If there’s one tournament I’d really like to play in, it’s the Cavendish in Monaco, the largest money bridge tournament in the world. Last Sunday, the winners of the main auction pairs, the Bulgarians Diyan Danailov and Jerry Stamatov, scooped the players prize of €16,000, and whoever bought them for €12,000 won €100,000. But it’s not just the money: what really sets this tournament apart is the thrillingly high standard.
Even great players sometimes err — at this level, though, the smallest slip-ups are pounced on without mercy. This deal grabbed my attention while I was watching online — the same contract at three tables, a defensive mistake at each:
At table 1, Zia Mahmood was declarer. West led the ♠K. Zia ruffed and played a diamond. West (Piotr Wiankowski) hopped up with the ♦A (why?). Zia ruffed the spade return, drew trumps, cashed the ♦K, came to hand and tabled the ♦J, pinning East’s ♦10 and promoting his ♦9. An unmakeable contract made. At table 2, Dror Padon got the same lead. This time, when he played a diamond, West played low, but East (Justin Hackett) played the ♦8 under dummy’s ♦K and then, on the ♦7, followed with the ♦2. Dror ran the ♦7; West won with the ♦A, and Dror later pinned East’s ♦10 as Zia had done. At table 3, Piotr Tuczynski was declarer. The play went the same way, and East, John Hurd, also played the ♦8 then the ♦2! (Tuczynski erred, however, by ruffing the ♦5 in the hope the ♦Q would drop.) What was the ♦8 — ♦2 all about? Reverse count, I guess. How costly to give count automatically!