It’s hard to explain to non-bridge players just how all-consuming this game is. For those of us who move in the same highly competitive circles, it’s simply a way of life. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about bridge.
For now, though, my kids are on their summer break, so bridge has to take a back seat. My fellow fanatics sometimes find this hard to grasp. Last week, the England international Claire Robinson sent me a text asking if I could have supper in mid-August. ‘I’ll be in Sweden,’ I replied. ‘Lovely!’ she said. ‘Who are you playing with?’ ‘Er, my children on a beach…’
And I still remember Janet de B asking, a few summers ago, whether I’d had a good holiday. ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘Did you play bridge?’ When I said I hadn’t, she looked aghast: ‘Then how could you have had a good time?’
I love being away with my children, so all’s well — but I must admit, I still try to fit in a little rubber bridge when I can. At TGRs this week, I was lucky enough to partner Graham Orsmond, and he got my summer off to a wonderfully propitious start by making this seemingly hopeless contract:
West led the ♥Q. The only suit that could produce two extra tricks was diamonds, but there was no entry to dummy. There was just one hope — an elimination and end-play. Graham ducked the first heart and won the next. He then played a low club. West won and continued hearts. Graham won, and cashed the ♣AK and the ♠AK. Finally, he played the ♦A and another diamond. His optimism paid off: West won, cashed his fourth heart, and was left with no choice but to play a diamond to dummy.