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Cup of Friendship

For the More Experienced bridge played in a most enjoyable and friendly spirit the annual Corn Cairdis – Cup of Friendship – between England and Ireland is a rare opportunity for players slightly below expert-level to play in an international fixture. In 2011 England sneaked a 180-177 victory but the result is almost incidental on such an occasion.

North Deals
Both Vul
A 9 8 7 6 4
J 6 4
A 2
J 2
9 8 5 4 3
K Q 7 2
J 6
W   E
K 10 3
A K 10 7 6 2
10 5
5 3
Q 5
A 9 8 3
K Q 10 9 8 7 4
West North East South
  Bugden   Stocken
  1 ♠ 2  3 ♣
4  Pass1 Pass 5 ♣2
Pass Pass Dbl3 Pass
Pass Pass
  1. 100% correct for the English Bridge Union’s Chairman Sally Bugden not to bid 4♠. The opposing heart bidding completely
    devalues QJ such that North now barely has her opening bid. To voluntarily repeat that emaciated spade suit would be great
    folly. Even with Soth's highly suitable dummy, 4♠ would have required pinpoint accurate play to capitalise on a miracle layout to suceed - as we consider in the text.
  2. Could be wrong, but Stocken will have mentally quoted CJ, “I didn’t get where I am today by letting the opponents declare 4 when I have no hearts and a very robust
    seven-card suit of my own”.
  3. Dubious with the top hearts rating to score at most one trick.


Here is England’s Peter Stocken, writer of our Tuesday and Thursday Duplicate Hand Analyses, former EBU Chairman and one of the event’s brainchilds, showing exemplary technique to make 5♣ doubled plus one.

Ruffing East’s king of hearts, declarer immediately ducked a spade (key play). East won and switched to a trump to try to remove dummy’s ace, but declarer rose with the king, crossed to the ace of spades, ruffed a third spade with the queen (this was effectively no guess, for he needed the trumps to split 2-2) then, fingers crossed, led a second trump to dummy’s ace.Phew! Both opponents followed, so declarer could run the three long spades discarding diamonds and claim 12 tricks. Only an unlikely opening trump lead from West would have defeated the doubled game (East leading a second trump to remove the ace when in with the spade).

4♠ by North would have been interesting. Declarer ruffs the top heart lead, crosses to the ace of clubs, ruffs his other heart and must cash a second club (needing a 2-2 split) then lead a diamond towards his jack (needing West to have both king-queen). West wins the queen but has no good return. Declarer can ruff (say) a heart return and lead ace and another trump to hold her losses to two trumps and a diamond.

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