Janet de Botton

Bridge | 24 October 2019

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A couple of weeks ago two of the most prestigious events in the bridge nutter’s diary took place on the same weekend. The first was the mini-festival in Vilnius, impeccably and generously sponsored and organised by Erikas Vainikonis and his father, Vytas, in which my team played; the second was the Gold Cup semi-final and final, in which my team did not play because we got unceremoniously knocked out in an earlier round. I caught the end of the semis on BBO and it was very exciting: in both matches, the trailing team overtook the leaders on the last board of sixty-four!

For team Allfrey, who the next day defeated team Gillis to win the trophy, Tony Forrester and Graham Osbourne bid the spots off today’s hand.

Whilst North at the other table had communicated an 18-19 range, Forrester put his very powerful hand in the 20-22 bracket. Osbourne showed the minors, then longer Diamonds, whereupon a series of cuebids led to the excellent grand-slam. Tony won the passive Diamond lead and cashed the Ace of Spades — a Vienna Coup. This play guarantees that the contract can be made on a squeeze as long as you read the layout and cash your tricks in the right order. As it was, West was guarding both Hearts and Clubs and was well and truly squeezed on the run of the Diamonds. +2220 for Allfrey, 13 IMPs and a green light to the final.