In this country, Andrew Robson and bridge are practically synonymous: he’s the best known, and probably the best, player we have. His love for the game goes to the very core of him. During our recent bridge week at Stuart Wheeler’s house in Tangier, I asked Andrew about his near-fatal accident in 2001. While walking alone on Scafell Pike in the Lake District (England’s highest mountain), he slipped on ice and fell some 120ft, shattering every limb in his body except his left arm.
He landed on a scree slope, which saved his life. Andrew told me that as he was lying there, he became aware of an extraordinary lucidity: he remembers thinking that if he were to play bridge right now, he’d play better than he ever had before, or ever would again. ‘I said to myself: I absolutely know that I could make seven diamonds on a Moysian fit…’ It was while pondering the beauty of this imaginary deal that it occurred to him he should call for help. Luckily, there were two walkers nearby who heard his cries, and he was soon airlifted away.
That bridge brain of his, which never stops working, was on display all week in Tangier. Take this 4♠ contract, which I’d have made against anyone else; not with Andrew on my right:
Andrew, as usual, was one step ahead of the game: while the rest of us were still bidding, he was already defending the contract! He knew he and his partner would be outbid, so he bid the suit he wanted to ruff. West duly led the ♥2. Andrew played in an upside-down fashion, winning with the ♥A, then cashing the ♥K — a wake-up call to West — then played a high club (discouraging a return) to West’s ♣A. Back came a heart. One down — with no scree slope to land on.
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