I spent last weekend glued to Bridge Base Online, watching the 16th European Champions Cup taking place in Latvia, and waving my little St George’s flag. England’s Allfrey team produced some spellbinding bridge, and after 11 rounds they topped the round-robin. Unfortunately, they went on to lose the semi-final to Norway, and ended up coming a disappointing fourth (the Netherlands won). Still, that was the best performance by England’s team in the history of the competition. All six pairs played superbly — but Alexander Allfrey and Andrew Robson in particular were on fire. I enjoyed this slam against Monaco: (see above).
East (Pierre Zimmerman) opened a weak 2♠, and West (Frank Multon) tried to obstruct the opposition further by bidding 3♣. But that didn’t stop Alexander Allfrey and Andrew Robson (N-S) from bidding to slam. Multon led the♠5. Robson won in dummy, cashed the ♥A, felling the ♥J, then cashed another top spade, pitching a club. When Multon followed with the ♠6, Robson decided to believe him — in other words, believe that he had started with three spades, not two. So he cashed a third spade, discarding another club, then continued with the ♣A, ♦A, diamond ruff, ♣K, and the last club ruffed with dummy’s ♥8. When this held he continued with the ♥10 and claimed 12 tricks.
In the other room, Helgemo and Helness also reached 6♥ after Mike Bell opened a weak 2, and David Gold also led the ♠5. When Gold played the ♠6 on the next round of spades, however, Helgemo decided not to trust his carding. Worried a third spade would be ruffed, he played a second trump. David won with the ♥K and returned another trump, meaning Helgemo could no longer ruff a club. One down.