Some Hands from the Norman Cup Final 2008
by Tim Cook

For starters let me say that Roger Morton and I were lucky to survive the qualifying heat in February and oh so grateful that there was no carry forward score!

That being said, we had not played badly in qualifying but if anything could go wrong…………………

The hands for the final were dealt randomly on the night and offered some very interesting problems both in bidding and play.

Board 10

You sit North and hold at Game All

ͺ A 8 4 2
© A 8 7 4 2
¨ 4
§ A Q J

After two passes, West opens 1ͺ. What do you bid?

Board 11

Again North at Love All

ͺ Q
© K Q 3 2
¨ Q J 10 9 5 2
§ 8 6

Partner opens 1ͺ and, with opponents silent, you respond 2¨. Partner now bids 2ͺ. Over to you.

Board 15

Board 15 offered an interesting declarer problem in 4© against silent opponents

ͺ 8 7 2
© 4 2
¨ A K 9
§ K 9 8 7 5
ͺ A 10
© A K Q 10 7 3
¨ J 8 7 4
§ J

The lead is ͺ4. You win and play two rounds of trumps finding RHO with J 9 8 6. You abandon trumps and play §J on which LHO pounces with the Ace, cashes ͺQ and plays ͺ6. What next?

Board 19

Again North with E/W Vul and partner opens 3© and you hold

ͺ A K 8 6
© A 9
¨ A J 8 7
§ A 6 5

Your bid?

Board 21

Again North Vul against not, you hold

ͺ A K Q
© K
¨ A K Q 10 7 5 4 2
§ 2

What do you open?

Board 10

Board 10 was played against Peter Lee & Bill Hodgkiss. Inspite of holding 15 HCP I did not fancy either a take-out double (off centre!) or bidding this ropey © suit at this vulnerability, so I passed. After 1NT from Bill, Peter re-bid 2ͺ which became the final contract. The next problem was the lead. Following the old adage of leading a long suit when holding 4 trumps, I chose ©A which proved a good plan with partner holding ©K, ¨A and ͺ10! Refusal to over-ruff declarer and an eventual trump promotion via a club endplay on dummy secured a 200 penalty for all the matchpoints.

Board 11

Board 11 offered the chance to follow another ancient wisdom - stop bidding on a misfit! Roger played well for one off - another top score!

Board 15

Board 15 had not looked too difficult when dummy appeared with good chances in the diamond suit or a favourable position of the §A. But the bad trump break was an additional problem.
After ruffing the spade, the obvious line is to cash §K, cash the ¨A, ¨K, ruff a club and exit with a diamond. The defence must allow your ©10 to make in the end game. So I crossed to ¨ A to play the §K which RHO ruffed! I overruffed and took out the abacus. LHO has 6 clubs, one heart and 3 or 4 spades leaving, at most 3 diamonds. Therefore, my line was to draw the last trump, and play the ¨K and a third towards the Jack. I knew the suit must either break 3-3 or leave a winning ¨J in my hand Unbelievably, someone made 5, but 7/10 was a good result!

Board 19

On board 19 yet another maxim - bid what you think you can make! 3NT with an eventual 3 overtricks from a pseudo squeeze looked to be good and got even better when the room played in the heart contract.

Board 21

However, it was not all plain sailing and on board 21 I failed to spot the best opening bid - 4NT which should ask partner to bid any Ace he holds ( 5§ = none, 6§ = Ace). This would have seen us in 5¨¨ making and not the greedy 6 that I bid via a strong two opening.

© Copyright Tim Cook and Mayfield Duplicate Bridge Club 2008