How would you bid these hands in your regular partnership with North opening the bidding?
As you might expect and hope with international players and aspirants, this board was flat in the three matches. Unfortunately the grand slam was only bid at two tables, leaving four (unnamed) pairs with some work to do.
Board three was another bidding challenge for the North-South pairs:
South to open. Where would you finish?
Andy and John, playing for the England team, had a very good auction after a 1NT opening, North was able to show a game-forcing hand with six clubs and diamond shortage and they settled safely in three notrump. This should have been worth a game swing as the Scots reached five clubs, which has no play with the ace of hearts offside. However the only redeeming feature for the Scottish auction was its speed and lack of information provided to the defence, so the (normal) diamond lead from West gave the eleventh trick for a flat board.
Board fourteen caused a double-imps swing in every match, not surprising when you look at the hand.
All the auctions started similarly and the actions of North varied. Some doubled for penalty, some bid a natural three notrump and some passed, showing values. In the end three pairs reached six diamonds, one was in six hearts and two played five diamonds.
Then the spotlight fell on West. All these contracts can be beaten if they avoid an opening spade lead and, in five diamonds, do not lead a club and get rid of the queen of hearts on the first round (of course declarer would need mirrors to get this right even when you do not unblock). Congratulations to:
- Trevor (Wales) who led a diamond, but failing to unblock the queen of hearts let ...
- Phil (Scotland) make him pay by throwing him in with it to make five diamonds.
- Tim (Scotland) led the ace of clubs and continued the suit against six diamonds
- Chris (England) who lead a diamond against six diamonds (and so was not interested in unblocking)
The final scores show that this was an interesting set of boards, a good workout for all concerned:
- Scotland Blue 40:40 Wales Red
- Scotland White 73:27 Wales Green
- Saltire 16:90 England