Janet de Botton

Bridge | 12 April 2017

Bridge 24 was set up seven years ago by four Polish internationals who wanted to bring the glory days of the Eighties and Nineties back to Polish bridge: teach kids, organise seminars and start winning medals again. They have succeeded magnificently. Poland are the reigning world champions and Michal Klukowski, at 17, became the youngest gold medallist of all time. Last week they held their flagship tournament in Warsaw. Five days of top-quality Teams and Pairs, with a pro-am thrown in for good luck.
Pitting your wits against some of the finest players in the world is an exhilarating experience. This hand, from the Pairs, was played by my partner, Artur Malinowski, and was the wildest in terms of distribution:
I don’t make a habit of taking three bids on the same hand, but on these ‘goulash’ deals, when no one really knows who is making what, it often pays to ‘walk the dog’ until you get doubled — especially if you have the boss suit. West led 4 and it looked as if Artur had to lose a spade and a heart. He is only missing the Ace of trumps so he had to play for the only layout possible to make his contract. He won the Ace and ruffed a diamond, ruffed a club, ruffed a second diamond and a second club, ruffed a third diamond (dummy’s diamonds were now good) and ruffed his last club. The precise layout he needed was coming in: the person with the Ace of trumps had to follow to the last diamond. He called for the Q from dummy, discarded a heart from hand and poor West had to follow! The last heart was pitched on J and all he lost was the trump Ace. +1660. Lovely!

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