Bridge | 18 December 2021

18 December 2021

9:00 AM

18 December 2021

9:00 AM

Bridge is not too enticing if your parents had card evenings when you were a child, which often ended in one of them storming out after a dodgy bid went septic. I’m sure that is the reason I learned to play so late, depriving myself of the thrill of being a Junior.

Today’s Juniors practise with and get trained by some of the best players in the country and there is some serious talent emerging. The future of British bridge looks good.

Today’s hand (presented as a problem for both Declarer and Defence) came up at a recent training session for the under-26s — most of whom are teenagers.

Everything was going well. All the South players opened 1NT and got raised to 3NT, and all West players led a Spade — so far so good. The problem for Declarer is how to play the Clubs. Obviously, in practice most of them would have done what you and I might have done: play a Club and finesse the Jack, not minding if it lost as the Clubs would then be running. The trick, of course, for South is to spot the absolute safety play of ducking West’s eight on the first round. But it’s different when you know that someone has set a problem for you. Each one thought hard about it, and eventually found the correct play.

But now there was the even bigger problem of how West should tackle the defence, and only one player found it. Young Ms J. in the West seat followed smoothly to the first round of Clubs with the Queen! ‘Great,’ thought declarer, and covered it — one down.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and a Covid- free New Year.

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