24 English Bridge October 2019 www.ebu.co.uk
The Double Agent
Bridge with a Twist by Simon Cochemé
he EBU's initiative to have bridge taught in
schools is bearing fruit. The Aylesbury
Academy for the Moderately Gifted (known
as Aylesbury College until renamed under a recent
government edict) has just finished its first year of
bridge lessons, and I was invited to give a talk.
The form teacher, Ms Hothouse, met me at the
metal scanner and took me to the classroom where
a dozen or so teenagers were assembled.
'Let's start with a problem,' I said, writing two
hands and a bidding sequence up on the board.
'So play the two to tell partner you don't have the
king,' said Andy, the only boy with his shirt tucked
in and his tie on properly. 'And he'll play a club.'
'I agree with Andy,' said Sarah. 'But for a different
reason. The two is a low card and it says you want a
low suit - a club.'
'If you play the two, partner might think you are
showing an odd number and play another heart,'
said David, joining in.
'I know,' exclaimed Neil, 'So you play the four!
That shows an even number and it's a low card.'
'Nah, the four's too small,' said Paul. 'If you want
partner to know you have six hearts and get him to
return a club, you must play the six!'
'No, Paul,' said Heather, who was in the back row
with Jeremy. 'Don't you remember that lesson
about a defensive card denying the card below? If
you play the six it denies the five. Play the five.'
'Well, we've heard arguments for nearly every
card,' I summarised. 'It seems to depend on whether
you are playing length, attitude or suit preference
signals. And whether you and your partner are on
the same wave-length.'
'What's the answer?' they all chorused. 'There
must be an answer.'
'What about the king?' asked Frances, who hadn't
said anything so far.
'Why do you say that?' I asked.
'Well, it's the only card that hasn't been
mentioned,' she said, to good-natured jeers from
'Hey, that's not such a bad idea,' said one of the
other Davids. 'Your partner will know that you
don't want a heart because the queen's in dummy
'Yeah,' said Jeremy excitedly. '... and, like, playing a
spade or a diamond would, like, be silly, so he'd
have to play a club. Totes amaze!'
'You are West and you bid an unusual 2NT to
show a distributional hand with the red suits,' I
explained, 'and your partner carries the bidding up
to the five level. You lead the ®9. Your partner wins
with the ace and South drops the jack. Now your
partner plays the ™A and declarer follows with the
eight. Which card should you play?'
'The ten, innit, to say you like the suit 'cos, like,
you've got the king.' said Jeremy.
'But you don't want him to play another heart,'
said Robin, one of the swots sitting at the front.
'Partner obviously has four of them and it will be
N/S Game. Dealer North.
´ 5 4
™ Q 3
t A J 3
® K Q 10 8 6 2
™ K 10 6 5 4 2
t K 10 7 6 4
West North East South
1® Pass 1´
2NT Pass 4™ 4´
Pass Pass 5™ 5´