Forgive me for the outdated, clichéd expression but …GIRL POWER! The surprise winners of last weekend’s TGRs auction pairs were two women internationals, Paula Leslie (Scotland) and Solvi Rehmen (Norway). It was a giant victory — and a small step for womankind. Many of the (male) heavyweights of the bridge world had flown to London for the event: Alfredo Versace, Boye Brogeland, Peter Fredin. In the auction, the favourites went for predictably large amounts (Versace and Mustafa Cem Tokay for £3,100; Zia Mahmood and Krzysztof Martens for £2,400). Like most of the outsiders, Paula and Solvi went for just £200. The syndicate who bid for them must be pretty pleased: they netted the first prize of £14,000. Luckily, Paula and Solvi had paid £50 to buy back a quarter of themselves.
I was playing with Alex Hydes, and we saw first hand what great form they were in:
Alex led the ♠7. Declarer (Paula) enquired, and I said we led fourth highest. I won with the ♠A and switched to a trump. Paula won with the ♣A, cashed the ♥A, ruffed a heart, came back to hand with the ♠K, ruffed a heart, ruffed a spade, drew trumps and now read the position perfectly for a double squeeze. In the four card ending she held ♥J10 ♦5 ♣9 opposite ♠9 ♦AKJ. On the ♣9, Alex had to keep the ♠Q so he discarded a diamond. Paula discarded the ♠9, and it was my turn to be squeezed: to keep the ♥K I had to discard a diamond, and now she played the suit from the top, felling my ♦Q.