Janet de Botton

Bridge | 22 June 2016

The 53rd European Teams Championship started last week in Budapest, 37 countries competing in an 11-day complete round robin. The Open Teams kicked off the event slightly earlier than the Women’s and Senior’s, and England has excellent chances of medals in all three categories. The teams are competing for two different prizes: the first to win a European medal and the second to qualify for the next Bermuda Bowl (world championship). Only the top six go through, but if today’s hand is anything to go on, England will romp home.

In their match against Ireland, Andrew Robson put his considerable analytical powers to work, and found a layout and a solution that most of us would not spot playing double dummy:

1♣ was a systemic opening for the Irish pair, covering all 12–14 balanced hands. West did what we should all be doing more often against doubled contracts — he led a trump.

Andrew needed to do something with his Diamonds, but even with a friendly 4–4 split there’s no way to avoid two losers in the suit, as the defence are poised to play another trump when they come in. There is, however, a layout which will put the defenders to a stern test, and Andrew spotted it. He won the first Spade, and advanced the 9.

West could have saved the day by covering, but this was far from obvious. When he followed low, Robson let it run to East’s King. He could then win the trump return, and ruff his two small Diamonds with the remaining two trumps in dummy, West’s Ace and Queen falling, promoting declarer’s J 10.

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