Bridge Views and News

Brilliancies at the Italian IMP Open Pairs 2019

December 1, 2019

My regular partner Enrico Castellani and I did not shine at this year’s Italian Open IMP Pairs Championship, finishing in 15th place in a field of 208 competitors, but a couple of hands proved most brilliant. I’ll let the frequencies introduce my story - out of thirteen NS pairs, five rather embarrassingly went down in 3NT, with an excellent Six Club contract available. We reached it on this auction:

My partner bypassed 3NT giving full value to his pointed pictures cards and spade suit with four clubs then checked for the grand slam, just in case I had held any useful extras. East led a heart, which ran to my queen, I played the queen and king of clubs, revealing the bad break. Next, I cashed AK spades getting good news, and continued with the jack of spades pitching a diamond. West erred pitching a heart, allowing me to produce a classic trump coup ending. I trumped a spade (a too little too late diamond from West), played ace of hearts and ruffed a heart, then entered dummy with the king of diamonds, leaving:

On the last spade West was powerless: he decided to pitch the jack of hearts, but I ditched the ace of diamonds to score the last two tricks thanks to my club tenace over West.

Then on the penultimate board of the final:

We were the only pair in the field to reach the excellent Six Spades (it goes down only when the Queen of spades is third with South, and no extra chance materialises: so it makes roughly 95% of the time), the cherry on the icing of the cake being the thirteenth trick.

South led the king of hearts. Enrico won, ruffed a heart, cashed the king of spades and ruffed another heart before cashing the ace of spades. He then tabled the jack of diamonds, covered and overtaken, leaving:

Now playing trumps squeezes South in the minors to make all thirteen tricks. Nicely done!

Out in a blaze of glory (A Report on the Spingold 1/4 Final 2019)

August 11, 2019
What a game! Averaging five imps a board Spector and Lavazza gave us a wonderfully exciting match full of thrills and spills, coining my title from American songwriter Jon Bon Jovi. 

Click each link to download and follow the fortunes of these quarter finalists.
Stanza 1 Stanza 2 Stanza 3 Stanza 4

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The Spingold Final deal which sparkled with Dutch magic

August 3, 2019
Bridge is a fascinating game as we all know, but sometimes it surpasses fascinating... click here to download my article and read all about the kind of deal that we all dream of experiencing, but are delighted to watch being executed nonetheless!

Look at Board 15 to replay with declarer...
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Spingold Final 2019 - Stanza 4 Report

August 2, 2019
Down by 35 IMPs, Zimmerman needed a fast start to the final stanza to keep their chances here to download and read more

Click here for BBO IMP summary for Stanza 3
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Spingold Final 2019 - Stanza 3 Report

August 2, 2019
Team Blass was leading 58-52, with both teams recording fewer than 2 IMPs per board - that fatidic symbol of excellence. But things were about to change, as the first board of Stanza 3 here to download and read more

Click here for BBO IMP summary for Stanza 3

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Spingold Final 2019 - Stanza 2 Report

July 31, 2019
The first stanza did not lack interest, but the second started with a dull hand. ..But the spectators didn't have to wait long to see blood here to download and read more

Click here for BBO IMP summary for Stanza 2...
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Spingold Final 2019 - Stanza 1 Report

July 30, 2019
The two teams, Zimmerman and Team Blass, reached the final stage by rather different means: Zimmerman, the here to download and read my report.

Click here for the BBO IMP summary for Stanza 1

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Winning form in Genoa Teams

July 17, 2019

The 2019 Genoa Teams tournament saw us finish in the top spot with little by way of technical news to report. However, three hands are noteworthy, two crucial from the final match, where a large victory allowed us to overtake the three teams who’d been ahead of us until then.

But let's proceed in order. Playing the third match against my dear friends Giulia Pozzi and Maurizio Cafiero: at all vul, third in hand, holding ♠ AJ32 ♥AK84 ♦5 ♣ KJ107 I opened 1♣(two or more clubs). A...

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A rare opportunity for a coup

January 31, 2019

Playing a club pairs event, I had the rare opportunity to execute a very nice coup, after an auction which led us to the top spot, the only pair to manage it.
Here are the cards:

                   A 6
  9 6 2
  A K Q 8 5
  Q 6 5


  9 3
  8 4
  J 10 7 6
  K J 9 8 7

  5 4 2
  K J 10 7 5 3
  10 4 3


  K Q J 10 8 7
  A Q
  9 3 2
  A ...

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No Feathers in carry-on please

December 17, 2018
How are festive preparations going in your corner of the world? We are on track here in Pisa, despite a most enjoyable 24 hour flying visit to Budapest, Hungary last week. Thank you to my hosts and what a beautiful city! (image from

En route, I was catching up on emails and noticed a post asking for more information about what to do in Misinformation cases – here is a link to my lecture presentation on this area of bridge law.

Now to the shopping. Actually, it is...

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