Susanna Gross

Bridge | 1 June 2017

Bridge | 1 June 2017
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It’s the funniest bridge story I’ve heard in ages. At the recent Lady Milne championship (the women’s Home Internationals), one of the English pairs was fined a point for slow play during their match against Ireland. The pair insisted that they hadn’t been particularly slow — indeed they’d bid to a grand slam rather quickly — and appealed to the Vugraph operator to support them. The operator replied sarcastically: ‘I certainly wouldn’t be proud of the way you bid that slam if I were you.’ To which one of the pair retorted: ‘Well we can hardly expect an Irish operator to be impartial.’

The fact that he turned out to be Scottish was neither here nor there; the tournament director decided to fine the player another point for being ‘racist’. The English captain, on hearing this, went to plead with him. The director agreed to withdraw the racism charge and replace it with... ‘un-ladylike behaviour’. I ask you! As one of the team, Fiona Brown, said: ‘We were there to do battle, but we may need to attend finishing school first.’

Congratulations to the England women for bringing home the trophy despite the 2-point fine. Here are Nicola Smith and Catherine Draper showing their class in their match against Wales:

Four-level openings are notoriously tough to play against. Nicola (S) doubled to show values. Catherine bid 4NT to show two places to play, and Nicola bid 5 diamonds. Well bid. Now Nicola made a textbook play. The ♠A and another spade was led. She ruffed and played her top diamonds. The 3-1 break didn’t matter because she didn’t need to guess clubs. She cashed all her hearts and exited with a diamond. East was forced to return a club. Contract made — with lightning speed!