Day 5 from the World Youth Teams Championships in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. Under 26W Coach Claire Robinson has written the below update following the team's progress:
Another tough day ended with success. We actually did it! World Championship quarter finalists. We finished fourth in the round robin which was fantastic because it meant that the top teams couldn’t pick us for the next stage. We play Poland in the quarter finals and we have every chance of winning. The girls have done really brilliantly so far. Let’s hope we can now win our knock-out matches.
After play, we had a motivational team chat including zooming with one of our team mentors. We talked about our strategy for tomorrow and some dos and don’ts of playing in a World Championship quarter final. As soon as the chat was over the girls got out a pack of cards and started playing games (thankfully not bridge). Are 48 hands of bridge not enough for one day?
Here’s an innocuous board which gained us a handy 6 IMPs in our final match against Denmark.
At both tables a strong NT (15-17) was opened by South – for us Lily. Dido bid 2S transferring to clubs, obviously the stand-out correct bid on this hand. Lily showed no fit but Dido insisted on playing in 3C anyway. She easily made 9 tricks and chalked up +110.
Meanwhile at the other table North chose to pass 1NT. This might work occasionally but on average it’s so wrong not to play in this nice-looking club suit. Over to Lucy and Kim to defend 1N. Lucy led the heart Queen, declarer ducked so she played another and declarer won. Trying to generate some tricks they then played a club. Lucy signalled she had 3 clubs to Kim and therefore Kim knew to win her King immediately. She did that and played her third heart. Declarer won and played another club. Lucy rose Ace and cashed her fourth heart, Kim throwing an encouraging spade. She then switched to a low spade which went to the Queen and King. Declarer played a diamond having very few options now. Kim won and played the spade 9. The defence now cashed 3 spade tricks. Lucy got off lead with the diamond Jack, declarer won the Ace and had to lose to the diamond King at trick thirteen. 3 off scored Kim and Lucy +150 and a nice gain on the board for us.
I have to admit I’m nervous for tomorrow. It’s a big deal a world championship quarter final (and I think the best performance ever by an English U26W team). Whatever happens, I know my team are doing their very best and I’m super proud of them whatever the outcome may be. Go England!