All to Play ForHaving defeated both Scotland and Finland, we faced Sweden in our final match on day 6 of the championships. The Swedes had slipped back into second place and we were hopeful of an emphatic victory to move us firmly into contention. The match started well and we held the lead for most of it. When dummy was placed on the table on the final board, however, Nevena Senior would need to make 12 tricks to avoid a sizeable defeat.
|Board 32. Dealer West. E-W Vulnerable.|
♥ A K Q 8 7 6 4 2
♣ A K
|♠ Q 5 3
♥ J 5
♦ K J 7
♣ 9 6 5 3 2
|♠ A 9 8 6 4
♦ Q 9 5 2
♣ 8 7 4
|♠ J T 7
♥ T 9
♦ A T 8 6 3
♣ Q J T
Nevena received a diamond lead in her contract of 6H. Without this, 12 tricks would have been very easy - draw trumps, unblock the ace and king of clubs and then cross to dummy to cash the queen of clubs (8 heart tricks, 3 clubs and a diamond). The problem was that the lead had removed the entry to the dummy before the clubs had been unblocked so the queen of clubs could never be reached. Therefore, at trick 2, Nevena led a spade and had to guess which honour West held.
She led the jack and West played low. Would Nevena rise with the king or would she let the jack run? We watched with bated breath. She played low from hand, forcing the ace from east and promoting the king for her twelfth trick, thereby landing the slam and restricting our loss in the match to just 2 IMPs - phew!
This could turn out to be extremely important because we are within touching distance of a bronze medal. With time running out, to win gold or silver will require some fairly dramatic collapses from the leading teams but they will face tough opponents and so anything is still possible.
With three rounds to go, here are the standings:
If we manage to secure handsome victories against Portugal, Israel and Turkey, our chances of a medal are pretty good and if either Sweden or Poland slip up, who knows what can be achieved?
Tomorrow promises to be an exciting day !