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Burville and McKee win Mixed Pairs title

Many congratulations to John Burville and Elizabeth McKee who won the Bermuda Bridge Club Mixed Pairs Championship last Saturday in a nail-biting finish over Marge Way and Misha Novakovic. In joint third place were Diana Diel and Charles Hall, and Molly Taussig and Tony Saunders.

The first of the two sessions ended with Molly and Tony in the lead with a score of 67 match points from Misha and Margie on 65.5 and John and Elizabeth lying in third place with Lynanne Bolton and Peter Donnellan on 62. The second session didn’t see any big scores but John and Elizabeth did just enough to edge Margie and Misha by the wafer-thin margin of one match point!

There was also a real battle in the Intermediate section – after a tight first session the pairs of Sharon Shanahan and Claude Guay, and Lisa Ferrari and Tim Mardon finished as joint winners, a mere 1.5 match points ahead of Tracy and Des Nash who had led after the first session.

This was a very strong field for this event and really any one of the six pairs mentioned above were good enough to win it, so finishing on top was a tough ask. I’m sure each pair has one hand from the second session that could have turned it for them and, probably, kept them up on Saturday night!

John and Elizabeth are not a regular partnership but are multiple winners at the club over the years – both are really strong players and are real students of the game and their technical skills clearly stood them in good stead in an exciting finish.

John credits their strength and attentiveness in defence as the main reason for their success on the night. Congrats to the winners and all the pairs in contention – as I said earlier, this was a high-quality leaderboard, which was good to see.

Before I get to the hand, a reminder that tomorrow will see another Social Bridge afternoon at the club between 3pm and 5pm – these sessions are open to all, experts and beginners alike, and are designed to ignite, or reignite, interest in the game and hopefully lead to some of the attendees joining the regular games at the club. Make a note and show up!

Today’s hand (see Figure 1) is, again, about thinking before you play to the first trick and making a clear plan on how to succeed – and that means looking for the dangers ahead as the defence tries to beat you. Declarer was clearly not a regular reader of this column and made a reflex play that cost him dearly!

Figure 1

South opened one heart and over North’s one spade bid rebid 1NT. North now made a reasonable raise to the no-trump game because he placed greater weight than the face value of his major suit holdings: the ten of spades and the Queen in partner’s suit were positives.

West led the four of diamonds. Declarer placed the diamonds as 4-4 since he could see both the two and the three of diamonds and the opponents were playing fourth best leads.

As a result, he would usually have time to knock out both the major-suit Aces. Alas, even though he had this information, declarer played a low diamond from dummy at trick one and the contract could no longer be made!

Whether or not he held up the Ace of diamonds on the first round, declarer had lost the only certain entry to his hearts. Declarer won the first diamond with the Ace and played on hearts, East winning the second round.

The diamond suit was cleared and declarer led dummy’s Queen of spades, which was allowed to win. He then tried a spade to the King, hoping to reach his heart winners.

West produced the spade Ace and cashed two diamonds before exiting with a spade to dummy’s Jack. After taking one more spade trick, declarer had to play away from the Ace of clubs and lost two club tricks for down two.

The error came at trick one: declarer should have won the first trick with dummy’s King of diamonds to preserve a sure entry to hand and the heart suit when established.

East will take his Ace of hearts on the second round of the suit and play a diamond to declarer’s Ace. After running the hearts, declarer plays on spades. West will take his Ace of spades and cash two diamond winners but declarer will have nine tricks – contract made!

So again, think, think, think at trick one!

David Ezekiel can be contacted at davidezekiel999@gmail.com


Friday, May 10


1. Charles Hall-Molly Taussig

2. Lorna Anderson-Joyce Pearson


1. Sancia Garrison-Jane Smith

2. Betsy Baillie-Judy Kitson

Saturday, May 11

Mixed Pairs Championship


1. Elizabeth McKee-John Burville

2. Margaret Way-Miodrag Novakovic


1= Claude Guay-Sharon Shanahan

1= Lisa Ferrari-Tim Mardon

Monday, May 13


1. John Burville-Margaret Way

2. Peter Donnellan-Lynanne Bolton

3. Sheena Rayner-Magda Farag


1. Charles Hall-Scott Rappard

2. Gertrude Barker-Jane Smith

3. Caroline Svensen-Jane Clipper

Tuesday, May 14

1. Benjamin Stone-Desiree Woods

2. Joanne Edwards-Marion Ezedinma

3. Jean Schilling-Keri McKittrick

Wednesday, May 15

1. Stephen Cosham-Margaret Way

2. Charles Hall-Tony Saunders

3. Judith Bussell-Ruby Douglas

Thursday, May 16

1. Gertrude Barker-Erika Jones

2. Miodrag Novakovic-Charles Hall

3. Delton Outerbridge David Petty

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Published May 18, 2024 at 7:54 am (Updated May 18, 2024 at 7:38 am)

Burville and McKee win Mixed Pairs title

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