One person who lets out a whoop of delight when I am on holiday is my saintly partner, Artur Malinowski. He gets a holiday too — from me and my daft mistakes — and can play proper bridge with some of the greats who are dying to partner him. This time it was the turn of Peter Bertheau, Swedish World Champion, playing the Palace Cup in Warsaw.
Sixteen world-class pairs competed for the coveted first prize, which was won by the young Polish stars Kalita and Nowosadzki. Until the last session any one of five pairs could have won — Artur and Peter among them. I sent him a message to wish him luck and he replied that he was really having fun. Cheers, I thought. Never heard you say that when you’re playing with me!
Here is the Great Malinowski making the most of an opportunity:
What’s your lead? The contract is off on a spade lead, but after a good long think West put K♦ on the table. Not unnatural but it gave Artur the chance he needed. He won the Ace and immediately played J♦. If East covers this, Artur makes 12 tricks — so he ducked and Artur discarded a spade from his hand, noting West’s 9 dropping. Next he made the good guess of a trump to his Ace and another to the 10, drawing the last club and establishing the diamonds. All the opps could get was a heart and a spade. Contract made and six IMPs to Malinowski/Bertheau.
Well done, Artur — but my holiday’s over and so is yours. We are meeting in Monaco to play the Cavendish today. Bet that won’t be so much fun!