Talk about Custer’s Last Stand. My poor old team has been knocked out of all this year’s main tournaments — the Gold Cup (I’m still reeling), Hubert Phillips, the Schapiro Spring Foursomes (worst performance ever) — which left Crockford’s the only competition left in which to qualify for the final. To do that we went to the utterly charming village of West Marden (and I’m not an utterly-charming-village kind of gal) to play the semi-final against Lilias Lamont’s team. Forty-eight boards took seven hours to play and we emerged half-dead but victorious to qualify for the eight-team final at the beginning of September.
Here [above] is Israeli international Dror Padon, playing a highly optimistic 3NT, which gained us a badly needed swing.
West led ♣J to the King and Ace. It looks as if declarer needs either spades or diamonds to come in for five tricks before the opps can knock out his club stop and take him off. But how to maximise his chances? At trick two he played the ♦Q from hand which West covered and dummy’s Ace won. That was a good start but he needed the spade finesse if he was to have a chance. At trick three he made the key play of the ♠2 from dummy to his Jack. Eureka! When this also worked he had unlocked the whole hand. He now knew he needed only four diamond tricks to go with his three spades and two clubs. He successfully finessed the ♦10, gave up a Diamond and had the ♠K as an entry to cash his nine tricks.
Note that if the ♦10 was wrong, he still had the possibility of the Spades breaking.
Crockford’s final here we come.