1 November 2021
We arrived in Bournemouth on a gloomy first November. Then the sun came out and the sea sparkled all week. It was chilly but sunny in the shelter of the beachside restaurants and bars. We walked East along the prom to Sandbanks to visit the wealthy and West to the historical sites of Hengistbury Head, Mudeford and Christchurch Bay; also wealthy but not quite so! Others drove to popular Dorset attractions such as Corfe Castle, Swanage and Dorchester; following in the footsteps of Hardy’s Dorset.
Bournemouth has many restaurants some of which are well worth visiting. Brasserie Blanc and Loch Fyne were close enough and received the usual plaudits. Of course, New Forest Ice Cream on the beach is still unbeatable.
Each day we returned to the Collingwood Hotel close to the West Cliff Prom to be cosseted by the delightfully cheerful staff. The food was good and the company wonderful. One guest said it was like a dinner party each evening after months of isolation. What a treat to be with people again. What a treat to be in a hotel where the staff react instantly to every request and always with a smile.
And we played some Bridge! The hotel ballroom was the bridge room. It was light, spacious and airy and a very pleasant room for bridge. We played each night and four tables turned out one afternoon. However, once the sun came out afternoon sessions dwindled as the attractions beckoned. The bridge was competitive, as always, but we were a very diverse group so the prizes were up for grabs each evening. Of course, one always has to be aware of long-term partnerships. One pair had a combined age of 180+ and were not to be underestimated!
Good weather, good bridge, good company and good food all in beautiful Bournemouth. The holiday was far too short.
The following hand led to a variety of results in the Championship Pairs Final and Consolation Pairs. It contains some constructive points on suit play
North was declarer in contracts ranging from 1 ♠ to 4 ♠ , and a 4 ♠ re-doubled ! The wine had obviously been flowing at dinner !
Some tables got a lead of a ♣ , and some the ♠ A, but half the Easts found a ♥ lead. Usually against a trump contract a short suit is a good lead, hoping to get ruffs (hence some people’s choice of a ♣ ). But when the opponents are in a trump contract and you have 4 trumps, this is not usually best, there are 2 possible suits to consider which are usually better. Particularly where declarer is known to be in a 5-3 fit
As always when playing a contract, plan the play. In suit contracts, your first choice is when to draw trumps. It is usual to draw trumps straight away, unless you see a good reason not to. Good reasons might be to discard losers (or set up a suit in order to discard losers later), or to take ruffs in the hand with short trumps. There is nothing to be gained from ruffing in the hand with long trumps.
Neither of these apply here, so declarer plays a ♠ , losing to one of East’s honours. They win the return and play a 2nd ♠ , getting the bad news. What now ? Well it depends on the initial lead and return by East when in. If East has played suits which declarer can win naturally ( ◆ or ♣ s), then declarer still has more trumps than East, and can proceed to play the 3rd round of trumps, win the return and take out the last trump.
But it is more challenging if East found an initial ♥ lead and has returned ♥ s both times they were in. Now declarer has had to ruff twice and has fewer trumps than East, this is the position
When trumps break badly, the first thing to do is stop and re-plan. Very often the line you were taking will not work, you need to re-consider. The 2nd thing is that it is often right to not draw any more trumps. What happens here if declarer plays another trump ? East will win, and their ♠ 2 will also be a winner. Even worse, if they happened to have the remaining ♥ s they would also be winners
What we need to do now is play our winners. What we don’t want to happen is for East to be able to ruff one of those with the ♠ 2 and draw our last trump. So we are going to play ◆ s, where (as long as East can follow twice), if East ruffs with the 2, South can over-ruff. If East does not ruff, or ruffs high, we can throw ♣ s from South so that South can over-ruff East if East ruffs ♣ s later.
We play ◆ s and East follows all 4 times, ♣ s being thrown from the South hand. Now we cash ♣ AK, East also following to these, the final position is this:
Declarer cross ruff’s the last 2 tricks. On one of those East will ruff with the Ace, but on the other they will ruff with the 2 and be over-ruffed. 10 tricks made.