Bridge in the Algarve Newsletter

From Martin & Judy Holcombe

It was exactly 12 months ago in October when Arena Travel took over the mantle of First for Bridge from Judy and myself.

I don’t know how they manage it but their organisation of the weather is far better than Judy and I ever achieved; four weeks of wall to wall sunshine in Menorca during October followed by almost exactly that here in the Algarve during November.

I have to say that Bob & Jacky Baker, Barry &  Maggie Watts record of sunny days exceeded ours in that they achieved  14 out of 14 whereas myself the two Judy’s and Allan only managed 12.

The hotel was in a delightful position above a beautiful unspoilt beach.  Some of us took advantage of the glorious weather to walk to local villages or play golf at the excellent courses nearby. Trips to explore the Algarve proved very popular. The bridge room was very well appointed and the hospitality staff looked after us very well.

Myself, Judy, Allan & Judy Sanis took over after the first 14 day, and it was really gratifying to hear the compliments about Barry, Maggie, Bob and Jacky who were directing and hosting during the first 14 days.  They were really a difficult act to follow.

Bridge players are of course very discerning and those who were already in situ actually put us at our ease whilst embracing the new guests making them and us feel very much at home.  This was Judy and Allan Sanis’s first time in this particular role, they were excellent. I would like to thank them, Bob, Jacky, Barry & Maggie plus of course my Judy for making our first visit to the “Grand Real” Santa Eulalia resort hotel and spa so easy and enjoyable.
Our thanks of course to all of you who participated during the four weeks.

On behalf of the 8 of us and Arena Travel we wish you a merry Christmas, a happy and prosperous New Year.

From Bob Baker

One of the seminars which I give on holidays and usually proves popular is “Hands from the Night Before”. The set examined on the recent holiday (taken from the first session of our Swiss Pairs event) appeared at first sight to have fewer than usual hands of interest. However, when we came to look at them there were several with interesting points

The first hand was as follows:

North dealer. North South Vulnerable

Bridge Hand

North was the dealer, and at most tables West reached a contract of 4♠. This game usually made, sometimes with an overtrick after the reasonable opening lead of either the J or J.

However, the hand records indicated that although a 4♠ contract played by East could not be defeated, when played by West the limit of the hand, on best defence, was nine tricks. Careful consideration showed why this was so.

Suppose North finds the lead of the ♣Q – reasonable, as after two passes it is likely that South would open with 1♣. The ♣Q lead is covered by dummy’s ♣K and South’s ♣A, and at trick two South cashes ♣J. A third club from South would be ruffed by declarer’s ♠J (to avoid North winning a trick if he held ♠9 or ♠8) and when this holds, West cashes a top trump. He would be relieved to see South’s trump queen appear, and with North originally holding ♠986 the next play in trumps has to be a low card from declarer’s hand to dummy’s ♠10. First, though, declarer needs to cash K so that, when he is in dummy, he can take a trick with A.

So, after ruffing the third club with ♠J, a top trump and K, declarer plays to dummy’s ♠10 (leaving one trump, ♠9, in the North hand). He can now cashA, discarding a low diamond – however, he cannot discard a second diamond on dummy’s ♣K as North would ruff this and the defence would still have ♦A to make. Instead, declarer could lead a diamond from dummy towards his ♦K, playing for South to hold A, as the bidding suggests.

If South is awake he will step in with A on this trick (the third trick for the defence). Now a fourth round of clubs from South will promote North’s remaining trump into the setting trick – if declarer ruffs high then North’s ♠9 becomes a winner, if not then North ruffs with ♠9.

Of course, played from the East hand there are no similar problems as it is the club lead from North at trick one that paves the way to the successful defence. Well done if your bidding methods get the spade game played from the East side (I don’t think I could manage that!)

From Judy Sanis

The power of the pre-empt.

The bridge hands from the second half of our Algarve holiday were never dull.  So many times the brave bidder, taking full advantage of a fit and a few points, was amply rewarded.

Take this hand from the Swiss Pairs as an example:

Dealer W N/S Vul.

Bridge Hand

West opens 2.  A weak bid showing 5-9 points and a 6 card suit. Partner announces it as weak. North passes. East has just been to a First for Bridge seminar where he learnt about the Principle of Total Trumps!  He adds his 4 to his partners  known 6 card suit. As this comes to the sum of 10 he now bids to the level of the fit – 4.  Poor South has 22 points and  the only game that makes is 3NT. The best he can do is double and collect 300 for a bad board.  Without any competitive bidding S can open 2NT (20-22), N transfers to H and then bids 3NT over his partner’s response. Contract made!

And the winners were:

Multiple Teams 1 Ulla Adilz, Kirsten Thompsett, June Retter and Kay O’Gorman

Multiple Teams 1 Ulla Adilz, Kirsten Thompsett, June Retter and Kay O’Gorman

Multiple teams 2 Frank  Yvonne Gutsell, David  Pat Jones







Multiple teams 2 Frank  Yvonne Gutsell, David  Pat Jones

Random Teams Jo  Malcolm Thompson, Nigel Maggs and Jenny McDermott







Random Teams Jo  Malcolm Thompson, Nigel Maggs and Jenny McDermott

Swiss Pairs Malcolm  Jo Thomson







Swiss Pairs Malcolm  Jo Thomson