The final match in the second division of Young Chelsea’s London Super League was as exciting as it gets. Two teams (out of ten) were going to be promoted, and four teams were within a gnat’s whisker of each other. We were narrowly leading and were playing McGuire, lying second. We needed to secure a 16–4 victory to be sure of going up to Div One. When you are under pressure, it’s time to wheel out The Great Malinowski, part illusionist, part con man and part downright genius. Here he is on the very first board of the match, unfazed by the obvious bidding screw-up:
First the bidding: Artur thought we played ‘non-leaping Michaels’ meaning that over a Major suit pre-empt 4♣ showed Clubs and Spades. I should have passed 4♠ but I didn’t and over his 5♥ cue-bid, feeling seriously sick, I put him back to 5♠.
West led the ♦7, which East clearly thought was a singleton and played low, letting Artur’s 8 win the trick! Declarer played a Spade to the Queen and King and East shot a diamond back for his partner to ruff, and was rather surprised when Artur’s Ace held the trick. South now played the ♠10 round to the Ace and East returned a heart. From here the contract is cold off — there is either a Heart or Spade loser, but now the master illusionist invented his con: he went to dummy and ruffed his good ♦K looking like a man trying to shorten himself to prepare for the trump coup. Now when he ran the Clubs, East didn’t ruff as he thought he would be giving up his precious trump trick and in the two card ending Artur had his trump coup! Magic!