16 English Bridge August 2017 www.ebu.co.uk
t was the last duplicate of the school year and
there were 14 tables in play, thought to be a new
record. The first round saw the Matron and
Stefan Götel facing two fourth-formers.
'Are you two looking forward to the holidays?'
enquired the Matron.
'Not really,' John Hutson replied. 'I'm going to
miss Mr Götel's German lessons.'
'Don't let that worry you,' continued the Matron.
'Mr Götel will still be here when you return in
An amused Stefan Götel drew his cards for the
first board. 'I feel sure that young Hutson is er...
pulling our legs, as you say,' he observed. 'He does
not show much aptitude for the German language.'
The Matron looked sternly in the youngster's
direction. 'You shouldn't say things that you don't
mean,' she reprimanded.
This was the deal before them:
The German master led the ™Q, the Matron
playing her ™9 with an encouraging smile. John
Hutson held up his ace on the first round and again
when a low heart was played to East's king. The
heart suit was cleared and Hutson then led the t10
from his hand, calling for dummy's t5.
The Matron spent a moment considering her play
to this trick. Stefan had played the t8. If that was a
high-low from a doubleton, declarer would have
three diamonds and she would have to hold up her
ace for two rounds, just as declarer had done. She
played the t2 with somewhat of a flourish, as if she
had made rather a special play.
When Hutson continued with a diamond to the
king, Götel followed with the t6. The Matron
nodded happily. Yes, a definite high-low. If that
didn't show two diamonds, she didn't know what
would. As if adding the final brushstroke to some
mediaeval masterpiece, she produced another low
diamond. 'Play a club,' said John Hutson.
A finesse of the ®J lost and West cashed a heart
trick. Hutson won the club return and claimed.
The Matron looked down at the four defensive
tricks before her. 'We never made my ace of
diamonds!' she exclaimed. 'It was such a good
defence and then the boy goes and spoils it by
making 3NT anyway.'
'Yes, but we play match-points,' Stefan Götel
replied. 'If you don't hold up the diamond ace, he
would make ten tricks instead of nine.'
'I dare say you're right, as the cards lie,' said the
Matron. 'It's still rather annoying not to make a
trick with my ace.'
The rounds ticked by and with just one round to
go, Stefan Götel totted up the estimates on his
scorecard. A small fraction above average, as usual.
The Matron was a pleasant enough partner but
perhaps, next year, it would be good to have a game
or two with someone better. He had almost
forgotten what it felt like to score around 65%.
The Headmaster's Reward
Bridge Fiction by David Bird
Love All. Dealer South.
´ 8 6 2
™ 8 7 3
t K Q J 9 5
® 7 5
´ 9 7 4 ´ J 10 5 3
™ Q J 10 4 ™ K 9 5
t 8 6 t A 7 2
® Q 9 4 2 ® 8 6 3
´ A K Q
™ A 6 2
t 10 4 3
® A K J 10
West North East South
Stefan Neil The John
Götel Phillips Matron Hutson
Pass 3NT All Pass