Players return to live game after six months


It finally happened. Last Wednesday, 30 intrepid supporters played in the first live game to be held at the club since March 13, incredibly nearly six months ago.

All the protocols were well thought out and observed — portable bidding boxes, selective use of masks at different times during play, social-distancing, hand sanitisers, no cash changing hands, etc — and from all accounts everyone seemed really comfortable in the surroundings.

Players enjoyed seeing old friends and having a chat and enjoying once again that important dimension of the game. Hopefully, an all-clear from the first game will encourage an even greater attendance at the second game on Wednesday, and 7˝ tables was way more than I expected for the opening game.

Now that we are back to a live game, it’s a good time to mention, and it won’t be the last time, the amazing work done by Peter Donnellan and Bill Pollett in keeping bridge alive in Bermuda since the lockdown started.

I dread to think what would have happened to Bermuda bridge, the Bridge Club and its members without their efforts and we all owe them, and others who helped, a huge debt of gratitude.

The winners of the first live post-Covid game were Jane Smith and Gertie Barker, with Richard and Wendy Gray in second and Bill and Linda Pollett in third.

Bill and Linda were also first in the B flight and Des and Tracy Nash took first place in the C flight. Well done to all 30 players for taking the first step.

Today’s hand is all about declarer play and specifically about keeping the danger hand off lead. With that as a guide see how you would play four Spades.

South opened one No Trump, North transferred to Spades and when South accepted the transfer by bidding two Spades, North jumped to four Spades.

This is, in fact, a mild slam-try as facing a 15-17 No Trump, North had a Texas Transfer available (bid four Diamonds to transfer to four Hearts and bid four Hearts to transfer to four Spades — showing no interest in slam), but decided he had just enough for a mild slam-try via the transfer sequence.

South gave the matter some thought but decided not to advance based on his sterile shape, after which his result at the table was all the more embarrassing.

A Trump was led against the game. South drew Trumps ending in the dummy and took the Heart finesse. West won and found the inspired shift to the Club Jack and, whatever declarer did, he was doomed to go one down. As soon as South started to whine about his bad luck, North cut him short by telling him he had missed a safe line for his contract. Can you see it?

Declarer wins the opening lead with the Spade King on the table and draws the last Trump with the 9. A Diamond to the Jack comes next.

If the finesse holds, declarer has a safe line for 11 tricks by following the same approach as that outlined below. But, when East wins the Jack of Diamonds with the Queen and shifts to a Heart declarer wins with the Ace, cashes the King of Diamonds, comes back to hand with Jack of Spades and throws dummy’s Heart loser on the Ace of Diamonds.

Next, declarer advances the Queen of Hearts, planning to let it run, since East cannot hurt him in Clubs. When West covers with King, declarer ruffs it in dummy and leads a Spade to the Ace, after which a Club is thrown on the Jack of Hearts. That lets declarer lead to the King of Clubs for a potential overtrick, but in the end declarer made ten tricks losing only a Diamond and two Clubs.

The correct play above is a thing of quiet beauty, because it requires declarer to see the play and then execute it by carefully managing the Trump entries to his hand — really nice.

Results

Monday

1, Charles Hall/William Pollett

2, Marion Silver/Duncan Silver

3= Heather Woolf/Margaret Way

3= Richard Gray/Wendy Gray

Tuesday

<149

1, Joann Dawson/Mike Dawson

2, Veronica Boyce/Carol Eastham

3= M Louise Payne/Katyna Rabain

3= Jane Gregory/Wenda Krupp

Wednesday

1, Gertrude Barker/Jane Smith

2, Wendy Gray/Richard Gray

3, William Pollett/Linda Pollett

Thursday

1, Sharon Shanahan/ Claude Guay

2, Tim Mardon/John Luebkemann

3, Lynanne Bolton/Peter Donnellan

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Published Sep 5, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 5, 2020 at 8:12 am)

Players return to live game after six months

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