It can’t have been a surprise to anyone who knows him that when Andrew Black — Bertie to his friends — decided to get serious about bridge, he was thinking big. He doesn’t do things by halves. His passion for sports betting led him to co-found the world’s first and largest bet exchange, Betfair, in 2000. His love of horse-racing spurred him on to be a successful owner and breeder; in 2009 he joined forces with the former England footballer Michael Owen to become co-owner of the renowned racing complex Manor House Stables in Cheshire. And then there’s bridge. Over the past few years Bertie and his squad — Team Black — have had an ever-greater impact on the international stage. Last weekend, they capped an outstanding year by winning the English Premier League. Here he is in action, racing to the finishing line at a recent online tournament against none other than the champion thoroughbred Andrew Robson.
North, Andrew Robson, led the ◆8. Black (West) discarded a heart and won with the ◆Q. Next came a club to the ♣Q and South’s ♣K. South now played the ◆K. Black ducked. South switched to the ♥2; Robson played the ♥9 and dummy’s ♥Q won. Next came five rounds of clubs. Black now held: ♠9 ♥K8 ◆A4 opposite ♠AJ87 ♥5. Robson had come down to ♠KQ6 ♥A7. When Black cashed the ◆A, Robson was squeezed. He discarded the ♠6; Black played a spade to the ♠A and threw him in with a second spade, forcing him to lead a heart to his ♥K for a ninth trick.