Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. The European Championships in Tromso kicked off with a week of Mixed and by the end there was no disguising the contempt of some of the men for their partners. We had the full range, from withering sarcasm to screaming abuse. Clearly bridge is the last bastion of legal misogyny. To add to the fun, it was freezing cold and the loos were outside. Frankly, if I was up for a Portaloo I would have gone camping.
But just when I was ready to pack it all in, we squeaked into the Mixed Teams’ playoff by 0.01 of a victory point (only the top 16 teams get through) and a week later, against all odds, leapt from 60th place to 11th to make the playoffs in the Open teams. It’s amazing what you can get used to when the cards go in your favour.
This hand, played by my partner, the Great Malinowski, came from the final of the Pairs tournament, and gained us a top for the overtrick:
West led a crafty ♥10 covered by the King to East’s Ace, who returned ♠7. Of course Artur didn’t know the lead was a singleton so he pumped up with the ♠Ace to avoid another heart through. He next cashed his three top clubs, and a fourth club to West, East pitching two hearts. In with ♣J, West exited ♦9, covered all round, to declarer’s King. Now Artur played his last club. East, who had to keep diamonds and hearts, pitched a spade. Finally a heart to the queen and another heart endplayed East, who had to give dummy the ♦7.
Heigh-ho — even the Portaloos are looking up!
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