News from the Bridge Room in Rabac, May 2019

Host Report by Pauline Durie and Jacky Baker

We were looking  forward to returning to the Istrian Peninsular and were not disappointed. The area is stunning with lush green forests on hillsides that slope down to the Adriatic.  A more clear and beautiful sea would be hard to find.

The hotel Valamar Sanfior is located in woodland that overlooks the bay in one of the most spectacular locations I have visited with FFB. The staff could not have been more welcoming and helpful. The restaurant boasted an extensive buffet with local and international cuisine being continually cooked fresh. A large terrace was popular where meals could be enjoyed overlooking the sea and the hills beyond. Both the indoor and outdoor pools were used by many as were relaxing massages in the spa.

Many guests took a boat trip to Cres island where they were treated to picturesque harbours and historic buildings atop steep, narrow and cobbled streets. A BBQ on the boat, providing mackerel or port chop and salad along with pint glasses of wine or beer, was very well received. All this accompanied by a very lively accordionist so that many a guest was spotted singing along – ‘Que sera sera’

Visits to Pula, with its fabulous Roman amphitheatre, and, via the local bus, to Labin with more history and very pleasant coffee shops, made pleasant excursions.  Some preferred to saunter along the sea-front promenade from the hotel to the local harbour with its excellent range of bars and restaurants – our hotel provided discount vouchers for some.  Thanks to the guests for making this a memorable holiday, we hope to see you again soon.

Prize Winners

(Click on the images below to see captions)

Director’s Report by Nigel Durie

This hand comes from our Teams competition

Most NS pairs were in a club contract, but not game, making 11 tricks, while one pair tried 3NT which went 3 down.  Only one pair bid and made 5♣ exactly.  What would be a sensible route to the game contract?

If North decides to open 1♣ – reasonable with 11 points concentrated in the long suits as well as a singleton – ­­­­­­­­how does South respond?

With 13 points, great support and a singleton of her own, as well as the good diamond suit, it seems ideal for a rarely used splinter bid over partner’s minor suit opening.  This does not prevent the partnership finding a 3NT contract but does say that if they go above 3NT then they should be in at least game in the minor.  So:

  1. Splinter agreeing clubs and showing a void/singleton in spades
  2. North only has 1 wasted point in the ♠J and hence may as well show his A on the way to game in case South is interested in slam.

Unfortunately South would find it difficult to discover the distribution of the rest of North’s hand at this stage and using Blackwood to find one ace would take them above 5♣ anyway.  Thus, at teams, South will probably subside in the game contract.  The safest bet, since no one made 12 tricks on the day anyway.

If North does not open the bidding, the sequence might be:

  1. Negative double showing 4 hearts
  2. East might risk 3♠ here with a known 9-card fit. But, without a short suit and the chance to ruff, as well as  being vulnerable, this looks risky.
  3. North does not guarantee a club suit for the double but South may as well investigate.
  4. Yes I have clubs as well as 4 hearts

12 tricks are available on this hand, double-dummy, but NS are unlikely to bid the slam with fairly minimum opening points each.  So why didn’t any of our declarers make the extra trick?  Probably because they were under no pressure to make an overtrick at teams, since this would make a negligible difference to the score (most were in 4♣ anyway).

After a spade lead, followed by a spade ruffed in the South hand:  Declarer can draw the 3 rounds of trumps but is unable to return to South’s hand after ruffing the third Diamond because South has no trumps left.

Careful management of the trump suit provides the extra trick.  Just 2 rounds of trumps are drawn (discovering the 3-1 break) after the ♠A and spade ruff as above.  Declarer then starts on diamonds with the A and a diamond ruff with the ♣9.  As long as diamonds are 3-3 declarer can return to South’s hand with a club (they kept a high club for this purpose, of course) drawing the last trump from East on the way.  They then discard 4 losers from North (one spade and three hearts) on the four remaining diamonds.  Twelve tricks, but a very risky strategy when eleven tricks are available from 5 clubs, A K, 2 hearts and 2 spade ruffs.

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