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A legendary partnership in play

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David Ezekiel, Bridge

I would like to open the column by congratulating Lorna Anderson for reaching the coveted Life Master status this week, and she joins Ellen Davidson and Jim Leitch in attaining that level in 2020 — many, many congratulations to all three players.

Getting to Life Master is the goal of every aspiring bridge player, and it is especially hard for Bermuda players who have less opportunities to play in Red and Gold point events which form part of the requirement, which makes this even more special.

I've known Lorna from before she entered our wonderful world of bridge, and had no doubt that she would get to LM level in good time given her talent and application — well done again to Ellen, Jim and Lorna, and I hope their achievement motivates others to keep hunting for those elusive and hard- earned gold points.

Today's hand features the legendary detective Holmes in partnership with his sidekick Dr Watson.

By way of background — Dr Watson was getting his head handed to him at the club game by the obnoxious Harry Skurry and his partner Betty Castle, and one evening Holmes noted his distracted manner at dinner and enquired. Watson told the story and the fact that Skurry, after beating him again, had loudly announced at the club that he would offer Watson a 44 Board match for 100 pounds to the winner.

While talking it through Watson suddenly turned to Holmes and said: “Why don't you partner me in the match?” Holmes looked incredulous: “But I don't know how to play the game,” he sneered, but Watson was ready — “Holmes, you will be a natural — with your intellect, powers of deduction, ability to read people and your powerful presence, the game is made for you.”

Even Holmes was not impervious to such flattery and very soon the challenge was issued and accepted at the Grosvenor Square Club, and Skurry was delighted to know that Watson's partner was a novice. Holmes then spent the next few weeks immersing himself in the game and finally they sat down to play.

The first four Boards were uneventful and here was Board 5 with Holmes sitting South.

Graphic 1

Holmes opened the South hand one Spade, Skurry passed as West and Watson made a full raise to four Spades, mainly to stop Mrs Castle making a bid, and that became to final contract.

Skurry led the Queen of Diamonds and things did not look good, with two Spade losers together with a Diamond and a Heart loser. Holmes, however, had read a future edition of The Royal Gazette bridge column that said “When things look desperate, play for the one distribution of the opposing hands that will allow you to make” — and he set about that plan.

Winning the Diamond Ace he then played three rounds of Clubs pitching a Diamond, and when both opponents followed this was the position.

Graphic 2

Now Holmes played the fourth Club and, with a flourish, threw his last Diamond even before the opponents had played! As you can see, the opponents are stuck — if they ruff high, one of the Spade losers goes away, and if it is left for Skurry to ruff with the Spade 6 the two Spade honours crash when Spades are played and the defence cannot get more than three tricks.

And yes, Holmes did light up his pipe and proclaim to his partner “Elementary, my dear Watson!”

Holmes and Watson went on to build an insurmountable lead and by the time Board 44 came the match was well over — in a moment of rare humour, Skurry congratulated the winners and said “We may have lost the match, but unlike most of those who lose to Holmes and Watson, we will not be going to jail”.

Results

Friday, September 18

1, Joyce Pearson-Lorna Anderson

2, Aida Bostelman-George Correia

3, Gertie Barker-Martha Ferguson

Monday, September 21

North/South

1, Magda Farag-Sheena Rayner

2, Richard-Wendy Gray

3, Elaine Stevens-Ian Hilton

East/West

1, Ed Betteto-Sancia Garrison

2, Alan Douglas-Jack Rhind

3, Gertie Barker-Jane Smith

Tuesday, September 22

1, Joanne-Mike Dawson

2, Marion-Duncan Silver

3= Malcolm Moseley-Mark Stevens

3= Louise Payne-Katyna Rabain

Wednesday, September 23

North/South

1, Gertie Barker-Jane Smith

2, Sheena Rayner-Magda Farag

East/West

1, George Correia-Joyce Pearson

2, Peter Donnellan-Lynanne Bolton

Thursday, September 24

1, Margie Way-Charles Hall

2, Gina Graham-Felicity Lunn

3, Betsy Baillie-Joyce Pearson

Graphic 1
Graphic 2

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Published September 26, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated September 26, 2020 at 1:58 pm)

A legendary partnership in play

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