BRIDGE

Deccan Chronicle - - Leisure - | Goren

The Nor­we­gian Bridge Press As­so­ci­a­tion’s an­nual prize for the best-played hand was a par­tic­u­larly hard-fought con­test in 2018. Boye Bro­ge­land and Geo Tislevoll (both Nor­we­gian al­though Tislevoll now lives and plays in New Zealand) had al­ready won the In­ter­na­tional Best Played and Best De­fended ti­tles, which made it likely that one of them would take their na­tional hon­our as well. How­ever, into the mix was thrown Tom Jo­hansen, whose ge­nius declar­ing a partscore in the fi­nal of Nor­way’s most pres­ti­gious knock­out tour­na­ment gave him the ti­tle. The hand he played was stone-cold off on top and yet Tom found a way of dis­guis­ing and cam­ou­flag­ing his cards so imag­i­na­tively that the opps had no idea they were let­ting the con­tract through not once, but sev­eral times. Don’t for­get that this was the fi­nal of the tour­na­ment. The de­fend­ers were a very strong part­ner­ship, not a pair of bun­nies wait­ing to be well and truly bashed.

West led ♦5 (3rd and 5th) and de­clarer won with the Queen in dummy and counted five ‘in­escapable’ losers. His only chance was a de­cep­tive play — or two — and watch what hap­pened. His first ‘coup’ was to cam­ou­flage his King/Queen of spades; he called for the ♠3 on which East played the ♠4 and Tom put in the ♠6 al­low­ing West to take the trick with his 7 and con­tinue with an­other di­a­mond. Now the ma­gi­cian played a sneaky ♣7, and West, not see­ing what lay ahead, ducked. Tom ad­vanced the ♠K from hand, cov­ered and ruffed in dummy, es­tab­lish­ing his ♠Q. He crossed back to hand with a high di­a­mond, cashed the ♠Q and played the sec­ond round of clubs to­wards dummy. Con­tract made and Best De­clared Hand awarded.

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