The youngest player on the great Allfrey team, Mike Bell, is forming a very strong partnership with David Gold. They have already represented England and had a hoard of good results.
When playing at such a high level, not only do you have to be technically pitch-perfect, you also need to have the guts and imagination to go with your instincts — and not be afraid of looking a fool in front of your team mates.
This cannot be demonstrated better than with this hand from the first weekend of the Premier League:
A frisky auction saw Mike end up in the doubled slam. Unlike a couple of other declarers, he was not treated to the favourable Spade lead which allows two Diamonds to be discarded from dummy. West led a trump. He won, ruffed the ♠Queen and played a small Club from dummy.
East didn’t seem interested in this trick, so Mike placed the ♣Ace on his left.
He ruffed and tabled the ♦Jack; West correctly played low — in case declarer has J,10 of Diamonds and a guess — and Mike let it run to East’s Ace! Dummy’s other Diamond went away on the ♠Ace and the slam was made.
Not only did young Mr Bell risk having to explain to his team mates why he went off in a cold slam when the ♦Ace was onside — he also played for West (a top-class player) to have misread the situation when he didn’t cover. That takes guts and enormous self-confidence.
The future of English bridge is looking rosy.