.
he won east’s King of Spades with the Ace, crossed to the (ten and) Queen of Clubs, ruffed a heart back to hand and cashed the thirteenth Club, discarding dummy’s losing Spade. eleven tricks and doubled game made.
Note that if declarer’s Clubs had been eight-seven-five-three (and east’s Ace-king-six), West would have to cover declarer’s seven (then eight) of Clubs with the nine and ten to promote east’s six.
My team (Allfrey) reached the semi-final, where we would meet the number-one seeded Zia Mahmood’s international quartet. If we won that match, we’d meet the Irish team for a repeat of last year’s final.