Today, let’s look at the winners of the 2015 Richard Freeman Junior Deal of the Year from the International Bridge Press Association.

The deal occurred during a four-day training visit to the Czech Republic by two pairs from the England under-20 team, Laura Covill-Stephen Kennedy and Freddie Illingworth-Ben Norton.

This auction was produced by Illingworth (North) and Norton. When West opened one diamond, and North sensibly overcalled two clubs (to make a takeout double with only a doubleton spade and such a skewed hand would not have been wise), South’s two-heart advance was forcing for one round (an agreement that I like). Then the jump to five diamonds was Exclusion Key Card Blackwood. It agreed hearts, indicated a diamond void, and asked for key cards excluding the diamond ace. South’s six-club reply (step four) indicated two key cards and the heart queen.

Now came the key agreement: six diamonds invited the grand slam and asked for help in clubs. Although the singleton was not as good as the king, South anticipated being able to establish his partner’s suit with ruffs. So he jumped to seven hearts.

South won the first trick with dummy’s spade jack, drew one round of trumps, and claimed 13 tricks: three spades, six hearts, one diamond, one club and two diamond ruffs in the dummy. But even if West had led, say, a trump, declarer would have had no trouble ruffing down the club king.

Their homework had really paid off.

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