Janet de Botton

Bridge | 22 April 2023

I have played the Easter Guardian in one event or another for the past 20 years. It is the perfect Easter tournament and everybody has fun, particularly in the mixed pairs. I wasn’t interested in finding a slightly more exotic alternative; the Royal National Hotel in Russell Square was where I most wanted to be. This year was different. I went on a mini-break to Italy (no card playing of any sort) but I kept a sharp eye on the EBU’s results page, and felt a pang of envy. After all how can sun, sea and food compete?

The Swiss Teams was won by team ‘SUSHI’ (Shashou – Sandqvist, Bucknell – Kennedy).

Charlie Bucknell played this hand brilliantly to bring in a nice swing for his team: A lot of bidding by everyone, but what’s new?

Charlie received a Heart lead and gratefully tried the Queen, but East covering was a disappointment. He tried Ace and another Spade. East won and, concerned that playing either minor would help declarer, played two more rounds of trumps to South.

The only chance is a squeeze against West if he holds the King of Diamonds. We can’t afford to use the Diamond entry yet, so Clubs have to be played from hand. Reading West for 1-7-3-2 or 1-7-4-1, Charlie played a small Club out of hand. West won his Queen and exited a Heart, but now another Club finesse against East, followed by all the Clubs and Spades, finished West off in the red suits.

East, a top-class player, began explaining to his partner why he hadn’t led a Diamond when in. It didn’t seem like the right time to tell him that overtaking the ♣Q to play Diamonds would also have worked…

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