This autumn has been the busiest (bridge-wise) I can remember. It started with the Crockfords final at the beginning of September (we came second), then there was the World Championships in Orlando (we came nowhere) and the Pairs and Teams Grand Prix of Poland in Vilnius (we came second in both). We have just played the third and final weekend of the English Premier League, which we had been leading all the way, and we came… second, beaten by the strong Allfrey team by one VP. What a heartbreaker!
Of course there was much discussion about the hands between rounds. Who was in which contract? Who had made? Who had gone down and why? This one comes from the final weekend and proves that greed is not always good when playing teams:
West (John Cox, playing on Cameron Small’s team) led the ♠2 to the ♠Jack and ♠King. Declarer returned the ♠10 at trick two, overtaking with the ♠Q when John ducked. Next South ran the ♥J from dummy, which Cox won with the Ace(!) and shifted to the ♦5 taken by the Ace. Playing for overtricks, which are important in the new(ish) form of Victory Point scoring rather than straight IMPs, declarer now fatally cashed the ♦K and took another heart finesse, safe in the knowledge that the Queen lay with East. John produced his ♥Q like a rabbit out of a hat and cashed his three winners (♠Ace, ♦Q and ♦9) for one down. The only other person to find the same defence was Andrew Black, but declarer – clearly not too worried about the VP scale — did not cash his ♦King and made the nine tricks he always had.