There is something decidedly Groundhog Day about the international bridge calendar. The second weekend of January is TGR’s Auction Pairs and the last weekend is Iceland’s wildly popular four-day Pairs and Teams tournament. Everything ticked along happily in the same vein as every other year. Two days of Pairs (in which we came nowhere) and then an unexpected but very welcome turn of events: we won the teams!
I played with Artur Malinowski — Thor-Erik Hoftaniska and Thomas Charlsen our teammates. Here is Artur showing that great players rarely have to guess because they pay attention to every detail:
Lots of people had lots of ideas on how to bid this hand. Some passed intending to come in with a two-suited overcall when they got the chance. Some bid 2 spades (weak!), some had a bid to show a weak hand with both majors. I like Artur’s approach best. Bid what you think you might make, and do it quickly intending to pre-empt the opps out of their (making) contract.
West led a diamond to his partner’s Queen, which was ruffed. Declarer now played a trump to the King which held, and another trump, which West won. Next came the Ace of Clubs and then the Queen, which Artur ruffed. He drew the last trump and now, in order to play hearts for one loser, had to find the ♥King. Is it a guess? Or is it known? If you have paid attention it is known. East, a passed hand, has shown up with the Ace and Queen of Diamonds and the King of Clubs — therefore he can’t have ♥King. Artur played a second heart to his ten and claimed! I know it is very basic and simple but it’s amazingly easy for concentration to slip and then everything is a guess.
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