‘Yikes! I’ve been Grosvenored!’
This is a wail you will hear from time to time when a Declarer has been ‘had’ by the dreaded Grosvenor Gambit. It is explained in The Official Encyclopaedia of Bridge as follows: ‘A humorous psychological ploy described by Frederick Turner of Los Angeles in The Bridge World 1973. A defender deliberately makes an error, giving the Declarer an opportunity he refuses because he expects a rational defence. The hope is that the declaring side will be demoralised on later deals.’
In last weekend’s Tollemache Cup qualifier, the inter-county championships for teams of eight, Victor Silverstone, playing for Middlesex, gave us a perfect example of a true Grosvenor, and showed that behind the friendly face and bushy eyebrows is a very talented and playful bridge mind.
Victor was East, and his partner, Tony Waterlow, led the ♥K. South ducked one round, took the second Heart and went to dummy with a Diamond to run the Jack of Spades to West.
Waterlow cashed the Ace of Clubs before playing a third Heart, and when dummy ruffed with the ♠10, Victor could have secured the fourth trick for the defence by over-ruffing, but he calmly discarded a Club!
Declarer of course did what we all would have done: he played a Spade to his Ace, hoping for K,Q doubleton with West. To his credit, when Declarer realised that he had been well and truly Grosvenored, he laughed and congratulated Victor on a nice defence.
Eight teams qualified out of an original 36 competing, with Middlesex scoring the highest number of VPs overall. So well done, all who qualified, but particularly well done, Middlesex, for persuading Victor to play for you!
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