Last week we played round four of the Gold Cup. I had eagerly looked at the email to see who we were up against and for the first time ever we had drawn… Susanna’s team! Her partner was rubber-bridge maven Graham Orsmond, with Brian Ransley and Brian McGuire at the other table.
The match was 48 boards and after 32 we were slightly ahead. The most dangerous opponents in a knockout match are those who are prepared to push the boat out to make up some ground. The two Brians are not afraid to put up a fight, and so it was, with 16 boards to go, that they came out all guns blazing on this hand:
West led ♣7. This contract needs a few good things to happen, including Declarer not misplaying. Needing to ruff a couple of hearts in dummy, he scrapped any thoughts of drawing three rounds of trump — Qx had to drop. It would also be a mistake to let the defence draw a third round of trumps too soon. Realising all this, McGuire won in hand and led a Spade up. West won and shifted to a trump. The top two trumps brought more good news, and after a successful Heart finesse, declarer ruffed two Hearts in dummy, discarded one on the ♠K, and claimed a fantastic +920. The match was close again! Luckily, a few boards later things went our way, and with a sigh of relief we made it into the next round.