Christmas & New Year news from the bridge room!

Host report from the Athena Beach Hotel

by Ro Kaye
22 Dec 2014 – 05 Jan 2015

The spectacular sea view which greets guests entering the Athena Beach Hotel is just a foretaste of the delights which await the holiday maker. Comfortable beds, a huge variety of delicious food, polite and caring staff and excellent bridge facilities all contribute to make this holiday a prime location for First for Bridge.

The restaurants, pools, sea access and bridge room are all on the same level. Guests were spoilt for choice at both breakfast and dinner with as many as ten main courses on offer. Outside the bridge room there were many activities to try including putting, dancing, tennis, quizzes, darts and indoor and outdoor bowling. Several members of our group tried bowling for the first time and more experienced bowlers enjoyed the varied competitions Ann and Terry offered. Exploring the island was easy because car hire was readily available and the roads were quiet and left hand drive or there were trips on offer every day.
Guests were able to play both afternoon and evening bridge with Judy Sanis directing a varied programme of events. Allan Sanis seminars were well attended and guests who missed these appreciated Allan’s willingness to talk through his notes with them privately.

Allan also ran discussions on the previous night’s hands. Paphos bridge club sent a team to participate one evening and we were very interested to hear details of the expat life. We had several days of hot sunshine and some guests returned home quite tanned.

The historic town of Paphos is a flat 30 minute amble beside the sea from the hotel. The mosaics are world class and the large site includes the tombs of the kings and a ruined medieval castle. There is a market every morning and buses run from outside the hotel. If you want a relaxing location in a first class hotel in a moderate climate with wonderful bridge facilities then this is the holiday for you.

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Director’s report by Allan Sanis

Will they won’t they find the defence to defeat the game contract?
allan sanis bridge puzzle
The following hand occasioned some discussion after a teams’ session. The pairs were playing Benji Acol.

The bidding starts with two passes. East considers his options. With 21 points should he just open 1H (this results in all passing so is this a good choice on this hand)? He could open Benji 2 Clubs (8 playing tricks or strong 2 suiter). This would result in East declaring in 3 or 4 Hearts depending on the view taken by the West hand. The third option chosen by most of our players was 2 Diamonds Game Force. This resulted in West becoming declarer in 4 Hearts.

The question is will N/S find the best defence to defeat 4 Hearts?

With East as declarer, will South lead 4th highest Diamond or Queen of Diamonds? If he leads the Queen North must always overtake with the Ace. He can then lead the 4th highest Spade taken by his partner’s Ace. He wins the Spade return with his King and returns the Spade to give his partner a trump promotion. Contact of 4 Hearts one down. With West as declarer. If North leads his 4th highest spade which is won by South’s Ace. He returns a spade to North’s King. North must now cash his Ace of Diamonds before returning the Spade to give his partner a trump promotion. Contract again one down.

Could anyone find this defence at the table? What a wonderful game this is; full of possibilities!

Host report from New Year bridge in Bristol

by Bob & Jacky Baker
30 Dec 2014 – 03 Jan 2015

A cheerful group of over fifty players welcomed in the New Year at the excellent Mercure Hotel in Bristol. We were looked after very well by the staff and all agreed that the New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner was first class.

The location of the hotel just a short distance away from some of Bristol’s attractions such as the SS Great Britain and the harbour side made it easy for the guests to find plenty to do in between bridge sessions. Several took advantage of the close proximity of the main railway station to have a day out in Bath, just 20 minutes away by train.

Andrew directed in his usual impressive style and the fact that he had almost lost his voice did not stop him from delivering his seminars which as always were well received. A big thank you to him and also to the staff at the hotel who looked after us so well and so efficiently.

Prize winners

Christina-Backholer-and-Anne-Allerston,-Joan-Wycherley-and-Jeanne-Waller Margaret Bradshaw and Peggy Griffin, Brenda Farrell and Malcolm Dilley
Welcome Pairs –
Margaret Bradshaw and Peggy Griffin,
New Year’s Eve Pairs –
Christina Backholer and Anne Allerston, Joan Wycherley and Jeanne Waller (pictured left)
New Year’s Day Teams –
Margaret Bradshaw and Peggy Griffin, Brenda Farrell and Malcolm Dilley (pictured right)
Farewell Pairs –
John and Marjorie Bulmer, Mike Tettenborn and Anna Holmes

Director’s report

by Andrew Kambites

andrew kambites bridge puzzle

Here is a truly wild deal from the first pairs session! Almost anything is possible in the bidding. With North/South having a fit in both red suits and East/West a fit in both black suits it is not surprising that each side can make high level contracts, and this is certainly a deal where it pays not to sell out too easily.

I will start by stating the obvious. North/South can make 5♦, or 5♥ if the defenders fail to find their diamond ruff. East/West can make 6♣ unless the defenders lead a heart, discarding West’s heart loser on a long spade having lost a spade finesse to North’s ♠Q. However guests were surprised to see on the hand records that 6♣ can be made even if a heart is led. Can you see how? You can try it by covering up the North/South hands but by all means look at all four hands if you want!

This is not one of those hands where you need to employ a double dummy analysis. Correct technique leads to 6♣ making. Win the heart lead, and draw the missing trump. It looks as though you now need the spade finesse, indeed if the spade finesse works you can make all thirteen tricks. However if you are in 6♣ you should be prepared to sacrifice the over-trick if it gives you extra chances. Admittedly over-tricks can be important at pairs, but that is usually when you have reason to believe that most declarers will be in the same contract. Here it is fairly obvious that results will fluctuate wildly and 6♣ will not be the standard contract, so concentrate on making it. Correct play is to draw the missing trump with West’s ♣K, ruff a diamond, cash the ♠A and then ruff West’s last diamond. Now play a heart! Whichever defender wins the trick is end-played. If North takes the heart trick North has the unappetising choice of either under-leading the ♠Q or giving a ruff and discard, allowing declarer to discard West’s ♠3 and ruff in the East hand. If South wins the heart trick he has only red cards left and so must concede the dreaded ruff and discard.

Of course if South had won the heart trick and exited with a spade declarer would have to fall back on his main chance and take the spade finesse. There is a correct approach to declarer play. First identify your main chance, in this case the spade finesse. Then see if there is anything you can do to improve on your main chance, but without jeopardising your main chance. Even if the endplay leads to nothing cashing the ♠A before finessing itself is another example of this, because it saves you losing a trick to the singleton ♠Q in the North hand.

Note that the bidding may have alerted declarer to the fact that taking the spade finesse would be doomed. Suppose East opens 1♣ and South over-calls a cheeky vulnerable unusual 2NT, showing at least 5-5 in the red suits. Once South is seen to have the ♣9 he cannot have more than two spades. Declarer can then only succeed if South has the ♠Q singleton or doubleton and perhaps that should alert him to the possibility of making 6♣ on an end-play if South has any spade singleton.