Top Class defending
The 45th annual Malton Swiss Teams run by Phillip Mason was held at the New Earswick Folk Hall in June this year.
Stuart Davies and Giles Foster won 7 imps for their team with enterprising bidding and tip top defence in round 4 of the event. Stuart and Giles were defending a contract of 4 spades on the following bidding with Stuart sitting South.
Bidding N E S W
Pass INT 3♥ 3♠
Pass 4♠ Pass Pass
♠ J 6
♥ J 9
♦ J 8 6 4 3 2
♣ 7 4 2
♠ A Q 7 3 2 ♠ K 8
♥ 6 4 2 ♥ 7 3
♦ A K 9 ♦ Q 10 7
♣ A 3 ♣ K Q J 10 9 6
♠ 10 9 5 4
♥ A K Q 10 8 5
♣ 8 5
The bidding did not go well for East-West when East made the pre-emptive INT opener rather than the traditional 1 club. When Stuart made the enterprising bid of 3 hearts this left the opponents very little room to explore. West made a forcing 3 spades bid and East raised to 4 with the more distant 5 clubs at the back of his mind.
Giles, always the obedient partner, made the obvious lead of the Jack of hearts. Stuart carefully overtook with the Queen in case Giles only had one heart. Stuart immediately saw the slim chance of a trump promotion and calculated (using his degree in Maths from Oxford University) that he needed just the Jack and six of spades from Giles to defeat the contract. This seemed to Stuart more likely rather than for example the K of diamonds in Giles’ hand.
Stuart made no mistake and assisted Giles (although I’m sure he didn’t need it - what’s the harm in helping partner as much as possible.) After playing the Queen and Ace of hearts which heart did Stuart return to make sure Giles ruffed.
Yes you spotted it: the 5 of hearts was returned by Stuart.
Declarer, after a momentary glimpse of pleasure, saw Giles ruff with the spade Jack and when the 8 was played from dummy Stuart covered with the nine and hawkishly looked for Giles' six.
When it appeared declarer’s only hope now was for a trump coup i.e. by reducing his trumps to the same length as Stuart and then leading clubs through Stuart. This proved impossible and when Stuart ruffed the second diamond the contract was one off.
Tom Copeland and I were relieved to score our small plus 170 (after a bidding misunderstanding) with the plus 50.
Our team never looked back after this match which was won 16-4.
Winners: S V Davies (capt,) Giles Foster, Richard Winter, Tom Copeland
The runners up were the newly promoted Hull A team and in 3rd place Phil Godfrey’s North East team.