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Stamford Bridge Club reflects on impact of Covid-19 pandemic





Monday, March 16, 2020 was a noted day for the bridge club, writes Marcus Witt of Stamford Bridge Club.

It was the day on which the club closed its doors for however long it would take to ride out the pandemic. As we came out of the pandemic the consensus was that the bridge world had changed.

Stamford Bridge Club
Stamford Bridge Club

Our programme would have to reflect that our members were used to online bridge and that it would form a significant part of our activity. Through time, however, folk have come back to the clubhouse such that online bridge only provides a small part of our activity. Comparing last year (to March 31, 2024) with the previous year we have seen the proportion of our table fees from online bridge falling from 10% to 6%. We run one online duplicate on Wednesday evenings, which certainly has its place, but seeing so many players in the clubhouse is uplifting. Face-to-face bridge is here to stay.

Hand Diagram
Hand Diagram

Hand of the Week

Today’s hand is a textbook example of counting, in this case counting distributions. North, with a 23 count, invites a grand slam. South is caught in something of a no man’s land – a 13 count with a 5card suit, albeit one that could have slightly better intermediate cards. It’s marginal but our intrepid South is made of stern stuff and leaps to 7N. There would be no story otherwise. After the spade lead declarer can count three spade, three heart and three club winners. Clearly South will have to add four winning diamonds to bring success. Superficially declarer could bang down the top two diamonds and rue the failure of luck when the suit doesn’t break 2-2 (or the queen doesn’t fall singleton). But it is better to cash the side suit winners first as we may discover something important. We see that West shows out on the third rounds of hearts and clubs and, with East failing to follow to a third round of spades, that West has six spades. With that hand known to hold exactly 10 cards outside diamonds, West must hold three diamonds. Suitably primed, we cash the ace of diamonds and take the marked finesse against the queen. 13 tricks and grand slam made.

Stamford Bridge Club
Stamford Bridge Club

Tip

Counting takes various forms and here we use it in trying to glean the opponents’ distributions. Contracts that seem to hinge on a guess can become certainties.



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