When I started playing bridge in earnest, the first tournament I entered was the EBU’s Autumn Congress, which back then was held in Bournemouth. Two days of pairs and one of teams. I had never had so much fun. Ofc I came nowhere in either event but the joy of playing all day and then sitting in the bar discussing the hands until much too late was my idea of heaven. It still is, actually. I couldn’t play last weekend but my old friend Jack Mizel, who hasn’t played at all for the past two years, came out of retirement to play the pairs with Brian Senior. Verdict: only slightly rusty.
Pre-rust, Jack was West on today’s hand in a team’s match and Brian was South at the other table. A very fine play was made by both of them on the same board:
The auction was the same at both tables, and so was the lead — the ♠Jack. Brian, in the South seat, could see that the contract was cold as long as East didn’t have all the Diamonds behind, given that he made the classic safety play of ducking the first round of Diamonds. He led the two from hand and, when West followed with the three, called for a small Diamond from dummy. This happened to be the four, and when it held the trick it brought about some amusement and — more importantly — ten tricks.
In the other room, Jack was in the West seat. He also led the ♠Jack, but when Declarer played a Diamond up, he followed smoothly with the Queen. Without pause, South asked for this to be covered, and when East showed out there was a second’s delay before Declarer realised he’d been had.
We’ve missed you, Jack.
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