Janet de Botton

Bridge | 3 August 2017

Thank heaven I am on holiday! For the past week I have been up until 4 a.m., glued to the BBO coverage of the Spingold Knockout Teams, the main event of the ACBL’s Summer Nationals, held this year in Toronto. In the very first round of 128 there were two major upsets: the Strul team, seeded 4th and the current Reisinger champions, were knocked out by the number 103 seeds; and the mighty Monaco team (previous winners), seeded 14th, lost to team Jolly (I bet they were), seeded 93rd.

In the following week, the 60-board-a day knockout culminated in a thrilling final between teams Lavazza and Diamond, won by Diamond literally on the last board of the most exciting final set I can remember.

The secondary teams event, the Freeman Mixed BAM (still carrying the status of national champion), was won by the (mostly) Brit team led by Tom Paske playing with Marusa Basa, Sarah Bell and Alex Hydes. Here is Tom in a delicate 3NT taking a finesse that he hoped would fail:

West led the 8 which Declarer won as he didn’t want the likely Spade shift. Now what?

East really ought to have most of the outstanding points, including the ♣K, for his opening. Even so, it’s not clear how to bring home nine tricks. Tom was one of the few to find the winning line: he played the 3 to dummy’s Jack at trick two!

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