Tournament bridge players do not expect, or get, much in the way of luxury. I have played in some of the scuzziest venues imaginable (don’t get me started on Tromso’s Portaloos or Menton’s suffocating heat), so it is a rare treat that sponsor Simon Gillis’s Lederer Memorial Trophy is held at the super elegant RAC Club. The ten invited teams have to observe the strict dress code, which is a welcome change from some very grubby T-shirts!
The scoring is IMPs and Board-a-Match, which means it is important (as in Matchpoints) to compare your spot with what may happen at the other table. This year Swedish World Champion Peter Bertheau played on my team and gave us a masterclass in how to tackle the tricky format:
Almost everyone was in 5♦, making exactly 11 tricks for +400. A fine natural and controlled auction led to the potentially more profitable (+420 if it makes) contract of 4♠, declared by Peter, but how should it be played when West leads Ace and King of Clubs?
Judging the BAM situation perfectly, Peter kept full control by discarding a Diamond on the second Club! He ruffed the third Club, drew trump in four rounds, cashing the Ace of Diamonds en route, and advanced the ♦Jack. When West showed out, declarer knew that he had achieved the best possible score on the board. East was given the ♦Q, but had no more Clubs so was forced to concede the rest. This seemingly insignificant result was all that was needed to win the board but sadly not the tournament. Congratulations to Zia’s team, who took the trophy.