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Lords v Commons

This was a big-swing board from the 39th annual Lords-Commons match, held at the Palace of Westminster and sponsored jointly by Stephen Perry and Lord Kalms, won by the Commons.

Aggregate Teams 
East Deals
Both Vul
A K Q 10 9
10 4
7 5
A 10 8 4
8 5 3
K J 8 7 2
Q 9 7 5 2
W   E
J 7 6 4
A Q 9
Q 10 3
K J 6
6 5 3
A K J 9 8 6 4 2
Table One
West North East South
    1 N Pass1
2 2 2  3  5 
Pass Pass Pass  
  1. Reasonable Shot. Perhaps the opponents will remain in notrumps and South can unleash eight running diamonds (should the  Q drop).
  2. Transfer to hearts.
Table Two
West North East South
    1 N 5 1
Pass 6 2 Pass Pass
  1. No softly-softly tactics for Table Two's South. Arguably 4  is the right pre-emptive level given that South is vulnerable and the suit has a hole in it. Buth there is no doubt that 5  could bring home the bacon.
  2. Hoping that partner either has hearts covered, or for a non-heart lead.
At Table One West led a heart v 5 , his partner having supported his transfer bid. East won the ace, cashed the queen, then very brightly led a third heart (little point in leading a black suit and you will see - every point in leading a third heart).

Declarer ruffed in dummy and hoping for the three remaining trumps to split 2-1, led to his ace. West discarding was a fatal blow and he could only concede a diamond to East's queen. 5  one down.

Things were rather different at Table Two where the pugnacious North-South had bid 6 . With a blind lead, West reasonably selected a club.

Declarer won dummy's ace and led a diamond to the ace. West discarding was but a minor inconvenience (unlike at Table One) because dummy still had a trump with which to take the second-round marked finesse against East's queen.

Declarer crossed to the ace-king-queen of spades, discarding two hearts, then led a second trump to the (ten and) jack. The king felled East's queen and just one heart was lost at the end. 12 tricks and 6  made. The slam succeeded whilst game failed.

Should declarer have taken a first round finesse at Table One? Probably. It is just possible East has 12-14 points (for his 1 NT opener) with West holding the queen of diamonds (singleton as East has to have at least two). Unlikely though.

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