BBO Vugraph - The Second Weekend of the Camrose Trophy - Part 2

Vugraph #420

The Camrose Trophy is an event contested annually by representatives of the home countries, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland. To make the field up to an even number of teams, the host country (England this year) is also allowed a second team. The format is a double round robin of 32-board matches played over two weekends.

We left things with two matches played on this second weekend. These were the standings with just three matches remaining.

E B U67.33

As usual, we start with a couple of problems. Firstly, with only your side vulnerable, you are West holding:

What action, if any, do you take?

Next, with only your side vulnerable, you are sitting in the East seat with:

What action, if any do you take?

While you mull those over, we start with the Saturday afternoon match between ENGLAND and WALES. ENGLAND built a lead with a series of small swings and, at halftime, they led 37-12 without a double figure swing. Early in the second half, both West players had to answer a variation on the first of the problems above…

David Gold came in with an anaemic 2 overcall, and Andrew Black’s raise to game then left Julian Pottage (left) with a tricky decision. He elected to show both minors with 4NT. Tony Ratcliff had little to spare for his two-level negative double and, with no aces, slam was never on his radar. Pottage might have raised, but dummy could perhaps have been appreciably less suitable.

The defence could take a heart trick, but that was it. E/W +620.

The great players of yesteryear would be amazed at how the game has changed. If Gold’s jump overcall at the other table was featherweight, what would they have made of Richard Plackett’s pre-emptive action here? In a similar position to Pottage, Tom Paske (right) liked his hand enough to commit to slam with a jump to 5NT. Well judged!

Here, too, the play was quickly over: E/W +1370 and 13 IMPs to ENGLAND.

It was déjà vu all over again on the very next deal, with a very tricky bidding challenge for the E/W pairs.

The Welsh pair never really got to grips with this combination, even though Tony Ratcliff (left) was able to show his clubs with a transfer response to his partner’s 2♣ opening. Once Ratcliff supported hearts, it seems that the partnership was locked into that suit.

David Gold did not divine the trump lead, so it looked as if declarer might have a chance in 5. Pottage won the diamond opening, cashed a top spade, and ruffed a spade in dummy. He then returned to a high diamond and took a diamond ruff. The enforced club lead now went to North’s ace, and Gold accurately played a spade for his partner to ruff. When Andrew Black now played a diamond through, declarer had reached the decision point. As the cards lie, he can make his contract by ruffing high. Two high trumps would then bring down the jack, and the 10 would draw the defenders’ last trump. When Pottage instead made the percentage play by ruffing with the 10, Gold was able to overruff and deliver a second spade ruff for two down. E/W -200.

Despite being vulnerable this time, Richard Plackett was up to his old tricks again, although his intervention did not unduly trouble Andrew McIntosh (right). The significant difference in the auctions is that Tosh rebid his clubs here, rather than supporting hearts immediately. Tom Paske advanced with a diamond cue-bid and Tosh admitted to reluctant heart support. When Paske then continued with 4♠, Tosh showed excellent judgement by leaping to 6♣.

There was no guesswork needed in the play of this contract. Declarer simply drove out the ace of trumps and claimed his twelve tricks. E/W +1370 again, and another 17 IMPs to ENGLAND.

ENGLAND won the match by a stonking 101-19, which translated to 19.85 VPs. At the same time, EBU was taking on IRELAND, and a 79-64 win by the EBU team virtually cemented their hold on a place in the top two.

In Round 4, let’s start by taking a look at the action in the IRELAND-v-WALES match. The Welsh got into the auction on this deal, but not at a level that greatly troubled their opponents…

David Walsh rebid his club suit at the three-level, so Ciaran Coyne (left) advanced with a 3♠ cue-bid and then pulled his partner’s 3NT to 4♣ to agree the suit. Slam was quickly reached and Tony Ratcliff led 6. Surely North has not underled the ace, so it looks right to put in the 10 from dummy. Even if that loses to the jack, you can take the marked ruffing finesse against the A later. With the 10 forcing the ace, declarer’s problems would be just about over.

At the table, Walsh played the K at trick one, covered and ruffed. Two high trumps revealed the loser in that suit, so declarer played three rounds of hearts. Julian Pottage declined to ruff, but Walsh cashed the ♠A, ruffed a spade in dummy, then discard a spade on the Q. South could ruff or not when the A was played, but declarer’s last spade disappeared. E/W +1370.

The Welsh defensive bidding at the first table was not particularly effective. The same could not be said of the Irish in the replay. Connor Boland (right) opened a natural weak 2 and Tom Hanlon pre-emptive to the four-level after Richard Plackett’s double. That left Mia Deschepper with the second of this week’s problems.

Are you willing to risk passing, and defending for 50s, in the hope that partner will back in with a second double? If not, what action do you take?

Deschepper chose a responsive double. That left Plackett with a problem. Should he bid his moderate six-card suit and, if so, at what level? Plackett chose to keep major-suit options open with a 5 cue-bid.

What could Deschepper do? She only had four-card length in one of the unbid suits, so it seems obvious to choose hearts, but at what level? When Deschepper jumped to slam, the Welsh pair had reached the right level, but not in the right denomination.

6 has no play on any lead. Declarer managed to make eleven tricks: E/W -100 and 16 IMPs to IRELAND.

When is a Lightner double a striped-tailed ape? It wasn’t long before the Welsh again ran into trouble on a slam deal…

The Welsh are fiercely proud of their language, and it seems they have also decided to extend that to the language of bidding. Although, the auction at this table is not just from a different country, but from another planet. It is hard to imagine a deal on which you are cold for a grand slam but the partnership never once mentions a major suit in which they have a solid 10-card fit. Well, now you really have seen everything.

As the opponents were never in danger of bidding the grand slam here, I guess Tom Hanlon’s double is not technically a stripe-tailed ape. He clearly intended his Double as Lightner, not unreasonably expecting that his partner would hold enough hearts to make it obvious what lead he wanted.

On the actual hand, one would have expected Boland to lead a spade, since partner has presumably asked for something other than a trump or the suit he has bid. Boland’s ♣Q lead was, therefore, somewhat dozy – it must be nice to make such a play and still gain a double-digit swing on the deal. Declarer ruffed and quickly claimed all 13 tricks. E/W +1740.

The Irish demonstrated how it should be done…

David Walsh (left) did think his heart suit was worth mentioning, and Ciaran Coyne agreed hearts with a 4♣ cue-bid. When Walsh made a grand slam try with a five-level spade cue-bid, Coyne had no problems jumping to the grand, despite the paucity of his trump holding. After all, looking at that East hand, what could partner possibly have for a grand slam try other than great trumps. Well bid!

There was nothing to the play: E/W +2210 and 10 IMPs to IRELAND.

IRELAND handed the Welsh a thumping (103-40) that ended any vague hope that supporters of the Principality might have had of finishing above anyone but the Northern Irish.

We will be back soon with the best of the action from the closing matches from this year’s Camrose Trophy.

1 2 3 110