The day before the London Marathon, Young Chelsea BC held its spring half-marathon. Eighty-seven boards were played over 12 hours (it used to be a full 24 hours), the scoring was IMPs and 30 pairs took part. It was won by Colin Simpson and David Kendrick, two extremely good players with donkey’s years experience behind them and not in need of a lot of sleep. But it isn’t only about playing well, you have to know how to take advantage of tired and despondent opponents.
Interestingly, it also attracted some relative newcomers who are clearly hooked on bridge. One of them was Natalie Shashou, who played with my teammate (and YC manager) Nick Sandqvist. Nick said that Natalie ‘played the spots off the cards’ and showed me this hand where she found and played for the only chance to come in. If you feel like it, cover up the E/W cards and see if you can find the winning line.
West didn’t find the killing Club lead, starting instead with his singleton Heart, and declarer was staring a miserable task in the face. Not one to give up easily, Nathalie went to work on finding a way, and played for the only layout to bring home her slam. She won the ♥A and drew just two rounds of trumps with the Ace and King. With fingers crossed it was time to take the King and Queen of Clubs, and luckily East couldn’t ruff. Next came the Ace of Diamonds and a ruff in dummy, the last Diamond being disposed of on the Ace of Clubs. A Club ruff was the way back to hand, the last trump drawn and East was offered the King of Hearts for a stunning +1430.