Long after my own team had been knocked out of this year’s Spring Fours in Stratford-on-Avon (the most prestigious and enjoyable tournament of the year), I was still glued to the action. And even more so when the two teams who made it to the final turned out to be two I normally root for — the Allfrey team (they’re all pals) and the wonderfully witty and charismatic Irish Open team (but don’t go drinking with them unless you have a strong head).
In the end it was Allfrey who won. (Don’t they always?) On this deal, Ireland’s John Carroll (W) tried hard to put the partnership of Tony Forrester and David Bakhshi (N–S) off their stride, but to no avail:
John Carroll felt that showing his heart fit would only encourage his opponents to keep bidding, so he decided to bid a psychic 1NT. But Forrester had enough to show a good raise in spades via a heart cue bid. A few seconds later, Carroll tried a second psyche of 2♠. But N/S were undeterred and bid on to slam (3♥ was a game-force; 4♥ a cue bid). 6♠ would have been tricky on a heart lead, but Carroll kicked off with a diamond. Bakhshi (S) won the ace, played a spade to his queen, then a diamond to the king followed by a diamond ruff. A spade to the king put him back in dummy to ruff the last diamond and now he exited with a heart, forcing the defence to solve his club guess for him.
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.