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By In 1st IMSA World Masters Championships On 14th May 2019

On the journey to Henshui I finished reading Dan Brown’s latest book Origin, featuring the adventures of Professor Robert Langdon. The plot features artificial intelligence and that was referenced at the spectacular Opening Ceremony when Alpha Zero, the brilliant Go and Chess playing programme was mentioned. It might only be a matter of time before Alpha Zero masters Bridge.
Origin also features a character named Winston (in honour of Sir Winston Churchill) and at one point, this famous quotation is included:
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
Not a bad one for a bridge player to be aware of!

Early on in the match between England and China both declarers faced a tricky play problem:

West led the Picche2 and declarer won with dummy’s queen, East following with the six. A heart to the jack saw West win and return the Cuori4. A suspicious declarer might put in dummy’s nine, but here dummy’s king took the trick and declarer continued with a club to the jack and a club to the king and ace. When East returned the Picche10 West won with the ace and exited with a spade to leave these cards:

Declarer played a diamond to the king and then cashed the ]Q and the FioriJ. When neither missing ten put in an appearance, she was one down.
The winning line is to cash the {A and then play a diamond to the king. West cannot afford to part with a heart or a club, so must discard the Picche7. Then declarer can play either hearts or clubs from the top, endplaying West.

About the Author

Mark Horton
Mark Horton

Mark Horton British journalist and expert player, was Editor of Bridge Magazine 1995-2017 and now edits the online publication Bridgerama+. At one time, his business cards were inscribed: Have Cards will Travel, but following the death of his most famous sponsor, the Rabbi Leonard Helman, he has tended to concentrate on his writing exploits (in 2018 he had five books published!). Anyone wanting to discover how to lose at bridge on a regular basis (and pay for the privilege) should feel free to contact him. He currently lives in Shrewsbury with his wife Liz.