Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Gavin is giving you instructions, but you are not really listening. Knees bent, facing the wind, a bit nervous, you wait. All of a sudden, Gavin, Noel and Mervin let go of the parachute, the boat pulls you, you soar towards the sky, soon reaching 70 meters of altitude. In front of you, Barbados. Under you, the Caribbean Sea, turquoise fluted with catamarans, sailboats, surfboards and water skiers whose immaculate wakes interweave in total silence.

Sometimes, the boat stops and you stay there, hanging on air. Where is the earth, where is the sky? You don't want to know, you just want to enjoy this exhilaration of flying.

This state of grace you sometimes reach at bridge, when everything is going well, when you don't make mistakes, when good boards are followed by excellent ones. You then climb at a certain altitude, you live on a "high". You don't even talk to your partner, you just want to maintain this altitude.

On the first board, you took a sacrifice in 5♣ doubled and, with a false card, managed to keep it to -500, for 10,5 matchpoints out of 11. On the 2nd board, you locked declarer in dummy and he had to concede down 2 in 3NT for another 10,5.

On Board 9, you have :

Opponents play Precision. In Barbados, everybody plays Precision. Your partner leads the Ace of heart. Dummy:

On the heart Ace, you play the 9, upside-down. Your partner thinks a bit and returns... a club. You ruff and play back a heart. A second club ruff follows. You play back a spade. Partner wins the Ace and gives you a third club ruff for +1100. After 11 boards, midway through the session, you're at 78%.

You don't hear nothing anymore, you see only your 13 cards, you are not warm, you are not cold, you just float with the parasail, you feel like a god.

Board 12:

2♥ shows 2 controls, so 2 Kings, because you have all 4 aces. You hesitate before bidding 2NT (22-24), but you want to protect AQ of diamonds. 4NT is quantitative: 9-10 points, 4333. 5♣ says 0 or 4 aces. 6NT closes the auction but, knowing the club fit (partner has shown 4333), you decide to bid the grand in clubs. Partner corrects to 7NT.

The lead of the diamond Jack shows you have 12 tricks if clubs break 3-3 or if the Queen is well placed. Entries to dummy are scarce and the diamond blockage is annoying.

You win in hand and play the club Ace: the devilish 10 appears on your left. You follow your instincts and cash the diamond Queen before playing a spade to the King.

You need 2 heart tricks, so Heart Queen from dummy (tension, hope, fear, like before the Parasail ride). The queen wins! You soar in the sky. You have to cash the diamond King now because you will never go back to dummy.

All is left now is:

You play a small club from dummy, and you see small to your right.

The boat has stopped, you hear only the wind in the parachute, you are in a second state: since the beginning, you knew you will finesse in clubs. Will the wind die down and precipitate your fall? Or will it push you higher, till your dream of cutting the rope?

A passage from G.G. Marquez' "One Hundred Years of Solitude" comes to your mind:

"Amaranta experienced a mysterious chill in her lace petticoat and tried to hang to the sheets in order not to fall, while Remedios the Beauty was beginning to rise in the air. Ursula, already almost blind, was the only one to keep enough mind to recognize the nature of this wind that nothing could stop, and let the sheets go with this light, seeing Remedios the Beauty waving farewells in the middle of the dazzling flapping of the sheets climbing with her, leaving the world of beetles and dahlias, crossing the regions of the air where it was already four o'clock in the afternoon, to be lost forever with her in the higher spheres where the highest birds of memory could not themselves reach her."

The boat starts again. How much time did you stay there, dreaming? One second? You put the club 8 on the table... RHO plays... not a club. + 2220.

In silence, you put your cards back in the board and the boat takes you to the next table.

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