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Gloucestershire (Home) 08/12/2019

Report by John Auld

 

Normally two wins and a narrow loss against Gloucestershire would seem a good result but this time it felt like a missed opportunity.

The teams with Butler imps were:

 

DAWES
Sandy Fulton & John Rolph   -2
Lloyd Eagling & Stan Zygadlo  14
Willie Crook & Steve Raine  41
John & Irene Auld -55
PORTER
Toni Smith & Steve Fordham  14
Patrick Gaudart & Andrew Scott -12
Frank Ball & Graham Lee  55
Shirley Ashtari & Dick Milne   -1
MARKHAM
Tony Stephenson & Michael Bleaney -22
Sue & Phil Cooper  84
Keith Rodgers & Graham Brindley -18
Steve Mulligan & Bill Milligan -26

 

 

The Dawes team had a half time score of +70 which turned into a small loss, 9-11. Willie & Steve produced most of the imps but were confounded by events at the Aulds' table. Sorry team.

Frank & Graham did the business for the Porter who led throughout for a 14-6 victory, whilst Sue & Phil scored a huge +84 to enable an 11-9 win in the Porter match.

 

Board 3

It was a match of many big hands starting early with consecutive grand slams on  3 and 4. Board 3 was  relatively easy  often bid to 7S and otherwise to 6S.
Board 4 was altogether harder:
 

Board 4

My partner opened a weak 2 and Pat Shields and Richard Chamberlain handled that with ease; 3♣  was forcing and a splinter bid of 4S followed by a grand slam try of 5  led to 7♣ .  2   was a conservative call reflecting the weak suit . Back in the day experts would quote the rule of 500 and never risk 3  vulnerable on this collection but things have changed. Against Willie and Steve West opened 3  and gave them a problem: Willie bid 3  and Steve bid 3♠  not wanting to lose the spades in whatever followed. Now things became murky. The upshot was 6♣  not 7. I think that South should bid 4♣  over 3  and follow up with 4♠. Clubs is I believe more likely as a destination than spades, partly because partner is unlikely to have four, but that is wisdom after the event. The 3  opener takes away that extra round of bidding which makes all the difference.

The only Notts pair to bid 7♣  were Sandy and John who were treated to a pass from West. Now they breezed into 7C starting 1-2♣-3♠.

There was another grand slam on 23:

 

 

Board 23

Against the Aulds South bid 1 and rebid 4 after a 1♠ response. Now after much consideration and without certainty 7 was reached. The grand was bid 3 times in the Dawes and once in the Markham. I think the sequence shown is best, As on board 4 doing the natural thing and bidding your 6 card minor before your 5 card spades works best. A jump to 3 now is forcing unlike 1-1♠-3. Over 3H North can bid 5♣ as exclusion RKCB, meaning please show keycards outside clubs. Souths  response shows 2 Keycards plus Q of trumps. With 8 hearts South can pretend to have the Queen.  

Alternatively you may have some version of the trump asking bid of 5NT available to find out about solid hearts. With no conventional aids North will have to keep cue bidding all the suits to the 6 level and trust partner to do the right thing.

 

After the match Steve Raine conducted a debrief for a select few. Amongst the hands discussed was board 19:

Board 19

The decision to splinter with 4 was universal and 4♠ made was also universal (almost). An exception was at Toni Smiths table where South plowed on with 5C and Toni cooperated with 5D. The message from the debrief was clear: South having bid 4 has to accept the sign off. If you dont like partners opinion you should not ask for it. The interesting point for me is that South is too strong to splinter. Partner cannot tell that SAxxxxx and out is ideal for slam, or maybe AQxxx/xx/xxx/xxx. I think you should bid 3♣  not 4 to hope for 3S or something else useful. Then you can bid 4 and hope to find what you need. 

A second exception to the common result was delivered by Sandy who managed 4S-1, which is surely impossible.  West achieved this by doubling 4. What he had forgotten was that in his partnership  that called for a club lead. When the ♣ 4 hit the table Sandy saw at once that this had to be a singleton. His only hope was to rise with ♣ A and trust that  West could not get in to lead another before trumps were drawn.  Given that West seemed to have passed with ♣ KJTxxx that seemed likely.  Alas West did get in to lead a club to his partners KJT.

Many thanks to Steve Raine for giving his time for the debrief. To finish let us enjoy watching Steve defend board 20:

Board 20

East/West playing Strong NT but 4 card majors played in 2♠. Willie led ♣ AK and ruff by Steve-who now drew a few inferences from Willies silence in the auction and led a small  from his AK. Naturally declarer played low, and went one off. Nice.