YAY! We won the Gold Cup! We played Tim Leslie’s strong team in the 64-board final and beat them on the last eight board set. We were awesome — and I can say that because unfortunately I couldn’t play a single board in the semi-final or final. Result!
Pushing hard to thin games (if you can play) has always been the way to put pressure on the opponents and IMPs on the score card. This was only the second hand of the final, but already there was no holding back (see diagram).
At the other table, West made a T/O of 1◆, and North/South stopped in 3◆, going one down.
At our featured table, stakes were a little bit higher, as Artur Malinowski (playing with David Bakhshi) had converted 3◆ to 3NT.
We may think of bidding on to game from a part score as ‘bidding up’, but in fact we’re just moving from one 9-trick contract to another; one that’s generally harder to defend and pays more when it makes.
Tim, sitting West, led his fourth highest Club to his partner’s King. Artur took the Ace immediately and played a diamond to dummy and a Spade to his King and West’s Ace.
Tim now had a nasty problem: partner Mike Bell had followed with a high Diamond at trick two, a Smith-Peter signal saying he liked the opening lead, but he could have done so from ♣K J, ♣K J 9 or ♣K 10 9. Tim couldn’t tell, but if he didn’t play a Club there was a risk that Declarer had nine tricks already. Eventually he decided to cash the Queen of Clubs, and when that dropped East’s Jack, Artur had another Club trick and nine lovely winners.
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