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Following in Michael’s Footsteps?

Could they be? Zachary Yan and Vincent He are two students at Macleans College, the school in East Auckland which has had a keen group of Bridge players for around 6/7 years. Several are now members of the Howick Bridge Club.

A few weeks ago, Zachary and Vincent were told they should go along to the Akarana Bridge Club which would help them improve their game. So, with end of year exams out of the way, they have played at this club for the last two weeks of November.

Their fourth ever match at Akarana pitted them against Michael and Vivien Cornell. Michael can relate going along to Akarana, which was then a Sunday evening club, when he was almost as young as Zachary and Vincent are now. He has done pretty well both nationally and internationally in the period since.

Board 23 saw Zachary get to the wheel in a somewhat dubious 4Heart-small contract.

Board 23
South Deals
Both Vul
Q 9 6 4 3
K Q 6 3 2
6 5
J 9 7 5 3
8 7 3 2
W   E
10 8 5 2
J 5 4
A 8 4
A K 10
A 10 9 8
K Q 10 2
Q J 9 4
West North East South
Vivien Zachary Michael Vincent
Pass 1  Pass 2 
Pass 2  Pass 4 
All pass      


Michael started with a top club and switched to a low trump. Zachary won in hand and led his diamond. Michael ducked (thinking declarer was more likely to be short in clubs than diamonds) and Diamond-smallK took the trick. Zachary exited with dummy’s spade with Vivien winning and continuing clubs.

When the Diamond-smallA did not hold up on the second round, Zachary was home though even with a trump exit, he could have succeeded by ruffing two diamonds in his hand, effectively setting up dummy, losing just two clubs and a spade. Zachary was the only declarer to bid and make 4Heart-small.

Vincent He and Zachary Yan 2017 Lionel Wright Trophy 2017.JPG

Vincent and Zachary receive the Lionel Wright Trophy for top NZ Youth pair in New Zealand

Pairs at this year's National Congress from Anisia Shami.

I am sure Michael, who has had many such triumphs himself, would not begrudge this one to his young opponents. Order was restored by the end of the 14 board match with Michael and Vivien winning 40-26, though their young opponents would have enjoyed the 11 imps they won on the above board.

The journey is long and at times hard. Zachary and Vincent are already on their way as they are in the current New Zealand Bridge Youth Squad. I am sure their opponents last night would be the first to wish them well.

Richard Solomon


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