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Bread and butter hands win or lose points

Richard Hall and James Fraser are the 2016 Non Life Masters champions.

They came from third place after the first session to overhaul first-round leaders Mike Viotti and Kathleen Keane, who finished in second, and Inger Mensa and Noula Contibas, who finished in third.

In the end the winning margin was a healthy 7.5 match points but the result was in doubt right until the last round of the second session.

Finishing in fourth were Christine Lloyd-Jennings and Linda Abend, with Michael Tait and Jean Thompson, who had a great second session, sharing fifth place with Scott and Sally Godet.

Mensa–Contibas won the B strata with Lloyd–Jennings-Abend taking second.

It is great to see consistency in these events and the first four at the final were also the first four at the halfway stage, so those pairs can look to build on the consistency.

Congratulations to Richard and James for a fine victory in a really good field and there are a lot of pairs that can take many positives from this event.

One usually looks for a clever or brilliant hand for a column, but it is the bread and butter hands that win or lose you the points and today’s hand certainly falls into that category — take a good look at it and note the harsh lesson East-West learnt from a bit of laziness.

Dealer West E/W vul. Duplicate pairs



H 854


C 92


S 108753

H A7

D K7

C 10875


S Q94

H Q9

D 1065



S A2

H K10632

D 942

C 643

South opened 1NT and North made the obvious raise to 3NT.

West led the Heart three, fourth best, and East won and returned a Heart.

West won and played back a lazy two of Hearts to clear the suit.

Declarer won and immediately ran the Diamond ten which was won by East’s King.

East surveyed dummy and, remembering the play of the heart two from West, returned the “obvious” club — curtains!

A very grateful declarer now wrapped up nine tricks and made his contract.

Of course you have figured it out already — West was at fault.

After winning the Heart King he should carefully return the ten of Hearts to tell partner that his entry was in a higher ranking suit — now East cannot go wrong and returns a Spade to defeat the contract by two tricks.

This sort of situation comes up time after time, often when one is playing a suit for partner to ruff in a suit contract.

The size of the card you play should indicate whether you want a return of the higher or lower ranking of the remaining suits, excluding the trump suit.

Not difficult, just needs a little bit of thought. So think!

Again, congratulations to the winners and all the placers in the Non Life Masters.