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Mother Superior and Sister Bursar

by Bernard Marcoux, Montreal


From the distance, you heard them all night, discussing, arguing, attacking more or less the

 opponents :


- No, Ma'am, I took this trick!




- I beg your pardon, Sir, I was not down three, that's impossible!


At a certain moment, you even saw a player trying to protect her cards from the Mother Superior who was turning her

opponent's tricks («You played a diamond on my spade, you did not follow suit, I know, I saw you . . .»).  In the end,

the cards were all mixed up and the director was summoned.  When he arrived, the two Sisters thought they

recognised their former defrocked chaplain and refused to talk to him.  He tried to solve the problem, first by saying

he never was a chaplain, and second by asking everyone at the table to reconstitute their hand (the boards had to

follow the movement).  Seeing that, Mother Superior hissed between her teeth : «Always the same, . . . has to ask

everybody, . . . unable to make a decision !»  After several minutes, and much patience from the chapl . . . oops,

director, everything went back to normal.


I had already counted the tables and knew we would finish against them.  On the first board, with Mother Superior on

your right, and Sister Bursar on your left, you pick up :







Mother Superior                  You                        Sister Bursar                        Part.

1                                        p                             1nt                                  p

2nt                                        p                             all pass


You almost doubled 2NT, but waited for 3NT . . . that never came.  Your partner leads the 6 of heart (3rd-5th)


Dummy (Mother Superior)











Sister Bursar calls for a small heart from dummy; you play the King and shift to the club 6 (second from a bad 4-card

suit).  Your partner surprises you by playing Ace, King and a small club to Sister Bursar's Jack.  What does she have

for her 1NT response?  If your partner has the heart Queen, Sister Bursar can only have 3 Jacks, in spades,

diamonds and clubs.  Is it possible?  In hand, Sister Bursar plays the 10 of heart, partner covers with the Queen and

dummy wins with the Ace.  You signal diamond while dummy plays the heart Jack and a heart, won by partner.  She

plays back a diamond, 10 from dummy, and you win your king.  Here is the situation :




- -


- -



- -





On your club ten, Sister Bursar (always thrifty) pitches a spade from dummy and you make the remainder of the

 tricks, partner showing up with 4 spades to the Jack (!!!).  Down three.


Sister Bursar has not yet finished playing to the last trick that she shouts :


- I have nothing, I have 2 points, we said we would always respond to a minor suit opening, I won't answer anymore,

 it's finished!

- I had my 15 points, Edith, I think you played poorly ...


- Stop it, I would like to have seen you ...


- Still, I had MY 15 points, hisses again Mother Superior between her lips, looking hurt.


While all this is going on, you pick up your second hand, vulnerable against not :







You                        Sister Bursar                      Part.                  Mother Superior

1                          double                              1                          1

2                                                                 Alert!


The Mother Superior, out of turn, asks :


- Don't shout, we are not deaf.  What is it?


- My partner doesn't have 3 hearts.


- How come you know that?


- That's what we play, Moth . . . sorry, Ma'am.


Mother Superior examines my partner a few seconds and turns to me.


- How many Hearts does she have?


- I don't know.


- You're like the Chaplain, you never know nothing . . .


You                        Sister Bursar                        Part.                       Mother Superior

1                          double                                   1                          1

2 (Alert!)            pass                                         2                          «excuse me?» (indignantly)

                                                                            2                          «I say, that's peculiar, I pass.»

3                          3                                       double                   «That's game, you know . . .»


You lead the heart Ace.  To fully understand what is going to happen, you need to see the 4 hands :


Dummy (Sister Bursar)





You                                                              Part.

10                                                              KQ84

A10                                                          Kxxx

A8753                                                      Qxx

K8765                                                       Ax

Mother Superior






On your Ace, partner plays the 2, upside-down attitude.  You continue with the 10, ducked all around.  You switch to a

 small club, partner wins the Ace and plays back a heart; you ruff, play the club King and a club, ruffed by dummy's 3,

 overruffed by partner's 4.


- I say, reacts Mother Superior.


Sister Bursar cannot stay silent : «I don't know what's happening to you today, you play so funny . . .»


Your partner plays the heart King.  Mother Superior ruffs in her hand and plays a spade.  When she sees you sluff a

 club, she gives you a piercing look :


- You don't have any spades???


- No Moth . . . , Ma'am . . .


- I find this bridge club very peculiar; she has no clubs, he has no spades.  Things are not too catholic in here.


- Maybe you should call the Chaplain, chimes in Sister Bursar.


- It is not a chaplain, it is a DIRECTOR . . .


- Let me see your hand! shouts Mother Superior to me, authoritative and suspicious.


- No Moth . . . Ma’am . . .


You pull away from the table, holding your cards to your chest, waving to your partner to do the same.  One moment,

 it seems that Mother Superior will attack you and take away your cards, like she has done before during the evening.


 But she closes her eyes, probably praying, and calms down.


Your partner takes the spade Queen and plays back a diamond. You win the Ace, and play a diamond; dummy's King

 wins and Mother Superior plays Ace of spades, spade won by your partner who cashes the diamond Queen for

+ 1400.


Mother Superior, on the brink of a nervous breakdown, becomes indignant : «I don't know what's happening at this

 table, I have never seen that! . . .»


Sister Bursar says, with her sweetest voice : «How much was that, minus 500?» (her name suits her very well indeed)

partner replies : «1400.»


- 1400, that's impossible . . .


- Do you want to play it again?


- No, no, put down what you like, 1400, 2000, it's all the same.


- It is not the same; 1400 is 1400; it is not 500 and it's not 2000 . . .


- Write down what you like. . .


- We won't write down what we like, it's 1400 . . . Would you like to call the chaplain? . . .


- No, no, we got to go, we must be in the convent by 10 . . .


You invite your partner to leave the table, before a fight breaks out.


It was an evening like any other, at your local bridge club.