News from the Bridge Room in Menorca

Host Report by Pauline and Nigel Durie

This was our first opportunity to host a holiday for First for Bridge and what a wonderful introduction it was. Thank you Andrew for your guidance and support. La Quinta hotel was splendid and the staff were very welcoming, recognising returning guests and treating them as old friends. This was much appreciated. The hotel’s facilities were a big hit and as the weather was not overly kind at the beginning of the week, the indoor spa pool and extras were well used. The beautiful outdoor pool came into its own by the end of the week. The food was described as outstanding by many of the guests. The courtesy bus into Cuitadella was well used with people enjoying exploring the harbour and the old streets. Some went to the mass in the Cathedral on Sunday morning. Thanks to John Barker for organising activities. The tennis match ended with two of the team suffering minor injuries but was enjoyed by all. The week passed very quickly and bridge honours were shared.

Several guests from La Quinta transferred to the other end of the island to the ever popular S’Algar hotel. They were joined by many returning guests who join the holiday every year. As always comments about the hotel and the location were all positive. The addition of terraces to the dining room and by the pool were particularly well received. The weather improved considerably and warm sunshine was the norm throughout the week. Trips into Mahon were very popular as was the little train ride around the harbour. Two guests have been coming for several years and walking along the Cami de Cavalls which runs around the island; this year they completed the last leg and were duly congratulated by all. Well done Helen Davies and Claire Smith. Guests hired cycles and were energetic enough to explore further afield. John continued to organise activities, paddle tennis, tennis and table tennis were particularly popular. Bridge honours were not quite so well shared with excellent repeated success for 4 players.

Director's report by Andrew Kambites

menorca puzzle

In the championship pairs final at Salgar East picked up an impressive hand. Playing Acol he opens 2♣ (after North passes) and hears partner respond with a negative 2. What contracts should he have in mind?

The form of scoring is duplicate pairs. With +430 virtually guaranteed (assuming normal diamond breaks) he cannot afford to end up in 5 where even 12 tricks would only give him +420. The choice is either 3NT or a diamond slam. East should bear this in mind when he considers his rebid. If he rebids 3 then he is virtually committed to 6 if partner raises to 4. (After 2♣-2-3-4-4NT would be Blackwood, not an attempt to play in 4NT.) I have a great deal of sympathy with a 3NT rebid by East, provided he is confident that his partner will not bid 4.

Suppose the auction starts 2♣-2-3-? What should West do? Playing teams I would certainly support to 4, but playing pairs? 3 is possible (looking for a 4-4 heart fit) though it is undesirable to introduce very weak suits on hands which might up in slam. So is 3NT, although West cannot feel comfortable about playing in 3NT with his partner’s powerhouse on the table. Not an easy decision.

So how should East play 6 on a heart lead? A successful club finesse will certainly give him 12 tricks, but if the club finesse fails he has few remaining chances. The club finesse can wait. He should try spades first. East wins the A, cashes the A, enters dummy with the J and finesses the ♠9. If that had lost to the ♠10 then declarer would have needed to fall back on the club finesse, but here the ♠9 loses to the ♠K. Declarer now has a choice: does he revert to the club finesse or finesse the ♠J, playing North for the ♠Q?

This hand is a good example of the complex ‘Principle of Restricted Choice’. If South had the ♠K and ♠Q (equal value cards) he might have taken the ♠9 with the ♠Q rather than the ♠K. Therefore it is more likely that North has the ♠Q rather than South. This is reinforced by the thought that with the ♠K and ♠Q he might just have chosen to lead the ♠K at trick 1. Declarer’s best chance is to enter dummy and finesse the ♠J. (maybe after playing a lot of trumps to see how the defenders discard).

6 making deserves an excellent score. Only one pair bid and made 6. East opened 2♣ and West was declarer after responding 2. North led a low club, solving declarer’s problems. Most of those venturing beyond 3NT were greedy and tried 6NT, usually by East, which is dependent on the club finesse after a heart lead.

Prize Winners
Roger Williams, Dorothy Rivers, Malcolm Green and Mike Lewis who took the honours in pairs and teams Roger Williams, Dorothy Rivers, Malcolm Green and Mike Lewis who took the honours in pairs and teams
John Wilson and Fred Kissack – Men’s Pairs John Wilson and Fred Kissack – Men’s Pairs
Betty and Ken Baxter – Mixed Pairs Betty and Ken Baxter – Mixed Pairs
Mary Rimmer and Joy Mayall – Ladies Pairs Mary Rimmer and Joy Mayall – Ladies Pairs
Francis Potter and Caroline Lakin  - Swiss Pairs Francis Potter and Caroline Lakin - Swiss Pairs
Michael Mendlesson, Marie Hollingworth, Barbara and Terry Neil -Teams Michael Mendlesson, Marie Hollingworth, Barbara and Terry Neil -Teams