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Staffs/Shrops (Home) 19/02/2017

Report by John Auld

Notts reached half time in the Dawes and Porter matches in a strong position: up 102 and 107 respectively. Unfortunately as fast as imps had been collected on boards 1 to 16 so they were returned on 17 to 32. The Dawes team hung on for a 15-5 victory but the Porter lost narrowly 9-11. The Markham lost 4-16.

The teams with Butler imps:

Dawes

Willie Crook & Ankush Khandelwal                  20

Steve Raine & Frank Ball                                17

Lloyd Eagling & Gordon Fullerton                     6

John & Irene Auld                                           6

 

Porter

Bill Whalley & Pravin Tailor                              20

Ian Dovey & Shirley Ashtari                             5

Phil Dale & Ray Furlonger                               -9

John Rolph & Gerry Franklin                           -13

 

Markham

Chris & Dorothy Close                                    -20

Janet Jacques & Will Irving                             -8

Toni Smith & Steve Fordham                            9

Jane Hall & Clive Wood                                  -12 

 

 

Given that I counted 8 slam hands it is surprising that the spread of Butler scores is the narrowest ever . At least the Dawes team had 4 pluses, always a good sign.

The turnround in fortunes in the Dawes was mainly down to board 19 which cost 44 cross imps:

 

 

Our Dawes pairs missed this grand slam. They should not have but in mitigation they were not established partnerships. By contrast David Beavon and Roger Keane have been playing together for as long as I can remember. And it has always been a pleasure. Their highly developed methods made short work of this one. I do not know exactly what their sequence meant but when asked about 4NT South said that his partner had amongst other things the minor suit Kings and was looking for HK. South said he was sure they had 13 tricks. Enough said. I suggested we did not bother to play it out but we went through the motions. The other opposing Dawes pair also bid 7S.

Compare and contrast our sequence to 6C on board11:

This could have neen the 1960s. 3D was a feature not a suit but the rest was natural. I think you will agree that Irene handled her 12 count well.

The most interesting biddding hand was not any of the slams but board 30:

Despite the nice diamond suit I bid just 2H hoping that someone would protect and let me introduce diamonds. Alas we missed our 11 card fit.

Irene-who made a number of good decisions-felt that I should bid diamonds  I brushed that aside saying I was not worth a 2 level response. However now I agree that this is a hand of great potential nothing like a 2H raise. ( I am writing this through gritted teeth which is not easy.) I have 6 points but as I am fond of telling everyone else that is not what distributional hands are about. If I bid 2D partner will bid 2N and hopefully we finish in 5D (3H-3NT-5D perhaps). I have no idea how the 2 over 1 devotees manage this hand-3H?

( I have to admit that I may have been influenced by results. 5D is not great-but neither is any number of hearts. Regardless of this hand I think that playing Acol responding 2D is best at teams. It is the bid with the biggest upside.)

My favourite play hand  was board 5:

4S was bid at all the Dawes tables and it made three times. Declarer has 9 easy tricks but needs help for ten.

Irene led the H7 and I decided to hope for a ruff. I took the Ace and returned one but now declarer had an extra trick for 10 in total. I reasoned that a doubleton lead would also yield a ruff if partner had a trump entry. Steve Raine was in the same position at trick one but looked a bit deeper. If the lead is a doubleton then if you hold up declarer may  well not have the entry for the long heart; and if the layout was as in reality - and some other cases- then ducking is essential. On grounds of frequency ducking is best.