Susanna Gross

Bridge | 19 September 2019

Text settings

The bridge world championships are underway in Wuhan in China, and I’m obsessively following the action online. Fortunately it’s taking place in a different time zone, which means play is over by midday UK time, and I can emerge from my bunker. What makes it even more compelling is knowing all the England players — some are friends and occasional partners.

In fact, I was lucky enough to be playing with the superstar of our open team, Andrew Robson, just two days before he left. We were guests of our friend Stuart Wheeler, who hosts an annual rubber bridge week and spoils us all to the hilt. The stakes are high, and Andrew is always the big winner — but given how generous he is in answering questions and giving advice, any loss is cheap at the price. On this deal, he partnered Stuart Wheeler.

Playing weak no trump, Andrew upgraded his hand and opened 1♣. When he rebid 1NT (showing 15–17 points), Stuart leapt to 6NT ‘adding a point for the bridge manager’s play’. West (Giles Hargreaves) led the ♠10. Andrew won in dummy and cashed the A in case the Q fell. Next he cashed the ♣Q; Giles false-carded with the ♣J, but Andrew didn’t fall for it and continued with a club to the ace. When the suit broke 3–3, he could afford to make a safety play: he ducked a heart, catering for Q109 on his left. West won, East showed out, and now all Andrew had to do was win the spade return in hand, finesse the J and claim.