Janet de Botton

Bridge | 18 June 2022

Bridge | 18 June 2022
Text settings

When lockdown struck, high-standard online bridge tournaments sprang up and with them a multitude of cheats, world champions among them, crawled out of the woodwork.

The World Bridge Tour came about when Norwegian stars Boye Brogeland and Thomas Charlsen, who had done so much to uncover the 2015 cheating scandal, analysed hands played by suspect players, and effectively barred them from entering. A couple of weeks ago, they moved offline to hold their first F2F event in Lillehammer, Norway.

The British presence was impressive, with four top English teams taking part. My friend Simon Gillis eventually won the final against a strong Norwegian/Scottish team, and again the winning team contained one of the hottest pairs around – the twins Ola and Mikael Rimstedt.

Here is a hand that contributed to their success.

Ola received the lead of the ♠4 to the Jack and King.

He has eight top tricks and may be able to establish another in one of the minors, but only if Spades are 4-4, or the defence will cash too many winners.

In order to find out, Ola returned a Spade at trick two. West won and, aware that taking all his Spades could get his partner into trouble, tried a small Heart (a Club would have worked better).

Ola was not deterred. He won and persisted with a third Spade, and the defence was doomed; if West doesn’t take his Spades now, Declarer can set up an extra trick in either minor. He cashed them, but in doing so rectified the count for South, and East was eventually squeezed in both minors. Congrats, Team Gillis. A terrific performance.