Janet de Botton

Bridge 15 February 2020

Bridge 15 February 2020
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The annual Icelandic bridge tournament, held in Reykjavik at the end of January, is one of the best on the international circuit. Two days Pairs and two days Teams, it attracts players from all over the world, including the US. This year the most interesting ‘new pair’ was the Grossack brothers, Adam and Zach. In August Adam attained the rank of Grand Life Master at the remarkable age of 27, and the following day his younger brother Zach followed suit, making him the youngest GLM on record. They didn’t play together (both partnered sponsors) but, IMHO, they are destined to become one of the strongest partnerships in America, which means one of the strongest partnerships in the world. In the last round of the Pairs, today’s hand came up. Several pairs bid grand-slam, but only one pair made it. GLM the younger, ably assisted by me on lead! (see diagram)

My partner and I had had a good tournament, and were looking for one big swing to make it on to the podium. I went into hero mode. In my eagerness to make it clear to partner what was happening in the Club suit — and so he didn’t waste anything at trick one — I led the only card to give the contract: the ♣Jack! Could have been the killing lead but possibly not against a grand-slam. What it did achieve was to make partner the sole guardian of both minors. South cashed his six Spades and four Hearts, the last of which squeezed East in the minors for the contract. Well, I wanted a killing lead — I just killed the wrong pair!