Simon Gillis’s team has had a very successful year. They won the Gold Cup (for the second time), they joined the Premier League in the second division and got promoted, and they won the team’s event in the 2015 London Year End congress. This year the congress went slightly askew for him. His 16-year-old son Theo has taken up bridge and is clearly a natural. Playing with Liam Sanderson, Heather Bakhshi’s son and also very talented, they did quite a lot better than Simon and Norwegian International Eric Saelensminde in the Open Pairs; so much so that Simon’s other regular partner, Espen Erichsen, now calls him the second best player in the Gillis family! Many good bridge players are encouraging their children to play tournaments with them. It’s great seeing young players become fascinated with the game and its possibilities. Take this hand, featuring a highly imaginative defence which scuppered declarer in a laydown:
Both tables reached the normal 3NT, one from North, who wrapped up 12 tricks on a Spade lead, and the other from South — after a heavy 15–17 opening. South received the lead of the ♠Jack. He ducked the first round, but the continuation of the ♠10 was covered by the King and Ace. East also cashed his Queen of Spades, but then shifted to a Club!
Put yourself in South’s seat, what would you do? Declarer reasonably figured that as long as he didn’t lose a Diamond trick to West — who appeared to have five Spades — he would have enough tricks for his game. He therefore won the Club, cashed the King of Diamonds and played another Diamond to dummy’s 10. East scooped up the Jack, and ‘found’ his fourth Spade to take the contract one down. Happy New Year!