Bridge - The Scotsman 10/09/2012

Scotland’s Seniors went to Lille fresh from their outstanding achievement in winning a bronze medal at the European Championships in Dublin.

Such success brings increased pressure of expectation, and sadly the team never really got into their stride, lost too many matches, and failed to qualify for the knock-out stages, finishing just 12th in their 17-team group.

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Probably their most disappointing loss was to the strong English team, though they did gain 11 imps on this board. John Matheson believes in pre-empting whenever he has a long suit, and he was not deterred by the nice side four-card major. Such pre-empts do not always work, but on this occasion Gunnar Halberg was presented with an impossible problem. He was far too strong to pass, he had no diamond stop for 3NT, and no-one likes to make a takeout double with a doubleton in an unbid major, particularly when that doubleton is in spades. He decided the least bad option was to overcall in his four-card heart suit. John Holland cuebid to show a good raise to 4H, but such a bid does not promise a control in diamonds, and Gunnar could not be sure that partner had sufficient heart support for even game, let alone slam.

In the other room the English South did not make the impure pre-empt, and Iain Sime and John Murdoch were given a clear run. They uncovered their double fit, cuebid their side-suit controls, and alighted safely in the excellent 6H.