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2019’s Camrose Trophy 1st week-end: English Bridge Union is leading

Camrose TrophyThe Camrose Trophy (Home International Series), is the yearly championship between the five countries of the British Isles: England, Ireland, North Ireland, Scotland, Wales. It takes place in two complete round robins, each by thirty-two board matches, to be played in two week-ends. To make even number and to avoid the bye, it is added a sixth team of the country which hosts the second week-end. The first part has been played at Mold (Yr Wyddgrug), in Wales, from 4th to 6th January; the second one will be played from 1st to 3rd March at the Brandon Hall Hotel & Sa, in Coventry; therefore the sixth team is the English Bridge Union.

This is the standing after the first week-end:

 1st: English Bridge Union.  64.98

NPC Peter Hasenson; Andrew Black, Gunnar Hallberg, Phil King, Andrew McIntosh, Derek Patterson, Gerald Tredinnick.

 2nd: England.                          57.88

NPC Alan Mould; Janet De Botton, Artur Malinowski, Espen Erichsen, Glyn Liggins, Tom Townsend, David Bakhshi.

 3rd: Wales.                               54.55

NPC Alan Stephenson; Mark Roderick, Paddy Murphy, Simon Richards, Jonny Richards, John Salisbury, Tim Rees.

4th: Northern Ireland.              50.05

NPC Ian Lindsay; Rex Anderson, David Greenwood, Hastings Campbell, Sam Hall, Paul Tranmer, Wayne Somerville.

 5th: Scotland.                          43.42

NPC Jim Hay; Alex Adamson, Derek Sanders, Irving Gordon, Danny Kane, John Faben, Phil Morrison.

 6th: Ireland.                             30.17

NPC Grainne Barton; John Carroll, Tom Hanlon, Donal Macaonghusa, Mark Moran, Ronan McMaugh, Marcin Rudzinski.


The art of leading against the small slam

Match North Ireland – England. The hand:

The auction (love all. N-S always passed):

West     East

—–         2♣

2           2♠

3♠           4♣

5♣          5

6♣          6♠


East could open 1♠ instead of 2♣; with an eight card suit and a void, the general pass is rare; and, at worst, he could miss the game, not the slam, for if the partner had even one bare ace, he wouldn’t pass. But the opening was 2♣ also in the other room (where South overcalled 2). West’s response 2, conventional, waiting, is right; the immediate 3♣ usually shows the six card suit with two out of three heads and nothing else.

After Opener’s 2♠, West could bid 3♣, which is still forcing, instead of 3♠; according to Eugenio Chiaradia, the immediate trump support in a forcing situation usually shows an head. After 5♣, which only says that the Grand Slam is out of reach, it is right 5, keeping open the door to the small one. But West can’t longer judge the situation, that’s why his 6♣.

South, at the lead, was David Bakhshi. Recalling Ely Culbertson’s Red Book and 1935 Official Encyclopedia (I suppose), he has thought. First: against the small slam, don’t hope to have two quick winners as two aces or ace-king in a suit (well, there are unforeseeable exceptions). Second: assume that Declarer has eleven tricks; if we think that he has twelve, let’s open our cards and concede the contract. Therefore, let’s be bold; we must establish our second trick before that Declarer would establish his twelfth. Third: avoid trump lead; if there is something for us there, it will be remain for us, if we don’t touch it untimely. Fourth: let’s avoid the opponent’s side suit; that is their source of tricks. Fifth: avoid the opponents’ singleton; there, there is only one trick for us. The remaining suit is the one to lead.

In this hand, club is either side or singleton suit; therefore our lead should be hearth or diamond. Hearth is shorter, then it is preferable because has some more chance to not being singleton.

But, rewind. The Opener opened 2♣, and the responder made a Grand Slam invite (6♣). Thus, it must be assumed that opponents have thirty or more points, and we have  six out of the ten or less remaining. How many chances there are that partner has five points, and exactly by hearth king-queen? David Bakhshi, thereby, led diamond: a choice as intelligent as unlucky.


Paolo Enrico Garrisi

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