Good news for bridge if the Open World Championships in Orlando are anything to go by. Far from dying, it is spawning and nurturing young players who are making their mark spectacularly. In the first two tournaments (Open Teams and Open Pairs) Michal Klukowski (22) won his fifth world title on the Zimmermann team and the Swedish twins Mikael and Ola Rimstedt (23) chalked up their second gold medal this year, winning the Open Pairs.
In 2006 the Open Pairs in Verona was won by the (then) relative newcomers Fu Zhong and Jack Zhao of China. Here is Fu, 12 years later, showing he hasn’t lost his touch:
West led the ♣King which Fu ducked and continued clubs, clearing that suit. If declarer could take four diamond tricks, the game would be made easily by plonking down the top honours and keeping West off lead. Fu gave it some thought and… led a small diamond to dummy! Why on earth would he do that? Couldn’t West have had a stiff honour?
This was his reasoning: West had bid two suits and rated to be 5–5 at least, but what was the rest of his hand? 3–0 or 2–1? If West was 2–1, with two spades and one diamond, East would have five spades and surely, in a world championship, he would bid them over his partner’s heart opening?
The low diamond play worked like a charm. North’s 10 lost to East’s Jack, and the two entries to dummy could be used to finesse diamonds for four tricks. Fu made 3NT and won 10 IMPs for his team. Respect.