Magazine article The Spectator

Mixed Fortunes

Magazine article The Spectator

Mixed Fortunes

Article excerpt

THE brilliant and caustic bridge player Brian Senior confessed to me recently that he finds Mixed Pairs tournaments the easiest to win because there's such an atmosphere of mistrust between partners. When I asked why this should be, he replied that, firstly, it's because half of them are married, and secondly because every man in the room thinks he's better than every woman.

The result of this mistrust, Brian explained, is that players become nervous of each other and misjudgments creep in -which he, of course, wastes no time in exploiting.

I was reminded of his comments last Sunday when Janet de Botton showed me a hand from the Portland Pairs, the country's biggest mixed pairs event. Janet and her partner Nick Sandqvist had bid a grand slam, which Nick made only because one opponent gave vital information away by doubling - a misjudgment which the other opponent found hard to forgive:

Nick and Janet's bidding sequence was too long and intricate to repeat here. …

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