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The Sport of Kings (& Queens & Aces)

The Sport of Kings (& Queens & Aces) by Derrick Browne 

It was under the presidency of Juan Antonio Samaranch that the International Olympic Committee accepted bridge as an Olympic sport. Samaranch again demonstrated his support of bridge by attending the European Champions Cup, where he stated that bridge had gained recognition from the IOC because it is a true sport. However, despite being held as a demonstration sport at the 2002 Winter Olympics, the flame of Olympic interest in bridge dimmed.

Most serious bridge events – such as Olympiads – have been run as teams, while pairs is the other popular format. Today’s deal, however, comes from the 6th Generali World Masters Men’s and Women’s Individual Championships, held in Verona in September 2004. In an Individual, you keep changing partners. Because of this, everyone played the same system, basically French Standard: 5-card majors, strong notrump, weak twos in the majors and 2D as an 8-9 trick hand with 2C normally game forcing (like a back-to-front version of Benjamin Twos).

American Tobi Sokolow won the Women’s, while Italian Norberto Bocchi won the Men’s. In the hand below, he bid a tight game which his partner of that round, Jiansheng Jin of China, managed to bring home:

EW vulnerable, dealer North.

WEST              EAST
 K964             Q875
 Q52              86
 AKQ52            T72
 T                Q865

Read more: The Sport of Kings (& Queens & Aces)

Bending the Rules

Bridge players, like great artists, need to understand the rules but also know when to break them. One such rule is "always return your partner's lead". The rule is a fine one, but a bridge player will tell you it is always wrong to say "always".

Each year we hold a gold point event, the "GNOT", at Trumps (this year will be Fridays 1.20pm or 7pm from 9 October).Playing in a heat of the Grand National Teams some years ago, Christine Vinson produced a big swing when she used simple logic to defeat a game contract.

EW vulnerable, dealer West.

WEST              EAST
 AKQ9             J543
 T3               K64
 QJ               765
 A9543            KQ7

Read more: Bending the Rules

Unusual Path to Slam

With the annual Trumps Winter Teams coming up this Sunday, we look back at the 2004 Trumps Winter Teams. This featured some existing national champions, but also strong performances by up-and-coming players the Edgtton brothers Adam (14) and Nabil (13), who went on to national and even international wins.

On the hand below, the slightly older Anthony Newman (21-year-old son of bridge teacher/expert John Newman) finished in an ambitious slam - but made it. Looking only at the North-South hands, plan the play in 6H.


NS vulnerable, dealer West.


S AQ954

H AT862



WEST                        EAST

S 86                          S KT7

H K                            H J54

D K9542                    D T86

C K7642                    C T953


S J32

H Q973

D J73


Read more: Unusual Path to Slam

End Play Saves Day

As dealer, what action should you take with the South hand below? 

EW vulnerable, dealer South. 

          S AJ54
          H KJ2
          D AJ4
WEST                EAST
86                S 7
H 987               H AQT6
D QT76              D K954
C J987              

          S KQT932
          H 543
          D 83

          C 43


S  W   N  E

2S P  4S  All pass 

Read more: End Play Saves Day

Close decisions

Every bridge event has a thousand stories waiting to be told, and never are they more poignant than when survival hangs on a slim thread.

Here is one hand from a past World Championships where England defeated China by just one IMP to take out the Women’s title and in the Seniors, the margin was twice that – Japan defeated the USA by two IMPs.

Read more: Close decisions

6C contest at Trumps Summer Teams

The Trumps Summer Teams on 16 February was won by Chris Dibley, Chris Stead, Yumin Li and Peter Jeffery.Gill hand

The event runners-up (David Beauchamp, Anita Curtis, David Fryda and David Hudson) clashed against the third-placed team (Les Grewcock, Peter Gill, Ruth Tobin and Liz Sylvester) on this deal reported by Peter Gill, where Grewcock and Fryda (both playing West) each made slam.

Grewcock opened 1C, Beauchamp bid 2NT (unusual, for the two lowest unbid suits, the reds), Sylvester bid 4NT, 5H by Curtis, pass, pass, 6C by East.

Grewcock won the heart lead, drew the missing trump, stripped the spades (SA, SK, ruff a spade) and led a low diamond from dummy towards the nine, covering when the D10 appeared. 100% play. Nice. 

At the other table - 1C by Fryda, pass by Tobin, 2C by Hudson, 3C by Gill (Michaels Cue, showing both majors), 5C by Fryda, pass, very slow well-judged 6C by Hudson. SJ lead, trumps drawn and again declarer (Fryda) stripped the hearts and spades. Low diamond from dummy, ducking Gill’s ten of diamonds. 1370. Flat board.

Of the 18 tables, six played 6C (four of them making), while six North-South pairs were in 6H doubled going two or three down (a good sacrifice, as long as the opponents were going to make 6C!).