I’m not trying to pretend it will make up for the drubbing England took in the World Cup, but if you want to feel a bit better about our sportsmen and women I suggest you log on to BBO to watch the 52nd European Team Championships in Opatija, Croatia. All three of our teams, Open, Ladies and Seniors, stand a good chance of qualifying for the Bermuda Bowl next year (they have to finish in the top six) and it’s worth repeating that our Ladies are the current holders.
At the time of writing this they have just started playing so take a look at a hand from the previous Championship, where Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness, playing for Monaco who deservedly won the Open title, produced this stunning defence.
Tor Helness was sitting West and led ♣2. When dummy played low, Geir inserted the Queen. I am reliably informed this is a normal false card to mislead declarer about his potential in the suit, but this time it came with a twist…
Declarer won his Ace and started on diamonds. Tor won the second round and switched to a heart. He got in again with the next diamond and played another heart. This time South won in hand and tried a low club to the eight. Geir won with the King (!) and cleared the hearts.
Declarer is up to eight tricks; two diamonds, three hearts, two clubs and the Ace of spades. Where would you go for the ninth? Finessing the ♣9 looked obvious, but now Helgemo finally produced the elusive ten of clubs, and had a heart to cash for one down.
And they call football the Beautiful Game!