The first home tournament of 2018 was last week’s four-day European Open Trials. Ten selected pairs played 216 boards at IMPs scoring, competing for the chance to play in this year’s European Championships. The top two will join Andrew Robson and Tony Forrester (who were preselected) to form the team representing England.
My regular partner Artur Malinowski was playing with teammate David Bakhshi, and they made thrilling viewing on BBO hitting the top two slots for over half the tournament. With one match to go they were one of three who could make it — and make it they did! Many congratulations to them and to Jeffrey Allerton and Chris Jagger. England has a terrific team for the Europeans.
Today’s hand shows David Bakhshi in sparkling form:
The lead was ♥Q which David ruffed and played ♦A and a diamond to the King. He can see 11 tricks but where is the twelfth? The spade finesse was likely to be wrong on the bidding. After some thought he called for the ♥J, covered by the King and ruffed. He drew another trump and West discarded a spade. Now he played a small club to the Jack and advanced the ♥10 from Dummy, again covered and ruffed with his last trump. West let go another Spade. Now the scene was set: David played ♣K and ♣Q, overtaking with the Ace and cashed his Heart winner and West was squeezed: if he discards a club Declarer can throw him in with his last club to lead into his spade tenace — so he bared his ♠K. No good! South read the position and scored the last three tricks. Ouch!