News from the Bridge Room in Kallithea, Rhodes

Host report by James & Jane Tullett

Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands and is packed with history and beautiful beaches. Historically known as being the location of one of seven ancient wonders of the world,
Rhodes has plenty of interesting sites to visit and history to appreciate.

We stayed at the friendly Amilia Mare Hotel just a short drive from the medieval capital of Rhodes town. This all inclusive hotel provided a lovely base for our sunny two-week medley of bridge and relaxation. In addition to the two main restaurants, the hotel also provided themed evening meals – a choice of Greek, Italian, Chinese or a la carte French. The cocktail menu was the most extensive we have experienced of an all inclusive bar and they did not skimp on the measures. This was enjoyed by many of our guests who joined us in the bar or terrace for some after bridge discussions and reliving of successful hands. A regular express bus from the hotel provided direct transport to the town and many guests enjoyed losing themselves in the cobbled streets, shops and tavernas that pack the old walked town. For the history enthusiasts, a visit to the Knights Street and archeology museum are a worthy way of spending the morning before relaxing in a taverna for some wonderful Greek mezze.

Two excursions were available for guests: a city tour of Rhodes old town, visit to the temple of Apollo and also Filerimos, where excavations uncovered the temple of Athena Polias and Acropolis. The other excursion was to Lindos. For the guests who were with us for week one of the holiday, transport was by coach and included a stop at a local olive oil producer; we all enjoyed sampling the different oils and olives produced. Guests who joined us for week two had the excitement of travelling by boat to Lindos, to give a different experience to the enjoyment of visiting this beautiful white city, with its winding streets and ancient acropolis.

Director’s report by Mark Hooper

One of the more difficult areas of bidding is the protective auction. The opening bid is followed by 2 passes. This hand from the 1st week Farewell Pairs was particularly difficult, it being easy for North / South to get too high. The hand records says that North / South can make 8 tricks in NT and only 7 in hearts.

The basic technique for bidding in the pass out seat is to add the value of a King to your hand and bid as you are overcalling in the direct seat (the next to bid after the opening bid). Your partner then has to subtract the value of a King from their hand and respond accordingly.

Here East is dealer and opens 1 which is passed round to North, what does North bid ? North has 17 HCP and in the direct seat would choose between 1 and double. The hand might be too strong for some people to start with an overcall, but the danger of doubling is that the next hand bids and you have to bid at a higher level the next time. Your spade holding suggests that the opening side will bid and raise spades, and you are going to have to introduce your mediocre heart suit at the 3 level. For me, in the direct seat the hand is a 1 overcall. But as I say things change in the pass out seat; adding our theoretical King makes this hand worth about 20 points, too strong for a simple overcall. So the recommended bid is for North to Double.

East should now pass, having a minimum for their opening bid, South responds the obvious 1♠ and the spotlight returns to North. I don’t think 2 can be criticised, but here is not a great contract. Given the poor heart suit and the double diamond stop, NT is worth consideration. In the direct seat and immediate 1NT bid shows about 15-18, in the pass out seat you double first and then bid 1NT, to show 15-18. An initial 1NT bid in the pass out seat shows about 11-14. Here, whichever contract North selects, South should pass, remembering to subtract a King from their own had. With a double and a bid in the direct seat, a 7 count should be bidding as you are close to game, but here the hand should be valued as only 4 points, and with no fit pass is best.

The board was played 11 times and there were 8 different final contracts. There was an even split between hearts and NT. With the actual layout, the NT contacts were more successful than the heart contracts. This is a difficult hand on this bidding I am probably with the 2 bidders, any Norths that bid 1NT on this auction deserved the good result.

Normally by responding you make it more difficult for the opposition to get in, but ironically here North / South are helped if West drags up a response. With a decent 5 card major, West might bid 1, now North is never going to bid hearts. North might bid now bid the best contract of 1NT, with their good holdings in both red suits (showing 15-18 now, as no longer in the protective seat).

Prize Winners

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