Susanna Gross

Bridge | 28 July 2016

Bridge | 28 July 2016
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The rise of Donald Trump in the US presidential race has had at least one very peculiar consequence: millions of American bridge players are suddenly bidding no-trump contracts with great gusto. A recent New Yorker cartoon encapsulated it perfectly, depicting four players at a table with the caption: ‘One no-trump. Oh, please, God, no Trump.’ And it hasn’t stopped there: at tournaments up and down the country, vendors are doing a roaring trade in jaunty hats declaring ‘No Trump’. Meanwhile, a team of social scientists has caused a stir by publishing a study showing that no-trump contracts are being bid with greater frequency than ever.

Admittedly, that study has turned out to be satirical — but, who knows, maybe on some unconscious level political sentiment really is prompting some players to eschew suit contracts just so that they can utter the words: ‘no trump’. Was that perhaps why the great French player Bénédicte Cronier, during the European championships in Budapest, bid 3NT on the hand below instead of a safer 4♠? To the spectators, the contract looked doomed to fail ...until Cronier produced some magic from the hat:

[*5+ and 4/5+ in a minor, 4-11 points]

West led the 9; East won with the K and returned a low diamond. Cronier won with dummy’s J, cashed the A and played a heart to the nine. When that passed off peacefully, she played the ♣J from hand, running it went West followed with the ♣2. A club to the king was followed by the ♣A, and Cronier returned to hand with the ♠A. She then exited with the Q: East could win and cash two more diamonds but then had to lead a heart into declarer’s tenace. Trump that!