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Three straight wins for Junior Teams champions

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The 2023 Junior Teams Championship took place at the Bridge Club on Tuesday night and many congratulations to the team of Barbara Elkin, Sarah Jane Varley, Lulu Neame and Richard Neame, who came out on top after three straight wins in the four-team field.

The winning score of 47vp put the Elkin team eight points ahead of the second-placed team of Sharon Andrews, Marc Drew, James Fielding and Benjamin Stone, who finished on 39vp.

Things were close throughout, but once again, as in the Open Teams, the end result was determined by the head-to-head between these two teams – in Round One the Elkin foursome finished 14-6 against Andrews – make that a 10-10 draw and the event is tied!

The winning team has results of 14-6, 17-3 and 16-4 and the second-placed team 6-14, 15-5 and 18-2 – two excellent performances which will hopefully be the start of a journey into the shark-infested waters of Open Competition!

Well done Barbara, Sarah Jane, Lulu and Richard on a very solid victory!

When you first look at today’s hand (Figure 1) it looks hugely uninteresting and boring – no game to be made, only one side bidding, and the final contract being in a minor suit at the two level. But stick with me – analysing this hand and understanding it will help you a ton in your bidding, defence, and play.

Figure 1

Note that in the bidding (Figure 2): (1) North-South were playing Precision with a 14/16 NT – a one-club opener by North would show 16 Plus HCP so she was forced to open a diamond.

Figure 2

First to the bidding, North-South did well to settle for a part score with a total of 24 points between them. North limited her hand to 13 hcp (as she did not open 1NT) and South decided to flee to the safety of 2 diamonds with her singleton club. East passed and this became to final contract.

First piece of advice on the bidding: as East-West you are on your way to the poorhouse if you let the opponents play at the two level, non-vulnerable, in a minor when they have found some sort of fit.

East must reopen with a double almost without even looking at his hand. On this hand, West will then bid two spades and the opponents have a choice. They can defend but the contract will probably make, or they can take the push to three diamonds.

Now to the defence of two diamonds. When opponents shy away from playing no trump it means they have some shortness in a side suit and for that reason I like trump opening leads against these hands.

East, however, led a spade and West won the trick with the Queen and switched to a trump which declarer won in dummy and led a club to the Jack and Queen.

Back came another trump and the alarm bells started ringing – the defence can now stop declarer ruffing dummy’s third spade and declarer ended up making just six tricks, five trumps and a heart!

Declarers are so used to looking for ruffs in dummy, which is usually where the shorter trump suit is, that they miss the ruffs in their own hand when it has shorter trumps.

On this hand when West returns a trump after winning the spade Ace declarer should immediately give up a second spade – now declarer can win the next trump lead in dummy and the third spade can be ruffed in the North hand and declarer makes six diamond tricks in addition to the heart Ace.

Eventually, if declarer stays passive, the defence will probably hand her a trick in hearts or clubs for the contract to make.

Once again, success on the hand comes from declarer not rushing to draw trumps as soon as possible without first planning the play – this is perhaps the most common declarer play mistake among Intermediate players.

David Ezekiel can be reached at davidezekiel999@gmail.com


Friday, November 10

1. Charles Hall-Molly Taussig

2= Wenda Krupp-Betsy Baillie

2= Lorna Anderson-Joyce Pearson

Monday, November 13

1. Rachael Gosling-Margaret Way

2. Charles Hall-Tony Saunders

3. Stephanie Kyme-Joseph Wakefield

Tuesday, November 14

Teams Game

1. Barbara Elkin, Sarah Jane Varley, Lulu Neame, Richard Neame

2. Sharon Andrews, Marc Drew, James Fielding, Benjamin Stone

3. Heidi Dyson, Amanda Ingham, Kerri McKittrick, Tim McKittrick

Wednesday, November 15


1. Molly Taussig-Joseph Wakefield

2. Richard Gray-Wendy Gray

3. Louise Rodger-Margaret Way


1. Patricia Siddle-Diana Diel

2. Gretta Marshall-Heather Woolf

3. Martha Ferguson-Wenda Krupp

Thursday, November 16

1. John Glynn-Rachael Gosling

2. Molly Taussig-Makiko Rogers

3. Miodrag Novakovic-Margaret Way

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Published November 18, 2023 at 7:56 am (Updated November 18, 2023 at 7:16 am)

Three straight wins for Junior Teams champions

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