The Night of the Stars charity bridge event, held in West London a couple of weeks ago, was every bit as fun as I’d hoped: 53 stars of the game mingled with — well, let us be known as the eclipses — for an evening’s duplicate.
My partner wasn’t one of the official stars, but he’s without doubt one in the rising — young Tom ‘Mini’ Paske, aged 23. We did pretty well, finishing eighth out of 112 pairs. And he’s a gentleman to boot: when we were going through some of the hands afterwards, he pointed to one and said, ‘We did well here.’ ‘But that was entirely you — you were declarer!’ I exclaimed. ‘Ah, but you gave me the perfect dummy,’ he replied.
A dummy, however, is only what you make of it — as he so elegantly proved:
It was, admittedly, an eccentric auction. West opened a weak 2♥, I overcalled 2NT, East decided to raise instead of mentioning his diamonds and then, when I bid 3NT, decided to help us reach a better spot by doubling! West led the ♥J. Mini played dummy’s ♥Q and East won with the ♥A. He then cashed two diamonds before switching back to hearts.
Mini won with the ♥K and did well to guess spades by cashing the ace and king, rather than finessing the second spade. He drew the third spade, and played a club to the ♣Q (a double club finesse would have worked, but why would anyone guess that?). Next he ruffed a heart, East showing out, and played his remaining two trumps. West was caught in a squeeze: on the last trump he had to let go of his heart or bare his ♣K: he chose the latter, so Mini discarded dummy’s heart, crossed to dummy’s ♣A (West’s ♣K falling) and crossed back to his winning ♣J.
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