Janet de Botton

Bridge | 14 March 2020

Bridge | 14 March 2020
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Just back from Monaco, the tiny principality famously dubbed ‘a sunny place for shady people’ by Somerset Maugham. Pierre Zimmermann, the biggest sponsor of all time, holds his highly prestigious European Winter Games and Cavendish Trophy there on alternate years. This year it was the turn of the Winter Games, a wonderful feast of bridge. The main Teams event was won after ten days and hundreds of boards by Pierre himself (playing with long-time partner Franck Multon), Sjoert Brink and Bas Drijver from Holland and Michal Klukowski and Piotr Gawrys from Poland, all world champions.

On today’s deal from the last set of the 60-board final, Sjoert produced a stunning piece of declarer play to gain his side a huge swing. (See diagram).

Brink found himself in 4♥X after a transfer bid by Bas, and the lead was a Diamond to the Ace and one back to the King. A small Spade fetched the Queen, Ace and nine, and now Sjoert got to play a trump from dummy, putting the pressure on East.

Cedric Lorenzini in the East seat knew he had exposed his trump holding by doubling. After a couple of minutes, he decided to go in with the Jack, and must have felt sick when his partner dropped the ten under declarer’s Ace. Major hurdle cleared — shame to muck it up now! Sjoert took his time, then carefully ran the ♥8 to East. He ruffed the Diamond return, cashed the Ace of Clubs and ruffed a Club in dummy. Trumps were drawn and then he gave the defence their third and final trick with the ♠K. Wonderfully played, and a massive 15 IMPs when the same contract went two down (undoubled) at the other table.