North-South game; dealer East

North

48 7 5

!K Q 8 6

#A Q 4

2A K 9

West East

4J 3 2 410 9 6

!J 7 5 2 !4 3

#J 9 6 2 #K 10 8 7 3

210 3 2Q 7 6

South

4A K Q 4

!A 10 9

#5

2J 8 5 4 2

There were some remarkable performances in the recent Macallan International Pairs. First and foremost was that of Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness (Norway) who, only once defeated and then narrowly, led throughout and won by a record margin. Indeed, they need not have turned up at all for the last four rounds; their score after 11 of the 15 would have proved sufficient.

Second came the sterling achievements of the only two women's pairs, Nicola Smith and Pat Davies (Britain) and Sabine Auken and Daniella von Arnim (Germany) who finished second and third respectively in the top- class field.

Here is one of the winners' successes. They were not given an easy ride on this deal when one of the Hackett twins opened 2# (weak) with the East hand. South doubled for take-out and West raised pre-emptively to 4#! North tried 4NT (Blackwood) and raised his partner's dutiful response of 5! to 6!. Yes, 6NT might have proved a more natural spot.

There might have been two losers (a club and a trump) but Helgemo found an elegant line of play after a diamond lead. He won in dummy, ruffed a diamond in hand, crossed to 2K, and ruffed another diamond. Then he cashed !A, crossed to 2A and played off the two top trumps. The suit did not break but declarer was still home as long as West held at least three spades. He simply played four rounds of spades to make !8 en passant for his 12th trick.

Comments