Bridge

Bridge | 9 July 2022

9 July 2022

9:00 AM

9 July 2022

9:00 AM

In one respect, it would be so much easier to play a game like poker or chess than bridge; if you play badly you only embarrass yourself – you don’t have partners or teammates to worry about. Mistakes at the bridge table are doubly painful when we imagine our partners rolling their eyes, or our teammates moaning behind our backs – and we’re not being paranoid, they probably are. But we shouldn’t be too thin-skinned; it’s important to remember that even the best players screw up. If you want to feel better about yourself, all you need to do is go online and kibitz some of the major tournaments. During the recent European championships in Madeira, I saw several mishaps by international champions which were positively comical. I particularly enjoyed this deal. Ireland’s Hugh McGann was declarer against a pair from the French team.

North, Marc Bompis, led the ♠5. McGann won with dummy’s ♠K. It was a pretty hopeless contract: with 5 diamond losers, he needed three quick heart tricks. He could try finessing the ♥J and hoping North held ♥Kx, or running the ♥Q and hoping South held ♥10x – but both were unlikely. And so he made the quick decision to resort to a brazen con – he played a diamond to his ♦Q! North won with the ♦K and played another spade. McGann won in hand and played a heart to the ♥J. South, Dominique Pilon, won and did well by switching to the ♦5 (though the ♦A would have worked better). North captured McGann’s ♦6 with his ♦7 but still not guessing what was going on (and who can blame him?), switched to the ♥10 – and McGann quickly claimed the rest of the tricks. Ouch.

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