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All systems go for return of club championships

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Winning ways: Dorry Lusher, who has celebrated her 90th birthday, came first in the East/West section after returning to play for the first time since the Bridge Club closed in March (Photograph supplied)
Fig 1: two hands on show
Fig 2: all four hands

With the Bridge Club seeing players return to the live games the schedule for the Club Championships has been set and here is the most recent announcement.

Now we are settling back into our regular Club games, and have effective protocols firmly established for safe play, we can plan to hold a number of our delayed Club Championships. The schedule is:

Open Pairs on November 14 – two sessions with a "bring your own lunch" break. We will have an appropriate protocol nearer the time.

Junior Teams (less than 100 Masterpoints) on two consecutive Tuesday evenings, November 17 and 24.

Non-Life Masters (499ers who are not Life Masters) on November 28 – two sessions with break as above.

Provisional dates: Open Teams on December 12 and the Ernie Owen Individual on December 17.

More details to follow, and sign-up sheets will be posted in due course at the Club.

It is good to see things getting back to something resembling normal, and I know that the organisers are taking every step to make the playing environment as safe as possible. I would imagine that, given the thankful absence of Covid-19 among our residents, a main safety precaution is to adequately restrict play by those who have recently returned from abroad, and I am sure this is a focus.

Now to the Covid free hand!

Quite often at the table declarers partake in some Quixotic quest to make a hopeless contract, and in doing so simply make things worse than they should have been – players should realise that much of the time the rest of the room is also in the same hopeless spot and the focus should shift from making the contract to simply doing better than the others in defeat. Today’s hand, which came up on BBO this week, is a perfect example of this (Fig 1).

The auction was probably the same across the room – South opened a strong 2 Clubs, negative 2 Diamonds from North, 2NT from South (which, by the way is non-forcing, whereas I suggest any bid of a suit by opener after a 2C opening is at least a one-round force) and North often bid 3NT, though some did pass 2NT. West leads the Diamond Queen.

The contract looks pretty hopeless – there is no quick entry to dummy and even if there was, the Club play is a guess. At our table, like many others, declarer was so fixated on trying to find the Club Queen that she won the third Diamond and played a low Spade to the Jack to try and create an entry. I won the King, and we eventually took three Diamonds, two Clubs and a Spade for two down and a 93.3 per cent score, as many N/S pairs played in 2NT down one.

Before I show you all four hand let’s take a look at the hand. Even if you sort out the Clubs by getting to the board you will likely lose at least 3 Diamonds, a Club and a Spade, and that is if things go well!

There is one legitimate chance of making the contract and that is to find one defender with a singleton Queen of Clubs – not that unlikely with only four Clubs out. Finding a singleton Ace does not help as the other player now is left with Qx of Clubs. So after winning the third Club you follow your strategy and lead the Club King See the full hand (Fig 2).

West wins the Club and cashes a Diamond, on which you throw a Spade, but now cannot really hurt you. You win the Heart return and play the Jack of Clubs and end up going down one by making 3 Clubs, three Hearts, a Diamond and a Spade. You end up with a reasonable 40 per cent score instead of the 6 per cent for down two, the key being that you did not give up the unnecessary Spade trick.

A good try – exchange East’s Club 9 for the Club Queen and the contract actually makes.

In closing, huge congratulations to Dorry Lusher, featured in this week’s results, on her 90th birthday. She came back to the Club on October 19, after not having played at all since the Club closed on March 13, and came first in the East/West section. Always a remarkable woman and player, and a testament to how Bridge aids both your mental and physical health.

The game not only tests the brain cells but keeps alive some healthy emotions – elation, disgust, happiness, anger, love, loathing, disappointment, all in their own way, in my opinion, keeping the senses active. And yes, the anger, disgust and loathing is usually reserved for our partners, who we love most of the time.

Club results to October 22

Friday 16 October

1.Linda Pollett – Charles Hall

2.Margaret Way – Fabian Hupe

3.George Correia – Elizabeth Baillie

Saturday 17 October

1.Edward Betteto – Charles Hall

2.Aida Bostelmann – George Correia

3.Lynanne Bolton – Peter Donnellan

Saturday 19 October

1.Edward Betteto – Charles Hall

2.Aida Bostelmann – George Correia

3.Lynanne Bolton – Peter Donnellan

Monday 21 October

NS

1.Katrina Van Pelt – Donna Leitch

2.Charles Hall – Tony Saunders

3.Julia Patton – Jeanette Shaw

EW

1.Wendy Gray – Dorry Lusher

2.Elizabeth McKee – Stephanie Kyme

3.Gertrude Barker – Jane Smith

Wednesday 21 October

NS

1.Donna Leitch – Kathleen Keane

2.Sheena Rayner – Magda Farag

3.Gertrude Barker – Jane Smith

EW

1.1=Caroline Svensen – Dianna Kempe

2.1=Peter Donnellan – Lynanne Bolton

3.Charles Hall – Molly Taussig

Thursday 22 October

1.Wendy Gray – Richard Gray

2.Lynanne Bolton – Magda Farag

3.Gertrude Barker – George Correia

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Published October 24, 2020 at 1:00 pm (Updated October 24, 2020 at 4:25 am)

All systems go for return of club championships

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