Timing is almost everything

Mavis Simpson, John Nankervis and Noela Collins score up at the end of play. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Dealer:E Vul: E/W


♠ J1083

♥ 875

♦ K1032

♣ 96


♠ Q94 ♠ 7652

♥ A92 ♥ K104

♦ AQ ♦ 98

♣ AQJ105 ♣ 8732


♠ AK

♥ QJ63

♦ J7654

♣ K4

Congratulations to Pat Kelly and Jenny Smith on scoring 74.6 percent last Friday.

After Round 1 of the local heat of the Grand National Open Teams the Nankervis team holds a comfortable lead over the Milne team. Their biggest swing came on Board 22 (above) on which they scored 14 IMPs. Against silent opposition, John Nankervis and David Moran reached the ambitious contract of 3NT. The fate of the contract would depend on North’s opening lead.

North’s choice of a low diamond gave declarer (David) both an extra trick and a tempo. Playing in a no-trump contract requires a particular technique. Once the lead has been made and your partner’s cards have been placed face up on the table, you count the number of tricks you can make without losing the lead. On this board, because of the lead, there are two diamonds to go with three Aces. Four more tricks are needed. They can only come in clubs. Having won trick one with the Queen of diamonds, declarer needs immediately to cross to dummy’s King of hearts and lead a club. If the King appears, the Ace wins; if not, the Queen is played. Now you will find out if this is your day. Hoping for a 2-2 split of East/West’s clubs, you play the Ace and drop the King. Now you have the necessary nine tricks: two hearts, two diamonds and four clubs.

Timing is everything (well, almost everything) at bridge. At the other table West couldn’t even make 1NT on the same lead. Declarer did not make the club finesse a priority and allowed the defenders to win an early trick, after which they had a picnic.

Was there a killing lead? Any spade would have done. South wins and switches to a diamond. Now declarer is held to eight tricks or fewer.

Results, Monday, 24/06/24 (5-table Grand National Teams heat): John Nankervis, David Moran, Noela Collins, Mavis Simpson 90 IMPs 1; Warwick Milne, Janny Sipple, Tony Hinde, Neil Bonnell 34 IMPs 2. Friday, 28/06/24 (5-table Mitchell): N/S N. Collins M. Simpson (59.6) 1; T. Hinde J. Mobbs (56.2) 2; J. Nankervis L. Munson (49.2) 3. E/W P. Kelly J. Smith (74.6) 1; W. Milne, J. Sipple (58.7) 2; D. Moran N. McGinness (55.8) 3.