Camrose Crackers

Mark Horton

The first match of the United Kingdom’s 2018 Camrose Series was one of the most exciting on record, involving a series of deals where slams were paramount. These were the most discussed:

Dlr: North ♠ 7 6 2
Vul: All 9 8 4
K Q 9 8 3
♣ Q 6
♠ A J 4 ♠ K 3
10 A K Q J 5 3 2
A J 10 7 6
♣ A K 9 7 4 ♣ 10 3 2
♠ Q 10 9 8 5
7 6
5 4 2
♣ J 8 5

The common auction saw East open 1 and rebid 3, West driving to 6 or 6NT. That is what Ireland did in their match against the CBAI. This was what happened at the other table.

Pass 4 Pass
4NT* Pass 5♠** Pass
5NT*** Pass 6♠ Pass
7NT All Pass

**5♠ – Two key cards + Q
*** – Kings?
Expecting his partner to hold an eight-card suit West thought it was safe to ask for kings.
South led the 7 and declarer could see that at the very worst the contract would depend on the spade finesse. However, he had a number of additional chances. He won with dummy’s 10, cashed the ace of diamonds, ruffed a diamond high, drew trumps, cashed dummy’s top clubs, ruffed a diamond and played trumps, pitching three clubs and a diamond from dummy. The ♣QJ had not fallen, nor had the KQ appeared, but the last trump caught South in a show up squeeze for a 13 IMP pick-up.
Everyone was talking about my second offering:
With neither side vulnerable your partner deals and passes and West opens 4. Your modest collection is ♠AKQJ942 AKQJ10 ♣A – what do you bid?
At five of the six tables North overcalled 7♠. That went back to West who doubled. Time to check out the full deal:

Dlr: South ♠ A K Q J 9 4 2
Vul: None
A K Q J 10
♣ A
♠ 10 8 7 3 ♠ 6 5
A Q J 9 8 7 5 6
3 2 9 8 7
♣ — ♣ J 10 8 7 6 3 2
♠ —
K 10 4 3 2
6 5 4
♣ K Q 9 5 4
4 7♠ Pass Pass
Dbl Rdbl All Pass

East was not hard pressed to lead the jack of clubs and every declarer suffered a ruff.

It might be that Michael Byrne’s redouble was an attempt to get his partner to convert to 7NT if he happened to hold the A.

At the sixth table Scotland’s Mike Ash started with 5 and when his partner bid 6♣ he went on to the doomed 7♠.

The advantage of starting with 5 is that every once in a while South will respond 6 when North can happily raise to 7. After the response of 6♣ suppose North bids 6? If South takes that as asking for a choice between spades and diamonds will he not bid 7?

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