Thrilling climax to the Open pairs
The Open pairs concluded last Friday and ended in a nail-biting finish with David Sykes and Charles Hall taking the title by a wafer-thin margin of half a match point from first-round leaders John Burville and David Cordon. Burville-Cordon put up a good target with another good 60 per cent session but the 63 per cent session posted by Sykes-Hall allowed them to snatch victory in the last stride. Finishing third in the six Pair field were Alan Douglas and Magda Farag.
Good performances by the top two pairs and whilst the field was small it was of reasonable quality.
With the third quarter behind us I thought it might be interesting to see how the Player of The Year races are shaping up and here is a summary of the main contenders as at September 30:
Senior Player of the Year
Jane Smith 46.72 Masterpoints
Alan Douglas 35.13
Gertie Barker 31.80
Junior Player of the Year
Claude Guay — 10.30
Sharon Shanahan 10.13
Richard Keane 7.98
David Pickering 7.90
Betsy Baillie 7.28
Day Player of the Year
Diana Diel 58.92
Molly Taussig 55.61
Elizabeth McKee 48.51
Gertie Barker 38.74
Margie Way 37.91
Interesting to see the relative values of the day scores compared to the evening ones indicating the greater frequency and the larger masterpoint allotments due to the larger fields.
Next up is the Open Teams on Monday the 14th and Monday the 21st and hopefully there will be a better turnout for this event.
More next week on the Youth/Schools Bridge initiative which is gathering steam …. BHS is soon to be up and running so if you know a BHS student or parent encourage them to sign up!
This week's hand needs a little bit of thought and planning and that might mean losing some of the intermediate players half way through, but I urge you to stick with it and just enjoy the declarer play even if it looks all too difficult to work out!
N/S Vul, Dealer East
The bidding was fairly standard and repeated at many tables:
West's 3 Heart bid was pre-emptive and East decided to defend as he had high hopes of beating 4 Spades — and he would have against a lesser declarer!
West led the Heart Queen and East overtook with the King to switch to the Diamond 2, clearly a singleton.
It was clear to declarer what East was planning — get in with the Spade King, lead a low Heart to partner's Jack and get a Diamond ruff for down one !!
Having sorted this out declarer saw that even playing Ace and another Spade would not work so he decided on Plan B — cut communications between East -West!
Declarer won the Diamond in dummy and played a low Club to the Jack. When this held he cashed the Club Ace, crossed to the Spade Ace and played the Club Queen. East covered with the King but instead of ruffing declarer pitched his low Heart! The defence is now dead!
East tried a low Heart but declarer ruffed, gave up a Spade and claimed ten tricks — beautiful play, great planning and great execution!
All declarer did was exchange a Heart loser for a Club loser but in the process cut the bridge between East and West — all in all a wonderful bridge hand!