Bridge By The Lake
By Ken Masson
Over the past 5 years herself and myself have delighted in spending 6 months of the year in Mexico but we also very much enjoy the other half of the year we spend back in Canada. There is such a contrast in all facets of living in the two countries, each interesting and attractive in its own way.
Naturally bridge plays an important role in our lives in both countries and we take pleasure in meeting and playing against different opponents in each location. Thus it was with great anticipation that we went to Hazel’s Bridge Club in the Toronto area shortly after our return there this past April. After greeting many old friends we sat down to play 26 boards of duplicate bridge.
Things started off rather nicely and despite a few miscues here and there we figured we were doing rather well and, it later transpired, we were leading the East-West field of 27 pairs with a score of 60% with just one round to go. If we could keep our noses clean for the last two deals that would provide us with a nice welcome back. What we didn’t realize was that our opponents for that last round were having a rock-crusher of a game and were already leading their direction with more than 70%!
In the first board, North passed, as did herself sitting East. South opened a standard 1 spade. I passed and North bid 2clubs, a version of the Drury convention*, which in their system showed a limit raise in spades with at least 4 trumps. South now bid 2 diamonds to show a full opening bid and North bid 3clubs to show a feature in that suit which was all South needed to bid the spade game.
It seemed to me that an attacking lead was called for so I led the 3 of hearts. Declarer won in dummy and called for the 5 of spades which he won with the king. He now played the 4 of spades towards the dummy, I followed with the 6 and declarer stopped to consider his options. After what seemed like an eternity he called for the 10 from the board and when herself showed out he was able to draw my last trump and claim 10 tricks. This was disappointing to us as the “normal” play with a combined 9 cards missing the queen is to play for the drop, as in “8 ever, 9 never”. This declarer figured that I might have led a trump if I had only two and as he and his partner were having such a fantastic game, he decided to go with his hunch. The net result for us was we scored one matchpoint out of a possible 25 on this board.
So that hand took the proverbial wind out of our sails but surely we could rally and win our fair share of the spoils on the last? Tune in next time for the conclusion of this thrilling saga!
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