Page 0008

THE Headmaster took his seat for the weekly

duplicate with no great enthusiasm. The ordained

relationship between him and the boys could be

severely damaged by just one mistake at the bridge

table. News of a 'careless play by the Headmaster'

would pass from boy to boy like a contagious

disease.

The first opponents of the session were the

fourth-formers, Hutson and Phillips. Ah well,

perhaps a miracle would occur and two good

boards could be scored against them.

Love all. Dealer South.

´ K Q 9

™ 10 8 7 5 4

t 6 5 3

® J 6

´ 8 4 3 ´ 5 2

™ K 9 6 ™ Q J 3

t J 7 4 t 10 9 8 2

® K 9 5 4 ® A Q 8 7

´ A J 10 7 6

™ A 2

t A K Q

® 10 3 2

West North East South

Head- John Rev. Neil

Master Hutson Benson Phillips

Pass 2´ Pass 4´

All Pass

Not enamoured with his holdings in the side suits,

the Headmaster led a trump. The dummy appeared

and Neil Phillips paused to consider his line of play.

Without the trump lead, he would have been able to

give up two rounds of clubs and ruff the third

round for a tenth trick. If he tried that line now . . .

'Have you forgotten something, boy?' exclaimed

the Reverend Benson.

'Er . . . thank you, partner,' said Neil Phillips.

The Reverend Benson peered disapprovingly at

his young opponent. 'However clever you think you

are, you won't go far in the outside world without

good manners.'

'No, Sir.'

Phillips resumed his calculations. If he gave up a

club now, the defender with only two trumps would

win the trick. The defender with the last trump

could then win the second round of clubs even if he

had started with only one club honour. Dummy's

last trump would be removed and that would be

one down.

Phillips headed in a different direction. After win ning

the trump lead in his hand, he played ace and

another heart. When the Reverend Benson won

with the jack of hearts and switched to the ten of

diamonds, Phillips won with the ace. He then

crossed to a trump and ruffed a heart with a high

trump. By good fortune the suit divided 3-3. He

returned to dummy with a third round of trumps

and discarded two club losers on the established

winners in hearts. An overtrick had been made.

The Headmaster recognised a bad board when he

saw one. What a hopeless effort Benson's diamond

switch had been! Was it not obvious that the heart

suit would soon be established, giving declarer eight

tricks via five trumps and three hearts? Benson

should have laid down the ace of clubs. If a

discouraging signal came, he could switch to a

diamond then.

'I was hoping you had something good in dia monds,

Headmaster,' said the Reverend Benson.

A few rounds later, Stefan Götel and the Matron

arrived at the fourth-formers' table. The Matron

looked disapprovingly at Neil Phillips. 'Did you

mislay your comb?' she enquired.

Phillips looked mystified. 'No, Matron,' he

replied. 'It's in my pocket.'

'You hair is very untidy,' continued the Matron.

'Particularly at the back.'

Phillips reached into his trouser pocket.

'Not now!' exclaimed the Matron. 'What would

8 English Bridge August 2015 www.ebu.co.uk

The Matron's Signal by David Bird

Bridge Fiction

Bridge Fiction

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