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

I WENT to watch the annual Lords versus

Commons Bridge match, played at the Palace of

Westminster. I was met by the director, Rodney

Black, who took me through to the Great Hall. The

players were already gathering, and there was a fine

log fire in the grate.

'The match started in 1876,' he told me, 'when

Disraeli became the Earl of Beaconsfield and moved

to the House of Lords. He and Gladstone wanted to

preserve their rivalry, so they started an annual

whist match. There is a lot of cross-over between

bridge and politics,' he went on. 'Palmerston was the

first Prime Minister to use the word reshuffle. We

call a game-forcing bid a three-line whip and we've

incorporated the concept of the transferable bid

into our proportional representation proposals. The

Commons have Bob Blackman and John Redwood

playing for them; a formidable pair, known as

Black-wood.' He then excused himself, 'I must get

ready and collect my staff.'

He returned a few minutes later, dressed as his

alter ego, in an 18th century jacket and britches.

He rapped his staff on the floor. The players

drew out their cards for the first board and

paused expectantly.

'Order, order!' cried Black Rod, and they sorted

their hands. It was a busy afternoon for Black Rod;

despite public outcry and frequent parliamentary

inquiries, there were many faulty claims.

The deal to the right was an early board where the

Lords pair were sitting North-South:

West North East South

LotO Lord T SSD Earl C

1´ Pass 4™

All Pass

West, hopeful that South's 4™ bid might have been a

splinter, asked Lord Trumpingham what he

understood by the bid. The noble Lord,

who probably thought that a splinter was a

breakaway faction of a terrorist group, gave a noncommittal

shrug.

'You're obliged to tell me,' insisted West, 'It's my

right under the EBU's Freedom of Information Act.'

'I think it's a Lords-a-Leaping bid,' replied a

reluctant North, looking at his hand. 'Like in

the carol. Ten Lords-a-Leaping: he's contracting for

ten tricks.'

West - the Leader of the Opposition - led the ®K.

Earl Chiltern, the declarer, won and played a top

trump. East - the Secretary of State for Defence -

took the trick and exited with the ´J to dummy.

Declarer had no safe way back to his hand to draw

trumps. He tried playing a club, but West won and

Westminster Bridge by Simon Cochemé

Bridge with a Twist

Bridge with a Twist

click

link

V

The House

of

Lords

Game All. Dealer North.

´ A K Q 10 6 2

™ -

t K 10 5 3

® 10 5 2

´ 9 7 5 4 ´ J

™ 6 5 ™ A 7 4 3

t A 8 2 t Q J 7 4

® K Q 6 3 ® J 9 8 7

´ 8 3

™ K Q J 10 9 8 2

t 9 6

® A 4

N

W E

S

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