My favorite hand of the past couple weeks was the first one Selina Volpatti and I played in St. Catharines on March 28. We’re North-South. It’s Board 9, East-West vulnerable. East is Barbara Staples, wearing another spectacular set of earrings. West is Charles Leguerrier. I’m dealer. Here’s my hand:
Spades: A-6; Hearts: 10-9-7-5-4-3-2; Diamonds: None; Clubs: A-K-9-6.
Given the high card points, the long suit, the void and the favorable vulnerability, I had no qualms about opening 1 Heart. But here my memory of the hand starts fading. I think Barbara bid 2 Diamonds. If she didn’t, she probably should have. Selina passes. Charles either supported the Diamonds or bid 2 Spades.
Before long, they’re bidding 4 Diamonds and, given that favorable vulnerability, I go 4 Hearts. Barbara doubles. Hey, I was expecting it. She leads a Diamond and Selina lays down this hand:
Spades Q-8-5-4; Hearts: 6; Diamonds: 10-7-5; Clubs: J-6-4-3-2.
According to the hand record, the best I could do is take 9 tricks. In Clubs, it makes 11 tricks played from the North, 12 played from the South. But the Ace and King of Hearts crashed down on the same trick. When the trump was gone, I set up the Clubs and tossed my losing Spade. Making 4 Hearts doubled.
Here are the other two hands:
Spades: 10-7-3; Hearts: K-Q-8; Diamonds: A-J-6-3-2; Clubs: Q-10.
Spades: K-J-9-2; Hearts: A-J; Diamonds: K-Q-9-8-4; Clubs: 8-7.
According to the hand record, East-West can make 1 No Trump, 2 Spades or 4 Diamonds, which means their holdings aren’t as good as they might seem.
It was a top board, tied by two other North-Souths who also made 4 Hearts doubled. At all the other tables, the bids were taken by East-West, who played it in Diamonds (8 times), Spades (once, down two at 4 Spades) and No Trump. Best of the lot was the pair who bid 3 NT and made two overtricks (the other 3 NT was a trick short). Second best was a 5 Diamond contract bid and made. Three of them made 4 Diamonds, four of them went down.