News from the Bridge Room in Menorca 2017

Host report by Toby Mace:

This 2 week holiday is a well-known First For Bridge fixture. The first week is spent in the 5 star La Quinta Hotel on the Western side of the island. This offered chances to visit the old capital and very scenic town Ciutadella. You can navigate by bus or hire car to plentiful unspoilt sandy beaches in the area ripe for a quick swim. The water at this time of year is perfect in the hotel outdoor pool or the sea (with only a smattering of jelly fish to watch out for, but thankfully none in the pool!).

The second week is spent at the ever-popular S'Algar Hotel on the other side of the island, with its fabulous location right on the sea. From here you can catch a bus to Mahon and it's magnificent protected deep water harbour, and admire various fortifications built over the centuries to protect this very strategic port that controlled the Mediterranean Sea.

The bridge was livened up by the very welcome group of Northern Irish guests, some of whom have played multiple times in the Lady Milne Trophy, and who duly proceeded to bag several of the prize vouchers.

All in all a fun holiday and a good opportunity to get to know Menorca.

I would like to thank Andrew Kambites for his expert bridge directing and his lectures, and John Barker and Jacquie Corbyn for their assistance with hosting the holiday.

Director's report by Andrew Kambites:

Two hands from the Salgar championship pairs’ finals night illustrate your options with the awkward 4-4-4-1 shape. 4-4-4-1 hands are difficult because there are only three hand shapes without a 5-card suit: 4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2 and 4-4-4-1. With 4-3-3-3 or 4-4-3-2 shapes you either open 1NT or open a suit and rebid no-trumps according to your strength, thus making the balanced nature of the hands clear. 4-4-4-1 shape is not balanced. Here is the currently accepted advice for dealing with 4-4-4-1 shape.

With a red suit singleton open 1♣ (or the suit below the singleton).
With a black suit singleton open the middle of your three touching suits.

Therefore:
With a singleton club, open 1 and rebid 2 over 2♣.
With a singleton diamond open 1♣ and rebid 1 over 1.
With a singleton heart, open 1♣ or 1 and rebid 1♠ over 1.
With a singleton spade, open 1 and rebid 2♣ over 1♠.

The problem is that 4-4-4-1 shape is the only time that you might have to bid two suits without five cards in your first suit. Therefore partner will work on the assumption that if you introduce two suits you have at least 5-4 shape. Fortunately you only have 4-4-4-1 shape hands about 3% of the time, but that doesn’t stop them being a problem.

Here is a typical auction when opener has 4-4-4-1 shape. West assumes East has 5 diamonds, hence the jump preference to 3. The 4-3 fit is likely to go at least one off.

menorca hand

I suppose that West could try 2, fourth suit forcing, rather than 3♦, but then any third bid by opener except 2♠ or 2NT would be game forcing.

Some experts would pass with the East hand in 14, despite the 12 points. The theory is that you only open marginal hands if your rebid gives an accurate picture of your assets.

menorca hand 2

In hand 7 South has a stronger 4-4-4-1, which gives the option of opening a suit and rebidding no-trumps if partner responds in your singleton. The 2NT rebid should be game forcing after the response at the two level: opener has enough to rebid no-trumps (15+) and responder having enough to change suit at the two level (10+ or perhaps a good 9 points).

Of course opener could open any of his 4-card suits with the objective of rebidding but I prefer the minor, because if the auction develops 1: 2: 3 opener will assume you have five hearts as well as four diamonds. If I open a suit with 4-4-4-1 shape, intending to rebid no-trumps if responder bids my singleton I open the minor. If we have a 4-4 major suit fit responder can introduce the major so we won’t lose our fit.

Prize Winners - La Quinta:

Swiss Pairs Winners: Alex Davoud & Linda Lazarus

Swiss Pairs Winners: Alex Davoud & Linda Lazarus

Random Teams Winners: Sharad Singhal, Savita Singhal, Norma Quinn & Mike Quinn

Random Teams Winners: Sharad Singhal, Savita Singhal, Norma Quinn & Mike Quinn

Multiple Teams Winners: Ron Stevenson, Judi Stevenson, Kris Hughes & Tony Yates

Multiple Teams Winners: Ron Stevenson, Judi Stevenson, Kris Hughes & Tony Yates

Mens Winners - Colin McArthur & Roger Williams Ladies Winners - Kris Hughes & Jane Ridyard Mixed Winners - Betty & Ken Baxter

Mens Winners - Colin McArthur & Roger Williams
Ladies Winners - Kris Hughes & Jane Ridyard
Mixed Winners - Betty & Ken Baxter

Prize Winners - S'Algar:

Swiss Teams winners: Paul Archer, Penny Stanbury, Sarah Watson, Marcia Marriott

Swiss Teams winners: Paul Archer, Penny Stanbury & Sarah Watson, Marcia Marriott

Championship Pairs winners: Dymphna Friel & Toni Sproule

Championship Pairs winners: Dymphna Friel & Toni Sproule

Consolation Pairs winners: Francis Potter & Caroline Lakin

Consolation Pairs winners: Francis Potter & Caroline Lakin