Janet de Botton

Bridge | 8 April 2023

Imagine playing a tennis match against Nadal – and winning a game. Impossible, you would say (unless you happen to be Djokovic); but not very talented amateur bridge players can score big results against world champions – which is one of the things that makes it so special.

I found out there was a smallish bridge tournament in Marbella and decided to go, as much for the weather as anything. We did well despite the monster bottom below. I will never be a world champion, and my opponent probably wasn’t the worst player in the world, but she certainly walloped my International partner and me on the following hand:

South proved once again – as if we didn’t already know – that you don’t need much to make a forcing 2-level bid vulnerable, and my partner showed that you apparently don’t need anything at all to make a preemptive jump to 4◆. North saw no point in using Blackwood with a void, so bid what she thought they might make, and I thought I ought to double that.

Play didn’t take long; my partner led a Diamond and South ruffed my Ace. He ruffed a Club in dummy and discarded his two Hearts on the two good Diamonds. Then he played the King of Hearts and ruffed away my Ace there as well. It was time to play trumps, and with them splitting 2-2 and Hearts 3-2 there was no stopping him making his slam and scoring +1660.

I thought briefly about asking my partner if the double didn’t ask for an unusual lead, but he was already over at the bar.

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