Bridge Fiction by David Bird
John Hutson’s Clever Play
THE DAY of the historic first match West North East South the dummy, East followed with the queen.
against Channing girls school had arrived. Jane Neil Charlotte John Hutson was about to ruff in his hand
The encounter would be a modest affair, Forrest Phillips Smythe Hutson when an interesting thought occurred to
with each team fielding one pair who were 1™ 2® him. Perhaps he should throw another
over 16 years old and one who were under 4™ 4´ Dble 5® diamond instead! If the spades were 3-3,
16. The Cholmeley team was headed by All Pass he would still make eleven tricks. If East
Harry Walsh-Atkins and Charles Bucknell, had started with four spades and held the
two black-jacketed prefects from the sixth Jane Forrest led a heart to her partner’s ace king of diamonds as part of her opening
form. Their somewhat nervous younger and a trump was returned. John Hutson, bid, she would surely be stuck for an exit
team-mates were Neil Phillips and John who was as unfamiliar as his partner with card!
Hutson. the company of attractive girls, struggled Hutson pushed the trump back into his
The Matron had insisted on a team to maintain his concentration. He won hand and discarded a low diamond.
inspection before the girls arrived. ‘You all with the ace of trumps and drew a second Charlotte Smythe did not like the look of
look very smart,’ she observed, as she round of the suit. Right, the eight of this at all. How could such a small boy find
walked along the line. She paused when trumps was an entry to dummy. If spades a clever play like that? Declarer surely held
she came to Neil Phillips. ‘Tighten your tie broke 3-3, which was not very likely after the ace of diamonds, so a diamond return
a little bit, will you?’ she said. ‘You don’t East’s earlier double, he would be able to from the king would cost a trick. If she
want to let the team down on an impor- set up the suit with a ruff. He could then played the jack of spades instead, the boy
tant occasion like this.’ return to dummy to discard all his would ruff and dummy’s last two spades
The first set saw the Cholmeley fourth- diamond losers. would be set up for diamond discards. It
formers facing the Channing sixth- Both defenders followed to the ace and seemed that her only chance was to find
formers. king of spades, declarer throwing a declarer with another heart.
‘Well, this is exciting,’ said the slim, diamond. These cards were still to be When East exited with the queen of
golden-haired West player. ‘I’m Jane and played: hearts, John Hutson faced his remaining
my partner is Charlotte.’ cards. ‘I can throw my last diamond loser
Neil Phillips, whose only sibling was a and ruff in the dummy,’ he said.
younger brother, felt his cheeks redden. ´ 10 8 7 2 Charlotte Smythe looked across at her
‘I’m Phillips and he’s Hutson,’ he replied. ™ — partner. ‘It works better if you lead the
‘Very formal!’ Jane Forrest exclaimed. t Q73 king of hearts, to look at the dummy,’ she
‘Don’t you boys have first names?’ ® 8 said. ‘If you do that, you can switch to the
‘I’m Neil and he’s John,’ came the reply. ´ — ´ QJ jack of diamonds at trick two.’
‘We don’t normally use first names at ™ K 10 7 4 2 N ™ QJ9 Jane Forrest turned towards the young
school.’ t J 10 5 S t K96 declarer. ‘Does that defence beat it?’ she
® — ® — asked.
´ — John Hutson had not been following the
Love All. Dealer East. ™ — girls’ conversation. He had been enjoying
´ A K 10 8 7 2 t A84 the moment as he entered an outsized
™ 6 ® QJ732 ‘400’ in the plus column of his scorecard.
t Q73 Conquering his shyness, he looked the
® 854 glamorous West player in the eye. ‘I think
´ 96 ´ QJ53 When a third round of spades was led from so,’ he replied. r
™ K 10 7 5 4 2 N ™ AQJ98
t J 10 5 S t K96
® 10 9 ® 6
® AKQJ732 Free trial & Special subscription rates for EBU members
www.ebu.co.uk December 2012 English Bridge 9