Bridge - The Scotsman 15/08/2013

IRELAND sent two teams to the European Youth Championships, but without great expectation of success. Although they finished last in both Junior and Youngsters events, their players will have benefited greatly from the experience.

Scotland fielded only one team, in the Youngsters category, with just one inexperienced pair in Olivia Bailey and Jenny Middleton. When they met the Irish, things went Scotland’s way.

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Olivia’s 3NT bid was perfectly sensible, and the contract would certainly make, but Jenny was concerned about her weakness in the black suits and removed to 4H. This should really show a 5-6 red twosuiter, so Olivia passed. The Irish South was unimpressed by the auction, and thought his five-card trump holding justified a penalty double – but he lacked the trump quality (and high cards) for his action. The double warned declarer of bad breaks, and Jenny took full advantage.

North led a club to the ace, and Jenny set up her diamond suit, playing ace, king, and ruffing the third round with the king of hearts. She led the nine of hearts to the ace, drawing North’s solitary trump. She played a winning diamond, which South ruffed, but he had nothing very good to do. He played a second club to dummy’s king. Jenny led the preserved six of hearts to her eight, drew the remaining trump and cashed two more diamonds for an overtrick. That was +990, and 9 imps, against the 600 by the Irish in 5D (undoubled).