Janet de Botton

Bridge | 09 September 2023

The Bermuda Bowl, the most prestigious bridge World Championship, ended last weekend with a riveting final between Switzerland and Norway. Congratulations to Pierre Zimmermann’s team of ‘Swiss’ players: Michal Nowosadzki, Jacek Kalita and Michal Klukowski, Sjoert Brink and Bas Drijver. You would be quite right in thinking they don’t sound very Swiss, but hey – you can’t have everything. They defeated Norway by 68 IMPs over the 96-board final with no-nonsense aggressive bridge, while Norway made a few too many mistakes.

There were of course a number of fantastic moves in the card play – which you expect from a world final – some of which went a bit over the heads of the usually excellent VuGraph commentators (see diagram).

Redouble from East showed 3 Spades, and Helgemo in the South seat jumped to 3♦️.

Drijver, sitting West, obviously started with his singleton Heart, and Brink played K, A and 6 of Hearts for partner to ruff. Bas Drijver didn’t look at the situation for more than a few seconds before leading the four of Spades (!). Declarer played low and the 10 from East knocked out the Ace, and South had to go one down.

The commentator got a bit confused and started talking about a ‘Grosvenor Coup’, which is a play where you unnecessarily give the opponents a chance to make – one that they’ll never take because they don’t expect you to give away the contract.

But this is not it. West has to play a Spade, or declarer will get his Spade loser away on a Club, but a Spade honour allows South to win, draw trumps, and establish the Jack of Spades to dump his Club loser on.

Drijver’s small Spade was, in fact, his only chance to beat the contract, and was absolutely brilliant.

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