I went cycling in the Pyrenees with my teenagers last week. Every time we stopped for a break, out came an iPhone, to be met with the usual groan: ‘Put it away, stop staring at your screen.’ Except it wasn’t me nagging – it was them. I couldn’t help myself: the world bridge championships were taking place, and I was desperate to follow the action.
It couldn’t have been more gripping. The England women got through to the semi-finals and ended up winning bronze. Our open team deserve equal praise for making it to the quarter–finals and putting up a superb fight against the all-star Swiss team, sponsored by Pierre Zimmerman. Switzerland went on to win gold, but England gave them a serious run for their money, leading for much of the match. This hand by Michael Byrne won particular praise.
Byrne (East) made a minimal 1NT response, and ended up rather too high in 3NT. South led the ♥2, and dummy’s ♥Q won. A spade to the ♠J lost to the ♠K, and when South continued with the ♥K, Byrne played the ♥10 underneath! The false-card was aimed at attracting a heart continuation, and the ♥J duly came next. Byrne won with the ace, and cashed two more hearts. Next came a diamond. South played low and dummy’s ◆K won, North signalling with the queen. Next came a dazzling piece of card-play: the ace, queen and a low spade endplayed South. He cashed the ◆A but then had to lead from his ♣K96 into the split tenace.
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