West Midlands BC wins NICKO Plate

The Plate competition in the National Interclub Knockout for 2016/17 has been won by West Midlands A.

The team of Pip Whitehouse, Gordon Clark, Peter Oldbury & Roger Flood beat Young Chelsea G (John Dean, Trevor Mathews, Laura Covill & Nicholas Dean – David Muller and Bill Pencharz played one match each earlier in the competition) in the final.

Gordon Clark's report:

In the Nicko Plate final held at Young Chelsea BC, West Midlands A ran out convincing winners, with Young Chelsea conceding after 32 of the scheduled 48 boards with the score at 145-27. West Midlands took an early lead putting on 34 imps in set 1 and a further 34 in set 2. Thereafter Young Chelsea were always chasing the game and were unable to claw back the deficit. With many distributional hands, the result depended largely on high level bidding decisions - defend or bid on. One example was board 32 which contained 3 voids in different hands.

Dealer W, EW vul.

S AJ964
H K106
D Q9
C K108
S 32
H AQ984
D -
C AJ7642
S -
H J2
D K1085432
C Q953
S KQ10875
H 753
D AJ76
C -

Auction at table 1:

West North East South
1C 1S 3C [1] 4C[2]
5C Dbl all pass

[1] - pre-emptive; [2] - cue agreeing spades

West concealed his heart suit and the diamond void, as did East conceal the spade void. 5C was an easy make despite both Kings offside. With 6 card spade support and a club void, South should clearly take out insurance by bidding 5S. In the other room E-W were playing a short club system whereby a 1C opening could be as few as 2 clubs, so were unable to divine the extent of their club fit.
The bidding proceeded 1C-1S-2D-4C(splinter)-4H-4S-5D(!)-5S passed out, also making so 15 imps in.

Board 1 gave East a decision whether to re-open after an original pass followed by a 3D pre-empt from South.

Dealer N, non vul.

S Q10864
H AJ982
D 7
C 64
S A73
H 43
D AQ10
C KJ987
S KJ92
H K765
D J3
C Q102
S 5
H Q10
D K986542
C A53

East chanced a re-opening take-out double, which enabled West to bid the cold 3NT for 9 imps. In the other room the hand was passed out for minus 50 in 3D.

Coincidentally, on the day of the match, an ITN news team were filming at the club as background to the European Court VAT Appeal on Bridge as a sport or pastime. Both tables enjoyed several minutes coverage on News at 10!