News from Madeira

Host Report

By Judy Sanis

First for Bridge welcomed over 100 guests to the Pestana Bay Hotel in Madeira. We had the most beautiful weather and guests sat outside for breakfast and dinner and sunbathed by the pool. Madeira is a truly spectacular island and everyone appreciated the trips organised by Atlantic Travel or made their way on local buses. We had a courtesy bus which ran regularly to Funchal where it was possible to enjoy the old town or take a flat stroll along by the sea.All the staff in the Pestana Bay were very welcoming and helpful and we also thank Rita, our travel rep. for her help and thoughtfulness in planning our trips around the island. We all found time to play bridge although most guests only chose to join us in the evenings. We had a range of competitions organised by Andrew, our bridge director, and his seminars were well supported.

Allan and I were very pleased to be the hosts for the two weeks and we thank Paul Ford for his help both with guests and in the bridge room.

I am sure many guests will choose to return to this unique and wonderful island. We congratulate our guests who won the many competitions and hope these photographs will prompt happy memories. We would especially like to congratulate Sheila Peers and Angie Fisher who with a combined age of 184 years won the Championship Pairs and they were in the winning team in the Swiss Teams.

Event Winners  – Week 1

Margaret Ainsworth, John Dignan, Pauline Dignan & Bob Ainsworth – winners of the red section of the Random Teams

Bernard Palmer, Gloria Smith, Inga Mckenzie & Keith McKenzie – winners of the blue section of the Random Teams

Richard Tyler, Ann McMahon and Robin & Jan Sharp – Two teams tied for joint winners of the Swiss Pairs

Ann Cowley & Paul Ford – highest scorers in the Swiss Pairs

Robert & Joyce Jones and Gail Davis & John Robert – winners of the Multiple Teams

Event Winners  – Week 2

Bob Singer & Sharon Grant – Consolation Pairs winners

Sheila Peers & Angie Fisher – Championship Pairs winners

Sheila Peers & Angie Fisher and Bob & Margaret Ainsworth – Swiss Teams winners

Director’s report

by Andrew KambitesThis hand from a multiple teams (rotated for convenience) required careful card play.

The bidding from the point of view of North/South is straightforward. A double of 4 shows tolerance for spades so South’s 4♠ is pretty obvious. West starts with the A, ruffed in dummy. Declarer then calls for the ♠A and West contributes the ♠Q. How should declarer continue?

If spades are 2-2 or the diamond finesse works then any reasonable play will bring in the contract. Even if spades and diamonds are unkind provided clubs break 3-2 it will be possible to discard two diamonds in declarer’s hand on dummy’s two extra clubs, thus avoiding a diamond loser. Satisfied with these excellent odds declarer cashed the ♠K and finessed his ♣Q. West won the ♣K and switched to the 8. Declarer called for dummy’s A and led another club, East doing well to follow with the ♣5. With clubs 4-1 declarer could have won the trick with his ♣6, but that risks going off if clubs are 3-2 if West wins and switches to another diamond, removing the diamond entry to dummy’s clubs while the club suit is blocked. When declarer took his ♣A he had no way of avoiding four losers. If he conceded the third round of clubs East could win, cash the ♠J, exit with a heart and wait for his diamond winner.


Declarer missed the difficult no cost safety play of cashing the ♣A after the ♠A. Here the ♣A spectacularly fells the ♣K, but suppose it just took two low clubs. Declarer could return to dummy with the ♠K and lead towards the ♣Q. If East had the ♣K there would only be one club loser. If East followed suit and West won the ♣K clubs would have broken 3-2, allowing two diamond discards from hand. Only if West had four clubs (highly unlikely after the 4 opening) would declarer be in danger of failing.

Note that if declarer had noticed the safety play and West ruffed the ♣A the contract would still be safe as the ♣K would be onside.

Should West have continued with 5 over 4♠? It is normally bad bridge to bid again after pre-empting because partner is in the best position to judge what to do, but with West holding an unexpected nine hearts there is some case for it here. In 5 doubled West should go two down but the defenders must be careful to cash their winners. For example if North tries to cash the ♠A K then declarer ruffs and has a discard on the ♠J. Count signals would help here (high low showing an even number: low high showing an odd number). I play the lead of an ace or queen asks for attitude, whereas the lead of a king asks for count. If I was on lead as North I would lead one of my ace-king combinations but knowing declarer has extreme length outside hearts I would lead the king rather than the ace. Suppose I led the ♠K. Partner would show an odd number of spades with the ♠2 which would confirm declarer’s ♠Q was a singleton. I would switch to the ♦K at trick 2, partner’s 9 (even number of diamonds) confirming it was safe to cash a second diamond. Then I would switch to a club at trick 4.

Nobody succeeded in making 4♠. 15 pairs played as East/West in a heart contract and at only five tables did the defenders succeed in cashing their four tricks.

We will be returning to the popular Pestana Bay Hotel Madeira in Nov 2017. Please call if you would like to advance register or receive notice when this holiday goes on sale.