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Planning and holding your nerve

The first session of the Non Life Masters pairs took place at the Bermuda Bridge Club last week with a great turnout of 18 pairs.

Peter Donnellan and Paul Thomson were always going to be fancied in this event and at the halfway stage they lead by just under a board from Andy Carne and Irene Chew, who I think won this event before, with Scott and Sally Godet a further board back and just ahead of Katrina Van Pelt and Judy King.

Andy and Irene lead Strata B and leading Strata C are Joyce Pearson and Richard Hall. The final session was held on Thursday so full results next week.

Coming up soon is a STAC and Charity Week from May 5-9, the ACBL International Fund game on the morning of May 14 and then the Open Teams on May 14 and 16, so a lot to play for.

Today’s hand is all about planning and then sticking to the plan, an all important part of successful declarer play. The hand came up in a local teams event and three out of the four declarers failed in the contract.

Board 1. Love All. Dealer North.

(Spades / Hearts / Diamonds / Clubs)

North: QJ96 / AQJ103 / 53 / Q10

East: 42 / K75 / K872 / 9763

South: A10873 / 82 / A104 / AJ4

West: K5 / 964 / QJ96 / K852

WEST / NORTH / EAST / SOUTH

- / 1H / Pass / 1S

Pass / 2S/ Pass / 4S

All four declarers were in 4 Spades and the Diamond Queen was the lead at all four tables. Declarer 1 decided to win the first Diamond and exit with a Diamond making it easy for East to win and lead a Club won by West.

Now with both major suit Kings being offside the contract went one down. Unlucky, as any of the three Kings being right would make the contract safe, but successful declarers combine luck with skill.

The other three declarers did better by ducking the Diamond Queen, but all three defenders did superbly to not continue Diamonds but lead a Heart. Two of the three declarers succumbed by calling for the Queen and when East won and returned a Club both these declarers also tasted defeat.

The fourth declarer surveyed the hand and decided to do everything to keep East off lead while the major suit Kings were still out. So he ducked the first Diamond and then when West switched to a Heart he stuck with the plan and called for the Ace. He now ran the Queen of Spades and when West won he was helpless. A Heart exit was pointless and a club too dangerous and futile, and when West continued a Diamond declarer won, drew trump, knocked out the Heart Ace and claimed the contract, succeeding despite a tough opening lead and all the three Kings being wrong. A well deserved success, don’t you think?

The lesson, the message? Plan before playing to trick one. And then hold your nerve and follow the plan.

<p>Latest Bridge Club results</p>

Here are the latest Bermuda Bridge Club results, compiled by Julia Lunn.Monday, April 21AfternoonNorth-South1. Judy Bussell-Peter Donnellan2. Julia Beach-Russ Craft3. Jackie Swan-Marilynn SimmonsEast-West1. Danielle Cloutier-Diana Diel2. Lyn O’Neill-Dorry Lusher3. Annabelle Mann-Nea WillitsEveningNorth-South1. Marilynn & Delmont Simmons2. Stephanie Kyme-Judy Bussell3/4. Gertie Barker-Jane Smith3/4. Alan Douglas-Dee CraftTuesday, April 22EveningNorth-South1. Mary Leigh Burnett-Elizabeth Caulfield2. Ray McDaid-Inger Mesna3. Elma Anfossi-Stan TurnerEast-West1. Gary Clarke-Jean Wolosiuk2. Margaret Kirk-Pat Maher3. Carol Eastham-Nikki BoyceWednesday, April 23MorningNorth-South1. Gertie Barker-Jane Smith2. Judy Bussell-Diana Diel3/4. Dorry Lusher-Louise Rodger3/4. Jeanette Shaw-Sheena RaynerEast-West1. Bob & Joan Lewis2. Magmar Talsrod3. Greta Marshall-Lynanne Bolton4. Wendy & Richard GrayThursday, April 24Evening (0-300 pairs)1. Peter Donnellan-Paul Thompson2. Irene Chew-Andy Carne3. Scott & Sally GodetEvening (Open pairs)1. Alan Douglas-Jane Smith2. Gertie Barker-John Glynn3. Gordon Bussell-Pat ColmetFriday, April 25Evening (Teams)1. G.Barker-J.Smith-E.Kyme-S.Kyme2. S.Rayner-R.Douglas-J.Glynn-M.Simmons3. D.Diel-D.Craft-R.Craft-L.O’Neill