The last three weekends have not been relaxing for those of us playing the Premier League, with all its attendant dreams of promotion and nightmares of relegation. Last year’s winners were relegated to division two and Alexander Allfrey’s excellent team won.
Today’s hand features (immodestly) moi and came from the second weekend in Manchester:
First the bidding: my 2♣ is game forcing but that doesn’t count for anything these days. David Price, playing for Mossop, stuck in 3♦ putting paid to my partner, Artur Malinowski, responding with the relay bid of 2♦. He passed, as double (from either of us) would be for penalties. Paul Hackett, East, raised to 4♦ on his massive three Queen hand which meant I had to pass as well. Now North came into the action and Artur’s judgment is pretty faultless on these occasions: rationalising that I couldn’t have a long suit (6+ cards), or more than one diamond, he stuck his hand in the bidding box and came out with 6♣! Only one problem here — I’m playing it.
Price led ♦6, which I won perforce with the Ace. I played ♥Ace and ruffed a Heart, ruffed a diamond in hand, cashed Ace King of Spades and ruffed a Spade. Thoroughly enjoying the cross ruff theme, I ruffed a diamond with the ♣Jack, a Heart with the ♣Ace, a diamond with the ♣King and with 10 9 8 of Clubs left in dummy I could only lose one trick to the ♣Q. No finesse necessary — or taken! As usual the whole contract was in the bidding and Artur was the only one to bid slam — as he was quick to remind me when, glowing with pride at making the slam, he told me it was laydown and even I couldn’t go off. Sigh...