THE Matron surveyed the Headmaster as he took
his seat. Rumour had it that he had been in a bad
mood all week. It was something to do with school
league tables, apparently. Still, at least he couldn't
blame that on her.
'A good evening to you, Headmaster,' said Stefan
Götel. 'All is going well?'
'You've seen the German A-level results?' asked
the Headmaster. 'Disappointing, to say the least.'
'I'm sure the boys tried their best,' Götel replied.
'Smethers tells me that he had flu during the exams.'
'That's no excuse for a C-grade!' exclaimed the
Headmaster. 'I had him down as Oxbridge material.
What will his parents think? His father and his
grandfather both went to Peterhouse.'
The players drew their cards for this deal:
E/W Game. Dealer: East.
´ Q 5 3
™ 9 6
t Q J 10 4 2
® K Q 2
´ 7 6 ´ A J 10 9 2
™ 8 5 4 3 2 ™ K Q J 10 7
t 9 5 t 8
® 10 8 5 3 ® A 9
´ K 8 4
t A K 7 6 3
® J 7 6 4
West North East South
Rev. The Head- Stefan
Benson Matron master Götel
Pass 3t 3™ 4t
4™ 5t Dble All Pass
The Reverend Benson led the ´7 and the Matron
laid out her dummy. 'I always raise to the three-level
on ten points,' she announced. 'Over their vul ner able
game, the sacrifice could hardly be more
obvious with five-card support.'
Götel nodded his head. 'Play low, please,' he said.
The Headmaster contributed the ´9 and the
German master won with the king. He played the
ace of hearts and crossed to dummy's queen of
trumps to ruff dummy's remaining heart. A trump
to the jack cleared that suit. The Headmaster was
marked with at least 5-5 in the major suits, so there
was an excellent chance of finding him with a
singleton or doubleton ace of clubs. 'Lead the two of
clubs, please,' he requested.
The Headmaster did not like the look of the play
so far. If he played low on this trick, it seemed that
Götel would win with the jack. He would then be
end-played on the second round of clubs, forced to
give a trick to dummy's queen of spades or to
concede a ruff-and-discard. Still, if he went in with
the ace now, to avoid the endplay, Götel might turn
up with ®J-x-x-x and have a spade discard from
dummy on the fourth round.
The Headmaster eventually rose with the ®A and
exited with his remaining club. Götel then faced his
remaining cards. 'I can throw a spade from dummy
on the fourth club and ruff a spade,' he explained.
'That's eleven tricks. Well bid, Matron.'
'Just what we needed!' thundered the Head master.
'What on earth was this 4™ bid, Charlie?
Make the obvious pass and they would have stopped
in a part-score.'
'Sorry, Headmaster, but I thought you'd make
4™,' Benson replied. 'If you held the king of spades
instead of the jack, it would have been cold.'
The Headmaster flapped his right hand,
indicating that the next board should be brought
into position. What a hopeless player Benson was!
No wonder the Latin A-level results had been the
worst for four years. Perhaps some younger blood
was needed in the Classics department.
This was the second board of the round:
8 English Bridge February 2015 www.ebu.co.uk
Stefan Götel's Strange Play by David Bird
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