Tony Forrester

John Huston’s “The Man Who Would Be King” is swashbuckling adventure, pure and simple, from the hand of a master. It’s unabashed and thrilling and fun. The movie invites comparison with the great action films like “Gunga Din” and “Mutiny on the Bounty,” and with Huston’s own classic “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”: We get strong characterizations, we get excitement, we even get to laugh every once in a while.
Huston’s casting of Michael Caine and Sean Connery is exactly right.
They work together so well, they interact so easily and with such camaraderie, that watching them is a pleasure.
The movie proceeds with impossible coincidences, untold riches, romances and betrayals, heroic last words and – best of all – some genuinely witty scenes between Connery and Caine, and when it’s over we haven’t learned a single thing worth knowing and there’s not even a moral, to speak of, but we’ve had fun.

Success at bridge requires a perfect partnership and when you are following a match you may experience many different emotions. You may not learn anything of value but if the deals are exciting you may sometimes have a lot of fun.
Join me now as we take a look at the second and third sessions of one of the Bermuda Bowl semifinals.

Poland led 41-25 and immediately increased their advantage:

When East rejected 1NT in favour of 2{ the auction was out of control. With his hearts perfectly poised North did not hesitate to pull the trigger.
South led the six of spades and declarer won with dummy’s jack, played a diamond to the ace and a diamond to the ten. After cashing his winners declarer was out of ammunition, two down, -300.

Forrester could not respond 1 as it would have been a transfer to hearts and bidding 2 would have promised a game forcing hand with five diamonds.
No doubt readers of The Times (where Andrew Robson writes a daily column on bridge) will soon be enlightened as to the rationale behind his rebid.

East led the jack of hearts and declarer won with the queen and played the seven of spades, West winning with the ten and switching to the nine of clubs for the ten, jack and king. Declarer played a heart to the ten and exited with a spade, West taking the queen and returning the king, East winning with the ace and exiting with a club. Declarer won in hand and played a diamond and East went up with the ace and played another club. Declarer won in hand and played the established spade, ruffed by East and overruffed in dummy. Declarer ruffed adiamond, cashed the ace of hearts and gave up a heart for two down, -300 and 12 IMPs to Poland.

North led the ten of spades and South won with the ace and returned the four, declarer winning with the king as North innocently followed with the six of spades.
Declarer crossed to hand with a diamond and played a heart to the jack. North took the queen and cashed his spades for one down, +50.
Double dummy fans will have spotted that declarer can make 3NT once North has failed to retain the six of spades – after cashing four diamonds and the ace of clubs declarer exits with a spade to endplay North.

South led the king of clubs and declarer won and played a heart to the jack. North ducked that, but declarer continued with three more rounds of the suit and exited with the jack of diamonds. Declarer won with the king, cashed the queen of diamonds and played a spade to the king – that led to ten tricks, +430 and 10 IMPs to Poland who led 70-32.

The old adage of ‘leading fourth best of your longest and strongest’ works here – as long as South wins and switches to a club, but North correctly (in my view) led a club. When declarer put up the jack South withheld his queen and declarer played on hearts, the 3-3 break giving him an overtrick, +630.

North led the seven of spades and declarer won with dummy’s queen and played a heart to the king and a heart to the queen and ace. South switched to the king of diamonds and three rounds of the suit allowed South to score his ten of hearts, but declarer had the rest, +140 but 10 welcome IMPs to England.

Poland took the set 29-23 to lead 70-48.

North led the eight of hearts for the two, four and ace. Declarer played the king of diamonds and North took the ace and switched to the three of clubs. Declarer went up with dummy’s ace, played a heart to the king, cashed the queen of diamonds and ruffed a diamond with the nine of spades. South overuffed, cashed a club and waited for his second trump trick, one down, -100.  

North led the three of hearts and declarer won, unblocked the hearts and played the queen of diamonds. North took the ace and switched to the three of clubs and declarer elected to let it run to his queen after which declarer was in clover. He cashed a diamond pitching a club, crossed to the ace of clubs, cashed the queen of hearts and the ace of spades and played a second spade, claiming +620 and 10 IMPs to Poland.
Having unblocked the hearts, as the cards lie declarer can also get home by rising with the ace of clubs and then pitching a club on the queen of hearts.

I was following the match on BBO, but as is often the case I was momentarily distracted and having seen East open 2NT and West respond 3 I discovered that a power cut had somehow removed the auction.
By the time I discovered this, play had already started in session 4, so there was no way to ask the players. However, Roland Wald had been commentating on the match and as he was also covering it he was able to enlighten me.

South led the nine of spades and, as you might imagine this particular declarer took some time to play the hand, eventually, having ruffed a heart, cashed the top clubs and a top diamond and drawn trumps, taken the diamond finesse for a majestic +2210.

Here declarer ruffed a heart to get up to twelve tricks, +1430 and

South led the jack of hearts and North followed with the nine as declarer won perforce with dummy’s king. The king of clubs took the next trick and declarer, who could hardly imagine that he could score three more tricks in hearts, played a spade to the king followed by the ten of clubs. When South with held his ace declarer claimed his contract without bothering to play off the hearts, +600. (My advice – never claim!)
Charge those points to South, who should surely have taken the ace of clubs and tried the ace of diamonds and a diamond.
Mind you, it would have been impressive if declarer had cashed out after South had ducked the first club – how would North have felt then about his play of the nine of hearts?

East started with three rounds of spades and declarer ruffed and played three rounds of diamonds, pitching a spade from dummy. he had chances of escaping for one down at this point by either playing a diamond or crossing to the ace of clubs and ruffing a club first, but he played a trump and West won with the king and switched to the king of clubs. Declarer took dummy’s ace and played the ten of hearts, but East won and forced declarer with a club, ensuring three down, -150, still 10 IMPs for England.

East led the queen of hearts and declarer won with dummy’s ace and ducked a spade to East’s ten. When the four of spades was returned declarer won with dummy’s ace and went after the diamonds, cashing three winners pitching a heart and then played a fourth diamond, ruffing East’s jack and exited with a spade. The defenders still had a heart and two clubs to come, one down, -50.

If West was trying to show a weak hand when he bid 3 the message was not received by East.

South led the nine of diamonds and North won with the queen and switched to the five of spades, covered by the ten, jack and queen. Declarer cashed the ace of clubs, played a club to the jack, cashed two more clubs ending in dummy and played the king of hearts. South won with the ace and played a diamond and after taking two diamonds North played a spade giving South the last four tricks, four down, -800 and 13 IMPs to England.

By taking the set 40-29 England had closed to within 11 IMPs.