If you like extremely high-level Pairs tournaments you would love Pierre Zimmermann’s Cavendish Monaco. Sixty pairs are auctioned off and battle it out over three days against some of the best players in the world. The scoring is IMPs across the field and competition is fierce. The winners this year were Ireland’s Adam Mesbur and Nick Fitzgibbon, who had a fantastic tournament, leading almost all the way.
My teammates Tom Townsend and Nick Sandqvist came eighth — well in the prizes. Check out Tom’s cute defence here:
2♣ was an inverted raise, and 3♣ the weakest rebid available. After opening the South hand, virtually the whole field was going off in 2 or 3NT, but the American N/S stopped safely in 3♣, and were destined to pick up a useful small swing.
Tom was West and led the ♠Q. Declarer took the second Spade, ruffed a Spade in hand, drew three rounds of trump ending in dummy, and played a Heart to his Queen and Tom’s Ace.
Tom now made the smart switch to the Jack of Diamonds. This surrounding play lets the defence take three Diamond tricks when partner has A98, and may also produce an extra trick on the actual layout if declarer misguesses. South played low in dummy, and thought for a few seconds before ducking in hand too. With a stolen Diamond trick, and another one to come, the contract has been beaten. West could exit safely with a Heart, and sit back and wait for the setting trick. But if you’re going to con somebody, you might as well rub it in; Tom continued with the ♦4, declarer again ducking in dummy, and when Nick produced the ♦10, he knew he had been had. Twice!