Bridge

Bridge | 20 February 2021

20 February 2021

9:00 AM

20 February 2021

9:00 AM

In general, I don’t like to play bridge just for fun: I prefer the cut-throat atmosphere of a tournament, or the adrenaline rush of high-stake rubber. But a couple of times a year I meet up with old friends at the card table: there’s lots of banter, too much wine, and the bridge gets sillier as the night wears on. I’ve been sorely missing these evenings, and fondly remembering our three rules: to play quickly, avoid lengthy post-mortems, and abide by ‘Zia’s Law’. This is based on a tip Zia Mahmood gave me long ago. It was obviously a joke, but he swore it worked miracles. It goes like this: if your partner is dealer and there are two passes to you, you should open a spade without looking at your hand. It turns out to be amazingly effective — your opponents seldom know what to do.

This hand occurred during our last game. It’s memorable not just because I opened a spade blind, then saw I had six of the beauties, but because I punted slam and misplayed it in haste.

West led the ♣K. I won with the A♣, drew two trumps and… blast, when East didn’t follow, I’d already blown it. Now I had to hope diamonds broke 3-3, as I needed to cash the ◆AKQ, then cross to a trump in dummy and discard a heart on the ◆J. No such luck. What I should have done, I saw too late, is duck the club lead. Then, on winning the club (or any other) continuation, I can discard a top diamond on the ♣A, draw two rounds of trumps and cash my two remaining diamonds, play a third trump to dummy and discard two hearts on the ◆J10. It’s all very well playing Zia’s Law, but it would help to play like the man who invented it.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
Close