Outside your comfort zone
By the time this column appears the Men’s and Ladies’ pairs will have concluded with the second session having taken place last night.
Based on the first session results it will be a major surprise if Jane Smith and Gertie Barker don’t carry off the Ladies’s event as they had a great 68.75 per cent first session which is a full board ahead of the second one.
Heather Woolf and Julia Lunn are in second with a good score of 57 per cent, closely followed by Sheena Rayner and Wendy Gray in third and a bit further back in fourth and fifth are Diana Diel-Elizabeth McKee and Ruby Douglas-Lynanne Bolton.
If there is an upset coming, and pairs bridge is a funny game that way, it is hard to see it coming from outside this group.
It is a completely different story in the Men’s Pairs where the title can go anywhere - bunched at the top are Mike Viotti-Misha Novakovic on 56 per cent followed on 55 per cent by Bill Pollett-Peter Donnellan and Alan Douglas-Delmont Simmons and then a large group around 50 per cent.
It is a real coin toss here, so watch this space.
This week’s hand is going to test you and take most of you outside your comfort zone, but I can’t apologise because all it does is ask you to concentrate!
It involves a throw-in, probably not something you have ever done before, but you will never get a hand where it is so laid out on a plate for you, so stick with it!
Dealer South N/S Vulnerable
You land up in the perfectly good spot of 6NT and West leads the Heart Queen on which East pitches a low Diamond. The alarm bells are ringing a bit as the EW hands are clearly distributional - declarer has 11 top tricks and one of the black suits needs a 3-3 break for the 12th trick.
You win the Heart and now try both the black suits and as expected East has them both guarded as West shows out on the third round of both - still there is hope! In fact there is certainty!
West is clearly 2-6-3-2 in shape and the hand is now easy - all you need to do is concentrate and execute. You cash the three top Diamonds to leave West with nothing but Hearts in this situation:
Now you simply lead a low heart from your hand and West is … dead!
He has to win the Heart 10 and then lead another Heart into your K9 - contract made.
A good thing that your partner was dealt the 8 of Hearts!
A lovely hand and one that you should look at a few times - you will agree that in the end this is actually an easy play once you get a road map, and a few looks at the hand will get you comfortable with the thinking and hopefully pave the way for you to make a similar play one day - write to me when you do.