When I first started playing bridge, about 15 years ago, I ‘trained’ at TGR’s rubber bridge club, which was located in a dingy basement in Bayswater Road. I didn’t notice the dinge — I felt intoxicated just walking in there knowing I would get a game. In those days we could smoke in the back room, Richard Selway was the loveable host with the sharpest wit around, and there was a big game going every day for a minimum of £50 a hundred. About eight years ago, we moved to the New Cavendish Club, smoking was banned, Richard died and the big game decreased to £30 a hundred. Now we have just moved again, to Paddington, our own lovely premises, not at all dingy, duplicate as well as rubber bridge, but still, for me, the same excitement knowing a game awaits.
Opening night started with an IMPs tournament won by Catherine Fishpool and Marek Zegar. Along with making some thin games and taking some large penalties, they were helped by this dynamic defence:
Marek was West, and dodged the first bullet by avoiding the Heart lead in favour of the Jack of Clubs, covered all around and won by South. A Spade went to the King and Ace, and when Catherine returned the ♣2, Marek won and played a third round, forcing dummy to ruff.
Declarer played a Spade to hand but, with only one more trump in dummy, he wanted to tackle the Hearts while he had an entry. The ♥10 was run, but Catherine ducked without a flicker. Encouraged by this, South drew the last trump and led his remaining Heart, but when West discarded dummy was dead, and there was no longer any way of avoiding two Diamond losers. Welcome to Paddington!