First up, HNY to one and all and especially my regular reader (no, not you mummy) John Hinde, who wrote me a charming email very politely pointing out the absurdity of one of my columns. I am so with you John — it was ridiculous — but it happened!
Secondly, congrats to my good friend Simon, the talented Mr Gillis. Simon has some great Teams wins under his belt — Gold Cup, Iceland twice — but, as he was the first to admit, Pairs tournaments had always eluded him. Until now. He and Espen Erichsen, playing at the London Year End, romped home to take the coveted Open Pairs title.
Espen is a terrific player and a lovely partner — but seriously tough on himself. Here is a hand he gave me from the Teams’ event, actually the very last board, where he was playing with another Norwegian International, Erik Berg, on Nick Irens’ team. ‘If I hadn’t played like a donkey we would have won,’ he lamented. Wish there were more donkeys like you, Esp.
South, the devilishly clever Marshall Lewis, had opened a strong NT third in hand, ending up in 4♥. Espen, sitting West, led ♣Q which dummy took with the King and declarer played a small heart which East (Erik) won with his King. Espen saw that a spade switch was crucial: declarer must have good diamonds and the only Heart holding Erik could have to pop up with the King is KJx, otherwise he would play low. Therefore …Espen has to drop the ♥Q(!) under his partner’s King to demand the spade switch. Unfortunately, he didn’t, and Erik returned a club which Marshall won, played ♥Ace, took the diamond finesse, discarded three spades in dummy and claimed ten tricks!
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