Host report by Pauline Durie & Jacky Baker:
The Hotel Bella Playa & Spa, Cala Ratjada, is in a splendid location and is just a short walk from a sandy beach and a lovely level promenade in each direction. There are several walks from the hotel that take you through beautiful woodland to small bays or for the adventurous to the tower on top of the hill. Hayo, the guest manager, arranged 2 gentle walks for guests during which he explained some of the culture and landmarks of Cala Ratjada and Majorca in general.
The holiday season was not yet in full swing so there was a sense of quiet calm about the resort. Not so in the harbour, an easy walk from the hotel. There the hustle and bustle of holiday makers was very evident in the many excellent bars and restaurants.
The hotel has a feel of old fashioned splendour with long corridors with marble floors and beautiful paintings. The restaurant served a variety of excellent food that had something to meet everyone’s taste. The Wellness Centre with its large hydrotherapy pool proved very popular and some enjoyed excellent spa treatments adding to the relaxing time off from bridge. Work was almost finished on a new extension which will include a 25 metre pool and pool bar with lovely gardens. These extra facilities will be ready for the group travelling in October. The table tennis table was well used and greatly enjoyed by some guests, many of whom had not played for several years.
A half day excursion to Palma with its magnificent cathedral was enjoyed by some of the guests. The weather was not kind with more rain than would be expected but there were some sunny days for relaxation on the sun terraces.
Director’s report by Nigel Durie:
This was a hand from the second week illustrating a seminar topic on slam bidding (in fact it seemed that there were more slam hands than usual over the fortnight with Board 1 contributing a possible slam on most evenings):
Can N/S bid to slam? What does North bid after:
North has a very useful looking hand with 16 points after partner’s 1NT rebid. A bid of 2♣ (the lowest unbid minor) will be checkback at this stage looking to gain more information from opener.
South is mid-range (range = 15 – 17) with good controls and supporting honours for partner but a weak heart suit. She also has both 5 hearts and 3 spades so initially bids 2♥.
2♠ at this point would not be forcing so North now bids 3♠ to force to game, obviously looking for a 5 – 3 spade fit. Now South, with excellent support for spades, will like her hand and can try initiating a cue bidding sequence.
Now North is interested in slam, since South has made a move, and asks for Key Cards:
As can be seen, 7♠ can be made because there are good breaks in both spades and hearts, but with a known maximum combined count of 32 North is not going to bid that high.
On the day one pair bid to the slam (in 6NT, making). 4 pairs made 12 tricks in spades or NT while 3 made all 13 tricks in the 4♠ contract (one pair made 11 tricks).
Another hand from “Hands from the night before” provoked some discussion as to how to get to slam:
Once again, only one pair reached the cold slam in spades. A sensible bidding sequence might be: