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Our Team (Richmond B) had just suffered a severe defeat 4 – 25 at the hands of Westport B. It was then with much trepidation that we had to face a very strong and experienced Marlborough A team on just the second round.

Were we contemplating a 0 – 25 thrashing? Yes! However we had to face up and do what we could do, which was to play the best we could. I did mention to our illustrious opponents of how chilly it was to which they agreed and I sort of hoped that this would provide somewhat of a little distraction and be on their minds as to how uncomfortable they are.

We played the first couple of boards, which did not seem to mount to much either way which sort of settled our nerves a bit. Only 80% of the match to go.

Then came along Board #11.

Partner (RT) West held:  S: AKJ98    H: Q876    D: K6     C: A6

My hand: —- East held:   S: 104      H: 1052   D: 83    C: KJ9543

South playing precision opened 1S. Partner doubled. North passed so I had to bid and went 2C. South passed and partner bid 2NT. This usually shows stoppers in their suit with around a 19-point count. I wasn’t sure about No Trumps and rebid my clubs (3 clubs can make) but I saw 3NT go down on the pad opposite my side and thus West had the contract for better or worse!

Of course a Diamond hit the table (the 4) and I hoped partner had a good hold of this suit as well? After a lengthy pause the king took care the first trick.

Then came the Ace of clubs to collect the second trick followed by the club King to take care of the third trick. There was a wee sigh of relief from across the table as the Queen of clubs appeared from South on this third round. Like a world champion partner soon wrapped up twelve tricks as though this was a normal everyday occurrence. A 12imp swing to the minnows. If luck had eluded us on the first round it certainly smiled upon us on this second Round.

North’s  Hand:  S: 6     H; J93     D: A109542    C: 872

South’s Hand:  S: Q7532    H: AK4    D: QJ7        C:  Q10

How many times does the missing Q turn up in the doubleton hold? Actually

more than you think. Sometimes it’s the only way to achieve success.

You just have to trust your partner.

Board #18 in the same match provided some interest and highlighted the fact that it pays to know some of the basic conventions and how they work even if your partnership does not use them.

I passed in the West seat. South opened 1S. Partner passed and North raised to 2S. South now bid 3H, a suit trial bid. As this was not alerted it must have been a long suit trial bid? North bid 4S. I thought this a bit odd as I held AK92 in hearts. It looks as though South must have QXX and thus 4S looks to be OK. I asked partner to lead face down and asked North what was the 3H bid? It was confirmed as a long suit trial bid so I was surprised to see North put down the 8753 in the heart suit? I wondered if he considered this to be the long suit cards that South was expecting? The full hands were.

North:  S: KQ85   H: 8753    D: 103      C: 832

East:   S: 10       H: AK92   D:  Q9852   C: 1075

South:  S: A9732   :H J106   D: A          C: AKJ5

Wes:t  S: J84     H: Q4     D: KJ764  C: Q94

Now a casual glance will show that only 3S is on. West must now know that partner must have heart honours and to defeat 4S, East needs to have AKx minimum. In fact in counting possible defensive tricks West can count the club Queen, the heart Queen and hopefully the hopeful AKX(x) hearts in partners hand to equal 4-tricks for one off. But unfortunately this was not to be. Some how West’s Queen of hearts was swallowed up by the East’s Ace & King of hearts and it was an 8 imp swing back to Marlborough. When in with the Queen clubs the next card should have been the heart Queen then the small one. Often the defence needs to position a certain necessary distribution to conjure up a play to defeat declares contract. If it does not work at least you gave it a good chance! It might work next time.

However all was not lost. At the other table the Grand Master opponents made some uncharacteristic errors against our steady ‘by the book’ teammates thus the Richmond B team ended up with a small 16 – 14 imp point victory.

Every minnow has its day!!!!

Garry Brunton. 6th November 2012