The Scottish Bridge Union run open trials to select the open team which will be fielded in the next Camrose tournament. The competition run through three weekends. In the first one 12 out of 16 pairs went through. In the second and third weekend these 12 pairs have been joined by other four pairs who had been exempted from the first round (e.g. those who represented Scotland last year). At the end the open team was selected: Sam Punch & Stephen Peterkin, John Matheson & Iain Sime and Alex Wilkinson & Phil Stephens – NPC Malcolm Cuthbertson.
These are known names in Scottish bridge. Sam has been playing for the ladies’ team for years, and this year she qualified to represent Scottish women again playing with Liz McGowan. Alex has already played in the open team, and together with Phil he played for the junior team a few times. John and Iain played for Scotland quite a lot. Their last success is winning the bronze medal representing the Scottish senior team in 2012 Dublin European Championships (although they did not play together in that occasion).
Here is a selection of hands played.
Sam Punch and Stephen Peterkin. South is in 4 Hearts, on the 8 of clubs lead. This hand is a great example of a textbook scissors coup. Declarer should notice that the 8 of clubs lead is likely to be a shortage. Declarer should try to avoid getting a club ruff by breaking communications between opponents’ hands. Thus the best play is to lead the queen of diamonds at trick two.
This was the full deal:
The following hand gives declarer another interesting problem as well. The contract is 6D by South, and the lead is the Jack of clubs.
Declarer can win the lead, draw trumps and eliminate spades and hearts. At this stage the contract can be made by playing a club up to the 8. West is endplayed having to lead away from 102 of clubs into declarer’s Q7, or alternatively concede a ruff and discard.
If the lead is not a club, the contract can be made along similar lines by winning the opening lead, drawing trumps, eliminating spades and hearts and exiting with a club from dummy. When the king appears from East’s hand, the correct play is to duck it. If East has no more clubs left he will have to give a ruff and discard, and if he has two or three clubs, they are now breaking and declarer can take the rest. (The real question of this hand however is: will you be inspired enough to guess the diamonds right?)
John Matheson and Iain Sime. In this hand we can see an example of very accurate card reading from John.
2N* = 17-19 balanced, as double=13-16 balanced or strong
West leads the two of spades, which looks like a singleton. In addition to his spade AQ east might have one other honour card. John thought it would be best to play west for the king of hearts, so he exits with a low heart from his hand to dummy’s jack, which holds. Then he takes the successful club finesse. John now plays the ace of hearts and throws west in with the queen of hearts. West cashes two more hearts as John pitches two spades and a club from dummy and a spade from hand. West exits with a club, but nothing works for him as east cannot get in. In the end south emerges with eight tricks: one spade, two hearts, two diamonds and three clubs.
A hand well played for a score of +120, worth 53 cross IMPs.
This hand is from the match in which John and Iain played against Sam and Stephen.
DBL* showing hearts, or penalty double of 1NT
DBL**= values, takeout
Stepehen leads the 6 of clubs (Sam and Stephen play 2nd and 4th which is the standard lead style in Scotland). Iain wins the ace while Sam plays the 7. Iain then plays a small heart to the 9 and queen. A club comes back and Iain does very well to read the layout correctly, dropping the doubleton queen offside. Later on in the hand he also guesses the spades to make an anti-percentage game. John and Iain thus got +620 points, worth 69 cross IMPs. On this hand they rather fortunately got the better of the winners of the trials.
Best of luck to this new and young team!
Laura Cecilia Porro
(We thank Sam Punch and John Matheson for providing the hands)
December 20, 2012