Most of us have lost a year and a bit, but hopefully we will get back to normal (bridgewise) fairly quickly. Spare a thought, though, for the juniors, who have lost out on a World Championship that can never be recovered for those who will be too old when the next one comes around in three years.
The Chairman’s Cup, played on RealBridge, became something of a substitute tournament, with free entry offered to junior teams from all over the world. They made up a healthy quarter of the field.
The English U26 team had a storming tournament. They sailed through the qualifying Swiss, finishing third. They then beat two good teams in 32 board matches, and rather sensationally beat a Swedish team full of internationals over 64 boards in the quarter final, before finally succumbing to a top Polish team in the semi. An outstanding result!
Both tables had long sequences to the very playable 6♠, and both Wests led the♠ ♠2, won by South. The Swedish Bermuda Bowl silver medallist started with the ◆K from hand. Charlie Bucknell for England took and switched smartly to the ♣6, putting declarer to a decision before he knew too much about the hand. South rose Ace and came to hand with a Diamond, but now the timing was wrong and when the Hearts were eventually good he had to use a trump to get back to hand and went off.
In the replay, England’s Stephen Kennedy took several minutes to plan the play. He decided to start Hearts right away — ruffing the third one with the ♠9 — before playing a Diamond to his King. West took but could do nothing; whatever he returns, Stephen could come to hand with the other Diamond, ruff the Hearts good with the ♠K and draw trumps.
The future of English bridge looks very bright indeed.