January ended for me with the annual Icelandic Bridge Festival in Reykjavik. There may be a better tournament but I haven’t played it. This year it attracted a record number of entries for the Pairs and Teams — and a record number of Brits. The star for me was the divine Mrs P, playing with the brilliant Brian Senior, known to all as Grumpy. They did very well in the Pairs, but in the Teams, playing with Brian’s wife, multiple World Champion Nevena Senior and Rumen Trendafilov, they were unbeatable, leading virtually from the start and winning with a match to spare.
Mrs P — Sandra Penfold — has had a cracking bridge career and despite Grumpy’s withering sarcasm carries on smiling and playing like a pro.
This hand illustrates that when things are well placed for declarer, it costs nothing to muddy those still waters.
Mrs P was sitting West. Her opening bid had shown 5–5 in spades and a minor, and she led the ♠K against 5♥. On receiving a count signal, she switched to the ♦Q, which was allowed to hold, but South won the next diamond and played a trump — on which Mrs P dropped the ♥Q! This seemingly innocent false card had a dramatic effect: with trumps now sorted, South needed to organise two diamond ruffs in dummy, but entries to hand are a problem. He ruffed a spade to hand, ruffed a diamond high in dummy, ruffed the last spade in hand and his last diamond high in dummy. Then he played dummy’s ♥4, finessed the 8 in hand…and got the rude shock!
Even Grumpy smiled!