News from the Bridge Room in Paphos, Cyprus

Host report by Pauline Durie & Jacquie Corbyn

We returned to the excellent Louis Imperial Beach Hotel for a second year of festive bridge. The hotel gave us an extensive range of activities from beach boules and archery to ballroom dancing and table cloth folding!

Congratulations Peter on coming second in the archery and commiserations to our director on hitting the target only twice! The pools and spa facilities were popular with many including the aqua fit sessions. Some hardy souls enjoyed swimming in the sea whilst others restricted beach activities to stretching and yoga. The hotel staff were outstanding in their attention to all our needs always with a smile and the chefs served a varied menu of excellent food.

An easy stroll along the promenade took in the splendour of the coastline before arriving in Paphos harbour with its enticing bars and restaurants, boat trips and the World Heritage Mosaics.

The two gala evenings were exceptional with champagne cocktails followed by good food, wine and an evening of entertainment and dancing. Late nights for most but no-one missed a bridge session! We were fortunate to welcome 3 pairs from the Paphos Bridge Club who remembered how much they had enjoyed playing in last year’s events. They were very happy to talk to anyone interested about life in Paphos and where to visit.

Some guests enjoyed spectacular tours around the island. Jacquie writes of one of them:

I booked to go on the Famugusta trip with 2 others which turned out to be an eye opener to the history of the troubles following the invasion by the Turks in 1974. Our excellent driver Andreas and superb local guide Alexia made it such a thought-provoking trip since Alexia was 6 years old when the invasion occurred and recalled with emotion, of fleeing from her home, losing friends and relatives.

We had 3 stops en route including Salamis and St Barnabas Monastery prior to arriving in Famagusta to visit the Turkish mosque – St Nicholas Cathedral – which had been built to emulate Notre-Dame (Paris) – and to walk through this town and climb the battlements to view the harbour.

We boarded our coach for a drive through the Ghost City which was a tragic reminder of the 1963 uprising and saw so many beautiful buildings which had been left to fall into ruin. We returned to our hotels with mixed feelings of wonder at the beautiful sites we had seen, tinged with sadness for what had occurred during the uprising and the ongoing separation of territories.
I have so many happy memories of this break – wonderful food, attentive staff, hotel comfort and cleanliness, indoor pool/spa, high quality daily entertainment by hotel staff, good bridge sessions but most of all our delightful guests.

Director’s report by Nigel Durie

Supporting partner’s opening bid was one of the themes for the holiday in Paphos. This hand comes from the Butler Pairs competition. Because of the Butler scoring (you should be bidding and playing as if you are playing in a teams competition) you need to bid game if there is a possibility and to make your contract without worrying about overtricks. Here is Hand 5 with just the EW cards shown at present:

What does East bid after:

East has a very useful looking hand with only 7 losers, 4 card trump support and a good diamond suit, but only 9 HCPs. The priority is to show partner the support in Hearts but what is the best way to do this?

An immediate jump to 4 does this perfectly and says to opener that this is the place to play unless opener is significantly stronger than advertised so far.

Other options:

  • A splinter bid of 3♠ showing the singleton spade and 4 card trump support, but indicating a stronger hand in terms of HCPs and interest in slam. Here West would just bid 4 after the splinter because of the wasted values in spades opposite the singleton
  • 2NT Jacoby usually showing a good raise to at least 3 of the trump suit as is the case here. If West just bids 3 then East will continue to 4 anyway on this hand, given the Butler scoring

Personally I favour the direct 4 on this hand rather than giving unnecessary further information to the opponents and overstating the honour strength of my hand.

Now comes the play, a difficult proposition. We have a definite loser in spades and possibly 2 in each of the red suits. How do we plan the play in 4?

Depending on what North decides to lead (e.g. a safe club), we can discard a small club on ♠Q and ruff a club in hand, effectively achieving a dummy reversal (it’s even easier if the opening lead is ♠A or a spade around to the ♠A in South’s hand). Overall, however, we need to make sure that we get the order of play correct to avoid having to ruff twice in the West hand before we have sorted out the trumps.

If we assume a good split in diamonds with KJ in the North hand or split honours then we can avoid 2 losers by finessing twice (small to the 10 and then small to the Q for a 75% chance of success). This works as the cards lie.

What about the hearts? It seems natural to finesse the Q. If North holds K J x or better then we are in trouble so we do not worry about that. If North holds the K and the finesse loses then we need to be careful, so let us assume that this is the case. We lead a small heart to the 4 from South, our Q and the K from North. When we next gain the lead we are faced with the outstanding J 9 7 and the situation does not look hopeful. How would you continue?

Hoping that the honours are also split here and that the suit splits 3-2 a possible play is to lead the 10 to finesse the J hoping that the 9 falls as doubleton in the North hand to leave the 8 as master. As you will see, this turns out to work very well. Leading small and overtaking whatever South plays does not work so well when South plays the 7 and North turns out to have the 9. Which approach did you choose?

On the night the optimum contract of 4 was made by two pairs while two pairs were 1 down in 4 and three pairs were in 1NT making 7, 8 or 9 tricks (presumably West opened with 1NT to start with – not a good idea when partner could have 10 – 12 points for his original pass along with support for one of West’s 4-card majors).

supporting partners opening bid bridge

Prize Winners

Hover and click the images below to see names.

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