Janet de Botton

Bridge | 13 July 2024

Norway triumphed at the 56th European Team Championships held in Herning, Denmark at the end of June, hoovering up the gold medals in both the Open and the Women’s categories. But if you weren’t going to come in the medals, you still had everything to play for: the top eight teams out of 30 qualified

Bridge | 29 June 2024

The breaktime chat among Chess and Backgammon players often centres around the new super computers that could ‘solve’ these games as they play 100 per cent accurately. We humans are light years behind in technical and calculation skills. This will never be a concern for Bridge players; Bridge is a game of inevitable mistakes, and

Bridge | 15 June 2024

How many times have I said ‘You are soo lucky’ to whichever expert opponent had brought in a tricky contract. ‘Every card would be wrong for me.’ Well ofc it would because sometimes you have to work out in which order to take your chances, which involves planning the play from dummy going down until

Bridge | 1 June 2024

Thomas Charlsen and Boye Brogeland continue to delight the teams they invite to their World Bridge Tour (WBT). First-class playing conditions, impeccably run and with huge cash prizes; this time it was held in Bodo, northern Norway, and I had a new (to me) pair playing for my team, Dutch champions Simon de Wijs and

Bridge | 18 May 2024

The Spring Foursomes is the EBU’s flagship tournament and is always held the first weekend in May. Sadly it has had long Covid the past couple of years, but 2024 saw it back to its former glory. Brand-new venue, the DoubleTree Hilton in Bristol, good playing facilities and enough food to go round! Way to

Bridge | 04 May 2024

Whenever we play a team’s tournament, fielded by sponsors, the sponsor (given choice) makes a beeline for me and I understand why. They probably think they will be shark fodder against a very aggressive pair of Internationals and will be swallowed whole. One Sponsor told her teammate to try and arrange for me to play

Bridge | 20 April 2024

‘If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s a duck.’ For Bridge players, the problem is that it doesn’t always look like a duck and it rarely quacks. My regular partner, Artur Mali, says ducking is for experts, and goes puce in the face if

Bridge | 6 April 2024

Easter always zips by if you’re a bridge player and enter the EBU’s Easter Festival. There are four events to choose from and I chose them all. My favourite is the Swiss Teams and we normally do rather well. Not this year unfortunately. In the final match we played Simon Gillis’s team and I rather

Bridge | 23 March 2024

There is an audible buzz in the international bridge world and it centres around a few Scandinavian juniors. The youngest is Norway’s Nicolai Heiberg-Evenstad (obvs known as the Kid), who is 16 now but started playing with his father, Stian Evenstad, aged about seven and was quickly noticed as an outstanding talent. When two or

Bridge | 9 March 2024

A few new sponsors have sprung up lately, which is very exciting for the English bridge scene and means we can send teams to international events that the EBU (and practically every other bridge federation) can’t afford to sponsor. One of the best and most successful is Maggie Knottenbelt who, with her very good team,

Bridge | 24 February 2024

‘I haven’t seen this before,’ began a recent email from my friend and frequent contributor Nick Sandqvist. That meant it would be a bit special, and it certainly was. Double game swings are not as rare as you may think: 4♥ making one way and 4♠ the other – usually with a double attached –

Bridge | 10 February 2024

The Reykjavik Bridge Festival, held annually at the end of January, is one of the great treats of the bridge calendar, and this year it was twice as good: Thomas Charlsen decided to hold his terrific World Bridge Tour (WBT) just preceding it to make it easier for teams who wanted to play both. In

Bridge | 27 January 2024

The London Teams of Four was the first bridge tournament of the new year and was a very close affair. Kevin Castner finally prevailed against the opposition with his team of (partner) Phil King and teammates Sebastian Atisen and Stefano Tommasini – the last newly selected, with his regular partner Ben Norton, to represent England

Bridge | 13 January 2024

The one bridge resolution I made years ago was that if you have a 5-4 fit in a suit, play for the drop (i.e. play for the outstanding cards to be 2-2) unless there is a huge reason not to. The one time I deviated from my resolution was in Hungary, in a very strong

Bridge | 16 December 2023

This is my last column for 2023 and I thought I would give you the highs and lows of my bridge team over the past year. The high was definitely winning the Gold Cup and almost as good was being one of two teams winning the Camrose for England. The low, by a big margin,

Bridge | 2 December 2023

Both TGRs and Young Chelsea run highly successful League matches on alternate Wednesday evenings. Organised impeccably by Gitte Hecht-Johansen, you play 24 boards against the seven other teams in your division, the two teams coming last getting relegated. It is wonderful practice for players who want to test their bidding skills and declarer play in

Bridge | 18 November 2023

I have been bragging incessantly about my team’s success in the Gold Cup. What an extraordinary comeback we made taking 69 imps back in the last eight boards. I may have even mentioned it to the local newsagent. Well – that was then. After three weekends of Premier League not only didn’t we win, we

Bridge | 4 November 2023

If I could play only one international tournament a year it would have to be the World Bridge Tour’s teams event held in mid-October in wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen. Organised impeccably by Thomas Charlsen and Boye Brogeland, two of Norway’s finest players, this was the second time we have played in the city – and it

Bridge | 21 October 2023

When do you concede a match? I was considering it when, after 56 boards, we were a vast 48 IMPs down in our Gold Cup semi-final with eight boards to go. Fortunately my team wouldn’t hear of it and in they went with my battle cry of ‘Believe you can do it’ echoing around the

Bridge | 07 October 2023

The Vilnius Cup – the Grand Prix of Poland – is a highly enjoyable, strong annual tournament, impeccably organised by Erikas Vainikonis. Thirty-two teams played to qualify for the eight-team final which team SUSHI dominated, cruising undefeated through the playoffs to claim the €3,000 prize by a big margin. Congrats to Nathalie Shashou and Nick