News from Menorca

Host report from Menorca

By Bob & Jacky Baker
S’Algar remains as picturesque and peaceful as ever and we were fortunate to enjoy beautiful clear blue skies and sunshine for much of our fortnight there. There were, as usual, many guests who were returning and they all agreed that the hotel and in particular the dining was better than ever.

The free courtesy bus service into the capital Mahon proved popular and for those wishing to explore other parts of this beautiful island the local car hire arrangements were both easy and inexpensive.

After two weeks in S’Algar we moved across to the other side of the island to the luxurious La Quinta hotel. This is situated near to the old capital of Cuitadella and once again there was a free courtesy bus service twice daily from the hotel into the city. The staff at La Quinta made the returning guests feel instantly at home and the service provided once again could not be faulted.

Our thanks go to Rob and Rosa who were our helpers in S’Algar and to Andy and Chris who, having enjoyed the two weeks in S’Algar as guests, became our helpers in La Quinta.

Director’s report

By Bob Baker

Many years ago, the bid of an opponent’s suit after he had opened the bidding was used to show a powerhouse hand. However, these hands occur fairly infrequently and often starting with a (takeout) double will point the auction in the right direction.

Because of this, the cue-bid of opener’s suit, e.g. 1♦ from South, 2♦ from West, is now often played as showing a two-suited hand and a desire to compete. The most common method is Michaels’ Cue Bids (for the benefit of those who are looking with disgust at the positioning of the apostrophe I should point out that these are named after Mike Michaels, an American player who devised them). Of course there are many players who use Ghestem, a more sophisticated variation which is responsible for more bidding misunderstandings than almost any other convention.

There is one common auction where the bid of an opponent’s suit should be played as natural. This is in a sequence such as 1♦ – pass – 1♠ – 2♠ where the 2♠ bid should show a good (usually 6-card) suit in a sound opening hand. Because the initial response at the one-level is often made on a four-card suit of very modest quality it is useful for the player next to bid to have this overcall available as a natural overcall.

Note that you do not need the bid of 2♠ to show a two-suited hand with the other two suits – here, hearts and clubs – you have available a double or a 2NT bid for this type of hand.

The following hand occurred in a Pairs session in S’Algar:

West was dealer at game all and opened 1♦ (the middle suit of three touching four-card suits). East responded, perfectly reasonably, 1♠ and it was South’s turn to bid. If we accept that a bid of 2♠ by South here is natural, showing a strong six-card suit and a sound opening bid then this hand fits the description beautifully.

The analysis given on the hand records suggests that (double dummy) South should make just seven tricks – in practice, the two NS pairs who played in 2♠ made eight tricks for a shared top. Although EW can make a partscore in clubs neither West faced with the problem of what to bid over South’s 2♠ chose to bid again.

Prize Winners – S’Algar

Swiss Pairs: Joy Mayall & Mary Rimmer

Championship Teams: Jane Spreull & Margaret Rushton, Lyn Hilton & Margaret Payne

Championship Pairs: Richard Stedman & Gerry Noonan

Men’s Pairs: Ron Stevenson & Richard Gallow

Ladies’ Pairs: Chris Simmons & Pauline Donnellan

Consolation Teams: Margaret Hall, Brenda McDonald, Margaret Barrowman, Betty Angus

Swiss Teams: Andy & Chris Simmons, Steve & Pauline Donnellan

Prize Winners – La Quinta

Swiss Pairs: Carol & Andrew Gilmour

Championship Teams: Peter & Sue McNeill, Stephen McNeill & Christine Meakin

Random Teams: Sheila Oxenham, Jane and Tim Green, Joy Allington