The first weekend of August saw two big pairs tournaments, one in Oslo and one in Eastbourne, with remarkable similarities: both attracted over 200 pairs, both were the same format, Swiss, which means that apart from a random first round you are competing against the pair with the nearest score to you whom you haven’t met before; and after three days and heaven knows how many boards both were won by the same pair as last year! Alexander Allfrey and Andrew Robson in Eastbourne and father and son duo Tor and Fredrik Helness in Norway. Tor probably needs no introduction: he is the brilliant Norwegian multi world champ who has a combustible temperament and simply cannot understand when a partner doesn’t produce the same level of genius that he does. Fredrik is his calm as a waterlily (takes after mum Gunn) son who, when they needed three virtual tops to win, produced the result shown above.
Fredrik ended up in the normal contract, on the lead of the ♣K. +450 was the most common result, giving N/S above average, but Declarer went into the tank and came up with a fine play that brought him one of the near tops he needed. He ruffed the lead and played three rounds of Hearts, ruffing the third with the ♠Ace. The ♥Q was overtaken in hand, and another Heart ruffed with the King.
Next came the♠4 from dummy, East taking his Queen to force declarer with another Club. But Helness Jr was in full control. He ruffed and drew the two remaining trumps, unblocking the Ace and Queen of Diamonds from dummy, and his hand was good.
And for once no comment from Dad — just a beaming smile.
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