Hall takes top honours in Ernie Owen tournament
The annual Ernie Owen Individual Tournament, held each year to commemorate a great bridge player, partner and friend, was held on Thursday at the Bridge Club and the winner in the six-table game was Charles Hall, with an excellent 66.67 per cent game.
In joint second with 61.43 per cent were Diana Downs and Claude Guay and in fourth and fifth were Linda Pollett and Bill Pollett.
Charles has been a member for many years and is an experienced player who has had much success at the club. He is also one of the popular teachers at the club, along with Bill Pollett, and it’s good to see them both on the leaderboard.
Charles has the perfect profile for success at an Individual tournament where one plays with a different partner in each round – in addition to being a skilful player he has a pleasant, non-critical manner which would put a partner at ease and get the best out of them.
Diana and Claude took joint line honours in the B Strata with Delton Outerbridge in third place, and in the C Strata, Diana finshed on top with Heidi Dyson in second and Vivian Pereira in third.
It was great that there were enough pairs supporting this event and congratulations to all of those that finished on top or in the frame.
One of the many great things about this game of Bridge is its fluidity — a play that may be right in one format of the game could be wrong in another and, as in today’s hand, a play might be right on one day but may need to change on another. See Figure 1.
South opened one diamond, North bid one spade and after South rebid 1NT, North had an easy raise to 3NT. West led the heart five and East won the Ace and returned the Jack.
Harry Kast sent me the hand from a recent game pointing out the correct declarer play of holding up the King till the third round – now the club finesse can be taken in safety as, if it loses, East will either have no hearts or the hearts will be 4-4 in which case the contract makes.
Here is the full hand in Figure 2. As you can see the club finesse actually works and declarer wraps up 11 tricks.
So, what’s the problem? At Teams, where making the contract is paramount there is no problem, and the hold up play is 100 per cent correct.
But what about at Pairs, where overtricks are gold? If the club finesse works, declarer has 11 certain tricks and possibilities for a 12th if either black suit breaks 3-3. Does one jeopardise the contract by winning the King of hearts at trick two in search of overtricks, instead of holding up?
For me, that would depend on what sort of game I’m having and what sort of game I need!
If, for instance, I feel I am right in the hunt in the session I would go with the field and hold up at trick two. If , however, I feel I am behind and need some really good boards I would win the heart at trick two and wrap up 12 tricks for a certain top.
Notice a couple of things on the hand.
Even if the club loses, I may get lucky and East may not have any more hearts if West held Q86543 – now I still make 11 tricks.
And, how does one play the club suit for maximum tricks? The correct play would be to start with a low club towards the Ace-Queen intending to play the Queen if West plays low.
This caters for a singleton King with West — you now have four club tricks but if you had led the Jack you would be restricted to three tricks.
If the Queen wins, come back to hand with a spade and, probably lead the jack for the second finesse – I say probably because if West had started with Kx you are once again restricted to three club tricks – try it!
On the actual hand any club play works and there are 12 tricks available. Nothing is totally simple at this game, is it?
Let me close by wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, be it Christmas with a tree and turkey, Hanukkah with a menorah and latkes, or any other celebration where you are with family and friends giving thanks for the year that has gone and looking forward to a wonderful 2023 and beyond.
BRIDGE CLUB RESULTS
Friday, December 16
1. Allyson Eadie - Betsy Baillie
2. Elysa Burland - Magda Farag
3. Jane Smith - Marge Way
1. Rachael Gosling - Molly Taussig
2. Sancia Garrison - Harry Kast
3. Aida Bostelmann - Heather Woolf
Monday 19 December
1. Gertie Barker - Jane Smith
2. Molly Taussig - Jack Rhind
3. Pat Colmet - Aida Bostelmann
1. Joyce Pearson - Betsy Baillie
2. Wenda Krupp - Jane Gregory
3. Lorna Anderson - Marge Way
Tuesday 20 December
1. Katyna Rabain - Louise Payne
2. Beil Gilbertson - Delton Outerbridge
1. Rosemary Smith - Mark Stevens
2. Kirsty Pollett - Linda Pollett
Wednesday, December 21
1. Stephanie Kyme - Joe Wakefield
2. Lynanne Bolton - Peter Donnellan
3. Charles Hall - Tony Saunders
Thursday, December 22
Ernie Owen Individual Tournament
1. Charles Hall
2. Diana Downs
3. Claude Guay