USA started off by bidding these cards to 6:
East showed a weak no trump, West enquired about spade support and upon hearing it unleashed Blackwood. Of course trumps were 3-2, clubs were 3-2 and the diamond finesse was onside so that was 980 and 11 imps away.
However the imps returned with interest on the next hand:
Dealer East NS Vuln
In the open room Freddie and Chris had trouble diagnosing that the diamond suit was their achilles heel in clubs:
The auction carried them to slam on momentum. 4 seems fine holding a void but then perhaps North should only pass 5 (forcing) to invite partner, assuming the A is wasted and the only positive feature is the 6th club, although that's what prompted you to bid 2 in the first place...
Fortunately the opponents saved and that was 500 without breaking sweat, as there are four inescapable losers in spades...
In the closed room the auction was a bit shorter:
Alex Roberts as East would normally have raised to 3 pre-emptive or shown a mixed raise if that was available but with so much hair in his eyes he thought he only had three card support, so 2 seemed safer. (Honest to god I wish I was joking)
The defence started with the jack of diamonds, and Shiv won in hand to sneak a trump past North. When this held he exited with his singleton club and South won and played the queen of diamonds back, perhaps hoping his partner could ruff. Winning the king on dummy Shiv played a trump and North won his bare ace perforce and switched to a heart to South's ace. The thought process that led to South now playing a low diamond into dummy's tenace is a weird and wonderful one that I do not wish to know now, or forever more, I can only say that whoever taught him to defend should offer him a full refund.
Did I say inescapable losers? That was +590 and 14 imps to the good.
Later on in the set Chris pulled off something more commonly seen by the Rueful Rabbit.
Put yourself in declarer's shoes as South (who has overcalled 2 and been raised to 3) leads the jack of clubs against 3NT. He ran the jack of diamonds which held and played another one, South showing out. Now he put up the ace and played a spade to the ten and king. South cashed his club and North threw a spade away. Since North had shown 4 diamonds and 3 clubs he knew that spades were breaking so on the run of the clubs he discarded both his hearts, and when he got the lead cashed his spades for....oh — South turned up with the guarded jack!
This was Chris' hand:
|K J 9 6|
|10 7 6|
|A J 10 7 4|
Rather than being a master stroke of genius this was a comedy misplay in a rush to cash the setting trick.
Tomorrow we face Chinese Taipei (which is what Taiwan are referred to in bridge circles), Australia, and Sweden. Chinese Taipei were a quarter-finalist four years ago but hopeless two years ago and lying in the bottom third of the pack, so we hope for a good win, but the other teams could be tough.
Watch this space.....