Bridge

Bridge | 25 May 2024

We all pause to think when playing, but – let’s be honest – it’s usually as basic as re-capping the bidding or counting points and distribution. When great players stop to think, you just know they’re on a higher plane, probably contemplating things that wouldn’t occur to the rest of us. But what? Luckily, when

Bridge | 18 May 2024

The Spring Foursomes is the EBU’s flagship tournament and is always held the first weekend in May. Sadly it has had long Covid the past couple of years, but 2024 saw it back to its former glory. Brand-new venue, the DoubleTree Hilton in Bristol, good playing facilities and enough food to go round! Way to

Bridge | 11 May 2024

I was chatting to my friends Alice Coptcoat and Natalie Hoff at the Acol last week, when Alice mentioned that she’d enjoyed Andrew Robson’s recent BridgeCast about a hand he played against Natalie at the Lederer Trophy. ‘Oh, that hand!’ Natalie exclaimed. ‘It was beautiful. I’ll never forget the way he dropped my singleton king,

Bridge | 04 May 2024

Whenever we play a team’s tournament, fielded by sponsors, the sponsor (given choice) makes a beeline for me and I understand why. They probably think they will be shark fodder against a very aggressive pair of Internationals and will be swallowed whole. One Sponsor told her teammate to try and arrange for me to play

Bridge | 27 Aprl 2024

There are nearly two dozen Rules in bridge to help you in the bidding and play. The Rule of 20, for instance: open the bidding (in any seat) when your points plus the number of cards in your two longest suits come to at least 20. Or the Rule of 15: open in 4th seat

Bridge | 20 April 2024

‘If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s a duck.’ For Bridge players, the problem is that it doesn’t always look like a duck and it rarely quacks. My regular partner, Artur Mali, says ducking is for experts, and goes puce in the face if

Bridge | 13 April 2024

I’ve been waiting for what feels like decades to make a contract by means of an intra-finesse. And not just because I love the name. When I first read about the manoeuvre, my mind was blown away in the same way it was when I first encountered squeeze-plays: ‘impossible’ games could be made! The trouble

Bridge | 6 April 2024

Easter always zips by if you’re a bridge player and enter the EBU’s Easter Festival. There are four events to choose from and I chose them all. My favourite is the Swiss Teams and we normally do rather well. Not this year unfortunately. In the final match we played Simon Gillis’s team and I rather

Bridge |30 March 2024

If you watch world-class players online, you’ll notice how often they use the red penalty–card. Most of us are far too hesitant: we feel we pretty much have to guarantee a contract won’t make before we double. But as Zia Mahmood once said: ‘If every contract you double goes down, you’re not doubling enough.’ Very

Bridge | 23 March 2024

There is an audible buzz in the international bridge world and it centres around a few Scandinavian juniors. The youngest is Norway’s Nicolai Heiberg-Evenstad (obvs known as the Kid), who is 16 now but started playing with his father, Stian Evenstad, aged about seven and was quickly noticed as an outstanding talent. When two or

Bridge | 16 March 2024

Last weekend’s women’s trials for the European championships – a playoff between two teams of four – was surprisingly enjoyable. Not only was I lucky enough to be partnering Paula Leslie, but also all eight of us got on exceptionally well. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that level of friendliness in such a crucial

Bridge | 9 March 2024

A few new sponsors have sprung up lately, which is very exciting for the English bridge scene and means we can send teams to international events that the EBU (and practically every other bridge federation) can’t afford to sponsor. One of the best and most successful is Maggie Knottenbelt who, with her very good team,

Bridge | 2 March 2024

It might be time to start showing more respect to your dummy. Yes, you’re the boss, the brains, the living force behind the contract; dummy is just an inanimate row of cards at your disposal. But sometimes you need to bring it alive in your imagination, swap seats, see things from its upside-down point of

Bridge | 24 February 2024

‘I haven’t seen this before,’ began a recent email from my friend and frequent contributor Nick Sandqvist. That meant it would be a bit special, and it certainly was. Double game swings are not as rare as you may think: 4♥ making one way and 4♠ the other – usually with a double attached –

Bridge | 17 February 2024

I always put on weight when I play in bridge tournaments: the build-up of stress and concentration makes me ravenous. Sally Brock often reminds me of the time, many years ago, that we played in the women’s trials at the YC, which was then based in Earl’s Court. When it was over, she asked if

Bridge | 10 February 2024

The Reykjavik Bridge Festival, held annually at the end of January, is one of the great treats of the bridge calendar, and this year it was twice as good: Thomas Charlsen decided to hold his terrific World Bridge Tour (WBT) just preceding it to make it easier for teams who wanted to play both. In

Bridge | 27 January 2024

The London Teams of Four was the first bridge tournament of the new year and was a very close affair. Kevin Castner finally prevailed against the opposition with his team of (partner) Phil King and teammates Sebastian Atisen and Stefano Tommasini – the last newly selected, with his regular partner Ben Norton, to represent England

Bridge | 20 January 2024

Bidding would be so much easier if you didn’t have opponents. Imagine if you and your partner were given a clear run, without interference from those pesky players on either side. But that’s not bridge. Getting in your way is what opponents do – at the highest level possible. Having to judge whether to bid

Bridge | 13 January 2024

The one bridge resolution I made years ago was that if you have a 5-4 fit in a suit, play for the drop (i.e. play for the outstanding cards to be 2-2) unless there is a huge reason not to. The one time I deviated from my resolution was in Hungary, in a very strong

Bridge | 6 January 2024

One of the things I like most about bridge is that it allows you to be sociable without actually having to talk to anybody. At the Year End Congress, held between Christmas and the New Year, it was lovely to see all the familiar faces. But what a relief not to have to answer the