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Post 4 Not returning partner’s suit. 23rd August 2017 (Last time I mixed up my “post numbers” with “Post 5”, so this is “Post 4” - used to do that quite a lot when pitching my tent in the wind).

Good morning everyone,

Why should the actors & players be the ones that are remembered in the halls of fame ? Do not the writers contribute just as much, maybe even more? Do we remember that famous Georgian actor Mr. Edmund Kean, or is it Shakespeare who sits at the top of the “Drama” high table. We may forget Mr. Harrison Ford, in time, who knows, but Philip K. Dick’s science fiction books will surely go on being re-interpreted. PLEASE, let me make it clear, I have enormous respect for the world-class bridge players, and I am not implying that their places in the halls of fame should be relinquished - rather, that extra places should be made available for some of our great colossuses of Bridge, often writers, that appear to have been forgotten. One such has hardly a mention anywhere and details are very sketchy. Let’s try to put the record straight.

There are two possible candidates for “Archibald Dunn” - they were father and son. Archibald Mathias Dunn, the father, retired to Branksome, Poole, Dorset, just a little over from where I live. Archibald Manuel Dunn, the son, lived in London. Their ages on the 1911 Census were 78 & 47 years

Mr. Archibald Dunn Jun. first came to prominence right at the start of our game in Britain when he wrote a little book. The first edition is exceptionally scarce today, as is the 2nd. Here’s the collation for my copy - “1899, Archibald Dunn Jun., Bridge And How To Play It, George Routledge And Sons Ltd., 2nd edition, 10.5x15.5 cm, 74+(6) pages”. There are just two copies of the 1st edition in Copac, and no copies of this, the 2nd edition. Later editions were issued as best selling “yellow-backs”. These had attractive card covers and were sold cheaply, as disposable reads. Over time, most have just fallen to bits. The 1st & 2nd editions have the same dated preface, “June 1899, Newcastle-upon-Tyne”, but on the 3rd edition the date changes to “December 1899”. In the 15th edition, 1907, he drops the “Jun.” from his name and this is very significant.

He dedicated his 1899 Bridge book to his father - “Whose advice, assistance, and great experience as a player have been invaluable to me in compiling the following pages, I dedicate this book. The Author”. He dedicates his fascinating book - “1902, Archibald Dunn Jun., New Ideas On Bridge, The Walter Scott Publishing Co. Ltd., 1st edition, January 1902, 9.8x15.5 cm, 105+(1)+(6) pages” to his mother. - “To the keenest of Bridge players, my Mother, this book is affectionally dedicated”. The Dunns were a very close, and it seems, loving family who all played Bridge. They sit right at the heart of the history of our game. In his 1899 Bridge book he comments that : - “It is generally supposed to have come from the East, and the writer played a hybrid kind of Bridge, which somewhat resembled the modern game, nearly twenty years ago in Smyrna ; and it may then, for all he knows, have been in existence in that city for twenty, or perhaps two thousand years before”.

One of his ideas is as relevant today as it was then. It’s to adjust the bidding, and sometimes vary by bidding who plays the hand, to take into account ability. Nearly all rules and guidelines are advanced by experts, and what is good for the expert is almost surely not good for the average player. He says on page 11 - “Let us have theory, by all manner of means. The beginner and the expert are equally in the need of it. But let us use common-sense in its application. Let us not lay down, as articles of faith, laws which can only hold good when all the players are, like Caesar’s wife, above suspicion”.

Here’s an example of his thinking, taken from “New Ideas”, when the dealer has left the declaration to his partner who holds - ♠QT963 ♣A75 JT98 A. Remember, ♠s were worth only 2 points, whilst no-trumps were value 12, and the dealer plays the hand (so their ♠s are a little like our ♣s). Paraphrasing slightly :- “The hand is too good for ♠s. The probability of winning the game in s is remote, seeing that the dealer has not declared them, besides, the suit might be doubled, and the game lost. s and ♣s are out of the question. Only ”no trumps” remains, but - should it be declared ? With the help of the two aces, there are great possibilities, either the ♠s or the s might be brought in, … careful consideration of the cards shows that (with average strength in the dealer’s hand) success or failure depends entirely on management. And in these circumstances, common-sense tells us that the declaration must be “no trumps” if the dealer is a first class player - otherwise, ♠s.” I wonder how many of us would open that hand 1NT today ?

Both father and son were architects, but the father was a rather more famous one building Catholic churches in the North. By the time Archibald Dunn had written “Auction Bridge, September 1909” he had dropped the “Jun.” from his name. Archibald Mathias Dunn of Branksome Park, Bournemouth died on 17th January 1917. Archibald Manuel Dunn of 82F Portland Place, Marylebone died on 26th July 1925.

The confirmation that Mr. Archibald Manuel Dunn was indeed the author is given in the “Catholic Who's Who” for 1908 - “Dunn, Archibald, jun., born 1864, son of Archibald Dunn, educated at Stonyhurst ; formerly practised as an architect. Author of Handbook to Bridge, the earliest published exposition of the game (1900), and The Way of Cain (a volume in "The Sportsman's Library of Fiction”)”. I don’t believe he wrote a book with the title - “Handbook To Bridge”, and I think he was born between October and December 1863, not in 1864.

Archibald Dunn’s books were best sellers. He himself thought that only Boaz had published anything prior to his own first book. Details about him are very scant. This is from the “The Dictionary Of Scottish Architects” : “William Ellison Fenwicke, who was a friend of Archibald Mathias Dunn, was a Newcastle architect. He was taken into the Dunn & Hansom partnership by Dunn in 1894 but Dunn's son Archibald Manuel Dunn, who had become a partner in 1887, withdrew in 1903. Fenwicke continued the practice with various partners and under various styles, the final practice being Dunn, Hansom & Fenwicke although Fenwicke by then was the only active partner”.

There’s a mystery here about a shocking event. It’s contained in a long forgotten footnote in a provincial newspaper, the “Hull Daily Mail, Friday, 18th May 1900, page 2” - “Mr. E. J. Hanson, a member of the firm of Dunn, Hanson and Fenwicke, architects, Newcastle-on-Tyne, was on Thursday found in the office lavatory, with two bullet wounds in his throat. He is in a critical state”. I think poor Mr. Hanson died shortly after. The firm was then foreclosed. Mr. Fenwicke went on, though, as a very successful architect in his own right. It’s all very strange. Everyone’s heard of the famous “Badsworth”, Mr. Allen Lindsay Lister . Well, astonishing that it may be, Mr. Lindsay Lister’s executor on his probate was Mr. William Ellison Fenwicke, Architect. It seems the Dunns and Badsworth were very close friends.

By the way, an important correction - in lots of places everywhere Badsworth's first (Christian) name is given as "Allan" - that's not what his signature reads on the 1911 census, or what his definitive probate record says - it's "Allen" almost certainly.

He dedicated his “The Bridge Book, 1902, George Routledge & Sons Ltd., 1st edition”, 10.8x17cm, x+(2)+ 228 pages” to - “To my friend Ralph Lambton a souvenir of many pleasant Bridge-evenings”. Mr. Lambton was a friend from Newcastle days where the Dunns originally lived, who then moved to London as a wealthy banker. In this book he demonstrated a stratagem of not returning partner’s original lead (pages 182-185). I’m sorry, I don't know how to lay this out nicely using Bridge Winners font. : I have transposed the hands so that his A is South (he doesn't give the low spot cards) :

     Declarer W.  in No-Trumps, ♣x led





                Q4                            JT987

                J87                           A32

                ♣AQJ3                        ♣xxx               

                ♠AKQJ                        ♠xx





On the ♣x lead, West wins with the ♣J and takes four ♠ tricks. He then plays Q and North follows with the 2. How should South continue ?

South must switch to the 9 (or the T ), rather than returning partner’s led suit (which was usually the recommended play) - “but the real point of the example lies in the fact that A(South) has abandoned the most cast-iron convention that exists at Bridge - he has not returned his partner’s original lead against a no-trump declaration (page 183)”. He uses the word “coup”, so wouldn't it not be fitting to name it “Dunn’s Coup” ?

Best wishes,

Ken in Bournemouth..

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