There’s no doubt about it: I’m an addict. A BBO addict. Since the Bermuda Bowl began, nearly a fortnight ago, the first thing I do each morning is log on to Bridge Base Online to follow the action. And I stay logged on until play stops at about 3 p.m. (7.30 p.m. in Chennai). I’m twitchy if anything takes me away from my laptop; I even watch it on the bus.
But who can blame me, when our boys are playing so magnificently? Where they’ve really excelled is in the bidding. David Gold has always told me it pays to bid aggressively — and he and the team are certainly proving the point. They keep putting their opponents under pressure, obstructing them, pushing them to the 5-level and then defeating them by a trick. Take this example from the match against France. Gold was South, his partner David Bakhshi was North:
West opened a strong 2♣. In the other room, Andrew Robson and Tony Forrester had an uncontested auction: 2♣ – 2♦ – 3♥ – 4♥. Not at this table. First, Bakhshi found a double. Then he found a raise to 4♣. And then Gold — undeterred by the vulnerability — stuck his neck out and bid 5♣. Poor East (Thomas Bessis) thought for ages before bidding 5♥. Bakhshi led the A♣ and switched to a trump; Gold carefully played the ♥5 rather than his ♥J so that declarer would have no entry to dummy. One down. At the time of writing, England are in the semi-finals. If they carry on bidding like this, who knows... We may be out of one world cup, but could we be on the verge of bringing home another?