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Ace Raiders from The North Take Out South Island Pairs

Andi Boughey and Carol Richardson won a tense battle to win the South Island Pairs, held at the Crockfords Bridge Club over the past weekend. They survived five sessions to win by 5% from Blair Fisher and George Masters. Of the three pairs in strong contention after four of the five rounds, Andi and Carol were the only one to post a good score in the final session, so critical to their success.

42 pairs played 3 boards against each other barometer style. That created a huge amount of dealing by the host club which put on an excellent event, excellent catering and organisation and well directed and scored by Allan Joseph, John McKenzie and Carolyn Wiggins. One small criticism was the lack of prizes, with only the top three getting acknowledgement along with two grade prizes.

On then to the top 10:  

    Av %
 1 Andi Boughey and Carol Richardson 59.98
 2 Blair Fisher and George Masters 58.99
 3 Tim Schumacher and Tony Fitzgerald 57.03
 4 Johnny Davidson and Sam Coutts 56.88
 5 Moss Wylie and Anne Somerville 56.69
 6 John Luoni and John Patterson 56.65
 7 Grant Jarvis and Richard Solomon 56.29
 8 Shirley Newton and Jenny Wilkinson 56.02
 9 Glenn Coutts and Michael Ware 54.54
10 Richard Lapthorne and Bruce Anderson 53.83


Top Pair under 700 Rating Points Top Pair with 2 Intermediates or
1 Intermediate/1 Open Player 
 2nd Overall

Richard Lapthorne  Bruce Anderson.jpg

David Sewell   John McDonald.jpg George Masters Blair Fisher.jpg
Richard Lapthorne/ Bruce Anderson David Sewell and John McDonald George Masters and Blair Fisher

When asked for a couple of hands from the event, Andi gave two with a common theme which is a little contrary to what we advise beginners. We tell beginners not to underlead aces against suit contracts (and that definitely holds true) but also to avoid leading aces when you do not have the king of the suit if you can avoid it. Carol could have avoided it, twice, but each time she was glad she disobeyed this piece of advice.


Board 8
West Deals
None Vul
A Q J 4 3
4 2
7 3 2
K 8 3
10 9 6 2
J 8 6 5
A 10 6 4
W   E
K 8 5
A K Q 3
Q J 6 4
Q 7
10 9 7
A K 9 8 5
J 9 5 2
West North East South
  Carol   Andi
Pass Pass 1  Pass
1  1  3  All pass


With the strong hand on her left, Carol decided to start with Spade-smallA and Spade-smallQ. This was covered and Andi ruffed. She tried to get back to Carol’s hand by leading a club. West ducked hopefully with Carol winning to cash the Spade-smallJ and play a fourth spade, Declarer ruffed high to draw trumps but still had to lose a diamond for one down.

While the declarer may have struggled after a passive trump lead, an initial club or diamond lead would not have helped the defence. Spade-smallA was a certain way to defeat the contract.

The ruff did not come at trick 2 on this next board….but two tricks later and even more devastating:


Board 22
East Deals
E-W Vul
Q 7 5 4
A K J 9 6 5
K 4 3
K 6
Q 3
A 10 9 8 6 5
Q 6 2
W   E
A 10 9 3 2
10 8 7
K J 10 8 4
J 8
4 2
Q J 7 2
A 9 7 5 3
West North East South
Andi   Carol  
    2  Pass
Pass 3  All pass  


This time the lead was very very important. If Carol had led a heart or a club, making 10 tricks would not (and did not for many declarers) prove very difficult. However, Carol, whose 2Spade-small had shown spades and a minor, decided on the Spade-smallA and then a second spade to Andi’s king. Andi tried Diamond-smallA and for the declarer, the roof fell in!

Diamond ruff, spade ruff and over-ruff, diamond ruff and again spade ruff and over-ruff…and the poor declarer had to follow suit throughout….down 3…and a triumph for leading an unsupported ace.

"Ace" Raiders from the North

Andi Carol 19.jpg
   Carol Richardson and Andi Boughey

They Open at the 1 level: We bid Grand Slam.

How often does that happen? Not that often. Unfortunately, I have to report it did not happen in this event…but it should have done.

Board 4
West Deals
Both Vul
6 4
A K J 9 8 6
J 10 9 5
K 7 5 2
10 5 2
7 2
A K 7 5
W   E
A 10
A K Q 4 3
Q J 9 8 6 4
Q J 9 8 3
Q 7 4 3
8 6
10 3


Light openers can be a successful approach but this particular 1Heart-small opener should have back-fired big time for North-South. East overcalled 2NT for the minors and with South silent West jumped to 4Club-small. East made a very good bid next, 5Heart-small, Exclusion Key Card Blackwood (asking for the 3 aces “excluding” the Heart-smallA, and the trump king). West answered honestly (6Club-small) showing the 2 key cards but should have really bid 7Club-small. If East can make such an aggressive bid, showing a heart void (that's what the bid showed), then that Spade-smallK must be a really good card, just what East was looking for.

It is not so easy if North opens a Weak Two. If East bids 4NT for the minors, West has the opportunity to shine and bid 6Club-small (that vulnerable 4NT must be a pretty serious bid) but grand would surely be too hard.

Alas only 9 pairs reached 6Club-small with one enterprising North-South pair risking all by sacrificing in 6H, -1100, a good dive as long the opponents do not bid grand….and even 7Heart-smallx -1400 would not stack up very well against those in small slam, -1390.

So, every dog has its day. These two days were for ace leads and perhaps not for a light 1Heart-small opening!

Richard Solomon


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