Bridge | 25 April 2020

24 April 2020

11:00 PM

24 April 2020

11:00 PM

The Alt Invitational is the online tournament that is attracting some of the best players on earth. When the whole world is on lockdown, nothing can take the place of the American nationals or the World Bridge Games, but Paul Street (Canadian sponsor) had an idea: invite eight strong teams to compete over five days, in a series of tournaments, and stage it not in a huge conference hall but on BBO. Nobody need leave home.

My team played in the second one — three days of qualifying and two days of finals — and we won! Here is a hand from the final where I feared I had blown it (see diagram).

West led a small Spade, as requested, to East’s Queen. I ducked the heart return to the Jack and the defence set up their Spades. The Club finesse lost but West misread the situation and returned a Heart. Two down for –500. It felt like a 12 IMP loss and I cursed myself for not passing 3♣.

At the other table my teammates were Norwegian internationals Thor-Erik Hoftaniska and Thomas (Charley) Charlsen, and the bidding was exactly the same, including the final double. But T-E led a much more dynamic Jack of Spades.

It was covered twice, and East’s Hearts went to the Queen and King. The ♠9 was also covered twice, but declarer won the next Heart with the Ace to play King and Jack of Clubs, covered and won in dummy. He tried a Diamond towards hand, but Charley hopped up with the Ace and cashed out four Spades, three Hearts and a Diamond for 1100.

Stay safe.

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