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Open Teams: halfway leaders look a good bet

Lots happening at the Bridge Club with Christmas around the corner — tournament season in full swing, lessons from Diana Diel and the Ernie Owen Individual coming up on November 4. Details on all of this on the excellent, revamped (or soon to be!) Bermuda Bridge Club website — check it out.

Last night will have seen the second session of the Open Teams and it will be a bit of a surprise if the halfway leaders, Marge Way, Jean Johnson, Roman Smolski and Misha Novakovic do not take the title.

It is a six-team field and after three of the five matches the leaders have 48 Victory Points out of 60 which gives them a healthy lead with two teams on 31 and one on 30. I have to trot out the “anything can happen at this game” phrase, but if we were on Betfair I am guessing the leaders will be about 1-5, ie forecast to win about 80 per cent of the time with this lead. Tune in next week!

I have covered this week's hand before, but it is not only a nice and instructive declarer play problem, but also has a ton of interest in the bidding:

The bidding was ... interesting — and not good !

The bidding was pretty awful, especially from South.

I am a big fan of getting your suits mentioned early but South's 3 Heart bid is the underbid of the year (should start with a double) and his 4 Heart bid is not far behind!

In between that I am not enamoured with North's 3NT bid with no Spade spots — 4 Hearts would have been my choice.

North then makes this huge overbid of 4 Spades (Ace of Spades and Heart support) and now even South had to bid 6 Hearts!

Bad bidding, great spot! Sort of four wrongs making a right!

West led the Spade three, clearly a singleton (as East has shown six with his weak two opening), and the play of the hand is interesting.

Declarer has to assume that all the non-Spade high cards may be with West and play it that way, and she did, proving that a bad bidder can be a good declarer.

She won the Spade Ace, Heart to the Ace, Diamond to the King and another low Heart — when East follows the hand is in fact now guaranteed.

All declarer has to do now is put in the Heart 10 — if it loses West is endplayed! He has to lead a Club or a Diamond, either of which gives Declarer the hand. On a Diamond lead declarer simply ruffs the fourth Club and on a Club lead declarer can pitch a Diamond from dummy on the fourth Club and ruff a Diamond! Elegant play! What if the Heart finesse wins? You cash all your Hearts coming down to six cards — West has to keep KJ of Diamonds with his Clubs so you now play four rounds of Clubs and he is endplayed!

Almost a nicer ending!

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Published October 22, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated October 22, 2016 at 10:48 am)

Open Teams: halfway leaders look a good bet

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