Bridge | 16 January 2021

16 January 2021

9:00 AM

16 January 2021

9:00 AM

’Tis better to give than to receive, the Bible teaches us. Well, not if you were me this Christmas, it isn’t.

One of the local Norwegian bridge clubs organised a big (online obvs) pairs tournament to raise money to train their juniors. To do this they auctioned more than 70 A flight players from all over the world and I was given European and world champion Espen Lindqvist as my Christmas gift! Espen’s regular partner is Boye Brogeland and together they have represented Norway in every major international event for the past decade. The final count was 174 pairs, playing 30 boards at matchpoint scoring, and we came third, with 62 per cent.

Of course we were lucky and were given a few gifts, but often good play and good luck go hand in hand. This 3NT, played by Espen, was a case in point.

The luck came in when West decided to lead the ◆J — a more passive lead would have worked better. The good play was down to my partner.

Espen won the ◆A and quickly returned one to the 6, 9 and King. East switched to the ♣J which went to the King and Ace, and the Club return ran to the 9 and South’s Queen.

Declarer tested Diamonds and then ran four rounds of Spades — forcing East to discard twice; he thought he couldn’t afford to throw a Heart, so he let go first the ♣4, then the ♣7.

The ending didn’t take long; Espen played a Heart to his King in hand, and then put East on lead with the ♣10 to concede a Heart trick to dummy’s Queen.

Thank you, Hoffa, for finding such a terrific Christmas present.

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