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Warwickshire (Home) 21/02/2016

Report by John Auld

I have spent a few days searching for a description of this defeat to Warwickshire and settled on the inadequate "comprehensive".

The teams (with Butler imps):

Dawes

Frank Ball & Graham Lee                -16

Steve Raine & Ankush Khandelwal    9

Lloyd Eagling & Gordon Fullerton    -51

Bill Whalley & Pravin Tailor             -81

 

Porter

John & Irene Auld                             26

John Rolph & Gerry Franklin            -18

Mike & Daphne Coggles                   -74

Will Irving & Janet Jacques              -28

 

Markham

Dorothy & Chris Close                          -14

Wendy Walker & Dianne Abbott          -103

Michael Bleaney & Tony Stephenson    41

Graham Brindley & Clare Batten            17

 

The Dawes team progressed at a steady pace to 0-20; the Porter ran up -200 cross imps at record speed before a mini recovery saved a solitary Victory Point; and the Markham were only modestly unsuccessful in losing 3-17. By the final set the Warwickshire team had the look of bridge players contemplating the journey home.

Naturally there were several bad scores but with a few exceptions notably by Michael & Tony in the Markham.  This was no fluke-see Michael's play reported below.

Board 3 was an early and very interesting loss at our table:

 

 

 

Like many others I played 3NT on a diamond lead to the K and the 9 back ducked by East. Now a  club to hand fetched the ten and another club saw East play the 8. It was essential to make clubs without loss so did West have QT or Tx? I did not know Wests habits but reasoned that he may have made a reflex length signal or a deliberate deception to feign QT doubleton. I finessed for one off. Steve Raine was in the same quandary with a different  issue: he knew West and knew he was capable of deliberate deception. After much analysis (no doubt including restricted choice, conditional probability and coin tossing ) Steve also finessed for one off. The Warwickshire declarers got it right . No doubt they reasoned that most players most of the time only play the ten from a singleton or from QT.

A really interesting sub plot is that playing the Queen by West wil surely cause declarer to finesse the 9 and go off. Nobody managed that defence (I assumed). Correction! Against Gordon Fullerton a spade was led (for some reason) and Gordon played CK on which Stephen Green played the Q predictably causing declarer to finesse the 9. However without a diamond lead 3NT still made. Even more impressively Michael Bleaney after the normal start managed to play the Q when a club was played from dummy beating 3NT in sensational style.

Board 19 was much simpler but also interesting:      

After some routine overbidding partner played 4H. West immediately led a diamond and the defence cashed out. I thought we had got what we deserved but was surprised to find that four other pairs had bid 4H and all had succeeded. It seems that West was deterred from leading a minor suit by the honour holdings. That is surely the wrong approach; the question is whether an attacking lead is called for not whether leading from a King is a good idea. On this auction there must be a strong chance that declarer will happily cash hearts and spades if allowed to. If this is not so West may still get away with the diamond lead.

Board 24 showed some age related bidding decisions:

I opened a nice normal pensioners 3H and amazingly played there. I presume that East was also a player of experience. I drifted a harmless 2 off. East has a choice of actions but not I would say including pass. Double seems best hoping for 3NT.

When Steve was North he opened 4H (of course) and East tried 5C. Ankush led a top spade and declarer forgot to play the ten.  Now came a nice defence. SJ was ruffed and Steve was not taxed to lead a heart for Ankush to ruff. One down.

Finally board 2 produced some telling results:

 Our opponents sequence was typical of many who determinedly avoided clubs in favour of the matchpoint haven of 3NT. East should surely never suggest NTs with excellent shape and Aces. Equally West should do something positive like a jump to 4C which should lead to 6C or even 7C. Just one Notts pair bid slam (Frank & Graham) and three Warks pairs managed it. If the spades and clubs were swapped the whole field would bid a slam.

Well played Warwickshire.