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Young Tigers

Miami 1986 - the World Open Championships. As a raw 22-year old on my first real Bridge adventure, I remember negotiating an incredibly cheap room rate for my partner Glyn Liggins and teammates Claudio Di Lullo and Dave Leigh (where are they now?). I remember playing swimming pool volleyball between sessions, and in the middle of the night (angering the hithertoo kind hotel manager). And I remember playing Bridge. Lots of it.

The opening Teams seemed to go on for ever (indeed it became known as “The Endless Teams”), such that Glyn and I were pretty exhausted by the end (we finished a respectable 43rd). Pairs to follow, and a lack-lustre start saw us near the foot of the table for the first three sessions.

A good final session saw us catapult from 270th to 147th (out of 320), with 151 pairs qualifying for the semifinal. Glyn, still in bed thinking we had no chance to qualify (and, frankly, was looking forward to a rest) was awoken, and we began our charge through the field during the four-session semifinals, being the only British Pair to make the 48-pair final.

I remember the late Jeremy Flint, then correspondent, refer to us in The Times as “The Young Tigers”, and being proud as punch. Our card-play may have been less experienced, but we Tigers survived on close doubles for down one. Plus there were a few youthful liberties, such as this deal, my favourite of the whole two weeks.

South Deals
Both Vul
A Q 9 8
A Q J 10 4 3 2
K Q 10 8 7 6 5
7 5
8 6 5 3
W   E
J 2
K 10 6 3 2
9 8 7
K J 9
A 9 4
J 4
K 6 5
A Q 10 7 2
West North East South
      1 NT1
2 2 6 NT3 Pass Pass
  1. 14-16
  2. No this is not a misprint. Your young
    author psyched Two Hearts, prepared to run
    to spades if doubled.
  3. Upgrading his hand in the light of the
    seemingly well-placed heart honours, and
    choosing the higher-scoring slam
    (Matchpoint scoring).


Not for the faint-hearted (or sane), my psychic Two overcall goaded N-S into Six Notrumps. Out came my surprise attack, the king of spades, and the Swedish declarer, placing me with  K10xxxx (I was vulnerable, after all), reasonably decided to play for
all 13 tricks. He therefore won the ace of spades, then took the “marked” heart finesse, running the jack. You can imagine his horror (actually he was very sporting) when East, Glyn, won the king, and returned a second spade. Six more of those meant down six.

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