Bridge

Bridge

24 May 2014

9:00 AM

24 May 2014

9:00 AM

There’s no point in soft-soaping it: however long you’ve been playing bridge, however well you think you play, if you’ve never had regular lessons, or played with experts, sorry, but you probably aren’t much good. Bridge is an endlessly complex, multi-layered game, and there’s no way of improving without enlisting help. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with ‘kitchen-bridge’ — but if no one ever notices your mistakes, it’s easy to be deluded.

Hiring a top-class player is not only about improving your game, though: it’s just such fun to play with someone better than yourself. And it has become a lot easier thanks to a new agency — ProBridge —  set up by Sally Brock, Simon Cope and Ben Green. A multitude of professionals, from ordinary teachers to superstars like Zia Mahmood, have signed up, offering a range of services from local duplicates to international tournaments. Do check it out (www.pro-bridge.co.uk).


I myself hire Sally Brock (women’s world champ) a couple of times a year, and wish it could be more. What ordinary partner could have shown me how to tackle this slam:

West led the K. Sally thought for a while, then ducked. She won the trump switch, drew trumps, cashed the king and ace of clubs, and discarded a club on the A. Next she ruffed a club and played off her trumps. In the 4-card ending she held 4, ♠AJ7 in hand opposite ♠K5, J, ♣6. When she played the last trump, West had to discard a spade to keep the Q; Sally discarded dummy’s J. Now it was East’s turn to discard a spade in order to keep his winning club. There was no longer any need to try the spade finesse: Sally knew they had to be 2–2, so she cashed them from the top.

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