The Andrew Robson Bridge Club in Parsons Green deserves its huge success. The standard may not be as high as at some other London clubs, but the atmosphere is always great. It is the place to learn bridge: the staff are friendly and fun; the rooms are large, airy and bright; the daily duplicates are jam-packed, and no one ever calls for the tournament director.
Recently my friend Guy Hart was playing a morning duplicate there. He was in 3NT, and when the woman to his left led a spade, her partner immediately gave her a big thumbs-up. ‘I guess that’s one way of playing attitude signals,’ Guy laughed. ‘Or do you play reverse-attitude: thumbs up means you don’t like the lead, thumbs down you do?’
The club has also become very popular with my immediate family. A couple of years ago, my mother, in her late seventies, had lessons there and is hooked; and a few weeks ago my children, aged nine and ten, did a school-holiday course and loved it. The kids naturally think they now know pretty much all there is to know about the game, and are invincible.
My mother understands there’s a mountain to climb — but is undaunted. It helps that there are so many fantastic teachers at the club.
The other day she showed me this hand which one of them, Nick Boss, helped her with:
The10 was led. There’s a possible loser in each suit, so the hand seemed to depend on a spade finesse. She won with the K and ran the J. Oops — one down. Luckily Nick was watching and pointed out she’d missed an extra chance:
That West had the K. She should win the A, and play A and another diamond. If West wins, a club can be discarded on the Q — and then the spade finesse can be taken for a possible overtrick.