Of the five top boards Selina Volpatti and I chalked up in the big Friday game this week in the Niagara Bridge Centre in St. Catharines, Ont., the one I wound up being proudest of was the one that seemed like a flop after we played it. In the moment we had to hash it out, it seemed like it should play better at 3 Hearts or maybe even 3 No Trump, but we did it instead at 3 Diamonds.
It’s Board 8 and we’re playing against two of the club’s best players – Brian Macartney, sitting East, and George Morrissey, who’s West. George is dealer. Nobody’s vulnerable. I open the bidding at 1 Diamond with this hand:
Spades: J-6; Hearts: K-5; Diamond: K-Q-9-8-7-3; Club: Q-4-2.
Looking at the hand records, I think the bidding proceeded with Brian bidding 2 Clubs, Selina going 2 Hearts and George overcalling 2 Spades. With six Diamonds in hand, I figure a rebid is in order and everybody passes me out at 3 D. Brian leads the Ace of Clubs and this is Selina’s hand:
Spades: K-4; Hearts: A-Q-10-7-2; Diamonds: J-6-2; Hearts: J-7-5.
Brian and George rip off three quick tricks in Clubs – Ace, King and a ruff with the Ace of Diamonds. But the only other trick they get is the Ace of Spades. I draw Brian’s trump, then run the Hearts. Here are the other two hands:
Spades: A-10-3; Hearts: 9-8; Diamonds: 10-5-4; Clubs: A-K-10-8-3.
Spades: Q-9-8-7-5-2; Hearts: J-6-4-3; Diamonds: A; Clubs: 9-6.
According to the hand records, 3 Diamonds is the only contract that succeeds for North-South. And we were the only North-South to get a score on our side of the line, although three played it at 4 Diamonds, one of them doubled, and two were at 5 Diamonds. East-West, on the other hand, is good for 4 Spades. The only E-W that actually bid 4 Spades was doubled and, of course, made it. Hearts don’t work at all (One N-S bid 4 Hearts, going down four). And neither side made the mistake of trying No Trump.