Janet likes to tease me that whenever it’s my turn to write this column, it ought to be renamed The David Gold Experience. Well, maybe I do write about him a lot, but then again, he is one of the best players in the world. Anyway, this week I’ve decided to give David’s regular partner Mike Bell an airing. Mike is also a superb player, and I’m lucky enough to be on his Nicko team. ‘Nicko’ stands for national inter-club knock out — and we’re one of several teams representing London’s Young Chelsea. It’s the first time I’ve played in the event, and I’ve had great fun driving up and down the country with my teammates for our ‘away’ matches. Last week we played against Chislehurst, and knocked them out partly because of Mike’s inspired defence on this deal (he was West):
(2♦ showed diamonds and a major.) Mike led a trump. Declarer drew a second round, then played a club to dummy’s ♣K, and a club back to Mike’s ♣J. Mike knew that eventually the contract would boil down to whether declarer placed him with the ♥A or ♥Q. So he decided to give him a little nudge in the wrong direction. His partner had shown up with two spades and one club — and must surely be 5–5 in the other suits, else why show both over the double? That left declarer with a singleton diamond. So Mike, instead of routinely playing the ♦K, switched to a low diamond, knowing declarer would play the ace, and would assume the honours were divided. Sure enough, he did. He then played a club to Mike’s ♣Q, and now Mike had to switch to a heart before declarer could set up the fifth club for a heart discard. Declarer confidently put up the ♥K, figuring Mike must have the ace to give him enough points for his strong NT opening!