Janet de Botton

Bridge 29 February 2020

Bridge 29 February 2020
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Bridge experts are a lovely lot. They give their time freely and generously to encourage and teach students and bring bridge to a wider, young audience. Prof Sam(antha) Punch organised a terrific pro/am event last week for 76 pairs and raised more than £50k for her Keep Bridge Alive charity.

The Young Chelsea BC is launching a major drive to recruit young players by offering to teach bridge to every student in London — all 375,000 of them! Bright young stars India Leeming (who is running the YC youth initiative) and Shazaad Natt are organising a teaching weekend, and up at Acol Stefan Skorchev ran his annual Invitational Pairs which is becoming a must for more experienced players.

My hand today comes from that Pairs, won by rising young star Ankush Khandelwal playing with former junior whiz kid Nick Sandqvist. Matchpoint scoring (see diagram).

West led a small Spade, ducked to East’s Queen, who played a Spade back. A Diamond to the Jack lost to the Queen, East returning a Club to declarer’s Queen. A Heart to the Queen and King came next, and now East made the great play of a low Heart to break communications. West’s J was taken by the Ace and declarer took stock. He recognised these 4–4 fits, and how to test the defenders. He led the 8 to his Ace, cashed the Ace of Clubs and played the 4 back to dummy’s King. When the 5 was led from dummy, with only two cards left, East froze; South had one more Diamond — he knew that — but which one? If dummy’s 5 was holding the trick, he must keep the master Heart, but if South is about to win it in hand, he must keep the ♣King. East got it wrong and Ankush made his precious overtrick.