Susanna Gross

Bridge | 09 January 2020

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The new year is a daunting prospect in terms of the sheer amount of bridge taking place. Rather like buses, all the England trials seem to be coming at once: the European open, women’s and mixed, the Lady Milne, the various Olympiad trials… my head’s swimming just thinking about it. Unlike most of the hardcore players I know, I’m only entering three, but each with a different partner. The endless discussions needed to agree on system and style are rather like starting a new relationship every time. How much easier it would be to have just one partner, or indeed to play rubber bridge where almost no conventions are allowed.

I shouldn’t moan, as systemic agreements are vital. But watching the European open trials online last weekend, I was reminded that, in the end, it’s judgment that really counts, far more than conventions. Whether to bid, whether to sacrifice, whether to double — those are the decisive things. I enjoyed watching this deal, which David Bakhshi judged to perfection at the 7-level.

Bakhshi’s 2◆ shows both majors. East (Michael Byrne) bid 4NT to show both minors. Bakhshi’s 6♣ was a cue bid (void) inviting his partner, Artur Malinowski, to bid 7♠. Artur judged that 6♠ was the limit — but when West, Keiran Dyke, chose to sacrifice in 7♣, Artur passed instead of doubling — thus letting his partner know he had a little extra, and suggesting 7♠ might be on — which Bakhshi duly bid and made!