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Ladies’ event features crowded leaderboard

By the time this column appears the second session of the Men’s and Ladies’ Championships will have decided the winners.

After the first session there was a lot of daylight between the leading pair and the rest in the men’s event, but in the ladies it was a much more crowded leaderboard.

The ladies’ event had a healthy entry of 14 pairs and leading after the first session were Gertie Barker and Jane Smith with a 58.33 per cent session.

There was a bit of a gap to second where Annabelle Mann and Pat Colmet sit with 53.85 per cent followed by Sheena Rayner/Magda Farag on 53.53 per cent, and Jean Johnson/Dorry Lusher and Ellen Davidson/Diana Kempe both in joint fourth on 53.21 per cent. So it is still wide open.

The men’s pairs saw a really disappointing entry of just seven pairs and with three tables the results are a lot more volatile as top on a board is three.

That means each point earned represents a big percentage of what is available and we can expect some wide separation in the results.

All of that means that while Douglas/Kyme will be hot favourites to make it three wins in a row in this event there is still some hope for the chasing pack.

Before I get to the hand I want to complete my review of the performance by locals in the recent Bermuda Regional as I had left out one really good result involving a Bridge Club stalwart, Janice Trott, who with Peter and Kathleen Haglich and Robert La Tourette won the X division of the 36 table A/X Friday Swiss. An excellent result, so belated congratulations to that team.

So now we come to this week’s hand and I am going to give you a hint.

I have banged on about this play dozens of times in my column over the years. Give it a good look and please think about it before reading on.

Dealer South N/S Vul

S 87

H AQ43

D AQ75

C K76

S A2

H 8765

D KJ6

C AQJ3

South opened 1NT and North bid two Clubs (Stayman for the majors) - when South bid 2 Hearts North raised to game.

West leads a Spade and 11 out of the 12 declarers won the Ace and played a low Heart and put in the Queen when West played low. This lost to the King and the defence now cashed a Spade and West exited with the Heart Jack and East showed out.

Declarer had to lose two more Heart tricks and went down one.

The twelfth declarer had read this column many times and realised that there was always at least one loser in the Heart suit and that playing the Ace first and then leading up towards the queen couldn’t cost.

He did this and ... bingo. The King fell from East.

The full deal:

North

S 87

H AQ43

D AQ75

C K76

West

S KQJ10

H J1092

D 432

C 52

East

S 96543

H K

D 1098

C 10984

South

S A2

H 8765

D KJ6

C AQJ3

The hand now gets more magical. Placing West with the remaining Hearts, declarer realised that letting West ruff would never cost, so he played out three rounds of Diamonds and then played the fourth one and discarded the losing Spade.

West could ruff but eventually makes only one more Heart trick after that - making 5 when the rest of the room is going down.

All because declarer took some care with a no-cost play. The King coming down was fortuitous and against the odds, but if you can make a play that gives you a slight extra chance AT NO COST you have to take it - that is what separates the winners from those who come second.

Please, please look at that card combination of AQxx opposite xxxx or AQxxx opposite xxx - both eight card fits and in both there is NO layout where declarer can avoid a loser.

So, play the Ace first come back to hand and lead low towards the Queen.

If LHO takes the King all is well ... if not, you have a guess to either play the Queen or duck playing RHO for an original holding of Kx.

Not that hard - but it is a play that players find very difficult to make at the table and as a result the right play by those who are careful pays dividends over a period of time.