Day 2 from the World Youth Teams Championships in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. Under 21 Coach Charlie Bucknell has written the below update following the team's progress:
A tough set for our team today, facing Denmark, China, Germany and USA1. We had two convincing wins and two losses which has left us well placed in the rankings (4th) and still very comfortable to qualify for the knockout stages.
We have had a fair share of good and ill fortune as we will soon see! On the first deal both of our pairs ended up declaring, one in 4♥ and one in 4♠.
Thomas opened 1♥ and Andy responded 1NT, since 2♥ would be a constructive raise. East made a Michaels Cue Bid and Thomas put West to the test by jumping straight to 4♥. West did not like the look of their 4 points and duly passed. It looks like 4♥ has no play, losing 1 spade, 1 club and 2 diamonds, but Thomas managed to squeak this one in the back door. West led a trump and Thomas drew trumps finishing in the North hand to take a club finesse. West now shifted to a diamond and Thomas played the J♦, convincing East that he was 2713 and so East tried to cash ♠AK which gave Thomas time to throw his losing diamond on the 4th club. Well played for 10 tricks! In the other room, teammates had an auction to 4♠ and brought that home for a double game swing and 14 IMPS!
Tom and Henry defended very smoothly on this deal vs Denmark to win the board, let’s start with the auction. South opened 1♣ and Tom overcalled 1♠ – with spades we don’t seem to worry so much about suit quality since spades are such a powerful suit – and now North bid 2♥! East has a normal raise to 2♠ and South was put in a difficult spot by the auction. 3♦ was a practical effort and North was forced to bid 3♥ (pass could lead to missing a game since partner could still have a very powerful hand) and South raised to 4♥. Henry led a club (he’s seen his partner overcall before) and declarer took the Ace in dummy and led the ♥7. Tom ducked smoothly from AKQ6! This led declarer to run the ♥7 to Henry’s ♥9 for a quick 4 trump tricks to defeat the contract. In the other room, Tom Gardner and Andy Cope competed to 3♦ and made that for +110 and a total of 4IMPs to England!
Finally, we take a look at some of our ill fortune. This board just goes to show that sometimes good judgement and bidding is not rewarded. Jamie and Liam were playing in our last match of the day against a strong USA1 team:
Liam opened 1♣, which could be as short as two with a balanced hand, and Jamie raised with a forcing 2♣ bid. The jump to 3NT now showed 18-19 balanced and Jamie set the slam wheels in motion with 4♣. Liam co-operated with a cue bid in diamonds and Jamie bid Keycard Blackwood, after hearing (0 or) 3 keycards, Jamie knew that grand could be on the cards so checked for kings by bidding 5♥ and Liam had a perfect hand for a 7♣ bid, all points suitably working (aces and kings are very powerful for slam hands). At first glance you have 2 Spades, 3 Hearts, 2 Diamonds and 6 Clubs – 13 tricks! Unfortunately for our players, the clubs broke 4-1. You cannot afford to take a club finesse in case the suit breaks 3-2 and you lose out to ♣J7 offside (you don’t want to say “sorry, but trumps broke well partner so I went off!”). Liam then set about trying to set up a trump coup but sadly the singleton diamond in the West hand makes this unviable and he was unjustly down one. An excellent auction for an undeserved minus score, but it was not all a disaster – at the other table the opponents had a misunderstanding and ended up in 6♦ – 4 which meant another 4IMPs to England!