We started with the Norwegians, who are normally more threatening than they were this morning.
A moderate start became a losing position, but we pulled it back with interest to win 19-11.
This hand seemed obvious to me and Chris who held it:
|K 8 2|
|K 10 9 8 7 6 4 3 2|
The textbooks remain strangely silent about what you should bid on hands like these, but at game all I can't see anyone with red blood bidding less than 5. That's how it appeared to Chris too, and he was greeted with a double and a singleton trump in the dummy. Freddie also put down the ace of clubs though, and only a trump promotion got it two down for 500.
4 made a comfortable 11 tricks next door so 4 imps to the good.
The second match we lost to the French heavily when both rooms struggled a bit.
Once more we bounced back with a good thrashing of Argentina. Unfortunately the match was marred by a director call on the first board which took a lot of time and seemingly made the match a bit more hurried.
This was the interesting first board that shows you should never give up:
You bid to 6NT after West shows the minors, and East doubles it — what do you do?
A diamond lead is led and the ten holds on dummy, if you overtake it and lead a club to the queen, you have a chance of a brilliancy....
West is 6-6 (in the minors) and east 6-5 (in the majors) so once the queen of clubs holds you are home! Simply play a heart off the dummy towards your 9.
If East puts the king up you have 11 easy tricks (3 diamonds, 1 club, 4 hearts, 3 spades) and when you cash the ace and king of diamonds East is squeezed. There is no guess to make as either the hearts become good or if one is still out then the spades are.
Instead if East ducks then you knock out the ace of clubs and again you have 11 tricks (3 clubs, 3 diamonds, 2 hearts 3 spades) and East is again squeezed in the majors on the run of the clubs and diamonds.
In the open room our declarer was put off by the hesitation when he played a club to the queen and 9, clouded by the fact that East had given preference to clubs during the auction. The directors were sympathetic, but they didn't feel they could adjust the score because declarer had taken a very long time to play to trick one and it was thought that East needed a bit of time to wake up and realise what suit was being played. However declarer did recover to strip and end play East to get out for down one, -100.
Why does this show you should never give up?
When we came to score up the other table read out first (as they always do when I watch one table) and announced "plus 500" for win 9 imps.
At the end of the scoring I ventured to ask what contract they had doubled, thinking perhaps they had bid to 6 or something fanciful.
"Oh, I doubled 4" said Alex.
"I suppose I should have passed, but I was fairly sure they wouldn't run to 4NT" he added, almost as an afterthought.
Tomorrow we have a bye (18vps) then lowly Singapore and bottom placed Japan — time to relax and enjoy the pressure being off before the quarter finals the day after.