Two of the best (and most enjoyable) Pairs and Teams tournaments of the year have just finished, and I miss them already. Iceland Air’s Reykjavik Bridge Festival, where my teammates Thor-Erik Hoftaniska and Espen Erichsen won the Pairs, and immediately following it, Pierre Zimmermann’s Cavendish Monaco. The Cavendish Teams was won by the French foursome Vinciguerra, whose youngest player (by decades) is 29-year-old Cedric Lorenzini.
The biggest difference in the past 20 years has been the development of highly disruptive bidding methods. Gone are the days when opener had the auction all to himself. The opps will parachute into any bidding sequence in order to get in the way or indicate a lead — particularly at favourable vulnerability. They never stop bidding — it’s exhausting. No one could have bid more than Lorenzini on this hand (and no one did), which no doubt helped them bag the gold medal.
2♣ was either game forcing or a weak hand with Diamonds, and this was certainly a weak hand with Diamonds. Some may have considered they had done their bit having opened with two Jacks, but Cedric was not finished; over 4♥ he tried his second ‘suit’, and ended up in 4♠ doubled. The defence took a couple of Clubs and a Heart, switching to a Diamond at trick four. Declarer happily set up his side suit, then ruffed a couple of Hearts in hand to finesse twice in Spades. When the smoke had cleared, he had lost only one Diamond, one Spade and the three plain tricks to concede 300 against the 620 achieved at the other table, for an eight IMP gain.
Brave new world.