The Young Chelsea Knock Out is a terrific tournament, and the best thing about it is that the winners get invited to play in the prestigious Lederer Trophy, closed to all but top-flight home and international invited teams. Nowadays the format has changed to double knockout, and is highly successful and enjoyable. Hopefully, the tantalising bait of a place in the Lederer is still on the table.
This hand, from our round two match against Kath Stynes’s team, was handled expertly by both my team mate Thor-Erik Hoftaniska and by Kath, who, at the other table, reached exactly the same end position (see diagram).
The defence started with two rounds of Diamonds, Kath ruffing the second and tested trumps, discovering that West had a trump trick. Declarer entered dummy with a Club and ruffed the last Diamond in hand, exiting with the ♣King and another Club. East won and had a safe way out with the fourth Club, which Kath had to ruff in dummy. Now it was time to put West on lead with the Queen of Hearts, as she only had Spades left. After a fraction of a second, declarer played a low Spade — now what happened? The situation is fairly well known to experienced experts; West should follow with an honour in Spades in every case except when she has both honours in which case a small one is better. Now it’s just up to declarer to decide how well her opponent recognises the position. Both Kath and Thor-Erik judged superbly by guessing that West had made this small error; they played low from dummy and were rewarded with their game bonus. No prizes for guessing who was West at this table!
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