Pearson claims win in tight individual contest
The Ernie Owen Individual was held at the club last week and attracted an excellent field of 36 players.
When the smoke had cleared, Joyce Pearson took the winner’s spot, closely followed by Jamie Fraser in second, John Luebkemann in third and Nea Willits/Delton Outerbridge in joint fourth.
This is an excellent performance by all these players. Nea has a lot of experience and is clearly still playing good bridge, but the other four are relative newcomers to the game and this is an excellent showing by them.
Individuals are tricky events, with a new partner every two boards, so handling that dynamic is not easy. It is good to see the great turnout by the intermediate players but also good to see some seniors supporting the event, which makes the sense of achievement for the others that much greater.
I am also certain that the intermediates benefit from playing with and against the leading players in the club. Congratulations all. This week’s hand is an excellent one: great bidding, an interesting nuance for Key Card Blackwood and then superb execution by declarer.
? 3 ? KQJ1095
? Q9 ? 53
? KJ8763 ? 542
? J543 ? 92
South West North East
1 ? 2 ? 3 ? Pass
4 ? Pass 4 ? Pass
4NT Pass 5 ? Pass
The bidding was great, North’s 3 Heart bid agreed Spades, the next two bids were cuebids showing Aces in those suits and when South bid Key Card Blackwood, North showed two Aces and the trump Queen, which he didn’t have but since he knew that there was a ten card trump fit he could pretend he did. South then bid the slam.
West led the King of Hearts. Declarer could count ten top tricks, with an eleventh to come from ruffing dummy’s second Heart. As West was the favourite to have the King of Diamonds for his overcall, it appeared that declarer would have to rely on making four tricks in the Club suit to make his contract.
Declarer showed that this was at best a half-truth. He won the first trick with the Ace of Hearts, cashed the King of trumps and played a low trump to dummy’s ten. Declarer ruffed the nine of Hearts in hand, cashed the King of Clubs and played the nine of Clubs to dummy’s Queen. Next, he led the three of Clubs and, when East followed with the eight, declarer covered this with the ten. When that held, declarer claimed his contract, making five trumps, a Heart, a Heart ruff, the Ace of Diamonds and four Clubs. “That was a rather lucky guess in Clubs,” said East. “Not at all,” replied declarer. “If the ten of Clubs had lost to the Jack, West would have had only red cards left and would either have had to lead away from the King of Diamonds or to concede a ruff-and-discard by exiting with a Heart.”
“Also, if West had started with four Clubs to the Jack, I would have won the third round of Clubs with the King and end-played him with a Club.”
The declarer concluded: “So, as long as West started with the King of Diamonds, my plan guaranteed the contract.”
One certainly can’t argue with that analysis.