Great play from 13-year-old medallist!
Something a bit different this week, as I think you might enjoy this bridge story as much as I did when I read that the 2021 Norwegian Pairs Championships produced a sensational result when 13-year-old Nicolai Heiberg-Evenstad, partnered by his father Stian, captured the silver medal. The youngest person ever to win a medal in an open Norwegian bridge championship may even be one of the youngest worldwide.
Nicolai started with chess at the age of 6 and, in his first year at school, he became the school champion in a competition where pupils up to the age of 16, as well as a few teachers, participated. At the age of 8 he was introduced to bridge and, like many other converts, he has been passionately dedicated to the game ever since.
Despite being just in his early teens, he can already look back on a remarkable career – he was selected for the national Under-16 team at 11, he earned a Nordic title in 2019 and became an online world champion in 2020. At 11, he also became the youngest ever to win a gold-point tournament in Norway
Here is Nicolai in action at the tournament – he was sitting South and his father was North (see Figure 1).
West led a club.
I know how this hand would be played by most – ruff the club, draw trumps and go for the diamond finesse by playing the opening bidder for the Queen – one down!
Nicolai, however, was never in doubt: he ruffed the club, played a trump to the King, ruffed another club, cashed the Ace of hearts, led a heart to the ten and ruffed dummy‘s last club.
This was now the position (see Figure 2).
Nicolai now played a spade to the eight and East‘s nine. The opponents could cash two more spades but had to present the 13-year-old declarer with his tenth trick either by leading a diamond or by providing a ruff and discard.
A perfect strip and endplay technique which would be second nature to a seasoned expert but remarkable in someone so young. Again, as so often in bridge, you have to give in order to receive – it is clear that declarer had three spade losers, so by giving those tricks to the defence they are eventually left in a position where they have to help.
Great play by the youngster!
BRIDGE CLUB RESULTS
Friday, December 3
1. Aida Bostelmann – Heather Woolf
2/3 Judy Bussell – Dorry Lusher
2/3 Julia Beach – Magda Farag
Monday, December 6
1. Charles Hall – George Correia
2. Martha Ferguson – Peter Donnellan
3. Molly Taussig – Magda Farag
1. John Rayner – Joe Wakefield
2. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith
3. Judy Bussell – Dorry Lusher
Tuesday, December 7
1. Ricard Keane – Nick Jones
2. Janice Bucci – Angela McKittrick
3. Marion Silver – Duncan Silver
Wednesday, December 8
1. Molly Taussig – Tony Saunders
2. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray
3. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith
Thursday, December 9
1. Inger Mesna – John Rayner
2. Marge Way – Charles Hall
3. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray
1. Rachael Gosling – John Glynn
2. Richard Hall – Tim Mardon
3. David Petty – Nick Jones
Non-Bridge Club Online Results
December 5: Marge Way and Stephanie Kyme – 3rd out of 246 pairs