In the second of the annual club teams competitions last Wednesday, Norman and I were paired up with John Di Mambro and Hugh McCash. We were hopeful going into the event, but both pairs had some disappointing boards, and we could only manage second place, behind the team of Betty Bell, Peggy Donaldson, Fergus and Lina Kerr (well done to them!). We would have won if I'd managed to make this slam... in retrospect I'm pretty sure that I should have, at least on the defence I was given.
I opened a normal strong NT, and Norman drove to 6N (after checking if I had 5 hearts), which is a little pushy, but should probably usually have some play.
Betty led the ♦5, which nicely cleared up that suit, but I was still stuck for a likely way of making 12 tricks. There's Kx♣ onside, which is not very likely, I figured a better chance was to play the ♠ suit for one loser, which can be done whenever S has Hxx, as long as I guess which honour it is. When I led a ♠ towards dummy, Betty popped in with the ♠K, and returned a ♦. I decided to stick with my original plan and play for ♠ 3-3, and continued with a ♠ to the Q. When S showed out, I had nowhere to go. In retrospect, this was just plain lazy. There is clearly nothing to lose by cashing three rounds of ♦s before playing on the ♠ suit, as South is going to have to find some awkward pitches (although she should know she can get rid of the ♥s safely, as I'm unlikely to be 5-4-2-2.
If I do this, South actually does come under pressure when I run the ♥s after the ♦s are done. I have a total of 7 red suit tricks, so she has to find three pitches in the black suits. As long as I still have the ♠A, she can't do this without either setting up all of dummy's clubs (with the finesse) or setting up all of the ♠s in my hand. Unfortunately by cashing the ♠Q at trick 4, I broke up my own squeeze. Note that there's no cost to just cashing at least 6 of the red suit tricks before I test the ♠s, so I think I can actually chalk this one up to a misplay.
I haven't written up many hands in the past month, but that's mostly because I haven't found time to write anything. I've been playing quite a bit, and have quite a few tales to relate.
I also have a lot of bridge coming up - next week I'm playing bridge Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (West District League, East District League and Gold Cup), and then have National League all weekend. Hopefully I'll find some time in between to squeeze in a couple of blog entries.