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What scores 1630?

The 2011/12 Tolly (Tollemache) inter-counties qualifier in the Barcelo Daventry was dominated by the eastern counties. The four group (of 10) winners (two from each group qualifying) were Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire, Middlesex, Surrey and Manchester; runner-ups were Kent, Surrey, North-East and Suffolk. 

Quick Geography Quiz: 1. Manchester is clearly the most western of the above list. Which is the second most westerly? On the same longitude theme... 2. Which is further West – Edinburgh or Cardiff? [Answers at end]

The most talked-about deal from the weekend was the very first on the Sunday morning, many competitors doubtless nursing a somewhat heavy head after a night of renewing old friendships in the bar. Thank you to Kent’s Jeremy Willans (South) for giving me the details (I was in Seattle).

West Deals
None Vul


A Q J 5 3 2
J 8 3 2
K 9 7
A K Q 10 8 6 2
K 9 7 6 5
W   E
9 5 4 3
K 10 9 6 4
A Q 4
J 7
A J 10 8 6 5 4 3 2
West North East South
  Drapper   Willans
1 ♠ 2  3 1 5 ♣
6 ♣2 7 ♣3 Dbl4 Pass
Pass Pass
  1. Good spade raise (3ª/4ª would be preemptive).
  2. Grand slam try showing his first-round club control.
  3. Good shot. North can see that on a non diamond lead, there will be 13 winners if partner can do something with the hearts. As events were to prove.
  4. Poor trumps prevent East from making a forcing pass, encouraging partner to bid 7ª. I shouldn’t think for a moment he was worried about N-S actually making 7§.
Lead: ♠ A


After a spirited auction, the Lancastrian West had to find a lead v 7 ♣ doubled. He looked no further than the ace of spades. Declarer ruffed and sensibly began working on hearts before using up dummy’s two remaining trump entries. He cashed the ace of hearts and ruffed a low heart (with the ace). With West discarding on the second round, he could cross to the king of trumps (felling East’s queen) and lead the queen of hearts for a marked ruffing finesse.

If East had played low on the king of hearts, declarer would have discarded his singleton diamond. In practice East covered the queen with the king, but now declarer could ruff, ruff his second spade with dummy’s last trump and triumphantly cash the promoted jack of hearts throwing that diamond. 13 tricks and doubled slam made.

Could West have found the diamond lead? Perhaps – no spades rated to cash and declarer throwing diamond loser(s) on dummy’s hearts was not so unlikely on the bidding.

Quiz Answers: 1. North-East. 2. Edinburgh.

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