Janet de Botton

Bridge | 26 September 2019

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The World Championships, held in Wuhan, China, came to the end of a gruelling eight days of qualification (eight teams out of 24 go through to the knockout stage) and England made it in all four events: Open, Seniors, Women and Mixed. The Open team was not clear until the very last match when a dramatic board appeared earning them 16 badly needed IMPs. In one room Artur Malinowski made two spades doubled (+670) while at the other table Andrew Robson and Tony Forrester beat four spades doubled by three tricks for +800. In they sailed to claim seventh position.

Unfortunately, I haven’t watched many boards due to the time difference so my hand today features the other end of the spectrum, a really enthusiastic and talented young beginner whom I met recently at a local duplicate. On the first board my partner had bid 2NT over my take out double, which I alerted and explained was two places to play. On the very next deal she opened 1NT and her partner raised to an invitational 2NT. ‘Two places to play,’ she announced proudly and when I looked a bit puzzled she explained — ‘either 2NT or 3NT’! This was the hand:

The lead was the Queen of Spades and East followed with the deuce. Declarer needed an eighth trick and tried to generate one first in hearts and then in clubs, but nothing worked and she went one off.

Could she have made it? On these type of hands it is better to let the opps open up the tricky suits. The right play is to win the Spade, cash three rounds of Diamonds and then exit in Spades. Whatever E/W touches will then give you trick eight.