Page 0010

10 English Bridge February 2016 www.ebu.co.uk

THE Headmaster was always in two minds when

facing Bertie Bellis, the senior mathematics master.

Of course it was an asset to the school that so many

pupils from Maths 6A went to Oxbridge. As far as

the Headmaster was concerned, there was a price to

pay for this. Every Thursday, in the school duplicate,

the chances were that he would have to suffer two

bad boards, playing against Bertie and Percy

Cutforth. Ah well, perhaps this particular evening

would prove an exception.

'Interesting boards tonight,' observed Bertie

Bellis, taking his seat.

The Headmaster managed a brief nod. Interesting

boards? Not that he had noticed. This was the first

board of the round:

West North East South

Head- Percy Rev Bertie

master Cutforth Benson Bellis

3´ 4™

Pass 4NT Pass 5®

Pass 5NT Pass 6®

Pass 7™ All Pass

'How can you bid a grand slam when he shows you

no aces and no kings?' demanded the Reverend

Love All. Dealer East.

´ A 6

™ Q 6 5 3

t A K 8 6 5

® Q 8

´ 8 4 ´ K Q J 10 9 7 3

™ 8 ™ J 10 4

t Q 10 9 3 2 t J 4

® J 10 4 3 2 ® 6

´ 5 2

™ A K 9 7 2

t 7

® A K 9 7 5

Benson. Percy Cutforth turned his unusually thick

lenses in the cleric's direction. Was Charlie

attempting some feeble joke? Perhaps he had never

heard of Roman Key-card Blackwood. 'Bertie

showed me three key-cards and then the king of

clubs,' he replied.

The Reverend Benson shook his head

disapprovingly. 'It takes all the fun out of slam

bidding if you know exactly what partner has,' he

said. 'That sort of thing will ruin the game.'

The 7™ bid was passed out and the Headmaster

led the ´8. Bertie Bellis won with the ´A and drew

two rounds of trumps with the ace and king, West

discarding a spade. The Headmaster was marked

with long holdings in both minors. What would he

discard on the next trump?

When a trump was led to the queen, the

Headmaster could see that he needed to keep his

diamonds to prevent dummy's suit from being

established. He discarded a club. Bertie Bellis played

the ace and king of diamonds, throwing a spade,

and ruffed a diamond in his hand.

If diamonds had broken 4-3, his thirteenth trick

would have come from that suit. The ®Q and a club

ruff would have provided the necessary entries. As it

was, it was a simple matter to play the three top

clubs and establish the thirteenth club with a ruff in

the dummy. The grand slam was made.

'Oh dear, he set up a long club,' exclaimed the

Reverend Benson. 'Unlucky, Headmaster. Your club

discard was very expensive.'

The Headmaster gritted his teeth. Charlie could

be exasperating at times. 'If I throw a diamond, he

sets up that suit instead,' he replied.

'Yes, yes, I'm not saying it was easy for you,'

Benson continued. 'Bertie hadn't bid clubs, I realise.

I probably would have made the same mistake.'

The Headmaster decided to give up the struggle.

Earlier in the day Mr Fairweather, a recent addition

to the maths staff, had been telling him how hard it

was to teach the denser members of class 4D. Trying

to explain bridge situations to Charlie B was much

the same.

A Mixed Blessing by David Bird

Bridge Fiction

Bridge Fiction

click

link

N

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S

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