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My Spring Nationals, 2015 at Canterbury Park Racecourse

Posted by Tanya Renaud on Saturday, 31 October 2015 at 07:40

This year’s event will be less productive in terms of Gold Points, but in spite of the poor form, I found the play no less interesting and enjoyable. The amenities were excellent and the camaraderie of the bridge playing community was delightful.

My play was very patchy, and was it my imagination that found difficulty in many contracts, or simply the calibre of the opposition had jumped a level. On the first day, our team in the Two Men & A Truck Restricted Teams won the first two matches, we drew the third, and on the second day we lost all three matches.

Many of the hands proved difficult, and as declarer I invariably chose “the wrong line”, as they say. This is probably a mild euphemism for “I didn’t know how to play the hand optimally”.

Nevertheless, many hands were interesting, and brought satisfaction.

Noteworthy for me was the first round of the Linda Stern Women’s Team Event when I partnered Naomi Waizer in a match against Team Bourke, Mark Mordo and Jim Bean, in Round 1. We won this match and were propelled upwards to play Team McLeish in Round 2.

Round 1, Board 18 saw me sitting East.

With a powerful 8-card diamond suit I opened 5, which was passed round to North, who doubled. South with a 6-card heart suit, 7 HCP and a 6-3-2-2 shape bid 5. 4 can make 10 tricks, but our opponents made 9. 5 can make 11 tricks, and several players scored well when 5X succeeded. Unfortunately for our team, E/W at the other table made 10 tricks in 3NT. Presumably East opened 3NT (gambling), and West left it in, in spite of no heart stopper. A heart lead would have killed their little venture.

My next heart stopping hand was in the same match against BOURKE.

Board 7 saw East playing in 3NT.

The drama arrived at Trick 3.

Trick 1 South leads the 9, dummy plays the Q and North takes the A.
Trick 2 North leads the J and I play the K, counting 10 tricks.
Trick 3 I play the A, hoping to make 5 diamond tricks, 1 club trick, 1 heart trick and 3 spade tricks. As I played the A I said “king” and quickly corrected myself, LOW, but not quickly enough. The director was called and it was explained that I had to play the K on the A. Ouch. My emotions were in a heap on the floor, but I was able to recover and made 9 tricks after finessing the 10, and the J dropped on my Q.

In Round 6, Board 7 saw me playing in 2NT after my partner invited me to game, and I declined. This hand taught me a valuable lesson, not so much in the bidding, but about being greedy. After the lead I have 9 tricks on top, 1 spade, 4 hearts and 4 clubs.

At trick 1 South led the 8, presumably searching for a suit in her partner’s hand. My cards amounted to a stopper, and I played low from dummy. North played low! Without thinking for a moment that North was laying a devilish trap, I decided to go for a second spade trick, thinking that the missing spade honours were with South. Ouch! North proceeded to run off the next four tricks, and it was only by good fortune that I still managed to make 9 tricks.

As it turns out the result was never going to be a good one, considering that the large majority of pairs were in 3NT making. But, if I had been in 3NT, and I had decided to play for the extra trick I would have been putting a 600 point contract at huge risk for the sake of an extra 30 points. Perhaps this might be a play during Club Match Play on a bad day, but in a teams event, perish the thought.

Finally we arrived at the Jacaranda Pairs, and the chance to show off my purple dress and scarf and to see such imaginative displays. It also marked the end of the tournament, and even though I enjoyed the whole process, I was glad to reach the end.