When the quality of the opposition makes things easier

Gabriel Chagas
Gabriel Chagas
Patrick Jourdain
Patrick Jourdain

The Sunday Times International Bridge Pairs was conducted and contested as an invitational pair event, that was sponsored by the London Sunday Times. The field was generally limited to 16 to 22 leading pairs from various countries. The London Sunday Times sponsored the event until the year 1981. The event was then in abeyance from the year 1982 to the year 1989. The event was revived in the year 1990 and sponsored by the Sunday Times together with Macallan Malt Whisky as the primary sponsors until the year 1999. The Sunday Times ceased sponsorship following the year 1994. Beginning in the year 1995 the event became known as the Macallan Tournament. The tournament ceased to be contested following the year 1999 owing to the lack of sponsorship.

Source BrideGuys

 Sunday Times International Bridge Pairs Championship 1994

January-26-28 1994, The White House, Regents Park, London

By Patrick Jourdain, January 28 1994

There are occasions when the quality of the opposition makes things easier for you, rather than more difficult. This board illustrates the point:

  A K J 10 8 6 5
J 5
5 4 2
9 7 4 3
J 7 3
9 3
A J 9 8
9 6 2
A K Q 4 2
K 10 6 3

A K Q 10 5 4
10 8 7 6
Q 7

The Norths who opened 4 were too high, but 3 was more popular, and even that looked in danger. Might not declarer lose four tricks in the minors and then take a spade finesse, losing to the bare queen?

On Vugraph Gabriel Chagas opened 3 and the defence, along with others cashed two top diamonds and two clubs before West switched to a trump.

But Chagas and some other declarers asked themselves this simple questions. «If the trump finesse is winning why didnt the defence played a third round of clubs removing dummy’s only trump?

Once that thought came, they knew it was right to play the spades from the top.