News from Bridge in Slovenia with Tom Townsend

HOST REPORT BY PAULINE DURIE

The impressive Grand Hotel, Portoroz (Port of Roses) boasts a fabulous position overlooking the Bay of Trieste. As a Lifeclass hotel it offers a variety of spa and wellness facilities with a choice of thermal and sea water pools. These were popular with many of the guests as the weather was too unkind to allow many opportunities for sea swimming. The hotel restaurant served a wide range of excellent food and the integral coffee lounge situated on the promenade was a bonus for drinks and snacks at lunchtime.

Portoroz is a bustling coastal resort ideally situated for exploring the area. An easy coastal walk or short bus ride into the old town of Piran with its Venetian style buildings, cathedral and quaint passageways, was a popular destination. Many guests were treated to the spectacle of the Slovenian Royal Navy’s inauguration of new recruits. Pirate costumes, acrobats and flag changing were amongst the entertainment.

A trip to the Lipica Stud Farm to see the world famous Lipizzaner horses performing was a real highlight and even the driving rain didn’t spoil the enjoyment.

A second tour took in the splendour of Postojna caves with a train ride deep into the heart of the cave system to see stalagmites and stalactites that had been millions of years in the making.

A proposed walk to Isola had to be postponed due to the inclement weather.

slovenia-pics

The bridge room was spacious and comfortable and afternoon and evening bridge sessions were well attended. The bridge was friendly and enjoyable and honours were shared. It was great that three pairs who had never met or played together before the holiday were amongst the prize winners. Guests were delighted to have Tom Townsend arrive to give very informative and interesting seminars on slam bidding and to answer questions.

FIVE TIPS ON SLAM BIDDING AND ROMAN KEY CARD BLACKWOOD (RKCB)

It was good to meet you all in Portoroz. The subject of my seminars was slam bidding, especially Roman Key Card Blackwood (RKCB). My RKCB notes and bidding tests are available on request by e-mail: tomgt@globalnet.co.uk. By the way, feel free to send me a “column hand” anytime. Five tips on slam bidding and RKCB:

  1. Don’t launch into Blackwood or slam without some idea where the tricks are coming from. Having all the aces and a control in each suit does not necessarily produce 12 tricks.
  2. Don’t bid any kind of Blackwood with a void. You won’t know if partner’s aces include the duplicated ace in your void suit.
  3. No-trump raises are generally natural and quantitative. 1D-1S-1NT-4NT basically asks opener if he has 15 or 17 for his 1NT. With 16 points, opener’s shape and intermediate cards may decide.
  4. Play RKCB and use 1430 (Kantar) responses.
  5. 5NT after RKCB says that all the key cards are present, and so is the queen of trumps. The bid invites grand slam, and asks partner to cue-bid a side-King.
  6. TOM TOWNSEND

    A World Junior Champion for Great Britain in 1995 and part of the England Open team that were runners-up at the 2008 Bridge Olympiad in Beijing, Tom is a World Bridge Federation World International Master. He has been writing the Telegraph’s daily bridge hand column since 2013.

    PRIZE WINNERS:

    Graham Boxall and Ron Hall - winners of the Monday Pairs

    Graham Boxall and Ron Hall – winners of the Monday Pairs with Tom Townsend

    Helen and Ron Hall – winners of the Butler Pairs

    Helen and Ron Hall – winners of the Butler Pairs (and overall best performance over the week) with Tom Townsend

    Ann Lee and Mike Prew

    Ann Lee and Mike Prew – winners of the Butler Pairs with Tom Townsend

    Jane and Roy Lennox – winners of the Farewell Pairs

    Jane and Roy Lennox – winners of the Farewell Pairs with Tom Townsend

    Ross and Jennie Murray winners of the Saturday and Monday Pairs

    Ross and Jennie Murray winners of the Saturday and Monday Pairs with Tom Townsend

    Jennifer Grundy and Sheila Seitz winners of the Swiss Pairs

    Jennifer Grundy and Sheila Seitz winners of the Swiss Pairs with Tom Townsend

    Geoff Ball and Jane Turk winners of the Welcome Pairs

    Geoff Ball and Jane Turk winners of the Welcome Pairs with Tom Townsend