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
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´
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
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
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
'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