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Tony Forrester was the undisputed No. 1 player in the country at the time, but his successful partnership with Raymond Brock was ending. I was determined to become Tony’s partner, and, after some deliberation, he agreed.

A period followed that was the stuff of dreams. In the space of ten days in early January 1990, Tony and I won the two most prestigious invitational events in the Bridge World, the Cap Gemini in The Hague, and the Sunday Times/Macallan in London. Beating heroes such as Italy’s Benito Garrozzo, and USAs Meckstroth-Rodwell, was almost too fantastic to be true.

In the space of two years, I had moved from relative unknown British Junior to world beating Open player. “Who is this Robson?” I was the talk of the town. I remember feeling something of an imposter: how can I be winning all this, when I am barely out of shorts (or the Bridge equivalent)?

What were the secrets of the Forrester-Robson glory days? (1). Tony never made a mistake (although I did). (2). My “flair” bids seemed to work more often than not. (3). We seemed to have the better of the luck.

Take this Cap Gemini deal, perhaps the most fortunate hand I have ever played. Bizarrely, my partner was the genial and talented Dutchman Kees Tammens, substituting for poor Tony who was in his sickbed that day.

South Deals
None Vul
A 7 6
A 10 3
A 8 4 3
K Q 7
J 10 8
Q J 5 2
J 9 7
10 6 5
W   E
9 5 4 2
9 7 6
Q 6
J 9 3 2
K Q 3
K 8 4
K 10 5 2
A 8 4
West North East South
      1 NT1
Pass 6 NT2 Pass Pass
  1. 15-17 with Kees (Tony and I played 14-16.
  2. A tad optimistic, with the barren 4333


Because the two hands, mine and dummy’s, were mirrored, i.e. exactly the same shape, Six Notrumps was a filthy slam, with almost no hope of making. There was one tiny chance: I played for it.

Winning the spade lead, I cashed all my black suit winners, then played ace, king, and a third diamond. West won and, as I had to hope, held no black-suit cards to cash, therefore had to lead a heart. If he held  Q9xx/ J9xx, he could defeat the slam by switching to his honour, and West, Dutch Champion Berry Westra, would certainly have known this textbook position.

When West switched to a low heart, I played for my only chance, rising with the ten and hoping that West held both honours. Phew! The ten won, and I could claim my slam. Lucky boy!

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