News from the Bridge Room in Majorca

Host report by David & Gill Gold

A total of 42 keen bridge playing holiday makers enjoyed a return visit to the well-appointed Hotel Bella Playa in Cala Ratjada, Majorca.

The hotel has been significantly upgraded and now enjoys two outdoor and one indoor swimming pools, together with a beautifully appointed fitness centre, sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy pool. As our regular visitors will know the hotel enjoys a justified reputation for its huge buffet evening meals with constantly changing menus and large breakfasts. In addition to its on-site facilities the hotel is only a few yards from one of the best beaches in the town.

One of the main attributes of this large family run hotel is the scrupulous attention of the manager Hayo. In addition to looking after all of our regular requirements he arranged two easy walks for us taking us from the hotel, down to the port and up to the lighthouse with it’s stunning views across two bays.

The weather was surprisingly good for late October. It was rarely less than an enjoyable mid-twenties, so there were lots of opportunities to use the hotel pools as well as going sea bathing.

The first Sunday of our holiday was a special occasion. In the port they held the XVIIth Feria Gastronomica de la Lampuga. That was a real culinary experience. Lampuga is the Spanish for Mackerel, and more than 20 of the best hotels and restaurants in the area sent their best chefs into Cala Ratjada to prepare a huge number of Mackerel based tapas dishes. You buy tokens for 2 euros each, with which you could go round the stalls exchanging for an amazing array of these tapas, and also some delicious desserts.

We took a lovely little trip on the local bus to the adjoining town of Capdepara. It’s a pretty typically Spanish little town, with its narrow streets and doorways opening onto them. The castle (or Castillo) was first built in the 13th century to protect the population from marauding pirates. It’s at the top of a steep ascent which is well worth the effort because the views from there are spectacular. You get a clear view of the channel separating Majorca from the neighbouring island of Minorca. In the castle museum is an exhibition of the art of making items from ‘Ilata’, or the craft of working with the leaves of the dwarf fan palm. In the centre is Melis Cursach, which is an old Majorcan house with period rooms but also a pharmacy dating from 1916, and an exhibition centre.


Director’s report by Rob Richardson

The evening bridge was very well attended on this holiday with a 100% turn out on all except one night, with a pleasing spread of winners. The theme of the seminars for the first week was defence, but following a request, we also covered inverted minors and both are well to the fore on this hand from the Swiss Pairs. On the night most Norths declared in 5 diamonds. Following the auction of 1D-3D-4D-5D or something similar. What would you lead from

If we take the opposition for around 23-25 high card points, with a clearly distributional hand, plus our own ten HCP we cannot expect partner to have more than 5-7, so our own honours need treasuring. On that basis I would discount leading from the broken honours in either major. I am no big fan of trump leads either, so a club it must be. The full hand was:

As you can see on a club lead the defence will take the first three tricks with Ace Queen clubs and Ace hearts. On most other leads declarer can see his three losers and is forced to take the winning spade finesse to dispose of one of his losing clubs in North. On the night most declarers made 5D as no East led clubs.

Now lets look at an alternative auction using inverted minors.

As the 2D bid denies a 4 card major, North would need a five card major for a major suit fit to be a possibility. Having opened diamonds this is only possible if he is 6-5. The auction can therefore focus on diamonds and no trumps. Each partner will now, in turn, bid up the line to show which suits he can stop until one partner or other knows that all suits are stopped and it is safe to bid no trumps, or that one suit is open and that we must play in our minor. A bid of the suit opened tells partner that I have no more stops and no trumps is unsafe unless you can cover any remaining suits. 3NT should make on any lead.

Prize Winners:

During the first week two lady guests wore the same winning outfits that they had worn on a previous First For Bridge holiday and low and behold, won again. There’s clearly a moral in that somewhere. probably to go on as many First For Bridge holidays as possible. Here are some of our prize winners.

Week 1

Welcome Pairs: Sheila Felstead & Maureen Shillaker
Random Teams: Jim Simons, Jo Simons, Ian Black & Jennifer Alexander
Butler Pairs: Sheila Tomkins & Joan Turk
Swiss Pairs: Sheila Felstead & Maureen Shillaker
Open Pairs: Ian Black & Jennifer Alexander
Farewell Pairs: Joan Butler & Sheila Green

Week 2

Welcome Pairs: Joan Butler & Sheila Green
Random Teams: Joan Butler & Sheila Green, Anne Read, Cindy King
Sunday Pairs: Hilary Scott & Mary Perrett and Ian Black & Jennifer Alexander
Swiss Pairs: Joan Butler & Sheila Green
IMP Pairs: Anne Read & Cindy King
Teams: Ian Black & Jennifer Alexander, Heather Phipps & Liz Bretherton
Farewell Pairs: Joan Butler & Sheila Green

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