When did International Women’s Day become an official fixture? I have never been aware of it before this year and I fumed noisily thinking how patronising it was, ranting on that men don’t have a special day as every day celebrates their importance. Wrong again. There is an International Men’s Day and, if you want to prepare early, it’s in November. ‘What am I getting for IWD,’ I asked my team before playing a fairly early round of the Gold Cup. ‘You get to play ONE hand,’ they replied (almost in unison), ‘in the match tonight. Try not to stuff it up.’ Today’s hand was (mis)played by both expert declarers in a recent match, and even in the postmortem most players got it wrong. How would you have done?
One West led the ♣King, the other the ♣Queen — both looking for an unblock of the Jack but everyone followed small. West switched to the Jack of Hearts which went to the Queen, King and Ace, and when the Diamond finesse lost, the defence cashed three tricks in Hearts. One down. Bad luck. Is there any way declarer can persuade West not to switch to the ♥J? Well, he could try what West asked of his partner, namely drop the ♣J at trick one! Whatever signals E/W are using, the fall of the Jack is overwhelmingly likely to make West play a second round of the suit, playing declarer for Ace Jack stiff of Clubs. This you take of course, to try the Diamond finesse; if it loses and East has another Club, the suit was 4-3 all the time. BTW — IWD was introduced in 1911 by the Suffragettes. So much for paranoia.