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Undercroft Swiss Pairs

from David Schokman

As much as we love playing bridge with all its highs and lows it can occasionally be a cruel game. I should know having played the game for over six decades, with some success but with more failures due to my own shortcomings. The Swiss pairs played at the Undercroft club on October 23rd was one of those days, when my partner, Geoff Yeo, had done everything right and found our way to table two, ready to pounce on Gerry Daly and Trevor Fuller, the eventual winners. However, our opponents Mavis Koay and Diane Dwyer had other ideas and took us to the cleaners on this deal.

Board 5
North Deals
N-S Vul
J 9 7 4
A K 10 8
J 7 4
J 7
A 8
A 10 9 8 6
A 10 6 4 3
10 6 5 3 2
Q 3
K Q 9 8 5 2
Q J 9 7 5 4 3 2
K 5 2

My partner passed and east though long and hard before bidding 1C.

Is this bid correct? I would say no, as it gives your partner a completely wrong idea of your holding. But 1C it was. I had no problem, and the 4H bid was placed on the table. 5C by west; 5H by Geoff. 6C - instantly - by east. Now there was a problem for me. On the bidding my defensive strength seemed confined to one trick, a spade. We were vulnerable against non-vul opponents, but I still chose to bid 6H. This was doubled. Wouldn't you, with three aces, and partner opening the bidding? Three pairs went to 6H over 6C, so all of you who are obsessed Points -Schmoints can see that there is no substitute for shape - with the 19-point combined making 12 tricks, while 21 could only make 10 in hearts.

What should east open? If you are using two-suited openers a bid of 2S cannot be faulted. I would not fault a pass either and would recommend it as the spade suit is rather an anaemic one. So assume that it goes P. P. 4H by south. A classic 4NT by west, asking for the lower suits. 5H by north. Now east comes in to her own and bids 6C unhesitatingly. A bid of 6H should be doubled for a score of +500.

However, as always, you will find that most bridge players are a conservative lot and 40 pc of the field were allowed to play quietly in 4H always making 11 tricks, with west trying to cash the diamond ace too early. Then there were those who were allowed to make 5H, again doubled. Despite having three aces I believe that after a 1C opener by east, west has to bid 6C. Five pairs bid to 6C. Brian Fensome/David Cowell, and Robin Dawson/Susan Robertson were the successful declarers. One optimistic pair even went on to 7C.

So how do you make 6C, and we assume that a spade king was led? Win the trick; Ruff a heart; draw two rounds of trumps and throw south in with a spade. South is end-played to give you a ruff and a discard. All so simple and I have no doubt that Diane Dwyer would have found this line of play.

I would like to congratulate Barbara Hendrie and Lorraine Rea, of the Undercroft Club, for their excellent performance at the Super Vets pairs on October 31st. They lost only one match, defeating many good pairs, including thrashing the winners in the last round. However, there is sometimes no justice, and in the end the loss by one point to the winners was a cruel act of fate. Keep the positive bridge going Barbara and Lorraine but temper it with caution.



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