There’s been a fair amount of moaning about the English Bridge Union’s decision to move the week-long ‘Summer Meeting’ — one of the most popular events in the bridge calendar — from Brighton to Eastbourne. The decision was purely financial: Brighton is far more expensive. On the other hand, Brighton is a buzzy, vibrant town and was hugely popular with our younger players, who we desperately need to encourage. Whereas Eastbourne... let me put it this way: a couple of years ago, Eastbourne became the first place in the country to have an average age of over 70.
The jury is still out, but I’ve just come back from the first Swiss Pairs at the new location and — call me an old fogey — I thought it was rather wonderful. The beach, the pier, the views, the faded Victorian charm... and I’m sure the nightclubs are fine too. Spread the word to Britain’s young players!
I’m delighted to say the Pairs was won by Andrew Robson and Alexander Allfrey (well, less delighted than if it had been me, obviously). They both played so many hands so well that I’m not sure which one to pick. Here’s a double squeeze for the road:
West lead the ♣4 against a rather pushy 6NT. One or two things would have to be right. Alex won with the ♣K and finessed the ♣10 immediately. Then he played a spade to the ♠8, rectifying the count for a possible squeeze. West won and returned the ♣J. Alex won, cashed the ♣A, crossed to the ♥A, cashed the ♠A, and cashed the rest of his hearts, praying for a 3-3 break. On the play of the fourth heart, this was position: N: ♥Q ♦K4 ♣5, S: ♠J ♦A103, W: ♦J95 ♣9, E: ♠K ♦Q87. First East had to let go of a diamond to protect his ♠K, so declarer chucked his ♠J, then West had to release a diamond to protect his ♣9 — which meant Alex could cash three diamonds for the best result in the room.