ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THE NAME of Valderama (Sotogrande) Golf Glub conjures up visions of major sporting events. This year's Volvo Masters was surely just the curtain-raiser for the six-table Howell that followed a few days later to inaugurate the club's bridge section.

East-West game; dealer West

North

A J 8 3

A Q 7 4 3

none

J 10 9 4

West

9 2

10 9 5

A 6 5 3

A 7 6 5

East

K 5 4

K 8 6 2

K 9 2

Q 8 2

South

Q 10 7 6

J

Q J 10 8 7 4

K 3

Partner and I were playing against Albert Dormer (South) and Jaime Ortiz-Patino - the president of Valderama and president emeritus of the World Bridge Federation. West passed, Jaime opened One Heart and raised Albert's response of One Spade to Two. After two passes West essayed a wildly dangerous protective double.

North redoubled to show extra values and East passed - suggesting no preference for either minor. West retreated to Three Clubs, was doubled by North, and tried Three Diamonds. This would not have played well (Albert admitted later he 'would have given a double serious consideration'), but we were let off the hook when North bid Three Spades.

West found the best lead of a trump - forestalling any cross-ruff - and, after winning with the king, I returned a trump. Declarer won in hand and ran the queen of diamonds, discarding a heart from the table. I won with the king and returned a third trump to South's queen. The jack of diamonds was covered with the ace and, to keep control, declarer let this win. Now West switched to a heart and, unaware that the nine of diamonds was due to fall, South finessed in order to gain an extra entry to hand. Unexpectedly I produced a third king and a club return defeated the contract.

It seemed to be our one good board of the tournament and our opponents' only bad one, for they went on to win with a 75 per cent score.

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