Janet de Botton

Bridge | 12 August 2023

All bridge players who fancy their chances on the international circuit have been deprived of major events since lockdown, until this year. And now, frankly, we’re being inundated: Iceland in late January, the Lederer in February, Camrose in March, the World Bridge Tour in Sopot mid-May, the Open European Championships in Strasbourg in June, the Spingold in Chicago in July, the recent Chairman’s Cup in Sweden. And coming up, the World Transnationals in Marrakech which I’m skipping because, guess what, I’m knackered! Some were played online but that doesn’t carry the same prestige, and prestige is everything in the sporting world.

This instructive hand was played by my friend Waseem Naqvi in the European Pairs in Strasbourg (see diagram).

West apparently didn’t think he had enough to show both Majors with a Michaels bid, and as a reward got to defend 4♠️. It became a very good battle.

West started with the ♥️K, which Waseem took in dummy to play a Spade – getting the bad news. The first hurdle was to avoid West gaining control over the suit by taking the Ace, so South played the Jack, which West won and played two more rounds of Hearts.

Declarer discarded a Club from dummy and ruffed low in hand. Two rounds of Clubs were played, West ruffing the second and persisting with another Heart.

South discarded dummy’s last Club and ruffed in hand with the ♠️Q. With dummy now void in Clubs, that suit could act as ‘reserve’ trumps. Clubs were played and West had no answer; whenever he ruffed, dummy will overruff, re-enter his hand with the Ace of trumps for the whole manoeuvre to be repeated.

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