2018 ended on a very sweet note for my team. We played the London Year End one-day teams tournament — and won! Highly enjoyable and highly satisfying. The perfect warm-up for the first weekend of the Camrose Trophy in Mold, North Wales, where I got my second England cap playing against the home countries. We played five 32-board matches and ended in second place, which is a reasonable position for the second weekend in March.
I played with my regular partner, Artur Malinowski, who never fails to dazzle at least once a session with his astonishing card-reading skills. Take a look at this slam.
My 3♠ bid showed both minors and hey presto, we were in slam.
West led a club and it looks like declarer needs ♠A or ♥K with East. But Artur didn’t become the player he is by taking a losing finesse. This was his thought process:
A natural lead would have been a spade — unless West held ♠Ace. Which left the heart finesse for his contract. Or did it? He cashed 3 clubs and 5 diamonds and East discarded hearts and kept spades. East might have opened 2♥ if he held the King so Artur also placed the ♥K with West. Is there any hope if that is the layout? Let’s see. Declarer played out all his trumps, keeping Ace Queen of hearts and ♠K, West holding ♠A, ♠J and ♥K x. What could West do as the last trump was played? If he bares the ♥King, Artur can drop it and if he keeps 2 hearts and the ♠Ace, declarer throws him in with it.