king of diamonds onside. After the
Matron's spade queen lead, placing the
king with East, it seemed that she was
favourite to hold the diamond king.
'No need to spend ages planning some
clever play,' muttered the Matron. 'Just
play the hand normally, like I would.'
Bertie Bellis turned his mind to the
prospects in 5t. Suppose he won the
spade lead, ruffed a spade, returned to the
king of hearts and ruffed another spade.
He would have to force himself with a club
to reach his hand. After playing the ace
and queen of trumps, the defenders would
win and force him again. He would then
lose control if trumps were 4-2. What
could be done?
The maths master soon spotted the
solution. He called for dummy's four of
spades and contributed the two from his
hand! When the Matron continued with
another spade, he ruffed in the dummy
and played a trump to the queen. The
contract could not be beaten after this
start. The Matron won with the king of
trumps and persisted with a third round
of spades. She could not believe it when
declarer produced the ace of spades. He
drew trumps and proceeded to claim the
contract, throwing his last spade on the
fourth round of hearts.
The Matron sat back in her chair,
looking somewhat dazed. Why on earth
had Bertie given her a spade trick? He
could simply have won the first trick and
ruffed some spades in dummy. Was he
losing his touch or just being nice to her?
It was certainly a very welcome departure
from his usual efforts.
'Excellent play, Bertie!' exclaimed Percy
Cutforth. 'If you win the first spade you go
down.' He paused to inspect the travelling
score-sheet. 'No-one else has made game.
Some of them tried 3NT, but that's always
down on a spade lead.'
Bertie Bellis nodded. 'It's not every day
that you play a minor-suit game in a 5-2
fit,' he said. 'Particularly at match-points.'
'It just shows was a silly game bridge is,'
declared the Matron. 'We end up with a
complete bottom and there was absolutely
nothing we could do about it. That
wouldn't happen at chess or Monopoly or
any other game.'
Stefan Götel leaned forward. 'I'm not
saying you could find it, Matron,' he said,
'but a trump lead beats the contract, I
think. Bertie can't duck a spade then
because you could play another trump
and prevent a spade ruff.'
'Lead a trump from the king when I
have a sequence of spade honours?' gasped
the Matron. 'Making wild leads may be
acceptable on the Continent. Here in
England, we do things differently!'
Bertie Bellis smiled at the Matron.
'Everyone would lead a spade from your
hand,' he consoled her. 'Come on, let's play
the next one. I tell you what. I promise I
won't do anything clever.'
It's a bit late for that, thought the
Matron, as she thumbed through her
cards for the next board. Still, you never
know. Perhaps, with a bit of luck, it might
be her turn to do something brilliant.
There was no law against it! r
August 2014 English Bridge
by David Bird
Bertie Bellis's Promise
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THE Matron eyed Bertie Bellis severely as
he took his seat at her table. 'Do you make
your clever plays against everyone or just
against us?' she demanded.
The senior maths master laughed. 'I
wasn't very clever last week,' he replied.
'We finished in third place. Young Hutson
and Phillips were almost two tops ahead
'Yes, a good effort by the fourthformers,'
observed Percy Cutforth. 'They
don't shine very brightly in my physics
lessons, I must say.'
'Well, perhaps just for once you can play
normal bridge against us,' persisted the
Matron. 'I mean it, Bertie. It would make a
The players drew their cards for the first
board of the round:
N/S Game. Dealer South.
™ A Q J 6
t 7 5
® A 8 7 6 5 2
´ Q J 10 9 5 ´ K 8 3
™ 9 2 ™ 10 7 4 3
t K 9 6 3 t 4 2
® K 10 ® Q J 9 3
´ A 7 6 2
™ K 8 5
t A Q J 10 8
West North East South
The Percy Stefan Bertie
Matron Cutforth Götel Bellis
1´ 2® 2´ 3t
Pass 4t Pass 5t
The Matron led the queen of spades and
down went the dummy. Bertie Bellis
studied his combined assets. How would
3NT have fared? There were only seven
tricks on top, so he would have needed the
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