See below for the results with the handicaps applied.
To see the hands from each week, click on 'Week 1', 'Week 2', etc. in the table below.
See below for Sally's commentaries on one of the boards from each week.
The raw results, without the handicaps, are available on the EBU website HERE.
||Patrick K, Alan C, Alan W, Malcolm P, Chris B
||Nowhere to Hide
||Neil, Linda R, Paul H, Les, Chris B
||The Riff Raff
||Stephen R, Roger, Penny & Carol R
||Richard W, Sam, Carole R, Marjorie, Sally A
||Alex, Serena, Caroline P, Carolyn P, Hannele, June, David S
||The Long Shots
||Peter, Alina, Nic, Steph, Dena, Julie R, Alison
||Pat, Dai, Val, Ruth, Sally A
||Barbara R, Margaret R, Doug, Cathy, David E
||Lost & Found
||Colin, Sharon, Harry A, Venetia A, David S
||Steve, Mary, Linda A, Lee, Maria A, Venetia A
Teams Week 2 - 12th May 2022 - Board 10 EW are likely to be playing this in 4S.
If EW are playing a weak NT system, then E will probably be playing the contract after a transfer auction, and this could be another situation - with that all important four-card trump support - to see a transfer 'break' in action as we looked at last week over 2NT. Over just a 1NT opening it can be a great way to find thin games based on a strong fit.
With a strong NT system then the bidding will probably have started 1D – P – 1S, and so W will be declarer.
You can see that the defence can take four tricks against 4S - 2C, 1H and 1S. However, I think at quite a few tables the contract made. If the defence do not take their tricks quickly enough then declarer can get to ten tricks the other way. One of the beauties of playing teams is that there is lovely clarity in both play and defence - we're not overly interested in pesky little overtricks or undertricks! Teams play/defence is beautifully black and white: as declarer you're trying to make sure you make your contract, as defenders you're trying to take declarer down. Simple! Incredibly important as declarer to count your winners, and it can be equally important as defenders to have the same thought process. So, playing teams, defenders should constantly be thinking: how can we get this contract down?
First up, the lead. If S is on lead (1NT opening from E) then it's a pretty stinky hand from which to lead! With not a lot of info from the bidding to help. Often the best plan in these situations is to start ruling out the worst options first:
First suit to rule out = S, very likely to give up a trump trick by leading this.
Second suit to rule out for me would be a D - I know some players find doubletons an attractive option, personally they never come very high up my list at all, and a Q doubleton, with this particular trump holding, looks just about as bad as a doubleton could ever look to me.
Then it gets close between whether it's worse to lead an unsupported AH, or to lead away from the KC. I think I would tend towards a low C, but certainly neither looks attractive.
Obviously, a low C really helps to make the defence easy. On the AH lead then you see a singleton in the dummy and you need partner to help you out with a signal here to tell you what to do next. In these situations, with a singleton on the dummy and partner holding the lead and needing a clue, then it is great to give your partner a 'suit preference signal' if you can - a high card signals for the higher ranked suit, and a low card gives a signal for the lower ranked suit. So, the 2H from N would make it very clear to switch to a C.
(If you do lead the QD - uggghhh!!!! - then partner might give you a discouraging 3D signal and when you get in with the AH it does look like you really need to go for that C switch and hope that your partner has the AC - because you are thinking: how can we get this contract down? And that now looks the only possible way).
Played the other way up, then N is on lead. No stunning, jump-out-at-you lead, but not quite as bad as for poor S, and N probably leads a H (second highest from poor suits is often standard, 8H). S is back on the spot again when declarer plays low from E. Is there really any advantage in not taking the AH? It looks like declarer has ways to get back to the dummy with S and D cards. It also looks unlikely that we need to duck this because partner might have a doubleton H and we're hoping they will get back in to play a second H to our AH and we give them a ruff - unlikely because partner has a doubleton S at most, quite possibly a singleton, and partner looks unlikely to have many points and be re-gaining the lead before their trumps are gone. (If you generally avoid doubleton leads then this is another reason it's unlikely!!!)
So, first decision looks to be: take your AH. There's always the risk in a trump contract that you may not get a second chance - as here obviously! Now you have to decide what to do next. You can see very worrying H tricks on the dummy which lends a certain urgency to the situation - time for an attacking defence. You know you have 1H and 1S for the defence. Partner might have the AD but you want two more tricks for your side to take this contract down. With two low Cs in the dummy, it looks very sensible to try and get C tricks here, it is never going to blow a C trick if you switch to a low C from your hand here and, if partner has the AC or the QC, it could be really important to try and get them working fast.
The take away from this hand is very much for defenders, rather than playing one card at a time in isolation with no strategy or plan, to always be looking ahead for the way in which they might be able to defeat the contract.
Teams Week 1 - 6th May 2022 - Board 11 W opens 2NT on their lovely 21 count, and E bids 3H, transfer to S on their crummy 2 count! If W completes the transfer with a 3S bid then E may be inclined to pass with only two points (although a six-card suit may be too much of a temptation for some optimistic bidders, naming no names!). However, W - looking at those lovely trumps - is going to feel very disappointed if this happens.
When you first learn to play transfers then you treat them as an absolute command - if your partner bids 3H then you do as you're told and bid 3S. But as you become more confident with them you can build in a little more finetuning. If you have four-card support for your partner, i.e., you now know you have a nine-card fit, then it is very effective to 'break' the transfer. When you do this specifically over 2NT level starting points then it will commit your side to game. To keep things simple, you could therefore break the transfer (only when you have four-card trump support remember) by jumping straight to game - so here, W would bid 4S rather than 3S. But, if you want to take it a step further and you are confident with control bidding when investigating for slams, then you could break the transfer to the lowest control you could bid (just on these really strong 2NT hands).
So here, W would break the transfer by bidding 4C - showing four-card S support and A or K or singleton or void C (most likely A or K here since you've opened 2NT!). This just means that, if partner has any slam interest, you've already started down the path of investigating it. If partner is incredibly weak (as on this hand) then they can just close it down by bidding the game, i.e., 4S here. The slight downside is that sometimes the weak hand will be declarer rather than the strong one. However, this is a small price to pay for getting to thin but excellent games and slams.
Transfer breaks can also work really well over 1NT openings and 1NT overcalls, but at a lower level, so you are not committed to game, and obviously 'control bidding' does not come into the thinking in these lower-level auctions.
On this particular board, you can see that 4S is an easy make, the hands fit together beautifully. But on almost all hands which E might have here, even if E has absolutely no points and a flat hand, there will likely be some slight chance that ten tricks are possible - perhaps you'll need the S suit to split kindly and the D finesse to work. There will be occasions where you break the transfer and the game then goes down, but more times than not you'll make game when you have a nine-card fit in these situations.
And especially at teams, it's really important not to miss your games.