X-Clubs Play 33

Teams play can be much more interesting and exciting than any match point session. That is because matches can be won or lost in just one hand, with big swings possible when either team fails to make their game or slam, or when one team is in slam and the opponents only in game. This deal was played in a slam at both tables in two of our matches and could have resulted in a big swing one way or another and a big win for either team. There were six matches in progress but only in two matches was the slam bid. More interestingly, in one match, both declarers made but should not have. In the other match both declarers failed, as indeed they should have. Another interesting thing was that it was in the top of the table match that both declarers were allowed to make the slam by less than adequate defence. But at least both declarers gave it their best shot and gave the defence a chance to go wrong.

Board 20 from Tuesday 11/10/22
Dealer West All Vul


At both tables East decided that a trump lead was safest. Both declarers recognised the unfortunate layout, with two likely losers in clubs. The first declarer drew a second trump ending in dummy and led the jack of clubs. West fell from grace and covered! “Cover an honour with an honour” (but NOT when the honours are touching, wait for the second honour and cover that). After winning the ace and
messing about by ruffing two hearts and a diamond, declarer led a club from hand and East made things easy by hopping up with the king.

The declarer at the other table used all his entries to ruff two hearts and one diamond before leading a low club towards the J104, hoping for some sort of end play. This East also fell from grace by rising with the king and, not wanting to lead another club (which as it happens would have also been fatal) led a fourth diamond and gave declarer a ruff and discard for the twelfth trick. Where did East think the queen of clubs was, and if it was with declarer why did declarer play the way he did? Following the play is always helpful for any defender, but this East must have nodded off!

A flat board! Both declarers making the slam. In the other match, between two lower ranked teams, neither declarer tried very hard and was down one. Another ‘wash’.