Bridge is obviously another casualty of the coronavirus. Clubs have closed their doors; tournaments have been cancelled; championships have been postponed. Safety, of course, comes first. But for many of us, the prospect of life without the constant challenge and stimulation of the game, or the companionship of our fellow players, is pretty miserable. There is a silver lining, though: we can still play and practise online. In fact, I intend to do a lot of it — especially bidding with my regular partners. Thank God for BBO (Bridge Base Online)! To keep our bridge brains sharp, we can also browse through BBO’s Vugraph archives and re-live the action of world-class players in recent tournaments. I recently came across this wonderful defence by the Polish superstars Michal Nowosadzki and Jacek Kalita:
Nowosadzki (East) led the ♠7 and Kalita won with ♠A. He knew his partner had nothing in spades (from the high spade lead), so after knocking out his ◆A, declarer would make at least 3NT. The problem was to take five tricks before declarer played on diamonds. If partner held five hearts, a heart shift might work… but not any heart. Kalita shifted to the ♥9! A low heart would have blocked the suit. The ♥K would have put the wrong hand on lead after declarer ducks twice (which he has to). But after playing the ♥9 to Nowosadzki’s ♥Q and winning the heart return with his ♥K, Kalita could shift to clubs. E/W ended up with one spade, two hearts, one diamond and one club — a very satisfying five tricks.