This has been the most shocking saga in the entire history of bridge. In the face of overwhelming evidence that members of their teams have been cheating, Israel, Monaco and Germany have all withdrawn from the world championships, which begin this week in Chennai. So far the German pair alone has admitted their guilt, but no one has any doubt about the other two. So much drama; so many careers and reputations ruined. And how innocent are the teammates who, as some suggest, must have had their suspicions but said nothing?
And what about all the players who may have been robbed of victory over the years? I’m thinking particularly of our own England open team who, in the 2014 European Championships, took bronze — behind Monaco and Israel. A year on, might belated congratulations be in order? This hand, played by Andrew Robson during the championships, shows how to win the legitimate way:
Robson (South) won West’s ♥2 lead with the ♥Q. Most players would start on trumps immediately. Not Robson. At trick 2, he made a ‘pressure play’: the ♦Q. West, with no real sense yet of how to defend, covered — and who could blame him? But that was curtains for the defence. Robson ruffed a diamond with the ♠2 (vital) and cashed ♠AK. When West showed out, he went for a trump coup. He crossed to the ♥K and cashed the ♦J. When the suit split 3–3 (phew), he simply ran good diamonds through East: if East ruffed he would overruff, cross back to dummy with his ♥A then continue diamonds. If East didn’t ruff, his ♠1086 would be picked up in the end position. Thirteen tricks made. Had West been given more time to consider his defence earlier on, he might have seen that by not covering the ♦Q, declarer would have lacked the entries to set up and play diamonds through East later on. Bravo, Robson — and good luck in Chennai!