Janet de Botton

Bridge | 13 March 2021

Bridge | 13 March 2021
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One benefit of lockdown is that there is much more time for reading. My personal favourite bridge book is Play These Hands With Me by Terence Reese. Reese was the first author to introduce the ‘over the shoulder’ approach when explaining a hand — meaning the reader can follow the thought processes behind the bidding and play of many of his great hands. First published in 1960, it is now back in print after being unavailable for many years and if you haven’t already got it I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Reese said: ‘You don’t have to be able to see the endplays that may crop up — all you have to do is follow normal good technique and watch what’s going on.’

I was reminded of this when I watched this hand, played by the inimitable Norwegian International Thomas (Charlie) Charlsen in a recent online tournament (see diagram).

The cue bid in Diamonds was music to North’s ears and he launched the partnership into slam. It wasn’t great, but it had play.

West led a Heart and Charlie won in dummy and tried a Spade to the Jack followed by the Ace of Spades, but the King did not appear. Next he tried Diamonds; A, K and a ruff, but they were not breaking 3-3. Time for plan C: Declarer took two more Hearts and ruffed another Diamond. Finally he threw East on lead with the trump King, and East had to play away from the King of Clubs to give South his twelfth trick.

If at first you don’t succeed…