If you live in or around London you can play a pairs duplicate every night (or day) of the week to suit your standard. Teams is another story. Until the London Super League started about six years ago, there was no duplicate to accommodate teams who wanted to play regularly and competitively. Now we have two great leagues — the LSL at Young Chelsea and TGR’s Superleague. There are two divisions in both so anyone can join without feeling intimidated. Last Wednesday saw the final match at TGRs and, as always, the top three teams were very close. My team squeaked a win which — as we were facing relegation at one point last season — was worth celebrating!
This hand is from our last match against David Muller’s team, played (and made) by Alan Mayo.
West led ♥6, hitting declarer’s weak spot. East won the King and returned the ♥3, West following with the ♥7. With eight tricks on top which suit should declarer play next? There is no guaranteed line. He can finesse in Spades or in Diamonds, setting up an extra trick even if the finesse loses, or he can hope for Clubs 3–3. Playing Spades or Diamonds will be fine if the Hearts are 4–4, as they can only take two more Hearts. How the Hearts are breaking is still unclear, East may have started with four, or with K 3 2, and West’s card at trick two cannot be trusted.
As the hand depends on how Hearts are breaking, Alan’s solution was to find out — by playing a heart! If Hearts are indeed 4–4, he can establish his ninth trick anywhere, while if they’re breaking 5–3, East has to discard twice, after which declarer has a much more informed picture of how to proceed in the endgame.
Never guess until you have exhausted all other options.
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