Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Gidwani Family Trust Defence Of The Year

The winner of the IBPA Awards Gidwani Family Trust Best Defence Of The Year was Michelle Bruner in the Shanghai Venice Cup.  Normally you might think that a defence was a join effort but this very simple but very elegant play was a solo affair.  One of the pieces of advice that is given to declarers is to take your time at trick one since suprisingly often it can be a turning point in the hand.  It is harder for the defenders who may give the show away if they ponder too long.   Sometimes declarer gives you the time and perhaps that happened on this hand.  Here is Michelle’s  hand and the auction and you can decide if you would have done the same.

The Chinese ladies were playing Precision.  England was playing against them in the quarter-finals but were eventually eliminated.  (I know how they felt).  The Chinese were of course playing Precision and the British ladies were silent throughout. 

Both Vulnerable

Liu Yi Qian
Wang Wenfei
1♣ 1◊
2♠ 2NT
3♣ 4♣
5NT 7♣
all pass  


West: Michelle Bruner
♠ J5
♥ K843
◊ A10763
♣ 64

North showed a game forcing two suiter with spades and clubs.  South showed club supporter and 0-7 points.

Rhona Goldenfield led the ♥J.  Michelle saw this dummy.  Dummy played the ♥Q and Michelle ducked this, we assume quite smoothly.

♠ 102
♥ Q6
◊ Q542
♣ Q10985

I believe North thought 5NT was a Grand Slam Force although there appears to have been some sort of misunderstanding.  With that in mind we can assume that she has solid spades, a diamond void, the ♥A and good clubs missing the king.  If she is missing the ♣A and partner chose not to double our play hardly matters.  Assuming she is 5-5 then the ♣K is coming down.  In any case the heart trick is irrelevant.  Perhaps all these thoughts passed quickly through Michelle’s mind.  Liu now is dummy took the club finesse and did indeed lose to the singleton king.  Had Michelle covered she would have had no chose but to play the ♣A and make the contract.

Perhaps Liu might have figured it out, since it meant that Rhona had led a heart from a dangerous holding into a grand slam rather than a trump which might have been more normal.  I think that is a very tough play and if she figured out what was happening and got the clubs right, she might have had a candidate for best played hand.

Here is the entire hand.

  North: Liu Yi Qian  
  ♠ AKQ983  
  ♥ A7  
  ◊ —  
  ♣ AJ732  
West: Michelle Bruner   East: Rhona Goldenfield
♠ J5   ♠ 764
♥ K843   ♥ J10952
◊ A10763   ◊ KJ98
♣ 64 South: Wang Wenfei ♣ K
  ♠ 102  
  ♥ Q6  
  ◊ Q542  
  ♣ Q10985  


The shortlist included:

O’Keefe (journalist Andrew Robson)

Carroll (journalist John Carruthers)

Campanile-Barel (journalist Richard Colker)

Gromoller (journalist Andrew Robson)

Hamman (journalist Donna Compton)

Looking at this list I see that almost all the nominees were single players.  Maybe the truly great moments in defence are solo efforts then.

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