In what turned out to be a very tense affair, England emerged victorious against Russia in our quarter-final encounter. Having established a substantial lead (over 60 IMPs at one stage), the nerves started to jangle as the Russians clawed back the deficit. Indeed, for a very short period during the fourth stanza, they had managed to draw level. A strong finish enabled us to re-assert our advantage and, in the end, we won by 220 IMPs to 199.
One of the gains was on this deal:
|Board 11. Dealer South. None Vulnerable.|
|♠ KJT8 |
|♠ Q96 |
After South had "gambled" 3NT, Sandra Penfold had the unenviable task of having to find the killing lead. In such situations, it is often correct to cash out immediately because it is known that as soon as declarer gains the lead, he or she will have plenty of tricks. For this reason, against a gambling 3NT, it is a good idea to lead an ace, enabling the best defence to be appraised upon seeing the dummy and receiving partner's signal. Accordingly, Sandra began with the ace of clubs. Holding the club king, Nevena Senior encouraged by playing the four (reverse attitude - low means like) so Sandra continued with a second club. Before you could blink, England had taken the first five tricks - 3NT one off!
At the other table, Fiona Brown declared 3NT from the North seat. The defence was not so ruthless and Fiona made her game.
The Russians played very well to fight back so tenaciously but we might have eased to a more comfortable victory had it not been for some rather cruel luck in the slam zone. Specifically, on two separate occasions, we incurred a heavy loss by bidding slam, only to find the trumps splitting 5-0!
Quarter - Final Results
Sweden 193 Israel 160
England 220 Russia 199
Poland 171 Indonesia 152
China 183 Netherlands 134
The 96-board semi-finals will be played over the next two days and the line-up will be:
Sweden versus England
China versus Poland
Can't wait !