It’s always good to know where you draw the line and my line, drawn in thick black ink, was going to China to play the World Championships. I last went to the Far East in 1997 and I’m still not fully over the jet lag. As Victor Silverstone told me in slightly less exotic Peterborough, ‘It’s a long way to go for a game of cards.’
Next up to Solihull (I know — the glamour) for the final weekend of the Premier League. We had been unceremoniously booted out of Division One last year and had to be in the top two to get promoted. Mission accomplished! This board, played by my teammate Tom Townsend, was much discussed later and even double-dummy it was hard to find a way home:
West led the ♣2. Ten tricks are tantalisingly close but the problem is that you can’t enjoy the King of Clubs unless you draw trumps, and if you draw trumps — you can’t get a Spade ruff in dummy.
Hearts 2–2 makes it easy, but with Clubs 6–1 (confirmed by the bidding and the lead), West is much more likely to hold at least three Hearts.
Tom won the lead in dummy, cashed the two top Spades and ruffed a small Club with the ♥Jack.
If West over-ruffs, it’s the end of the defence, so he discarded a spade. Next came a Spade ruff in dummy (with the eight) which was followed by the ♣King, discarding a Diamond from hand. West scored a small ruff, but was endplayed in three suits — including trumps. Unable to exit a Heart without losing his certain trick, he had the choice of leading away from the ♦A or giving a ruff-and-sluff. Game made and promotion secured.