I’m not surprised so many scientific studies have shown that bridge staves off dementia: the game provides a constant workout for the memory. It usually takes people years before they can recall how many cards have been played in each suit — and not just how many, but which ones. Honours are easier to keep track of, but the smaller spot cards can be devilishly hard to remember, unless you have a photographic memory. Failing to notice even the most insignificant-looking card can prove costly later on. Playing in a recent Andrew Robson Club duplicate, England international Nevena Senior showed how just vital it is to keep your eyes sharp (she was West).
North led the ♥4 to South’s ♥K and Nevena’s ♥A. Nevena played a club to dummy’s ♣K, and one back to her ♣J. North won with the ♣Q and continued with the ♥7 — presumably to show her partner she had a doubleton remaining. Little did she realise she couldn’t afford such a ‘high’ heart — at least, not with Nevena at the helm. Nevena won with the ♥Q, and cashed two more clubs and her four top spades. On the fourth spade, South was squeezed: rather than bare her ◆K she discarded all her hearts. Nevena now cashed her winning ♥6 — South following ruefully with the ♥2 — for a well-deserved pairs top.