The best EBU tournament of the year is, IMHO, the Schapiro Spring Foursomes, held at the beginning of May in lovely Stratford-upon-Avon. The format is double knockout with one team emerging undefeated on Monday afternoon. For the second year running that team has been Frances Hinden’s squad of four (almost all the other teams field six), which is a serious achievement in itself. Last year they were ousted in the semi-finals but this year they beat everyone, including the number one seed Allfrey (with most of the England Open team on it), to win the coveted trophy. It was an outstanding performance — many congratulations.
Frances played with her regular partner Graham Osborne and together they produced perhaps the defence of the tournament on this board.
Frances was West and led her singleton Heart. Declarer (a world champion) called for the Ace of Hearts and played a second Heart from dummy. Graham had the Queen of Hearts ready, but stopped to consider the situation.
South clearly had huge distribution: 7–4 or 6–5 seemed to be the minimum, and probably the King of Clubs was his only high card. So, how were they going to beat this? The only chance was to take three tricks in Hearts. Having worked this out, Graham produced the only card to give the defence a chance — the Ten of Hearts! When south played the Jack, Frances ruffed and returned her last trump. Graham could win the next Heart and return his remaining trump, and South had to lose one more Heart trick to the King.
At the other table Jeffrey Allerton and Jon Cooke took 300 from 4 spades doubled for a 10 IMP gain. Impressive.
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