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AUG_08_EB_p09 Simpson_Pau 15/7/08 5:15 pm Page 9

Colin Simpson reports on the Seniors Series

Diary of an England Senior

Friday 20th June: I’m up at 3.30am to West North East South bid. He is flabbergasted when I tell him

drive to Stansted to meet some team- Price Simpson that 4♦ is the correct opening on the hand

mates and fly to Pau for the start of the 1♠ he holds. Of course, I have seen my own

European Championships. Others have Dble 4♥1 Dble 4♠ hand which contains thirteen spades, so I

flown earlier or gone by Eurostar and TGV. Pass Pass 5♣ 5♠ know there has been a glitch in the

The England Seniors’ Team is Chris Dixon, Pass Pass 6♣ Pass duplication – and he must have had all the

Victor Silverstone, Ross Harper, Andrew Pass 6♠ Dble All Pass diamonds!

Thompson, David Price and Colin Simpson 1

Splinter, agreeing spades

with Peter Czerniewski the NPC. Thursday 26th starts with a small loss to the

Our hotel is very convenient for the surprise leaders, Belgium, but wins against

playing venue; however, it is also very Israel and Germany keep us in contention.

basic, hot and noisy. The rest of the day

consists of some practice and the long- Friday 27th: the final day of reckoning has

winded opening ceremony, followed by a arrived and three good wins may see us gain

team dinner. a medal. We beat Austria, but only draw

The next two days see five consecutive against Scotland, so we require a win in the

wins against the hosts France, Switzerland, final round against Finland to guarantee a

Spain, Wales and Denmark. Although the place in the world championships. Despite

margins of victory might have been better mistakes by your columnist, we are still

in some cases, nevertheless, we are the ahead until the penultimate board where

leaders overnight! our opponents miss a slam and our team-

Photo: Stephen Wood

mates are extremely unlucky to go off on a

Monday 23rd brings us down to earth David Price defensive ruff. Italy have had a big win and

with losses to strong Turkish and Polish have overtaken us by 1 VP for the decisive

teams. Fortunately a maximum win in the David Price reasons that I must have sixth place. Later it transpires that there was

last match of the day against Norway perks excellent distribution in the context of a a scoring mistake and Italy have the same

us up, helped by this deal. My wife has low point count and that diamonds is score as us – but beat us on a split tie having

been teaching me the losing trick count so undoubtedly my second suit. When West won the head-to-head match!

perhaps this influenced my decision to tries to cash the ace of clubs on the

open at favourable vulnerability. opening lead, it is an easy matter to draw Saturday 29th is a day off to lick our

trumps, finesse the doubler for the queen wounds and in the evening attend the

of diamonds and set up a heart discard Prize Giving and the Closing Banquet/

E/W Game. Dealer South. from dummy making an overtrick and a Barbecue. To the victors the spoils and to

♠AK842 big pick-up. the vanquished the thoughts of what

♥3 might have been.

♦ A 10 6 5 Tuesday 24th is a disappointing day with

♣532 losses to Sweden and Italy (more later). Particular thanks must be extended to

♠ 9 ♠53 Peter Czerniewski who took on the role of

♥ K875 N ♥AJ962 Wednesday 25th starts with a good win non-playing captain for the first time and


♦ Q42 S ♦8 against the Netherlands but tails off with played a blinder.

♣ A K 10 8 4 ♣QJ976 only a modest win against Ireland and a

♠ Q J 10 7 6 poor loss to Estonia. The six top placed teams and qualifiers for

♥ Q 10 4 A conundrum from the Irish match: the world championship next year were:

♦KJ973 Desmond Houlihan, West, is the dealer on 1. Turkey 348; 2. Sweden 333; 3. Belgium

♣ Void Board 12. He is on my side of the screen and 327; 4. Poland 325; 5. Netherland 322;

is having problems selecting an opening 6. Italy 314. August 2008 English Bridge 9


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