Where is that imp? The Canadian Women’s Team Trials
There were only three teams entered in the Canadian Women’s Team Championship. It would probably worth discussing why there were only three teams but that is for another time.
After playing some matches one team was eliminated and the two remaining teams played an eight segment final, each segment being 15 boards.
The two remaining teams were
Eaton: Joan Eaton, Karen Cumpstone, Katie Thorpe, Sandra Blank, Lesley Thomson, Ina Demme
Summers: Sylvia Summers, Barbara Saltsman, Pamela Nisbet, Brenda Bryant, Hazel Wolpert, Linda Wynston.
At the start of the eighth and last segment the score was 207 for the Eaton team and 205 for the Summers team.
I would normally say that the first two boards were uneventful as only one imp changed hand but in this match in this match an imp was an imp!
The third board brought a 10 imp swing to the Summers team but on the next three boards Eaton whittled away at that and by board 23 the score was tied… 216 to 216.
Here are the East West hands
In the Open Room Pamela Nesbit was West for the Summers team and Hazel Wolpert was East. Do you want to be in 6♦ East-West as Nesbit-Wolpert were (no doubt played from the East hand)? There are probably twelve tricks there but you will have to survive a heart lead.
Not a bad contract and one which made on a trump lead (the ♥ Q was onside) so a heart guess was not required.
In the Closed Room Katie Thorpe sitting West pretty much insisted on a spade contract and played in the spade game.
At the start of board 25 of the Summers team led by 16 imps 216 to 232.
On Board 25 Wolpert had this lead problem
There is something to be said for a spade lead, nobody bid spades and the 1095 is not a bad holding to lead from (lets call this a passive lead). You could lead a heart (not my choice into the heart bidder). If you do you will have to decide which one to lead. Perhaps the advantage of a top heart is that North may well only have a couple of hearts and if she has say the 10x or Jx a high heart may work out better. Still not my choice.
I probably would not lead a club finding that a bit too passive. What about a diamond from QJ7 that could be the one?
We can argue the merits of each lead (and Ray and I did) but if you found a diamond you are a winner, not just of this hand but of the whole event.
Before we look at the whole hand lets see what happened at the other table. This was the auction in the Closed Room.
At this table Summers patterned out and bid both her suits. Once Summers made that bid North-South was in a big hole. Bryant probed with 2♦ which gave Thorpe who held
the chance to double for a diamond lead. North-South took what they thought was their only chance for game and bid 5♣. But as it turns out a diamond lead beats both games, 3NT and 5♣.
The whole deal
Do you look Bryant’s 3 ♦ bid? Was she being “too scientific”? You decide.
Still after this board Summers had a 6 imp lead.
Summers arrived at Board 27 still up by 6. Four boards to go, I will tell you that the last three boards were pushes so Eaton had to win at least 7 imps on Board 27 to win the event.
On Board 27 both South’s arrived in 1NT on the same auction (East-West passing throughout). South opened with 1♣ and the auction continued 1♥ by North and 1NT by South.
And as it turned out it would be the lead that would decide the winner of the Canadian Women’s Team Championship. What would you have led?
Remember that 1 imp we were trying to find. You will find it and more on this hand if you lead the right card. In fact you are 50-50. Either major suit lead will defeat the contract two tricks and either minor suit lead will lead to ten tricks for declarer.
To win the match Eaton needed 7 imps or more. This board 1NT making 4 for 180 and 1NT down 2 for minus 100 produced exactly that number.
Congratulations to the Eaton team and my condolences to Summers.