Page 0014

14 English Bridge December 2016 www.ebu.co.uk

T

he end-of-term match between the Masters

and the Boys was nearing its conclusion.

Much to the boys' disappointment, the

Matron had played above herself and the Masters

team led by 24 IMPs at half-time.

'We need a few good ones against Gertie and the

Matron,' said John Hutson as they walked across the

room for the penultimate four-board round.

'Hullo, boys,' said the Matron, as they took their

seats. 'Have you enjoyed the match?'

'I suppose so,' Neil Phillips replied. 'It would have

been better if we were winning.'

'That's not the right attitude,' admonished the

Matron. 'When you get older, you'll realise that in all

sports and games it doesn't really matter who wins.'

The two fourth-formers nodded politely. What an

amazing attitude! Trying your best to win was the

very essence of competitive sport.

This was the deal before them:

The boys were happy to see the Matron playing

the contract. Other things being equal, there might

be a useful swing coming their way. Phillips led the

®2 and the Matron won East's ®7 with the king.

Since the contract was a vulnerable game, she

paused to make a plan. The opening lead looked

very much like a singleton. Surely it must be right to

draw trumps before West could get a ruff.

When a trump was played to the king, Hutson

won with the ace and returned the ®Q. The Matron

did not like the look of this. If she tried to win with

the ace, West would ruff. Since there would still be

two club tricks to lose, she would go one down.

Stefan Götel surveyed the scene with his usual

equanimity. By all appearances the Matron was

taking this match quite seriously. She was actually

thinking what to do next, rather than reaching

immediately for some card or other.

The Matron concluded that she was certain to go

down if she played the ®A on this trick. The only

hope was to play low and hope that Hutson

switched to a different suit.

When the Matron's ®4 appeared on the table,

John Hutson blinked in surprise. Was this the

Matron long regarded as a source of tops and IMPs

in the plus column - the one that all the boys had

grown to love during their time at Cholmeley

School? He continued with the ®9 and the Matron

played the ®6 with a resigned air. Neil Phillips

claimed his ruff and switched to the t10. The

Matron won and drew the last trump. With a look

of surprise she noted that only three cards were

pointing in the defenders' direction. Somehow she

had made the contract.

'What a delightful play in clubs, partner!' declared

Stefan Götel. 'It could be a good swing our way.'

In the final round, Hutson and Phillips faced the

Masters' top pair. This was the last board of the

match:

N/S Game. Dealer South.

´ K Q 10 5

™ A 5 4

t J 4

® 10 8 5 3

´ 7 3 ´ A 6

™ Q 10 8 7 2 ™ K J 9 6

t 10 9 7 3 2 t Q 8 6

® 2 ® Q J 9 7

´ J 9 8 4 2

™ 3

t A K 5

® A K 6 4

N

W E

S

The Matron's Inspiration

by David Bird

Bridge Fiction

Bridge Fiction

click

link

West North East South

Neil Stefan John The

Philips Götel Hutson Matron

Pass 3´ Pass 4´

All Pass

Index

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