Medals and Trophies from Veldhoven

Submitted by English Bridge Union on

Bridge players Lottie and Imogen from the England U26W youth squad are smiling at the camera and wearing their bronze medalsPhoto of U21W players Lucy and Kim. They are smiling at the camera holding trophies for winning the highest placed under 21 pair in the Open IMPS. An unknown presenter is standing to their right.

The European Youth Transnational Pairs Championships in Veldhoven, concluded on Saturday 29th July. The 18th World Youth Teams Championships start today, with the Opening Ceremony taking place yesterday. Members from the Under 26 Women's team are competing in both events and Youth Squad Leader Claire Robinson has written an update to her blog:

Today was the last day of the European transnational pairs events and what a successful day it was for the U26W. Lottie and Imogen fought hard all day to bring home a bronze medal in the U26W pairs, while Lucy and Kim recovered from 17th placed qualifiers and the wrong end of the carry-over, to finish a magnificent 6th in the open U21 pairs. They were the highest of the four English pairs qualifying for this final.

The award ceremony this evening saw not only Lottie and Imogen receiving their well-deserved bronze medals, it also saw Lucy and Kim receive their trophy earned a few days ago for the highest placed U21s outside the top 3 in the open IMP pairs.

Bridge players often tend to focus on improving their declarer play skills and bidding prowess. However, as a bridge player you defend approximately 50% of hands so it is equally important to have good communication with your partner and be able to defeat the contracts that the opposition choose. Look at this hand defended very nicely by Lottie and Imogen today…

Bridge hand: Board 5. Dealer North. N-S Vulnerable. N: SA7532, HJ, DQ865, CAT5, E: SK864, HAQ985, DJ97, C3, S: SQJ9, HT74, DKT, CKQ872, W: ST, HK632, DA432, CJ964. Bidding: N Pass, E 1H, S Pass, W 2S, N Pass, E 3H, All Pass

2S by West showed an invitational 3-card heart raise with a shortage. (Yes, I can see West had 4 trumps but that was still what the 2S bid showed.) East had opened light at favourable vulnerability so signed off in 3H. Imogen sitting South listened to the auction and realised that she should cut down on ruffs in the dummy (since they had promised shortage and only 3 trumps) by leading trumps. Declarer won the heart lead with the King and played her spade. Lottie rose with the Ace and Imogen tried to give suit preference for a club with the spade 9 but this was tricky to read. Lottie switched instead to a low diamond which went 9 then 10 ducked in the dummy. Imogen could now play another heart to declarer’s hand. Declarer ruffed a spade loser and played a club off dummy. Lottie knew she needed to duck this to allow her partner to win the trick. Imogen duly won her Queen and played her final trump. Now the only tricks declarer could come to were 5 hearts, the spade King, one ruff in dummy and the diamond Ace. 8 tricks and the contract was defeated.

Effective defence from Lottie and Imogen, but the eagle-eyed reader may have spotted that declarer’s spade 8 was good. If you were indeed this observant then you should have been playing the hand because at the table declarer missed it and instead played on diamonds. She threw her spade winner on the fourth diamond and Lottie made an expected diamond trick.

Bridge hand. Board 22. Dealer East. E-W Vulnerable. N: SQ964, H2, DAQ532, CK52, E: S8732, HAJ875, DJT, C94, S: SAKJT5, HK96, CQ87, W S-,HQT43, D9874, CAJT63. Bidding: E Pass, S 1D, W Pass, N 1S, East double, S 2S, W 3H, N 4H, All Pass

Meanwhile, at Lucy and Kim’s table they were pulling off good board after good board to enable their huge rise through the rankings. Watch Kim executing a squeeze when declaring this 4S contract…

Now this auction may not make sense to you, it doesn’t to me either but let me try to explain… The players had put the board on the table the wrong way round and because of Vugraph they were told just to play it with the North hand being the South hand and acting first. So, North opened 1D, East passed, South bid 1S, West doubled, North bid 2S, East bid 3H and South bid the final contract of 4S. Therefore Kim with the South cards was declaring.

The defence led a heart won by the Ace and switched to the club 9. Kim ducked in hand and West ducked too so Kim won the King. Now she crossed in trumps, cashed the heart King throwing a club from dummy and ruffed the remaining heart. Kim drew the remaining trumps throwing the final club from dummy. With all the trumps drawn, Kim was down to K9 diamonds, Qx clubs and the last trump in hand opposite AQxxx diamonds in the dummy. Kim played the killer last trump (aka the ‘squeeze card’) and West was dead. They couldn’t pitch the club Ace as that would make Kim’s Queen into a winner so instead they were forced to throw one of their four diamonds meaning that Kim’s diamond suit would now run so that she could discard her clubs. 12 tricks and 100%. Nicely executed and a clear mistake from West who could of course have taken their club Ace at trick 2.

Tomorrow we have a rest day. There’s a captains’ meeting and we’ll be meeting as a team to look at our opponents’ systems and discuss our general strategy. Then on Monday the teams battle commences with five days worth of a double round robin. We are feeling confident and ready for battle.

By Claire Robinson 

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