News from the Scandinavia and Russia Cruise Room


Host report from Martin and Judy Holcombe

What can anyone say about cruising other than fine dining, fine itinerary, fine wines and excellent company.
The staff onboard the Celebrity Eclipse are excellent, we envy Judy and Allan Sanis who are directing/hosting the trip around the Canaries this coming October, numbers are limited so if you are interested then contact Arena to avoid being disappointed.  They will also be directing and hosting on the new cruise to Iceland and the Fjords on the Eclipse that is departing next June from Southampton.

We would like to thank the officers and crew for their assistance and professionalism, Andrew Kambites for his inimitable directing and teaching style and of course those of you who were with us, for your company.

If you are considering joining Judy, myself, June and Derek Taplin in Menorca this coming September/October please do not leave it late to book up.  S’Algar offers excellent value for money now that it is all inclusive, and our guests are offered single rooms without supplement, and as a result books up very quickly.  The Rafalet apartments are already fully booked and single rooms are now very limited.
Please send Arena your e mail address if you wish to be kept up to date with the latest holidays and special offers

Directors Report by Andrew Kambites

Dealer West   East/West vulnerable Pairs


West passes as dealer and North opens 1. If North did not have the K the hand would be perfect for a gambling 3NT opener, showing a long solid minor with no ace or king outside. However North must be disciplined: if North opens 3NT, unless South has a spade stopper he will assume the spades are wide open and take it out (probably into 4, asking North to pass if his minor is clubs or convert to 4 if he has solid diamonds).  That is not what you want.

East overcalls 1 with 1 and I think South should make a negative double, showing 4 hearts. Admittedly South has flimsy values but in my experience passing gives you a problem on the next round if West raises spades or West passes and North reopens with a double, which might be a minimum opening with good shape or a very strong hand. How does South then show he has any points at all without jumping, which takes the bidding uncomfortably high unless North is strong?

After 1: 1: dbl some Wests might redouble, showing a decent hand but nothing obvious to bid.  Perhaps best not to try that on partner if not discussed! :

After 1: 1: dbl: Pass what should North do? Nobody could crime a 3 rebid which will lead to a safe plus score (South will pass), but you may have another highly descriptive if somewhat speculative bid available. If you play a 1NT rebid as showing 15-17 points and a jump to 2NT as showing 18-19 you have no obvious use for a leap to 3NT. Modern theory is to play this to show the suit you opened is totally solid, plus a few bits and pieces outside that made it unsuitable for a gambling 3NT opening bid. With East having overcalled 1 North’s bits and pieces must include a spade stopper, but doesn’t guarantee stoppers in the other suits, or indeed deny a singleton in other suits. Yes, it is a gamble, but so often hands with seven solid tricks in a suit succeed in 3NT even if a different lead would have led to defeat.

What should East lead against 3NT? South should have alerted 3NT and East should ask the meaning. Aware that partner didn’t raise spades and knowing that declarer rates to have 7 diamonds tricks as soon as he gains the lead with a spade I would start with the A, which gives me a chance to see dummy. Holding the Q West may signal with the 6 and East should notice that the 3 is missing. A heart continuation ensures declarer can make no more than 8 tricks before he runs out of steam.

Suppose instead East kicks off with a fourth highest spade. Declarer has two possible lines of play.

1)  Declarer could run the diamonds and hope East discards carelessly. This is unlikely to succeed for two reasons. First clear thinking should prevent East from going wrong. East should realise that his only chance is to hope West has the A Q, or perhaps that West has the A 10 and declarer has the singleton Q. East discards spades and hearts. Second, even if declarer believes East is capable of misdefending it will be much harder for declarer to find discards from the aceless dummy than it will be for East to find discards. On the other hand running diamonds will at least ensure declarer escapes for one off. That should give a decent score because East/West have over half the high cards and can make 140 in 3.

2)  Declarer could win trick 1 and immediately play a spade back, trying to set up his ninth trick (the J is an entry). Provided East knows declarer has 7 solid diamonds it should be easy for East to take the A and switch to K. However this approach by declarer risks going several off, for example if West has the A.

Note that even playing pairs it is safe enough for East to switch to the K when he regains the lead. It will only cost a trick if declarer has A Q, highly unlikely because if North had this in addition to the K and 7 solid diamonds he would surely have opened with a strong bid.