What is so special about spades?

Pat Kelly, Susan Goddard, John Nankervis and Judy Mobbs kept a keen eye on their cards.

Dealer: S Vul: E/W


♠ Q32

♥ KJ

♦ AJ10872

♣ Q3


♠ AJ74 ♠ 95

♥ Q76 ♥ 10853

♦ 964 ♦ Q3

♣ K102 ♣ A9874


♠ K1086

♥ A943

♦ K5

♣ J65

Congratulations to Carole Harris, who has reached the rank of Regional Master.

John Nankervis and Pat Kelly, winners of last Monday’s game, are always alert to the value of a long minor suit (clubs or diamonds) when looking for game in no trumps. The bidding is not available, but John (North) had a routine opening bid of 1D. This gave Pat the choice between 1S or 2NT. 2NT, normally showing two cards in partner’s suit, would have been the encouragement John needed to raise Pat to 3NT, requiring nine tricks to be won.

That West led the seven of spades suggests that it had been an unbid suit. Sadly for East/West, it gave South (Pat) a cheap first trick. This gave Pat the time to make the safety play of cashing the King of diamonds and attempting to finesse the Jack. East’s Queen would win and East then could switch to a club – alas, too late. At this stage, declarer could see one spade trick, two hearts and five diamonds. As long as the declarer played low on the club switch, whether the Ace or a low card, East/West could not prevent the loss of a trick to the Jack. The only lead to worry declarer would have been a club. If the defenders had cleared the club suit in three rounds, declarer would no longer have been able to take the diamond finesse. Everything would have depended on the play of North’s two top diamonds, hoping that the Queen would fall. 3NT, worth 400 points gave John and Pat a top score.

At all other tables 3D was the contract. Judy Mobbs was the only declarer to make ten tricks, giving her a score of 130 for a 66% result on that board. The lead of a spade was helpful. What is so special about spades?

Results: Monday, 29/01/24 (4 & ½-table Howell): J. Nankervis P. Kelly (65.3) 1; W. Milne J. Sipple (61.1) 2; C. Harris N. McGinness (54.2) 3 eq. L. James S. Head (54.2) 3. eq. Friday, 02/02/24 (6-table Mitchell): N/S J. Nankervis P. Kelly (61.1) 1; N. Bonnell B. Bonnell (55.3) 2; N. Collins M. Simpson (53.3) 3. E/W J. Mobbs T. Hinde (65.3) 1; H. Price N. McGinness (55.0) 2; R. Hart J. Smith (54.2) 3.