February 2020 English Bridge
ridge Club Live's unique annual
competition, its Double-Elimination Knockout Pairs
for the Timber Trophy, is underway
again. Replicating the EBU Spring Foursomes, pairs
are not eliminated until they have lost twice. Those
defeated for the first time move from the
Undefeated Pool to the Once-defeated Pool.
Pairs are seeded for the draw for the Undefeated
Pool and for the first time I can recollect, the top
four seeds all reached the semi-final of this pool.
The seeding is determined by a grading scheme
upon which the EBU NGS is based.
I spectated this board from the semi-final
between the No 2 seeds, David Thompson,
currently living in Luxembourg, sitting South, and
one of our top players from India, and the No 3
seeds, Malcolm Pollack, now in Yorkshire, and his
son Simon in Norfolk. Timber Twosomes!
Bridge Club Live by Barrie Partridge
Love All. Dealer South.
´ A J
™ Q 10 4
t A K 7 5 4 3
® Q 9
´ Q 10 9 6 4 ´ 8 7 5 3 2
™ 3 ™ J 5
t Q 9 8 6 t 2
® K 7 3 ® 10 8 5 4 2
™ A K 9 8 7 6 2
t J 10
® A J 6
After two rounds of trumps, declarer cashed two
top diamonds and ruffed a third. He crossed to the
™Q and ruffed another diamond. By overtaking the
´K with the ´A, he could access dummy one last
time to cash his last two diamonds and discard two
clubs from hand. Efficiently done.
A spade lead removes an entry to dummy and
seems to leave declarer with a decision whether to
play for diamonds being 3-2 and rely on the club
finesse, or to run the tJ. I'm sure I'd get it wrong.
However, at some tables where a spade was initially
led, the later lead of the tJ found West covering
with the tQ and removing any guesswork!
Despite an outright bottom on this board,
Malcolm and Simon won the match and, at the time
of writing, are due to play the No 1 seeds, Ed Scerri
and Gilly Cardiff in the final of the undefeated pool.
UK-based Bridge Club Live offers
D Fast, fun and friendly bridge.
D Drop-in Drop-out MP Pairs and social games
D Individual, Improvers and IMP Pairs
Tournaments and Teams events
D Full bidding and play records of every deal.
D System cards for partnerships
D Discussion forums and members' reunions
D EBU Master Points
West North East South
Pass 2t Pass 3™
Pass 4NT Pass 5®
Pass 5NT Pass 6t
Pass 7™ All Pass
None of the other 22 tables that played this board
reached a grand slam. I observed that a spade lead
could be a problem for declarer but the traditional
lead against a grand slam of a trump was made.