Congratulations to my old pal Lou Hobhouse, who has just been appointed the new editor of the English Bridge Union magazine. I’ve known Lou for 20 years and can vouch for the fact that she’s as devoted to bridge as anyone I’ve ever met. She even played on her wedding night — she and her husband Robert invited me and a friend to make up a four and we played until dawn (Lou still in her wedding dress).
Many years and many children later, Lou is now a successful bridge teacher based in Somerset. I don’t see as much of her as I’d like to, but she was in London recently for the magazine interview, and we managed to fit in a game at the Young Chelsea afterwards. The following deal shows just what a shrewd player she is. She was South, defending 3NT:
Sitting North, I led the ♦J, which ran round to declarer’s ♦K. Declarer began by playing on spades. Lou won the second spade and exited with her third. Declarer cashed his last spade and now thought for ages before deciding to try to end-play South in the hope she was short in clubs. He cashed the ace and king of clubs, and the ace of hearts, and then played the ♥3. Now it was Lou’s turn to think. Had Lou ducked, declarer could have won with the ♥10 or ♥Q. Now he would be up to eight tricks, and could exit with a heart: Lou could cash two hearts and the A♦ but she would then be forced to play a diamond to the ♦Q. So Lou hopped up with the ♥K and now — crucially — cashed the ♦A and exited with a diamond to lock declarer in dummy. The last two clubs went to me — one down.