Barnet Shenkin

The Daily Express by Sam Leckie prev/next

Scots Gold Cup Triumph

The final rounds of the Gold Cup, the premier team Championship of Great Britain, were played last weekend in London.

For only the second time ever a Scottish six won the event.*

Vic Silverstone’s team (Coyle, Goldberg, Mathieson, Shenkin and myself) beat a Yorkshire team by 45 match points in the final.

Our matches in both the quarter and semi-finals were nail biting affairs (in one we were 2 down with eight boards to play) but we managed to squeeze through.

In the final we played our best match and won even more easily that the score suggests.

Here is a hand I held which produced a few (more) gray hairs for me.

♠Q 4
♥A 5 2
♦A K Q 10 5
♣9 6 3

We were vulnerable and East opened one diamond in front of me. As opponents were playing “Blue Club” this could be a prepared bid and he need not hold a diamonds suit.

After having paused for some time I felt I could not pass (probably the best action) so I doubled. West promptly redoubled.

My partner, Barnet Shenkin, rather surprisingly jumped to three clubs and East immediately doubled. I now knew East had a club suit and not diamonds so I tried to wriggle out by bidding three diamonds.

N ♠A 8 5 3
♥9 7
♣Q J 10 8 7 5
W ♠J 10 9 7 2
♥J 10 8 4 3
♦J 3 2
 E ♠K 6
♥K Q 6
♦9 8 7 6
♣A K 4 2
 S ♠Q 4
♥A 5 2
♦A K Q 10 5
♣9 6 3

Barnet assumed I was asking for a major and now bid three spades, which was doubled of course.

At this point you can imagine my feelings. I close my eyes, bid four clubs and East not surprisingly doubled again.

East led the king of hearts and the lucky distribution of the diamonds suit made ten tricks easy.

West had made a “psyche” redouble and would not have left his partner’s double of tree clubs, but because of my “rescue” he was tempted to leave the second double.

“A nice deception partner” young Shenkin remarked “you knew he was psyching all the time”.

“I’ve been there before” I heard myself replying.

* A Scottish team captioned by Sam Leckie won the Gold Cup in 1969.