Brush up your bridge playing with John Wilmott, from Keswick Bridge Club.
It is difficult to underestimate the impact of Andrew Robson’s arrival on the London bridge scene in the 1980s. The countries best players were lining up to play with him, he was barely out of his teens, he picked Tony Forrester, who else, to form one of the strongest partnerships this country has fielded. When he was playing with the great Zia, I asked Mr Mahmood, if he thought they were the strongest partnership in the world, they were winning all the imp pairs tournaments in a remorseful fashion. He answered, ‘absolutely not’, he then paused and said, ‘I’m not sure, maybe’.
He collaborated with Oliver Segal to write what many consider the finest book on bidding, ‘The Partnership Game: The Contested Auction’. If you haven’t read it, you should. I may write about his brilliant card play another time. In the 2017 Transnational teams playoff, on the final board, he produced the greatest single bid I have ever witnessed. Let me give you the vantage of Robson’s hand:
He opened, playing a strong no-trump
1NT 2♥ transfer to spades
3♠ 4 card fit and a minimum
4♦ Cue 4NT RKCB
5♥ 2 Key cards
6♣, We have all the key cards, grand slam try in clubs
Robson surmised that his partner possessed a second-round control in hearts, either a singleton or Kx. Over to you dear reader, what would you bid now? 6♠ is conservative and will probably make, 7♠ has that pesky loser in clubs and 7NT offers even less chance, assuming partner has a singleton heart.
Robson tabled the 7♦ bidding card, I was watching proceedings on viewgraph at the time, thinking what a pity they had bid the grand slam, Versace and Lauria had bid 7♠ in the closed room, failing by just one trick. It seemed a pity that they had were going to be denied a swing because they too had pushed the boat out. The redoubtable David Gold thought for a while and then passed and tabled his hand.
As you can see declarer’s losing heart is ruffed in dummy and the losing club is discarded on dummy’s fifth spade. Dear reader, it pains to me to say, that I have seen this bidding, but as long as I play this game I will never reproduce such a sequence. That is probably as a good a definition of genius one will find.
Here is Andrew’s thoughts on the bidding sequence from the web site, Bridgewinners.com, (you should join, if you want to keep up with the latest developments in the game):
“I knew David held ♠KQxxx and, from hid 4♣ bid and subsequent interest in third round control (6♣) ♣AKxx, I knew little of his diamonds other than the ace but he presumably had a heart control (with two small cards, he’d likely bid 5♠ over my 4♦). So he has either ♠KQxxx ♥Kx ♦Ax ♣AKxx, in which case he can bid 7NT over Seven Diamonds, knowing there are four diamond tricks; or his actual hand (which I thought more likely) in which case we get the precious ruff in the short hand. He could conceivably have ♠KQxxx ♥x ♦Ax ♣AKxxx but even then Seven Diamonds has good chances (especially on a non-spade lead), and much better than Seven Spades / Notrumps.
It’s very rare that both players know their partner’s hand before a card is played – here we both knew. Well passed David, you were a dream partner all week.”