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Match report 11 December 2023

Blewbury beat Abbey Smith A

108 to 47 IMPs

17.48 to 2.52 VPs

Click here to see the RealBridge hands.


BLEWBURY = Finn Clark & Stuart Forsyth +2.21
BLEWBURY = Hilary Strang & Shirley Moore +1.99
BLEWBURY = Malcolm Cochrane & Michael Allen +0.18
BLEWBURY = Dermot Padden & Nigel Carter -0.04
ABBEY SMITH A = Robert Last & Richard Devas -0.07
ABBEY SMITH A = Abbey Smith & Robin Prestwich -0.46
ABBEY SMITH A = Peter Kiff & Sarah Gregory -1.71
ABBEY SMITH A = Stephen Viney & Paul Miller -2.10

Congratulations to everyone again!  All four Blewbury pairs scored better than all four Abbey Smith pairs.  (Abbey herself is a good player, for what it's worth.)

We were actually on -7 IMPs shortly after the halfway point (board 15)...  but then the scoreline in the remaining nine boards was 68 to zero.  That's the equivalent of a game swing on EVERY SINGLE HAND.

Hand 1 = flat.  (Our opponents stumbled into 4 on a 4-3 fit, but unfortunately it's unbeatable.)

Hand 2 = E-W have 4 available.  If South opens a 12-14, West should probably bid something (either hearts or a penalty double).  At one table, though, East opened an offbeat 3♣ and West raised to 5♣.  I actually quite like the 5♣ bid, but if you're confident that a 3 response would be forcing (as technically it is) then it can't hurt to say that en route and see what happens.

Hand 3 = South opens 1, West doubles and what should North reply?  You hold KQJ107 support for partner's diamonds, an outside ace and lots of tens and nines.  You like your hand a lot.  Redouble is tempting, promising 10+ points and an interest in doubling the opponents for penalties if they get too frisky...  but the problem is that your diamonds are too good!  If North-South have a great fit in diamonds, East-West must have a fit of their own somewhere.  Probably best to bid 2NT (conventionally showing 10+ points and a trump fit with partner) to try to shut them out of the auction in case they have a major suit fit.

Hand 4 = flat.

Hand 5 = a double slam swing.  Blewbury bid and made a vulnerable 6 at both tables, for +17 IMPs.  (Stuart and I disagree on whether North should open 1 or 1.)

Hand 6 = interesting that no one passed it out!  I held an 11-count with 5 spades and the auction started "pass pass pass".  I shrugged my shoulders and said 1♠ because we weren't vulnerable and because I had the boss suit.  East doubled (having passed as dealer), telling me he was probably 4441.  Stuart now jumped to 3 despite also being a passed hand, which for us is a fit-jump showing trump support and a side-suit (hearts).  I gave this a long look, since the auction suggested that the hearts were well placed, but I'd nearly thrown the hand in with my eleven-count and Stuart was a passed hand.  I subsided in 3♠ and then of course made an overtrick.  (It helped that East's double had told me how to tackle trumps.)

Hand 7 = various part-scores.

Hand 8 = two tables bid and made 4, while two played in 3+1 or 3+2.  As it happens, the hands fit very nicely.  West doesn't have many points, but they're almost all in East's long suits.  At one table, the opponents could have passed out 2...  but they protected with a reopening double, only for Hilary and Shirley to come alive and find the game.

Hand 9 = another slam swing, with Mike and Malcolm being the only pair to find 6♠.  (More than half of Blewbury's IMPs were won on slam hands.)  South can make it hard, though, by interfering with his 1651 two-count (at favourable vulnerability).  Let's say East opens 1♠ and South bids a Michaels 2♠.  West has 16 points.  "Double" is tempting, but nebulous...  on reflection, I'd choose a straightforward 3♣, which must be game-forcing since you're bidding a new suit at that level.  East might now start getting excited.

Hand 10 = various part-scores.

Hand 11 = flattish.  Everyone made game.

Hand 12 = a game swing when Hilary and Shirley made 4♠.  (Mike and Malcolm bid the same contract and went one off, but on best defence it's unmakeable.  North-South start with the ♣ AKQ.  Declarer's best play is to discard a diamond from dummy on the third round, planning later to discard another on the A and lose no diamond tricks...  but an inspired South might ruff his partner's club trick and give partner a diamond ruff.  The clues are all there.  Declarer opened 1, dummy has four and so does South.)

Hand 13 = flat.  Two tables bid the lucky but successful 6 (it depends on the trump finesse) and two stopped more safely in 4.

Hand 14 = A game swing to Abbey Smith, with 3NT from Abbey herself and her partner.  Stuart and I put this down as an auction to discuss, then completely forgot to discuss it!  Playing five-card majors and a 15-17 1NT, Stuart opened 1 and I replied 1NT on my 3334 9-count, denying diamonds, hearts and spades.  Stuart's question was "should he be allowed to raise to 2NT on his 14-count?"  I think the answer to this is "no", partly because there will be a lot of strong hands where an invitational 2NT is the best bid and partly because if 3NT is on, my reply might have been 2NT rather than 1NT.

Hand 15 = North-South can make either 5♣ or 5, but one Abbey Smith pair stole the hand in 4-1.  If I'd held that North hand, I'd have probably competed over that to 5.  (Partner's supported diamonds and you have a monster that could easily be making 5 on as little as Kxxx support in partner's hand and nothing else.)

Hand 16 = 20 IMPs to Blewbury on the wildest board of the evening.  At one table, North made 6x.  At another, West made 5♠x.  There was also a 7-1.  (Congratulations to Shirley and Hilary there for exerting the maximum pressure in the auction.  Shirley opened 1♠, North blasted 5 and Hilary jumped to 6♠.  When North took insurance at favourable vulnerability in 7, South must have been kicking herself for not doubling 6♠ with the two black aces.)

Hand 17 = East-West played 3NT or 2NT+2 at every table...  except ours, where we were allowed to bid (and make!) 2 as North-South.  (Stuart bid a Landy-like overcall to show the majors and we had a good fit.)

Hand 18 = a small gain for Blewbury.  Two tables went off in 4♠, while two went plus in a part-score.  (Stuart found a nice defensive play here, giving me no option except to return the card he wanted.  If you play it out, the key bit is cashing the AK before playing that club.)

Hand 19 = possibly the most interesting board of the evening.  We made a game swing from 4♠, which is harder to make than 4 but easier to bid.  South opens 1♣, West overcalls 1 and a negative double from North must now show both majors.  Hurrah, we've found our spade fit and can blast game...  but the off-puttingly soft 6-2 heart fit is a no-brainer in the play.  You just lose three trumps.

Hand 20 = a game swing when Dermot and Nigel defeated 4.  All the other tables were in 3NT.  (E-W have a heart fit but 4333 mirror distribution and a 4-1 heart break.  With 21 points opposite 6, the nine-trick game was safer.)

Hand 21 = flat in 3NT plus lots.

Hand 22 = 12 IMPs from nowhere on an ordinary-looking part-score deal.  Surreal.  Stuart and I made 2♣+2 as North-South and thought no more about it...  but Mike and Malcolm and Hilary and Shirley both made overtricks in 2♠ by East, while Nigel and Dermot took 200 in defence from East's 2♠-2.  (Playing through the hand just now, I think East's declarer play was bonkers.  Why's he messing around with club ruffs?  He should set up his diamonds!)

Hand 23 = 10 IMPs from a game swing.  Congratulations for Shirley and Hilary on 4♠.

Hand 24 = flat.  Two tables bid the good-but-unlucky 6NT (doomed by a bad spade break) and two stopped in game.