Captaining a bridge team in a knock-out competition can be a thankless task. Sometimes, the hardest thing of all is simply finding a date when everyone can play. Several years ago, for instance, I managed to get my dream teammates for the Hubert Phillips Bowl: David Gold, Andrew Robson and Alexander Allfrey. Trying to arrange our very first match nearly gave me a nervous breakdown: our opponents offered five possible evenings over a four-week period (which was all they were required to do). After hundreds of emails to and fro, it became clear that there was simply no evening we could all do — and we were forced to concede the match before playing a single card.
This year I’m on Sarah Dunn’s team, and there are six of us (only four play in any one match, of course) — so matches are far easier to arrange. We played — and won — our first last week. The Hubert Phillips Bowl is great fun — same-sex teams aren’t allowed; and you play one third of the match with each teammate as your partner. My teammates were David Ewart, Nick Boss, and Richard Johnson, and I won’t pretend I didn’t enjoy the novelty of being the only female — it was rather like being asked to dance every dance. David waltzed us to success in this slam (he was West).
North led the ♠10. David’s ♠Q was allowed to hold. He drew trumps and played a heart to the ♥A, North inserting the ♥Q. Next he played a diamond to the ♦10 and North’s ♦J. North continued with a spade to David’s ♠A (South playing low). Now David ran his trumps. The end position: ♦Q8 ♣3 opposite ♦A7 ♥J. On the play of the club, North, holding ♦K9 ♥K, was well and truly squeezed.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.