TGR’s rubber bridge club is a bit like the set of your favourite soap. You have the regulars, of varying abilities and temperaments. You have the stars. You have the guest appearances, characters who come and go and shake up the cocktail. And then you have the total strangers, who walk in from nowhere and either last or are quickly written out. Some become friends, some you admire, and a tiny minority you absolutely loathe! They are the ones who whine nasally and continuously at every perceived mistake partner makes, want to control every bidding sequence and every defence, try and hog as much as possible, cry ‘bully’ when anyone protests, and subject the table to long and dreary hand analyses. Oh, and I forgot: they run snitching to the boss when anyone bites back. God, I love this column!
Above is a hand featuring two of the ‘stars’, Maurice Esterson and David Herman.
Maurice’s 3♣ opening was surprisingly good for a Maurice preempt, and his partner took an executive decision and jumped to slam. David was West, and for once did not find the deadly Heart lead, but chose instead the ♠Jack.
Declarer recognised the situation easily enough — if he can dislodge the Queen of trumps, while still having a trump left in dummy, the Diamonds will provide both tricks and communication to bring in his slam. Consequently, after winning the Ace of Spades, he made the good play of leading the ♣Jack from dummy and let it run.
Spotlight on Hermie, who must have been tempted to win and hope that partner had the Ace of Hearts. However, he worked out that by keeping control of the Clubs, declarer could not possibly come to 12 tricks, and calmly allowed the Jack to hold. Outstanding!