News from the Austrian Bridge Room


Hosts Report by Barry & Maggie Watts

The four star Postwirt hotel was the venue for this year’s bridge holiday in Soll in the stunning Wilder Kaiser area of Austria. History relates that the magnificent backdrop of mountains were named by Charles the Great who exclaimed, “Long after I will have ceased to be, you will still be an emperor.” The mountain scenery is worth the praise and because the whole area is a ski resort in winter, there are cable cars to many high spots from which the magnificent scenery can be enjoyed by walkers and non-walkers alike; usually from a delightful café at the top.

The town of Soll is a beautiful Austrian town. It is compact with most facilities, including many restaurants and bars within walking distance. The towns folk are welcoming and warm-hearted and seem to be living a constant festival. Almost every day the bridge sessions are accompanied by the sound of the Town brass band or choir or by zither players. It is a very happy place to go to for a holiday and there is so much to do that it was difficult to fit in the bridge.


The Postwirt is a family owned, traditional Austrian ski hotel. The staff were most welcoming and worked hard throughout our stay to provide everything needed to make our holiday enjoyable and memorable. We arrived in a heatwave with temperatures in the high 30s; extraordinary for Austria at any time of year. It took most of the first week to cool down so not only were the initial bridge sessions hotly contested as usual but also they were just hot!

The weather was great, the bridge most enjoyable and the holiday a great success. We are already looking forward to next year.

Directors Report by Bob Baker

What does it mean when the opponents bid unopposed to a game and we double? Well, it could be that you simply don’t believe them, or it could be that you know that suits (especially trumps) are breaking badly for them. But when the bidding goes

1NT    pass    3NT   double

then the double has a special meaning: it says “Partner, I have a solid suit worth at least five tricks if you lead it”. Of course, partner has no trouble working out what that suit would be – usually. However, the following hand occurred one evening in Austria:


With neither side vulnerable, West dealt and opened 1NT (12-14) and, after a pass from North, was raised, reasonably enough, to 3NT

Now South has a classic hand for a double – a solid suit that, as long as his partner leads it, will surely guarantee the defeat of the contract. So South doubled, and when that was followed by three passes 3NT doubled became the contract. The bidding:

West   North   East   South

1NT    pass    3NT  double

all pass

Now, of course, the spotlight fell on North. Now North knew exactly what his partner’s double meant, but looking at his hand he could not tell which of three suits (spades, diamonds or clubs) his partner had. As you can see, if he chose to lead a minor suit declarer would have no trouble in making his game, with five diamond tricks and four club tricks. Indeed, at several tables, after 1NT was raised to 3NT (and South failed to double) the contract was made on a club or diamond lead.

Rather than guess which suit to lead, North found a clever solution to his problem. He led his A and waited for dummy to appear. After this it was clear that the only solid suit that could be held by South was spades, so at trick two North switched to a spade and his happy partner took the next six tricks. The 3NT game was three down – well doubled and well defended.