February 2018 English Bridge
Game All. Dealer East.
´ A 10
t 10 8 7 6 4 3 2
® J 6 2
´ J 9 8 5 3 2 ´ 6 4
™ K 6 ™ A J 10 8 5 4 2
t A t Q J
® Q 10 8 4 ® 9 7
´ K Q 7
™ Q 9 3
t K 9 5
® A K 5 3
West North East South
The Percy Reverend Bertie
Headmaster Cutforth Benson Bellis
Halfway through the evening, the Headmaster
faced Bertie Bellis and Percy Cutforth. 'Very
interesting deals tonight,' Bellis observed.
The Headmaster managed a polite nod. The
senior mathematics master said much the same
thing almost every week. It was well known that
deals became more interesting when you scored
well on them. The players drew their cards for this
The Headmaster led king and another heart,
declarer throwing a club from dummy. Benson won
with the ace of hearts and returned the heart jack.
Bertie Bellis won with the queen of hearts and
surveyed the diamond suit. He would need West to
hold the ace of diamonds, clearly, otherwise he
would suffer a torrent of hearts. He could afford to
lose two diamond tricks, so all would be well if the
Headmaster held the tAQ or tAJ. Perhaps he
could find a tiny extra chance.
At trick four, the maths master crossed to
dummy's ace of spades. 'Small diamond, please,' he
When the jack appeared from East, this was the
lowest diamond out. Bellis played the t5 from his
hand, knowing that West would have to overtake.
The Headmaster won with the ace and returned a
spade, declarer claiming the remaining tricks for
'Interesting deal,' Bellis observed. He turned
towards the Reverend Benson. 'If you play the queen
of diamonds instead of the jack, I might well go
wrong and put on the king. That would be right if
the Headmaster held ace-jack doubleton.'
The Headmaster paused to absorb this
information. 'I was about to make the same point,'
he said. 'The queen of diamonds. That's what we
Bellis said no more but a further point occurred
to him. If the Headmaster had discarded the ace of
diamonds on the third round of hearts, that would
have defeated the contract for sure! r