Janet de Botton

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,

Bridge | 28 August 2021

So, face-to-face bridge is slowly returning, with EBU’s Summer Meeting in Eastbourne being one of the first to take place. The numbers were small of course, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. The Swiss Pairs on the first weekend for the Harold Poster Cup was won by England International Claire Robinson

Bridge | 14 August 2021

Most of us have lost a year and a bit, but hopefully we will get back to normal (bridgewise) fairly quickly. Spare a thought, though, for the juniors, who have lost out on a World Championship that can never be recovered for those who will be too old when the next one comes around in

Bridge | 31 July 2021

When I started learning bridge (about 20 years ago) I was taught the basic guidelines of play and defence and stuck to them rigidly. When I got out of the classroom and into the bridge club all my tried and tested rules were worthless — when they didn’t work. Third hand plays high — except

Bridge | 17 July 2021

If someone had told me in February 2020 that virtually the whole world would be going into lockdown for well over a year, I would not have believed it was possible. But if someone had told me I would choose football over a bridge tournament, I would have laughed my head off. Well, I’m not

Bridge | 3 July 2021

I have a confession to make. I did something I haven’t done for over 20 years: I went on holiday. A proper holiday. No bridge, no card games of any sort. No online kibitzing and no bridge reading or discussing. Just endless Covid tests and quarantine coming home — the only small problem being nothing

Bridge | 19 June 2021

Immense excitement in the relatively tiny world of bridge — the English Bridge Union has announced that the Premier League will be held face to face, beginning in September at the brand new Young Chelsea venue in London. Sadly not all our clubs will be reopening, the tremendous toll of the past 18 months having

Bridge | 5 June 2021

It’s hard to think of anything more expensive at the bridge table than doubling the opponents and then watching them make because of your double. Oh, when will we learn to just sit back and take a small plus score? If the person you double also happens to be a world-class player, then you have

Bridge | 22 May 2021

We all know the importance of making a viable plan before we play. If a contract is poor and seems to have little chance, we must mentally place the cards where we need them to be and plan the play on that assumption. But if a contract seems solid we should imagine the worst possible

Bridge | 8 May 2021

The Lady Milne is the annual Women’s Championship between the home countries (and Ireland) and is most often a two-horse race between the ‘Dragons’ (England) and the ‘Nessies’ ( Scotland). This year the event was held on RealBridge and — wouldn’t you know it — the two arch-enemies met in the last round with England

Bridge | 24 April 2021

There are many drawbacks to playing bridge online but there is one thing that’s quite enjoyable: the speed and accuracy with which you can see your results — available as soon as a round is completed. Great fun when you have done something clever, not so thrilling when you are on the receiving end of

Bridge | 10 April 2021

Bridge is a complex game, and is played by humans. Put those two things together and you have a guarantee that mistakes will be made. Whatever the strength of the partnership, making it easy for partner, and taking charge when you know the route, is absolutely vital. Here is a hand from a high-standard Mixed

Bridge | 27 March 2021

The Young Chelsea Knock Out is a terrific tournament, and the best thing about it is that the winners get invited to play in the prestigious Lederer Trophy, closed to all but top-flight home and international invited teams. Nowadays the format has changed to double knockout, and is highly successful and enjoyable. Hopefully, the tantalising

Bridge | 13 March 2021

One benefit of lockdown is that there is much more time for reading. My personal favourite bridge book is Play These Hands With Me by Terence Reese. Reese was the first author to introduce the ‘over the shoulder’ approach when explaining a hand — meaning the reader can follow the thought processes behind the bidding

Bridge | 27 February 2021

The late, great Martin Hoffman always claimed he was the unluckiest player in the world. If he was playing rubber, he moaned he never picked up a hand and if he did his partner passed. If he was playing duplicate with a sponsor, finesses never worked for him, suits never split and slams went off.

Bridge | 13 February 2021

The Young Chelsea Bridge Club is moving — literally and figuratively. They are relocating to the Salvation Army building in Hammersmith, which will give them a sensational new space when Covid releases us. Under the auspices of the lovely new manager, Ollie Burgess, the first ever Under-26 online duplicate took place and was a thundering

Bridge | 30 December 2021

When bridge moved from actual tables to virtual tables last March, it quickly became clear that cheating was ruining the online game. Boye Brogeland, who was instrumental in exposing the 2015 cheating scandal, became involved in combatting this potentially fatal flaw of Covid bridge in June last year. He became part of the Credentials Advisory

Bridge | 16 January 2021

’Tis better to give than to receive, the Bible teaches us. Well, not if you were me this Christmas, it isn’t. One of the local Norwegian bridge clubs organised a big (online obvs) pairs tournament to raise money to train their juniors. To do this they auctioned more than 70 A flight players from all