News from the Bridge Room in Majorca 2019

Host report by Pauline Durie

This was my third visit to the lovely Hotel Bella Playa & Spa and I am still overwhelmed by the beauty surrounding Cala Ratjada.

The hotel itself has grown in a very positive way with two new outside pools in a beautifully landscaped setting with seating terraces and a pool bar; a well-used area during our stay as we were blessed with almost continuous warm sunshine. As usual the staff were always helpful with Hayo leading two walking tours around the local area. Crazy golf and table tennis provided active entertainment for some whilst others ventured further afield to play at some of the many splendid golf courses in the vicinity.

The magnificent journey over the mountains to Soller followed by a tram ride and stops at popular viewpoints was well appreciated. Cap de Formentor on the very end of the northern peninsular must surely be one of the most spectacular spots on the island-certainly popular with the hundreds of cyclists whose endurance on these mountain roads is extraordinary. Many thanks go to John for organising a bus to take people to Palma both weeks. The cathedral never ceases to amaze visitors with its splendour.

As always people took advantage of the many walks in the area, most of which took in the busy harbour with its numerous bars and restaurants. Many a coffee and tapas enjoyed on the terraces overlooking the harbour and the sea beyond.

As I write this I am already looking forward to returning to Cala Ratjada in 2020 and to welcoming old and new friends to this super location.

Director’s report by Nigel Durie

A quick hand to start with this time, but one that serves up a reminder. Before reading further, decide on West’s opening bid after two passes:

This was a teams competition and ¾ of the field played in 5 usually failing by 1 or 2 tricks according to whether NS permitted a discard on the ♠K. It is very tempting to pre-empt in diamonds when the bidding reaches West, but the 2 players who remembered the “Gambling 3NT” bid achieved an excellent result for their team.

3NT basically says “I have a long running minor suit, partner, and should be able to make 3NT if you have stoppers in the other three suits and at least one card in my suit.” (Without a stopper in each of the other three suits partner will remove the 3NT to 4♣ and opener can then correct to 4♦ if that is the strong suit). The 3NT opener should not have more than a queen in any outside suit, otherwise partner will not be able to judge whether to leave 3NT in.

Here East can see from his own hand that West has diamonds and having three of them and stoppers in the other three suits he can safely pass the 3NT contract – the only making game contract on the deal.

Our second hand provoked discussion in our “hands from the night before” seminar (also from a teams competition).

A possible bidding sequence:

  1. West has a 2-suited overcall but the wrong point range and so bids 1♠ (2-suited overcalls are generally kept for weak hands of 6-10 pts – the overcaller will pass your choice of suit – or strong hands of 16+ pts – the overcaller will bid on). Here, with an intermediate hand West hopes to bid hearts later if possible.
  2. North does not have enough points to bid 2 and hence makes a negative double showing at least 4 hearts, knowing that he can pass a diamond rebid by partner.
  3. East can make an unassuming cue bid to show spade support and (usually) 10+ pts. Here I think East is worth the bid with 4 spades and good clubs.
  4. Knowing that partner is unlikely to have more than 2 hearts given North’s negative double.

Does South bid on after 4♠? As you can see 5♠ will make by establishing clubs by ruffing the third round and then discarding 2 losing hearts on the long clubs, achieving an entry by ruffing a heart.

If South bids 5 West may well bid 5♠. What happens if South then bids 6 and it is doubled? 9 tricks are achievable if the double finnesse is taken in clubs using the trumps as entries – a good score of -500 as opposed to the -650 for the spade game for EW. As you can imagine there were a whole variety of scores on the night – in fact there were no identical contracts + outcomes in all 11 scores!

Prize Winners

Please click on the images to see the captions.

Comments (1):

  1. Peter Dyer

    April 18, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    It was a fantastic holiday – great hotel, bridge, food, weather and company, everything!.

    Thank to Nigel, Pauline and all at First for Bridge.

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