Susanna Gross

Bridge | 9 December 2023

As someone who gets anxious quite easily when faced with difficult bidding decisions (have I done too much? Or not enough? Will my partner be angry?), I admire players who just do what they feel is right without worrying. A refusal to be cowed by your opponents, or nervous about your partner’s reaction, is a great quality in bridge.

One of the most confident and fearless players I know is Artur Malinowski, the manager of TGRs. If ever an auction demonstrated it, it’s this one from the recent World Bridge Tour teams tournament in Copenhagen – definitely a contender for my favourite hand of the year. Playing against the brilliant Swedish Rimstedt twins, Ola and Mikael, Artur showed that even world champions should think twice before doubling him.

North, Janet de Botton, made an aggressive take-out double, and then understandably pulled to 4♣️ when Artur redoubled 3NT. But Artur was having none of it: not only did he persist with 4NT, but he then redoubled Ola Rimstedt’s second penalty double! West (Mikael) led the ♥️9 to East’s ♥️K. Back came the ♠️J – a heartening card for Artur to see. His ♠️Q went to West’s ♠️A, and now Artur did something of subtle ingenuity. He knew a diamond return would defeat the contract (East undoubtedly held the ♦️K) – but West didn’t know it. So Artur decided to help him go wrong by discarding one of dummy’s long clubs! It was hard to imagine that Artur was discarding from his best suit, so, fearful of opening up diamonds, West returned a heart – and hey presto, that was the last trick for the defence.

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