Andrew (Bertie) Black started his bridge life many moons ago but stopped to found Betfair, which became the world’s largest internet betting exchange. Well now, some 15 years later, and clearly not one to do things by halves, he’s back with a mighty strong team behind him, plays every tournament on the circuit and they have just claimed their first trophy — Young Chelsea’s London Super League.
Today’s hand was much discussed in the customary post mortem after the match. It was played by Phil King and certainly contributed to the Black team’s victory:
West led ♠4 and Phil tried the Jack from dummy, covered by East’s Queen. He ducked two rounds of spades and took the third. Eight tricks are available but the ninth appears almost impossible to find, and indeed 3NT went down at all the other tables when a Spade was led.
Phil worked out that the only chance of creating the elusive extra trick came from the Heart suit: if West held J 8 x or 10 8 x a second trick could be established. At trick four, he played a Heart to the nine! East won the ten and returned a Club. Phil won in dummy and advanced the ♥Q, taken by East with the ace, while the eight made a welcome appearance from West. When the king of Hearts brought down the Jack, the ♥7 was declarer’s ninth trick.
Well played, Phil, but have you spotted where the defence missed their chance? After two rounds of Spades, West could have switched to a Club, building a trick in that suit before declarer ducked two Hearts.
Bravo, Bertie and team — a well deserved victory, and, if I were a betting woman, I’d say the first of many.