One of the drawbacks of online bridge is the lack of après-bridge fun — those spontaneous drinking sessions where we go through the hands and laugh at what went wrong. Mind you, it does mean I’m getting to bed earlier; a few of us have a habit of leading each other astray.
Perhaps my most extreme memory of post-bridge excess is an evening spent with the Swedish pro Gunnar Hallberg and the French player Catherine Fishpool. We’d been playing rubber bridge at TGRs and decided to go on to the nearby Grosvenor Victoria Casino in Edgware Road. We all chose different games (Gunnar the slot machines, Catherine poker, me blackjack), and eventually lost sight of one another.
I had a disgracefully late night, getting home at 4.30 a.m. The next day, as sometimes happens when lack of sleep produces excess adrenalin, I want back to TGRs after lunch. To my surprise, Gunnar and Catherine were already playing. ‘I got home so late last night!’ I exclaimed. If I thought I was hardcore, their replies put me in my place — especially as Catherine is in her sixties and Gunnar his seventies. ‘I got home at 8.30 a.m.,’ Gunnar said. We turned to Catherine. ‘Me? I’ve come straight from the casino.’
My memory of that night is a bit hazy, but one thing I remember clearly is a bridge puzzle which Gunnar had made up and which we had enormous trouble trying to solve (see diagram above).
Play the 2 towards the J. West must rise with the Q. When you regain the lead, play the J to West’s K. Then, when you’re on lead again, cash the A. East’s last card from his original holding of 1098 drops and your 7 is good.