Janet de Botton

Bridge 01 February 2020

Bridge 01 February 2020
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Have I mentioned that I played for England in the Camrose? And not for the first time either. Sadly this year we had to substitute Espen Erichsen, who was in Australia, and that sub was man of the moment, Alex Hydes. Now I am not going to list Alex’s many recent successes because, as my regular reader will remember, I did that in my last column (and probably the one before that too) and I do not want to be outed as a serial groveller. But I had to write up today’s hand because… well, because it is all about confidence and imagination and the art of leading the opps down a dark alley in defence. Psyching is an important — and perfectly legal — part of bridge but I wouldn’t advise you to try it at home.

Here is Alex, playing with Glyn Liggins, in action from the first Camrose weekend, where England took a very healthy lead. (See Diagram)

Many strong players open their weaker minor in order to lead the defence astray, but I think Alex just took it to a new level. Glyn’s 2 response showed both Majors and Alex leapt to 3NT.

West started with the 10 and, when it held, played more Hearts to partner’s Ace and King. East, who failed to consider that declarer, who had opened One Club, could have a solid eight-card suit, switched to the natural Diamond and that was that. Just imagine the shock he got when South showed his hand and claimed!

At the other table, David Bakhshi and Tom Townsend had their own outstanding result when they made 5 Clubs doubled the other way, for a 15 IMP gain.

Take a bow, Mr Hydes.