I have great respect for top French bridge players but I think it’s fair to say they don’t go in for dazzling displays of bravado and brilliance; neither do they crash in disaster. They are great card players and great, straightforward bidders. Calmly and steadily they do their best on every hand and it really pays off. In the last two months Philippe Cronier and Sylvie Willard took gold in the European Mixed Pairs in Tromso, Thomas Bessis and Frederic Volcker won the Open Pairs in the same event and Jean-Christophe Quantin and Cedric Lorenzini have just won the hugely prestigious Life Master Pairs in the Chicago Summer National. They must be doing something right.
Thomas Bessis made this contract in Tromso when some of the best players in the world went off.
Thomas was South, and took some time before inviting with 3 hearts. West picked up on this and added a double to the unconvincing auction.
The lead was a small club to the Nine, Ten and ruffed. Declarer started with the ♠Jack, covered and won in dummy. The ♦Jack went to the Queen and Ace, and a small diamond returned towards dummy’s 10-8. Thomas knew that East would not have covered with long diamonds, so smartly finessed the 8. Now he carefully played a heart to the Queen followed by another diamond to the 10, which East ruffed but was without resources. He played a heart to declarer’s Ace who cashed his winning diamond, discarding a heart in dummy and cross ruffed the rest of the hand. All the defence got was three trump tricks.