This was our eighth visit to this beautiful part of the world, it’s a bit like coming home, the staff and management of the hotel go out of their way to welcome us back, embracing those that have been before and ensuring those that are new feel part of one big family. In all the years that Judy and I have been running these holidays we have never received such praise about the quality and number or trips that were offered, our thanks on behalf of Arena go to Aleks our ground agent for his organisational skills, his enthusiasm and the obvious pride he has in his country.
Our thanks also to the staff and management of the Meteor Hotel, Andrew Kambites our shy and unassuming director but most importantly all of you who attended for making it a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding fortnight for everyone. Next year First for Bridge will be offering a two centre holiday that will include a stay in Montenegro, and we are delighted that Aleks will be organising the transfer between Makarska and Montenegro which will include a stop off in the delightful walled City of Dubrovnik on route.
Can we remind those of you who have e mail addresses to let Arena know them, it is a method of keeping you up to date not only with the latest news but to also let you know of additional holidays and occasional offers.
We look forward to seeing you again in the near future.
Martin & Judy
This hand occurred in the Swiss Pairs First let us examine how the bidding should go.
After three passes, with a balanced 16 points East has a hand too strong for 1NT and opens 1♥. Presumably South passes (although if this was not polite company I would admit that at love all at pairs I would overcall 1♠). It is clearcut for West to raise to 2♥. Although the 1♥ opening promises only four hearts roughly 70% of the time East will have five. Even if East has only four hearts playing a 4-3 fit at the two level when you have ruffing values in the short hand is very playable.
North passes and so should East! Of course West could have nine points, but even then a combined 25 points is likely to make game only marginal. There is no need to strive for thin games at pairs. Now the spotlight turns to South. East/West seem to have found a heart fit but the bidding has subsided at the two level. The points seem to be roughly shared between the two sides and if East/West have a fit, so do North/South.
South strains every muscle to enter the auction in the protective position and should bid 2♠. This is not dangerous. North is known to have some points, he also has very few hearts so the likelihood of him having some spade support is high. North will not get too excited if South protects with 2♠. He will remember that South originally passed 1♥. This suggests to North that either South is very weak or South has only four spades. With only three hearts West should not compete to 3♥, but he might consider trying 3♦ which would give his sides a second chance of finding a good fit. North will then compete to 3♠. Well, this did happen at one table and well bid by the players.
At a second table East bought the contract in 2♥, South led the ♦9, the ♦10 was played from dummy and North played a catastrophic ♦K, allowing declarer to win the ♦A, draw trumps and run six diamond tricks. Automatically playing ‘third hand high’ has to be wrong here. If North analyses the lead he will quickly work out that the ♦9 must be from ♦9 singleton or ♦9 4 doubleton. In either case playing the ♦K will only help declarer.
At several other tables West wrongly responded 1NT to 1♥. Some Easts passed, others raised to 2NT (though there is no reason to raise when the partnership has a maximum of 25 combined points and could have as few as 22. Optimistic Wests raised 2NT to 3NT. North led the ♠7 and dummy played ♠4 This is a rare occasion when South cannot tell whether the lead is fourth highest (from ♠Q 9 8 7 x) or from rubbish. If South is confident that the ♠7 is fourth best he can allow the ♠7 to win trick 1, and the defense collects the first seven tricks. South can also defeat the contract by taking the ♠10, switching to the ♣2 and North will switch back to spades, giving North/South the same 7 tricks.This seems more complicated and needs North to have the ♣K but avoids conceding an unnecessary spade trick if North has led from a holding like ♠ 8 7 x. It seems to be a guess.
At other tables West correctly raised 1♥ to 2♥ but East made an over optimistic rebid of 2NT. 2NT here should show 17-18 points. Of course 1♥ 2♣ 2NT can be bid on 15 points but 2♣ shows a minimum of 9 points. If 1♥ is raised to 2♥ West has a maximum of 9 points and there is no percentage value in chasing game with just 15 or 16 points opposite 9. Some Easts now raised to 3NT because of their long diamonds. 3NT is hard to beat: club lead to ♣K, ♠ 7 switch. East and West players who made 3NT were lucky. Even with the diamond finesse working and sufficient entries to the West hand to run the diamond suit it can be beaten quite heavily. If the diamond finesse had been wrong it would have had no chance.
Pat & Mike Gordon, Jill & Richard Lark