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Aisha Pairs - Day 2

No Mixed Feelings
(Priya Balasubramanian)

When I was a kid, I would save up my pocket money to buy a Cadbury bar at the end of the month. When the shopkeeper handed me a 120g bar rather than the standard 100g bar, the additional 20g multiplied my joy twenty times. The organisers (take a bow gentlemen) gifted us a similar surprise with the trial run on Monday heralding a week of amazing bridge. 

As a newcomer to bridge, I am forever surprised at Bridge being the only sport where newbies like me get to metaphorically rub shoulders with the Federers and Williams of the bridge world. There is no single sport in the world which offers the same opportunity and access to playing with the greats. The Aisha Mixed Pair trial run and the first day were particularly noteworthy, giving casual players a chance to test their skills against the many starred pairs that are participating.

It would be remiss to not thank the family of baby Aisha! What a wonderful way to celebrate the arrival of a new member in the family. She will be showered with blessings for the many smiles that she has brought to the bridge playing fraternity. 

Monday was the trial run that went off smoothly. Bridge players take their game seriously. So even the trial run was well fought. The hundred odd pairs battled it out on Tuesday, Day 1 of the tournament. The top 50 pairs were categorised as Majors and the bottom 50 as Minors. The innovative labels rather than the traditional Gold/Silver are to be applauded. As I landed in the Minors, I consoled myself: What would you rather have in these “WFH” covid times: a diamond or a spade? 

Food for thought

Before we go to the results, let me share with you a hand that came up yesterday.

 

Partner dutifully led the K Hearts in response to your lead directing double as East and you cash the first two tricks. What do you do next?

The Results

On Wednesday, the two categories separately duked it out amongst themselves for a place in the finals.

♠  Majors Category Results 

  Minors Category Results♣   

The top 14 North-Souths and East-Wests from the Major category and the top 13 in each direction from the Minors category have made it to the finals to be held tomorrow. Watch our website for the list of qualifiers.

The Prizes

In light of the fact that pairs are playing a Mitchell Movement, we have recast the prizes slightly. The prizes below will be awarded to the top teams in the North-South and East West Directions separately.

 

RANK MAJORS MINORS
1 5,000 3,000
2 3,000 2,000
3 2,000  

The list of finalists in both categories will shortly be posted.

The Solution

In an IMP Pairs event, the cost of an overtrick is far less than in Match Points. Therefore, a gamble which could cost an overtrick if unsuccessful, is taken which could take the contract down, the risk reward ratio always is in favor of the gamble.

So, we try and envisage a scenario which could take the contract down. Given our void in spades, let us give partner 5 of them. If one of them is the queen, that will provide the defence a third trick. We now need to find a situation where he can arguably get one trick more. Let us hope that he has the 9 so that a possible tenace can be created.

Now, what happens if you play a third heart? Yes, it gives declarer a ruff and discard, a no-no from a defender's point of view normally, but it cooks declarers goose. If declarer ruffs in hand, partner will discard a club. Now declarer will have to concede two trumps to partner's Q9 tenace. If declarer discards, partner still discards a club and now has one trump more than dummy!

This newbie, unfortunately, did not find the winning play. But, as the post mortem continued, the words, 'never say never in bridge' rang in her ears!