Host report by John Barker, Jacquie Corbyn & Andrew Kambites:
As those in the UK suffered wet and windy weather we were all very lucky to spend Christmas and New Year in the Paphos sunshine. During the first week we had up to 10 tables with guests from Holland and the Lebanon also joining us.
Notable winners of the championship pairs were Hanna Broomberg and Mike Gentry. Our new Dutch friends Elisabeth & Marika (claiming to be not of our standard) romped home in the consolation pairs. The Swiss Teams was won by the strong foursome of Hanna & Mike, and Claire Vessey & Richard Hillyard. Finally Zeina & Joseph Asmar and Elliot & Beverley Black won the Butler pairs.
In between the bridge guests swam in the sea, played tennis, petanque and shuffle board (winning 2 bottles of champagne). Many also made the 30 minute walk along the seafront to Paphos harbour and then onto the architectural site to see the ancient mosaics.
The first week tour to the Troodos Mountains was a delight with visits to the fabulous Kykkos monastery, the impressive tomb of former president Archbishop Makarios and the village and monastery of Omodos. There was also a wine tasting opportunity and a drive home through the scenic Paphos forest.
The hotel put on fabulous parties for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and some of the guests were still dancing at 2am!
For the second week we were down to about 8 tables but still the challenge was high with the Swiss pairs being won by Mike and Hanna and the mens and ladies by Chris Mews & David Stone and Liz Bosustow & Linda Goldthorpe. The mixed pairs was shared by Hanna & Mike and Jean Harrison & John Jones. In the multiple teams Gus King was persuaded to play and was a worthy winner alongside Anne Whitehead, Anne Watt & Michael Humphries.
During the second week the guests enjoyed another excursion this time to Limassol – where they stopped at Aphrodite’s rock, Kourion, a crusader’s castle and finally ending up with time to explore Limassol and to see the new marina.
Finally, a huge thank you for the tremendous hospitality of the Louis Imperial staff led by Chris & Matteus, and a very happy new year to you all.
Director’s report by Andrew Kambites:
This spectacular hand came from the random teams. After two passes West must consider how to handle his distributional monster. Beginners count 15 points and open 1♦. More experienced players realise that given the slightest fit they can almost underwrite the game in a minor suit and open with some sort of forcing bid. And experts? Well I think it might surprise many of our guests but in my view the majority of experts would open 1♦, intending to rebid 3♣. Why? Just imagine an auction which starts with a Benji 2♣. Even if opponents are silent (and that is a big ‘if’) the auction will continue with West making his first natural bid at the three level (3♦). West knows what he wants to find out: has East got the ♠A and ♦K and which minor suit does East prefer? West needs to conserve space. I can hear you protest: ‘But what if 1♦ ends the auction? Let me reassure you. There is no chance whatsoever that 1♦ will be passed out. If you have extreme shape, it is likely that other players will also have shapely hands: not the recipe for passing. There are many possible auctions but this is as good as any.
(i) The negative double shows exactly four spades. 1♠ would show five.
(ii) Bidding to the level of the fit.
(iii) Forcing. But if you have any doubts that your partner will agree don’t give him a chance to pass. 5♣ or 6♣, depending on your optimism is the practical bid.
(v) Cue bids.
(vi) This is the grand slam force. In its simplest form it asks partner to bid the grand slam with two of the top three trumps, otherwise the small slam. However an easy and improved version is that partner bids 6♣ with no top honour, 6♦ with one top honour, 6♥ with two top honours and 6♠ with all three. Note that this will not be needed with any great frequency because usually Roman key card Blackwood will give you the same information at a lower level. However it can be invaluable if you have a side suit void.
(viii) One top honour.
There is a good case for North, who knows of a ten card heart fit, extending the pre-empt to 4♥. If East voluntarily bids 5♦ over 4♥ as shown below then I think that West should be prepared to bid 6♦ and it hardly costs to cue bid on the way. West cue bids 5♥, East cue bids 5♠ and West can now use the grand slam force of 5NT just as in the first auction.
The board was played eight times. Nobody bid a slam though a couple of pairs were doubled in 5dx, making two overtricks.