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Fun in London

Here is the clinching deal from the London Trophy semifinal between Royal Blue (RAC) and Reform Tuesday (Reform Club). The London Trophy is for London-based teams from Bridge or non-Bridge Clubs, provided at most one member is above the rank of National Master. Only natural systems are allowed.

North Deals
N-S Vul
A K 7 5 3 2
A K Q 6 4
9 7 3
Q 10 6 4
J 5 2
10 5 2
W   E
J 10 8 6 5
A 10 8 4
J 8 3
A K Q 2
J 9
K Q 9 7 3
9 7
West North East South
  (Clarke)   (Pollitzer)
  2 1 Pass 3 
Pass 4 ♣ Pass 4 ♠
Pass 5 ♣2 Pass 6 NT3
Pass Pass Pass
  1. Nice to have a Strong Two in the armoury.
  2. Christopher Clarke correctly shows his
     5+ - 5 ♣ shape, in the hope of eliciting a
  3. However Richard Pollitzer sensibly opts
    to play the slam in notrumps. 6 would
    have stood no chance on East’s likely ace of
    diamonds lead.
    [At the other table North did declare 6 
    and, surprisingly, East did not lead his ace.
    On the spade lead, declarer cashed a second
    spade and disposed of his diamond. He
    could now have made, by gambling on a 3-3
    club split and picking up trumps for one
    loser by running the jack [ J,  Q,  K,
     8, then leading low back to the nine and
    ten, able then to draw West’s  64 with his
     A7]. Declarer followed the odds by playing
    to ruff third club in dummy and relying
    on a 3-2 trump split: unlucky – down one.

6 NT by South


Richard Pollitzer made this semi-misfitting 6 NT to earn Reform Tuesday a berth in the final. His task would have been too tough on a communication-cutting opening spade lead from West, but on the (reasonable) club lead, he was in with a chance.

Winning the club in dummy, declarer led up a diamond to his king (East correctly ducking). He crossed to the ace-king of hearts (East discarding), knowing that suit offered no prospects, then banged out the other two top clubs, needing that suit to split 3-3. They did and now came the two long clubs, leaving East in a tight spot as the last club was led:

7 5 3 2
9 7
Q 6
J 5
W   E
J 10 8 6
A 10
A K Q 2
Q 9

If East threw the ten of diamonds, declarer could throw his two of spades, then cross to a top spade and exit with the nine of diamonds. East would win his now bare ace, but have to give declarer the remainder. In practice East threw a spade, but now declarer let go a diamond, crossed to his three top spades and tabled the lowly deuce, a length winner. 12 tricks and slam made.

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