Janet de Botton

Bridge | 2 July 2022

Rubber bridge is a game that happens to suit me very well: you can come and go as you please and you don’t need a partner. You just wait for those magic words ‘Table up’ and you reply ‘One in’! Ofc I quite understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea: there are so many different

Bridge | 18 June 2022

When lockdown struck, high-standard online bridge tournaments sprang up and with them a multitude of cheats, world champions among them, crawled out of the woodwork. The World Bridge Tour came about when Norwegian stars Boye Brogeland and Thomas Charlsen, who had done so much to uncover the 2015 cheating scandal, analysed hands played by suspect

Bridge | 4 June 2022

In honour of Her Majesty the Queen’s awe-inspiring Platinum Jubilee, I have not one but two hands, illustrating the power of pre-empts – even when they are psyches! Did I mention we got knocked out of the Schapiro Spring Foursomes by one IMP? Playing the last eight boards of 32 we went in 36 IMPs

Bridge | 21 May 2022

It was time to celebrate! The Schapiro Spring Foursomes was back again after the enforced Covid break, and the EBU’s best tournament (IMHO), with its double elimination format, was down in numbers but not in quality. My team was knocked out in the quarter-final by 1VP by the team that eventually won: Team Hinden, a

Bridge | 7 May 2022

My teammate Thor Erik Hoftaniska is having a bit of a moment. He won last year’s (online) Gold Cup (on my team), hoovered up the Champion’s Cup playing for Norway in Slovakia, won the main pairs event in the Easter Guardian, and has just taken the gold medal for winning the Norwegian Premier League. Not

Bridge | 23 April 2022

It seems ironic that while many bridge players are fighting to ‘Keep Bridge Alive’, raising money to encourage and teach the next generation of potential enthusiasts, the English Bridge Union seems to be doing the exact opposite. They have just cut the funding for sending Juniors to championships – crucial to the development of their

Bridge | 26 March 2022

The England U26 juniors have been flying high lately. A couple of weeks ago they won the Junior Camrose, and last weekend they went to Belgium and brought back the Channel Trophy as well. One of the most talented players, Ewa Wieczorek, has already qualified for the English women’s team in partnership with Ewa Kater.

Bridge | 12 March 2022

The Lederer Memorial Trophy was carried off this year by my lovely friend Jonathan Harris, albeit with a little help from his friends. Jonathan played with Steve Root but to sharpen his team, he shipped over Sweden’s new young World Champions Mikael and Ola Rimstedt. The boys are twins and I for one have never

Bridge | 26 February 2022

My friend Nick Sandqvist says that coaching the England juniors is a joy; so great when someone enthusiastic and creative is found to train the next generation. Shame the same can’t be said about the choice of Convention Card monitor, a gentleman who seems to think that a meticulously filled out CC is the most

Bridge | 12 February 2022

You may not have heard of Sue Johnson but she could be the fairy godmother bridge needs right now. Not only does she go into primary schools to introduce young pupils to mini-bridge, she’s also the producer of the New Tricks videos which can be seen on YouTube, giving bridge much needed exposure in the

Bridge | 29 January 2022

During lockdown I had a bit of a tidy-up and came across a Post-it note with the following statement written on it from a member of my team: ‘I WILL NEVER DISCUSS BRIDGE THEORY WITH JdB AGAIN. IF I DO SO I WILL JUMP OUT OF THE WINDOW.’ Bit much, I thought at the time.

Bridge | 15 January 2022

Why is defence so difficult? Why do I have to suffer partner’s incredulous face when I play the wrong card in a two-card ending? Again. My New Year resolution is to slow right down and try to work out Declarer’s shape before playing a card. Some hope. I was watching a YouTube video from a

Bridge | 18 December 2021

Bridge is not too enticing if your parents had card evenings when you were a child, which often ended in one of them storming out after a dodgy bid went septic. I’m sure that is the reason I learned to play so late, depriving myself of the thrill of being a Junior. Today’s Juniors practise

Bridge | 4 December 2021

The 2020 European Championships were an early casualty of lockdown but hopefully 2022 will rectify the count! It’s going to be a busy year for bridge players with the Bermuda Bowl (World Championships) taking place in spring, the Euros probably in early summer, as well as all the old favourites that we have missed over

Bridge | 20 November 2021

The Champion’s Cup is an annual competition for the national champions from 12 European countries. As my team won the Premier League in 2019, two years later we found ourselves on the way to Pezinok in Slovakia to take on 11 other strong teams. My regular team mates Thor Erik Hoftaniska and Thomas Charlsen, playing

Bridge | 6 November 2021

There isn’t much Nick Sandqvist (my first bridge partner, teacher and great friend) doesn’t know about bridge. He has been playing virtually every day for nigh on 40 years and doesn’t often make mistakes. He was playing Pairs at the newly reopened Acol Club when a situation came up that he had never spotted before

Bridge | 23 October 2021

YAY! We won the Gold Cup! We played Tim Leslie’s strong team in the 64-board final and beat them on the last eight board set. We were awesome — and I can say that because unfortunately I couldn’t play a single board in the semi-final or final. Result! Pushing hard to thin games (if you

Bridge | 9 October 2021

One of my favourite Bridge proverbs is ‘Play the card you’re known to hold’. It doesn’t mean we should blithely give away cheap tricks, but when our cards are equal, we should follow with the one that everyone knows we have anyway. Applied correctly, this technique will make you much harder to play against, and

Bridge | 25 September 2021

The first serious F2F bridge tournament we have played for almost two years was the Premier League last weekend. Whatever anyone says, live playing is a totally different game. The atmosphere was bubbling with excitement as the post mortems outside unravelled the tricky hands. The beginner’s mantra, which holds true at any level, is count

Bridge | 11 September 2021

The end to the European Championships Qualifier — from an English perspective — was one of the most dramatic ever witnessed. England had been struggling and was out of the top-eight qualifying places — in ninth, eight VPs behind Hungary in eighth place. With only one ten-board match to go, against Germany, things looked bleak,