Another day. Another grand.

Submitted by English Bridge Union on

With the continuation of the European Youth Championships taking place in Veldhoven, Youth Squad Leader Claire Robinson has written an update to her blog:

Today saw the start of the open pairs competitions. It’s 2 days of qualifying for a final which takes place on Saturday. All three of the U26W are positioned well overnight. Lucy and Kim started poorly in the U21 category but made a huge comeback in the final session to be in a qualifying position overnight. Lottie and Imogen, Dido and Lily are playing in the U26W event. Lottie and Imogen are solidly qualifying and Dido and Lily are on the cusp. All to play for tomorrow.

You haven’t heard too much yet about Dido and Lily so let me change that. They’re a newish partnership who have played very well in the last 6-9 months earning selection to the team with their good results. Lily is a multi-talented individual enjoying playing the trombone and rowing when not playing bridge. She’s just completed her second year reading Maths at Trinity College, Cambridge. Her bridge partner Dido is a classicist who happens to be following Lily to Trinity College in the autumn. They won’t have much excuse not to practise their bridge then.

For much of today Lily and Dido were in the top 3 qualifying positions for the final of the U26W pairs. They had a few poor boards towards the end but are well in contention. Their good start was helped along the way by this board.

picture showing bridge hand and bidding

Dido (E) opened 2C showing a game forcing hand, Lily (W) relayed with 2D not saying anything at all and Dido showed her spades. 2N was forcing, 3S showed the strength and length in spades. Opposite good spades Lily knew she had a really good hand. 4C showed a club control, 4D a diamond control. 4N asked how many of the 5 ‘Aces’ (including the King of trumps). Dido showed three so Lily bid 5H to check that Dido had the spade Queen and Dido said yes showing either the club King or both of the red Kings along the way. Lily knew that one King wasn’t enough for a 2C opening so jumped to 7S. They were the only pair in the event to bid this great grand slam so very well done to them. 100% board.

Dido did however make a mistake in the play… She made 7S but committed a crime considered by some to be even worse than going off. SHE WASTED THE BEER CARD! The beer card in bridge is the diamond 7. The rule is that if you win the last trick when declaring and making your contract with the beer card then your partner has to buy you a ‘beer’. All juniors (and many adults too) strive ‘to beer’ their partner and Dido sadly missed this opportunity. Lily was thrilled.

So what did Dido do? She received a trump lead and drew trumps in 3 rounds. She cashed the Ace and King of diamonds following with the 6 and 4 from dummy. Next, Dido played a heart to the Ace and called for a diamond to ruff the suit good. Lily is obliged, as dummy, to play the lowest diamond so gleefully played that important diamond 7 for Dido to establish the suit. If only she’d spotted the beer card, Dido could have ruffed a high diamond, cashed her winners in hand, crossed to dummy with the club Ace and made the beer card at trick thirteen. Sad, but never mind a well bid and played hand.

Good luck to the U26W in qualifying tomorrow and also good luck to the many more English players competing in other events.

By Claire Robinson 

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