Janet de Botton

Bridge | 27 January 2024

The London Teams of Four was the first bridge tournament of the new year and was a very close affair. Kevin Castner finally prevailed against the opposition with his team of (partner) Phil King and teammates Sebastian Atisen and Stefano Tommasini – the last newly selected, with his regular partner Ben Norton, to represent England in the Open Teams in the European Championships later this year.

Today’s hand features fierce bidding and even fiercer declarer play by Capt Kevin, who pulled off the hand of the day. Take a look at this beauty.

Phil King’s 6♦️ may seem a bit of a stretch, but when 1♦️ was known to show at least 5 cards, it makes more sense.

West started with the Ace of Clubs – an unfortunate choice – ruffed in dummy. Kevin then played the ♦️A and finessed the Jack, bringing the well known ‘good-and-bad news’. What next? Kevin did very well in working out he had to play Spades at this point. East took the second and played back a Club but It’s still not over. South went to dummy with a Heart, pitched his losing Club on a top Spade, and ruffed a Spade (East getting rid of a Heart). Dummy could be re-entered with a small Heart to the Queen, and on the fifth Spade East had no answer; he can discard his last Club, but South will just discard his ♥️A and still be in dummy for the trump coup.

A hand like that deserves to win any event!

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