December 2016 English Bridge
West North East South
Neil Percy John Bertie
Phillips Cutforth Hutson Bellis
Pass 2™ Pass 2´
Pass 4´ All Pass
Percy Cutforth's 2™ showed a strong hand
opposite his partner's double and Neil Phillips led
the ™Q against the eventual contract of 4´. John
Hutson overtook with the king and the senior
maths master won with the ace. What now?
Two tricks would have to be lost in hearts, so
declarer needed to lose only one trump trick. The
opening bid placed the ´K with East, so leading
towards the ´Q was no good. What would happen
if he played the ´A and then ducked a spade, hoping
to find East with a doubleton king? On the present
deal that wouldn't work either. East would score two
heart tricks and lead a fourth round for partner to
ruff. Was there any other possibility?
A glint came to the maths master's eye - just as it
did when he spotted an elegant solution to some
problem in a maths scholarship paper. How about
leading the ´9 from dummy? If East had begun
with ´K-8 or ´K-7, he would have no answer. If he
played his spotcard, the safe West hand would win
the trick and East's ´K would fall on the next round.
If instead East were to play the ´K, the defenders
would score only one trump trick.
Bertie Bellis crossed to dummy with the tA.
'Nine of spades, please, Percy,' he said.
The ´8 appeared from East and West won with
the ´10. Bellis won the diamond continuation,
drew the outstanding trumps and claimed the
contract for the loss of one trump and two heart
'Wow, what a play!' exclaimed John Hutson.
'Would you have found it if I hadn't opened the
bidding. I only had 10 points.'
The two masters exchanged a smile. 'Do you
know what?' said Bertie Bellis. 'I'm not sure that I
would have done.'
'I wouldn't normally open on my hand,' Hutson
continued ruefully. 'I thought if I gave you a clear
run in the bidding, we'd get a bad board anyway.'
For the second year in a row the Masters had won
the match, this time by a full 39 IMPs.
'Several excellent boards on your card, Stefan,'
observed the Headmaster, as the players enjoyed a
post-match cup of tea and a slice of chocolate cake.
'You did well.'
'I did make a couple of small slips,' Götel replied.
'It was the Matron, here, who pulled us through.'
The Matron smiled at her younger partner. 'Kind
of you to say so,' she replied. 'Playing in such an
important match, well, it seems to bring out my
competitive spirit!' r
Game. Dealer East.
´ Q 9 5 4
™ 8 6 4 3
t A 4
® A K 9
´ J 10 7 ´ K 8
™ Q ™ K J 10 9 2
t 9 6 5 3 2 t Q J 10 8
® 7 6 4 2 ® 8 3
´ A 6 3 2
™ A 7 5
t K 7
® Q J 10 5
PREMIER GRAND MASTER
DR MALCOLM COPLEY OF YORKSHIRE
on becoming a Premier Grand
Master, the English Bridge
Union's highest rank, requiring
a minimum 1,500 Green Points