Janet de Botton

Bridge | 10 October 2019

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After all the excitement of England making the playoffs in all four events at the World Championships in China, only the Seniors reached the final. They played against Denmark and lost but came home silver medallists. Congratulations to David Kenrick and Trevor Ward, John Holland and Alan Mould and David Muller and Malcolm Pryor. Well played, (old) boys!

Of course these guys have decades of experience behind them and know the importance of (keeping) control. Holding the highest card in a suit means you can control who wins the next trick and also who is going to be on lead after the suit is played. Here are Kendrick and Ward playing against one of the less fancied countries in the qualification, who had not read the manual on control.

West led the J to the King and Ace, and when East returned one, declarer threw a Spade from hand and won in dummy. After two rounds of trumps, things slowed down considerably; clearly he could not draw all the trumps, or the defence would take a lot of Hearts when they won the Ace of Diamonds. Instead, he tried to knock out the Ace of Diamonds immediately. David Kendrick ducked the first one, but won the second and gave his partner a ruff for one down.

Have you spotted declarer’s mistake?

He gave up control of the Heart suit at trick two! He should have kept said control by ruffing the second Heart in hand. Then he can draw all the trumps in the world before knocking out the Ace and laying his hand on the table.