This summer was the longest I have gone without playing bridge since I began about 20 years ago. Not one single game, unless you count Bridge Baron, the computer programme that generates billions of deals to hone one’s skills and fend off withdrawal symptoms. Since my return I’ve hardly had time to unpack: both TGR’s and Young Chelsea’s autumn leagues have started, the EBU’s Premier League kicked off last weekend and we will be playing the Vilnius Cup when you (I hope) read this.
The Premier League is the contest that decides who will play for England in the Camrose Trophy (the home nations championships). There are now three divisions (eight teams in each) and it is played over three weekends. Relegation and promotion make it highly competitive and highly exciting.
Inevitably, there are heated post mortems and today’s hand was one of them. My partner, the brilliant Artur Malinowski, was the only declarer to make 3NT and with that delightful blend of arrogance and smugness he told us how ‘easy-peasy’ it was:
Everyone was in the same contract and everyone I spoke to had the same lead of the ♥Q. Most declarers, wanting to preserve the precious entry to the Spade suit, won the first heart in hand and led a Spade to dummy. Calamity! East won and played another Heart and now, whatever he does, declarer can make only eight tricks. ‘Bad luck, partner,’ sympathised East. ‘Nothing to be done.’ Really? At the other table, Artur won the heart lead in dummy and took the losing club finesse. West innocently continued with the♥J, pinning the 10, which Declarer won and played♥8 establishing the♥7 for his ninth trick! Say what you like — the boy done good.