The Trials for the European Championship Open team were won by Mike Ash, Miro Dragic, Irving Gordon and Bill Whyte, who narrowly defeated Douglas Piper, Alex Wilkinson, Jim Hay and Jun Nakamoru-Pinder. Piper and Wilkinson will make up the team for Dublin, with a Captain yet to be chosen.
This deal comes from a Scottish Cup quarter-final between Les Steel (John Matheson, Brian Short, Dave Walker) and Jim McMahon (Jim Forsyth, Paul and Justin Hackett). The international quartet were perhaps lucky to gain 14 imps on this board. Short and Walker stopped in 6C after West opened the auction with a pre-empt, but the Hacketts bid the Grand over Matheson’s silence
Matheson led the jack of diamonds, hoping his partner could ruff. Declarer won, cashed one top trump, then played ace of spades and ruffed a spade in case the king was doubleton. When the king did not appear he ruffed his losing diamond with the five of clubs – and was very unlucky to be overruffed for one down.
The Grand Slam is always beaten by a heart lead, but could be made after the diamond lead if declarer knew East’s diamond was singleton. Ace of spades, queen of spades pins the jack, with the ace of hearts as an entry to cash the ten of spades and discard the losing diamond.