No February blues for me. The past couple of weeks have been the most exciting and interesting (bridge-wise) I could ever imagine. Super sponsor Pierre Zimmermann hosted the second Winter Games in Monaco, which he has made better than a European Championship. Seventy-eight teams competed over seven days for the title. Then we rushed back home to play two days of the Lederer, London’s best and most prestigious tournament. I never thought I’d say this, but I need a break!
Today’s hand was one of the last boards in the semi-final of the Zimmermann Cup and features two Norwegian World Champions, Geir Helgemo for Monaco, arguably the best player in the world, and Boye Brogeland for Mahaffey (the eventual winners) of whom one can only say: ditto! This slam was one of the last boards in both very tight semi-finals and decided the outcome of both matches, and very possibly the tournament:
Contract 6♥ by South
The bidding was long and complicated but both Norwegian N/S pairs arrived in 6♥ with no interference from the opposition. West led the ♦Ace and continued with the ♦5. Helgemo won in dummy and played the ♠Q, covered by the King and Ace, ruffed a Spade, cashed ♣A and ruffed a Club. Now the timing was wrong for a trump reduction and declarer went one down. The critical moment was at trick three. South must play a third Diamond, starting the trump reduction immediately to eventually neutralise East’s ♥10 2. So said the commentators. The other semi-final saw Boye declaring the same contract on the ♣2 lead, which he won with the Ace. He ruffed a Club and played a Diamond. West took his Ace and returned the ♦J which Declarer won with the King in dummy and continued with the Queen. East ruffed with ♥8, declarer overruffed, cashed the ♠Ace, ruffed a Spade and played a Diamond picking up East’s ♥10 2. Mahaffey was through to the final.