The past couple of weeks have been the first since the New Year that we haven’t played a tournament of some international prestige, so I am going to go back to the Lederer weekend at the end of February, London’s premier invitational event. It was held at the extremely elegant RAC Club in Pall Mall, which has a strict ‘smart’ dress code. It is rather funny to see bridge players looking as though they are going to their own wedding!
Ten teams were invited by Ian Payn, chairman of the organising body, and sponsor Simon Gillis to try to prise the trophy away from the England Open Team who won it last year. I was fortunate enough to have Norwegian-born world champion Geir Helgemo on my team, widely considered to be the best player in the world. Here he is playing with Thor Erik Hoftaniska against England’s Tony Forrester and David Bakhshi, on one of the few hands England lost:
North’s 4♦ was a splinter showing his rather good club support. West (Bakhshi) led ♥7. Helgemo played low in dummy and Forrester won his Jack and returned the King to dummy’s Ace. Declarer now called for ♣King, which he overtook in hand with the Ace and ruffed a diamond. Next came a club to the 5, another diamond ruff, a club to his 7 and, the elimination complete, he exited with his last heart, throwing East in to lead away from his ♣King or concede a ruff and sluff.
At the other table they were in 3NT going 3 down on a very different (in every sense of the word!) bidding sequence. But nothing was going to stop the England team from storming to victory and taking the trophy for the second year running. Great performance.