Host report by Mark Hooper, John Barker & Linda Williams:
We were delighted to run this holiday for First for Bridge and really enjoyed the company of the guests and all the surroundings.
The Bella Playa is a fabulous place for bridge holidays – on this holiday we had up to 17 tables playing.
The restaurant offers fabulous food both breakfast and evenings and a great choice with the dishes changed daily. The hotel also has a fantastic spa complex where many of the guests could be seen relaxing in the early evening before their challenge at the bridge table.
There was very little afternoon bridge as most of the guests opted for sunbathing, bus rides, glass bottom boats, trips to the local cave and many were found on the nearby beach. Some guests also took advantage of the close proximity of the local golf course and went off for a round of golf.
Hayo treated the group to a fantastic walking excursion to the lighthouse. At the end of the walk many quickly disappeared into the local tapas restaurant along the Seafront.
There were three excursions during the week: Palma and the Cathedral, Alcudia and Porta Polensa and finally Valdemosa and Soller. The guests enjoyed all the trips but the biggest gasps seemed to come from the Coastal Road up to Valdemosa where the view was spectacular.
At Valdemosa many visited the monastery where the Polish composer Frederic Chopin stayed with his lover the pioneering French writer Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, better known by her pseudonym George Sand. Afterwards we visited Soller and Port Soller.
In the bridge room Mark Hooper presented some excellent seminars on 8 card trump fits, the losing trick count and finally (the most thought provoking) competitive bidding in the pass out seat. Mark also directed all play and at one stage was directing 2 different competitions in the bridge room including moving the boards, scoring and partnering the bridge host. On top of this he still managed to spot and admonish the host (after the session had finished) in several bad card strategies and bidding.
The main events were won by Anne Saunders and Sylvia Fisher (Swiss Pairs), Kris Hughes and Judith Jury (Ladies Pairs), Judy Searle and Paul Searle (Championship Pairs) and Pat & Peter Nielsen and Judy & Paul Seale who won the Multiple Teams. Paul completed his hat trick by winning the Bella Playa Open Crazy Golf putting competition.
The winners did very well to strive off the talented 20 Leicester Ladies led by Mary Clarke who were very close to all the Prizes but just didn’t quite make it.
All in all a fabulous week had by all!
Director’s report by Mark Hooper:
One of the seminar topics for this holiday was protection. Bidding in the pass out seat after our left hand opponent has bid, and their partner has passed. Here is a protective decision from the Championship pairs
South opens 1♣ which is passed round to East, should East protect ? With only 9 HCP you certainly wouldn’t bid in 2nd position, but should you bid in the Pass out seat? The theory of bidding in this position is to add a hypothetical King to our hand. This gives us enough points for a double, but the hand shape isn’t perfect. The doubleton diamond is a negative for a couple of reasons. As with a double in 2nd seat we would prefer at least 3 cards in each of the other suits. But there is an additional danger in the protective seat, the opponents may hold the diamonds and we may allow them to find a contract they couldn’t find otherwise. If the doubleton were a major, I wouldn’t double; there is too much danger of pushing the opponents from a minor to a major. Here we hold the majors so even if we push them in to a better fit, our suit will outrank theirs. But it is by no means automatic.
We can see from the whole hand that in this case it is right to compete. North / South can make 8 tricks in either minor and East / West can make 8 tricks in hearts. With hearts outranking the minors, this is East / West’s hand. The West hand demonstrates the other side of protective bidding. Opposite a 2nd hand double, West has enough points to jump the bidding; opposite a protective double West has to subtract the 3 points which East added to justify their bid. Even if South were to Pass, West should only bid 1♥. Of course with South bidding 1♦, West’s 1♥ shows some genuine values.
It’s not an easy hand, even if East doubles initially, will East / West sell out to 2♦? South will bid 1♦, West bid 1♥ and North raise to 2♦. East may be afraid of bidding a 2nd time on his 9 count; but if he passes, West can’t be sure there is an 8 card fit and may also Pass. If East / West do compete to 2♥, will they sell out to 3♦ or go too far and bid 3♥. Followers of the Law of Total Tricks will be rewarded, but that is a topic for another day. For the record, about half the room left South to play in 1♣, and only 2 East / Wests achieved a plus score.