Janet de Botton

Bridge | 9 November 2017

The third and final weekend of England’s Premier League took place in Solihull and was a very jolly affair. All three divisions played at the same venue, which meant lots of bridge chat between sessions and lots of speculation about who was likely to get promoted or relegated. In division one, the eight teams were competing for the top two positions, earning those teams an invitation to play for England in the Camrose (home countries) Trophy. My team was in contention right up to the final board, but sadly we clung grimly to third place so no England cap for moi. That privilege goes to the Allfrey and Hinden teams. There was much buzz surrounding today’s hand. My teammate Espen Erichsen played it and triumphed:
The lead was the ♣10. Espen had to lose two hearts and must avoid two spade losers. He started well by rising with the ♣Ace and playing the Queen, covered by the King and ruffed low in hand. Next came a top Heart, won by East. Now, if East switches to a Spade, it’s the end of the defence: whether West takes the Ace or ducks, declarer can go to dummy and pitch a Spade on the good ♣Jack. Instead East tried a third round of Clubs, tempting declarer to ruff high. If South falls for this, a third trump trick is promoted in the East hand. However, Espen could work out that if West has another trump, the normal Spade switch would also defeat the contract. He therefore backed himself to have made a winning play — and trusted the opponents — when he coolly discarded a small Spade on this trick. Excellent play by South and strong defence by East.

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