Susanna Gross

Bridge | 14 November 2020

It’s been a busy week of bridge. First came the Lady Milne, the women’s home internationals. As the host nation, England had two teams; my partner Qian Li and I qualified for the second. I’ve played in the Lady Milne quite a few times before, and it felt strange and slightly unreal to be doing so online this year — especially as my partner was in China. Still, it was fun, and we finished third, a hair’s breadth behind Wales (but some way behind England’s first team).

Next came the OCBL international mixed teams: I was lucky enough to be on Jonathan Harris’s team. Jonathan is one of the most delightful people I’ve met through bridge, and his team is hard to beat for warmth, camaraderie and sheer fun. I partnered Steve Root, and I hope not for the last time: his witty comments and quips at the table (in the ‘chat box’) made me laugh so much I nearly lost the plot once or twice. I also enjoyed his beady-eyed declarer play and his bold bidding — which was well-rewarded on this hand.

Steve’s 2♣ was strong and artificial. Although we’d agreed that a 2M response promises two of the top three honours (and nothing much outside), I just couldn’t bring myself to bid anything other than 2♥, and so Steve naturally leapt to 7◆. South led a trump. Steve won in dummy, played a club to hand, ruffed a club, ruffed a spade and ran his diamonds, squeezing North in hearts and clubs. Easy!

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