Magazine article The Spectator

Clued Up

Magazine article The Spectator

Clued Up

Article excerpt

GOOD declarers will always assume the role of a detective when playing - they'll count the hand, look for clues, try to minimise the element of guesswork. Meanwhile, the defender with the critical holding - not the one whodunnit but the one whogottit - will try to play cards which give a false impression of their hand. Those of us superstitious enough to believe in vibes will go further: we will try to give off an innocent aura.

Recently, defending a hand against the England player Sarah Teshome, I found myself willing her to do the wrong thing at a crucial moment. But my attempt at thought-control didn't work: she made the right decision. Deciding to be gracious, I smiled ruefully and said, 'Well guessed'. To my surprise, she gave me a slightly sharp look and announced: 'It wasn't a guess.' In cluttering my head up with all this nonsense about vibes, I hadn't realised I'd left a clue as clear as a perfect fingerprint:

I led a heart to East's [hearts]A and she played back a trump. …

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