Diamond (slams) are forever ....
Posted by Rakesh Kumar on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 14:36
The last 2 days of the Butler continued to have more than their fair share of wildly distributional hands. There was board 36 from Round 12 (Round 11 of the Women's) which seemed to give the field some severe bidding problems:
Very few pairs reached the optimal 6♣ contract -- only 2 in the Open, one in the Seniors' and none in the Women's. Most did not play in clubs at all, instead going off in 4♥ (or occasionally making).
Then there was this marvel, board 18 from Round 14 (Round 13 of the Women's) that generated some of the most amazing swings:
At our table, Terry Brown was sitting East and opened 1♠. Partner manufactured a bid of 1NT. I transferred to hearts and Terry promptly rebid 4♠. Partner thought this over, then produced 5♥, but Terry wasn't giving up and continued to 5♠. Partner had had enough and doubled. He cashed the ♥A, had a look at my count signal and decided to cash his ♣A and await his sure trump trick. The only problem was the ♣A didn't cash, and when Terry laid down ♦A, no doubt expecting me to show out given the 1NT overcall, he was gratified to find a 1-1 break, and we were dismayed to score -650.
But there was a lot more excitement at other tables! In the Seniors', 4 pairs played in doubled contracts of 4♠ or 5♠, while one bid and made the cold 6♦. In the Women's, 4 played in spades and 1 in 6♦ doubled. In the Open, one pair played in 5♠ doubled, two in 5♦ doubled, and 4 pairs saved in 5♥ or even 6♥. And then there was Michael Draper. He and his partner reached 7♦X, which he admitted was a "somewhat optimistic" contract, as he was missing 2 aces and the king of trumps! However, South led ♣A and the ability of the BridgeMates to calculate the resultant score was called upon ....
Not too many people played in diamonds on board 30 from Round 15 (this board was not played in the Women's) and those who did chose to play in 5♦. However, in the Seniors', where optimism was also abundantly in evidence, one pair reached 6♦. This required 3-3 hearts with both the king an jack on side or a doubleton KJ with West, as well as a 3-2 trump break. I'll leave it to the mathematicians to work out just what the odds of that might be, but it all came to pass ...
And so to the last board of the last match on the last day -- board 12 from Round 19 (Round 17 of the Women's):
The fun just never stops ... on this hand, 6♣ is cold, but 6♦ is very likely to make unless North can find a spade lead, which does not seem likely given that East will bid spades in response to partner's opening in first seat. At our table, as at two other tables in the Seniors', we lost a bucketload of IMPs when I doubled 6♣ (I should have seen the title of this column coming at me). Meanwhile, two EW pairs made 6♦, one of them doubled. The bidding was much less wild in the Women's,
where 7 played in 5♦ (one doubled) and 1 in 6♦ doubled, while one NS pair was allowed to play in 5♣ doubled. In the Open, no one played in clubs! The contracts ranged from a 4♦ mishap to 6♦. One NS pair doubled the 6♦ contract and found the winning defence, which was worth a dozen IMPs.
Well, that's it for this event ... but no doubt we'll all be back chasing IMPs next week or some time soon thereafter.