30 English Bridge August 2017 www.ebu.co.uk
hen my aunt died recently, I acquired
a box of my grandmother's diaries.
They were full of domestic detail
rather than world events, but I did discover that
she was a keen social bridge player. I settled
down with the diaries for the evening:
It seems I am some kind of junior butler. I am
serving coffee to a young lady sitting by herself in
the library. She looks familiar. I recognise her from
her wedding photograph; she is Maud, my
grandmother, but she is not wearing a wedding
ring. She seems nervous. She is reading a book
about bridge. She sees my interest and tells me she
is studying for the game tonight and doesn't want to
be thought a flibbertigibbet or bumblepuppy. She
laughingly asks if I have any advice. I would love to
tell her about Stayman, or negative doubles, or
fourth suit forcing, but they all require partnership
agreement, so I say, yes, try ducking a finesse in
fourth seat - behave as though you don't have the
king. She thanks me and asks me my name. I tell her
it is Harry.
Now I am in a large drawing room. Men in dinner
jackets are discussing the abdication. A game of
bridge is in progress. As I serve drinks I hear a burst
'Well, I'll be blowed! You had the king, Maud, and
you didn't win the trick when I finessed!'
'It was worse than that, Grosvenor,' says his
partner. 'It was doubleton, so you could have
dropped it on the next round.'
'Damn fine play,' says the first man. 'Must make a
note to try that myself sometime.'
A little later Maud is partnering Grosvenor
against a man and a woman. The man is obviously
attracted to his partner. The man is my grandfather,
William Cosgrave. I happen to be standing where I
can see the North and East hands when the deal
opposite is played.
The ™9 is led. William studies the dummy for a
while and then wins with the ace and calls for a
small club. I can see Maud's hand moving towards
the ace. Marjorie notices me standing there and
glares at me. 'What are you doing?' she asks. 'What
is your name?'
'Jack,' I reply, as forcefully as I dare. I leave the
table but turn and watch what happens.
Maud has paused. She had assumed William was
trying to get to hand with the ®K to finesse in
trumps. But she knows he has the ™Q and could
have won the first trick with it if he had wanted to
be in his hand. So he can't have the ®K. He must be
trying to set up some club ruffs. Maud plays the ®J
and gives Grosvenor a heart ruff. He plays a club
back to her ace and gets another ruff. The contract
is one down.
'Well played, Maud.' says William. Maud accepts
the compliment modestly. 'I thought I had a good
plan,' continues William, looking at Maud with
admiration while Marjorie glowers. 'If I just take the
trump finesse and draw a second round, Grosvenor
can play a third round when he gets in with a club.'
I see Maud one more time before everyone retires
for the night. She smiles at me. 'Don't I recognise
you?' she asks. 'Haven't I seen you before?'
At that moment something drops on my foot.
I awake with a start. The diary has slipped from
my hands. My reply is stillborn on my lips 'Not
before, Granny. After.' r
Love All. Dealer North.
´ A J 5 3
™ A K J 10
® Q 10 5 3
´ K 10 8 ´ 6 4
™ 9 ™ 8 7 5 3 2
t Q J 9 7 6 5 t K 8
® K 9 4 ® A J 6 2
´ Q 9 7 2
™ Q 6 4
t A 10 3 2
® 8 7
West North East South
Grosvenor Marjorie Maud William
1® Pass 1´
Pass 3´ Pass 4´
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