Source: IBPA Bulletin APR 2019

England won the Junior Camrose (Under-26) in Belfast by a little, and the Peggy Bayer (Under-21) by rather a lot. Here is a deal from the Junior match
between England and the Republic of Ireland.

Dealer North. N/S Vul

J 9 8
A K J 6
A K 7 4 2
K 10 5 2
10 4
Q 6 5
7 4 3 2
Q 7 5 3
10 9 8 3
A J 10 8
Q 7 6 4 3
9 8 2
K Q 6 5
West North East South
1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 2NT
Pass 3 Pass 4
Pass Pass Pass

With three top losers, the heart finesse wrong for declarer and trumps foul, four spades looks unlikely on the layout, and the Irish declarer can be excused for making only eight tricks.

Shahzaad Natt was South for England. Natt took up bridge on Boxing Day 2011, when stranded at an airport with three players who needed a fourth.

West led the ten of hearts. Natt won with dummy’s ace of hearts and played the nine of clubs. East stepped in with the ace and shifted to the ten of diamonds, covered twice and won on the table. Natt cashed the other top diamond, shedding a heart, ruffed a diamond and cashed the king and queen of clubs, discarding hearts. He went over to the king of hearts and played a diamond in this position:

J 9 8

7 4
K 10 5 2

Q 7
Q 7 6 4


Annoyingly, East followed to it, and South now wished he had ruffed a club before crossing in hearts. He took his best practical chance by ruffing high with the queen of spades. West overruffed, correctly, but erred by returning his club. A low trump return was required.

Shahzaad Natt
Shahzaad Natt

Natt ruffed the club with dummy’s eight of spades. When East followed he could infer the full count. Thinking that East might have shifted to the ten of spades after the ace of clubs if that had been his singleton, he called for the nine of spades and was rewarded by the appearance of the bare ace. In the two-card ending, East had to lead a heart.

South ruffed it in hand with the six of spades and turned triumphantly to West. He probably didn’t, but he had every right to. It wasn’t exactly a finesse or a trump coup; it was a rare smother-play ending.

West could overruff or not, but could take no further trick. The defence was not perfect, but the contract was well played by the England declarer. England, four spades made, North/South plus 620; Republic of Ireland, four spades off two, North/South minus 200.

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