Forget the 5-2 diet. To lose weight the easy way, why not take up competitive bridge? I’ve just come back from the Autumn Congress, held over three days at the Holiday Inn in Peterborough. Despite devouring double helpings of banoffee pie from the hotel buffet each night, to my astonishment I’ve come back two pounds lighter. I can only put this down to the calorie-burning mental workout involved, plus the adrenalin of playing with David Gold, who never misses a single mistake I make. And then, of course, there’s the sheer excitement of trying to win. Well, we didn’t win: or at least, only the consolation final of the Sunday teams event. The A-final was won by my co-columnist Janet de Botton, who just keeps going from triumph to triumph. No wonder she’s so slim.
My only restful moments came when I was dummy and could watch David work his magic. He was West here:
My 2NT response promised 4 spades. North led the ♦J — his failure to lead a heart meant David knew that South held six. South won with the ♦A and switched to a trump to North’s ace. North switched to a club, won with dummy’s ♣A. Next David cashed the ♣K (discarding a heart) and ruffed a club (if the suit split 4-3 he could ruff one more club to make his game). When South discarded a heart, David ruffed a low diamond and then ran his trumps leaving himself with ♥A87 ♦K opposite ♥Q96 ♣10. He knew that South had started with 1-6-4-2 and was helpless. If he came down to ♥KJ10 ♦Q, David could cash the ♦A and play a low heart to the ♥9 (or ♥6) to end-play him. If South came down to ♥KJ ♦Q5, David could cash the A♥ and exit with a heart — his third heart would be his tenth trick.