Thursday, 14 June 2018

Scottish Schools Bridge Championship 2018

This is the fourth year I've taken pupils, and this year took 11 pupils on the train to Stirling. From my perspective this was the most enjoyable year yet, and I enjoyed watching all the action.

Ten teams took part. This was the top five in the final standings

1Hutchesons' Brute Force +115
2HSOG Triceratops' +41
3HSOG Penguins* +17
4Ayrshire Juniors 0
5HSOG Wolves -5

The Senior Hutcheson's team won again, which is probably good as they are the Scotland Junior Team. My S2 boys came a creditable second, my novices team came third (albeit unofficially as they had one adult filling in), and the S3 girls came fifth.

With a wide range of experience the bridge was of varying quality. Here are a couple of highlights. Firstly, a nice auction:

NS vul
N deal
♠ T 5 4 3
♥ Q 7 6
♦ T 5 4
♣ Q J 2
♠ K Q 8
♥ J
♦ K Q J 8
♣ K 9 6 5 4
♠ 7 6
♥ A 9 3 2
♦ 7 3 2
♣ A T 8 7
♠ A J 9 2
♥ K T 8 5 4
♦ A 9 6
♣ 3

South opened 1♥, West overcalled, East raised, then South made a takeout double. North replied 3♥, passed out. Textbook. The only issue is that 3♥ doesn't play very well and went two off. At the other table I was watching the auction was the same, minus the final takeout double, and 3♣ made with an overtrick.

The hand notes provided at the end say that West should instead double, which is surely right, but here in fact the pairs playing in Clubs did much better.

Next, some solid defence:

NS vul
W deal
♠ Q 3
♥ A J 2
♦ A K T 9 7 3
♣ J 4
♠ K 8 6
♥ K 6 5
♦ Q 8 4
♣ K Q 5 2
♠ A 9 7 5 2
♥ Q 7 4
♦ J 2
♣ A T 7
♠ J T 4
♥ T 9 8 3
♦ 6 5
♣ 9 8 6 3

West opened a standard weak NT, and North overcalled a natural 2♦. East ought to bid 2♠ but instead bid 2NT, which West unwisely raised to game. North thought about doubling but Passed and lead out the top Diamonds. Declarer won the third round then had a think.

3It's not possible to make the contract legitimately as you can't get to nine tricks without letting the defence back in, so there's two options. Probably the best option is to lose a Spade to South, and hope she doesn't find a Heart return. Instead, played a Heart. North popped up with the Ace and cashed his last three Diamonds for two off. Well played.

Another highlight was that of the three slams bid in the day, two were from one of my new players.

In general the pupils coped really well, especially as lots of them were new to competition. I must though mention the frustration watching all the usual mistakes in the declarer play. These are:

  • In a suit contract, failing to draw trumps, instead trying to cash other winners that get ruffed
  • In a suit contract, drawing too many trumps, instead of using dummy's trumps to ruff
  • In a no trump contract, failing to build tricks, instead cashing winners in short suits
  • Not keeping track of which high cards have been played

    Next year we'll fix all these and win the event!

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