The next County Committee Meeting will be held,Wednesday 1 May 2019 at 7:00 pm in Nottingham Bridge Club.
Team Captains are invited to email match results to the appropriate League Secretary Jane Hall for Team of 8 results and
for Team of 4 results
Report by John Auld
The penultimate match of the 2017-18 season took us to rural Worcestershire.
The teams, with cross-imps courtesy of the Worcestershire website:
Ankush Khandelwal & Willie Crook 18
Steve Raine & Mark Goddard 14
Irene & John Auld -6
Sandy Fulton & Keith Rodgers -50
Lloyd Eagling & Stan Zydagio -7
John Rolph & Gerry Franklin -26
Graham Lee & Dick Milne -33
Keith Spencer & Steve Fordham -46
Graham Brindley & Clare Batten 36
Hannah Tuus & Ivan Brajkovic 0
Tony Stephenson & Michael Bleaney -5
Dorothy & Chris Close -8
We lost the Dawes match (narrowly) and the Porter (clearly) but won the Markham thanks mostly to a fine performance from Clare Batten & Graham Brindley, which is good to see as they normally sacrifice themselves as the standby pair.
The appeal of bridge is that it is a game of skill but also some luck and often comedy. Witness the extraordinary board 8 in this match:
Dick Milne was kind enough to provide details of his auction with Graham Lee. 2C was a strong unbalanced hand (nothing about clubs) and Graham's responses showed a postive hand with diamonds and hearts. Dick suggested 4S but Graham now used Key Card Blackwood to reach 6NT. Unsurprisingly Dick did not fancy that and decided that the moment had arrived to introduce his long suit; hence 7C. Who knows what Graham must have felt about that but he managed to pass. This remarkable sequence was followed by a remarkably lucky dummy play. Dick ruffed the heart lead and entered duummy by the only route; he ruffed the third round of spades with the CQ and picked up CKX.
One would suppose that noone else would stagger into the grand slam but Mark Goddard was sitting West in the Dawes team. He opened 1C (as would I) and heard North bid 2D which showed his shape in the red suits. "Thats strange" thought Steve Raine who passed to await developments. South bid 2H and Mark gave things a push with 4H, correctly interpreted by Steve who now bid 6C. Mark bid the seventh and replicated Dick's play. This line of play needs a spade break, the CK with the three spades, a club break and the CK onside. Less than 10% I calculate. The final insult to our opponents is that the chance of a singleton CK is clearly higher at 12.5% so our declarers should have simply played CA at trick 2 - and gone down. I dont think we can blame our lost matches on bad luck.
(To be fair the analysis of the chosen line ignores the case where North has 3 spades and a singleton KC, when South's failure to overruff the third round of spades leads declare to drop the KC. That makes it near to 12% and a very close decision. Anyone with nothing better to do is welcome to challenge my numbers).
My partner and I had the most concise auction to the best spot namely 6C- pass-pass-pass. Irene does not like the opponents interfering in her auctions. That was fine since I did not turn up with short clubs and a few spades. In fact it looks to me that if you want to start proceedings at the six level opening 6S is the answer. That will probably survive opposite a singleton spade.
Board 17 was another hand interesting in both the bidding and the play, albeit rather more normal:
Back in the Dark Ages when I learnt the game all the books I read were very hot on the principle that you did not preempt with a major suit on the side. That is nowadays rather unfashionable but on this hand I followed the principle and passed initially. I thought the hand was too good for 3D and also I tend to take notice of the spades; with hearts I am less worried about preempting because if we let the opponents into the auction they may well outbid us with their spades. Things developed quite nicely to get Irene to 4S and North led CA. Surprisingly he switched to diamonds and Irene had no trouble negotiating trumps and running diamonds.
Mark Goddard had a more challenging defence when clubs were continued at trick 2 forcing the dummy. He handled it well, playing SQ then SJ pinning the ten. Now he did not rely on diamonds at all; instead he led his heart intermediaries to lose two tricks there but making ten in all.
Another old rule concerns never passing a takeout double under the opening bidder without a long solid trump sequence. That one has stood the test of time.
This was board 4.
At our table South, who has been playing almost as long as I have, surprised me by passing the double of 1H. That was one off which compared unfavourably with the 3N made by Willie and others after the same 1H double start.
Suprisingly, again, one of our Notts Dawes pairs also defended 1H doubled, which on that occasion actually made.
Not all the old adages are wrong!