News from the Bridge room in the Yorkshire Dales, August 2021

Host Report by John Barker and Sarah Marriott

We have just returned from spending 5 nights at the beautiful Rendezvous Hotel in Skipton which is located by the Canal. The guests were delighted with the quality of the food and the beautiful environment of Yorkshire.

We had 73 guests, many of them playing Bridge with “real” cards again after a break of over 18 months.  The Holiday included fantastic excursions every day. The Hotel also had full leisure facilities including a Swimming Pool and a lovely walk along the Canal to Skipton. It really was a full programme. 

On Monday we enjoyed a boat trip on the Skipton Canal which included a very entertaining commentary.   

On Tuesday we went on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway to Oxenhope and Haworth. In Oxenhope many departed from the Train to view an exhibition in the Train Shed of old Trains and the Film Set from the Railway Children. In Haworth a few braved the climb up to the town whilst many took the leisurely route on the Coach. Haworth is the birthplace of the Bronte sisters and we had the opportunity to visit the Church where their Father was the local clergyman. 

On Wednesday and Thursday the Group split into two. One group visiting the Wensleydale Cheese Factory stopping on the way for a Photo of the Ribblehead Viaduct. Once at the Wensleydale Cheese Factory we were lucky enough to witness a cheese making demonstration and spend time in their cheese and gift shop.  There was also time for a Photograph with Wallace and Gromit.  After this we had a very beautiful scenic drive to Grassington.  At Grassington there was the opportunity for a walk along the River before indulging in a spot of lunch. 

The second group travelled on the Settle -Carlisle Railway, going over the Ribblehead Viaduct before stopping off at Appleby, a quaint Yorkshire Village.  The views from the train are some of the finest in England.  These two trips were reversed the next day.

It really was lovely to be able to spend some time away and be reunited with friends and guests who we have not seen in a very long time. 


Prize Winners
Day Description Winners
Sunday Welcome Pairs Red Section Freda & David Houghton (N/S)
Sheila & Brian Stockdale (E/W)
Sunday Welcome Pairs Blue Section George & Maureen Vede (N/S)
Paul Sayer & Alice Zao (E/W)
Monday Championship Qualifier Sheila & Brian Stockdale (1st)
Kathleen & Iain Dorman-Jackson (2nd)
Tuesday Championship Final Margaret Ainsworth & Christopher Bonser (1st)
Sheila & Brian Stockdale (2nd)
Tuesday Consolation Pairs Lyn & Graham Foreman
Wednesday Championship Teams Freda & David Houghton, Pippa Duncan & Jennifer Hill (1st)
David & Anne Gilling, Martin Fuller & Elaine Bexfield (2nd)
Thursday Mixed Pairs Christopher Bonser & Margaret Ainsworth
Thursday Mens Pairs Richard Lark & Michael Gordon
Thursday Ladies Pairs Pippa Duncan & Jennifer Hill

Directors Report by Andrew Kambites

The championship pairs qualifying round at Skipton gave us some really spectacular boards, none more so than board 11.  

South opens 1♠. There really is no case for West bidding, though it works well here as East/West have a double fit in the minor suits and can jam the bidding. Making a weak overcall at the one level is normal practice nowadays but if you overcall on rubbish at the two level partner can never judge the subsequent auction. Partner has one fewer level to investigate.

So suppose West passes. What should North do? It is not difficult to devise a hand for South where 4♠ could fail, for example

Of course North would want to play in 4♠ if South had hand A but it should be noted that the defenders have three top winners, the ♠A K and ♣A. If the defenders cash the ♣A declarer in 4♠ is dependent on the hearts behaving. South has 16 points and 4♠ is not certain.

On the other hand if South has the hand in the diagram 7♠ is trivial. South has 13 points and a grand slam is excellent.

So what should North consider?

First, points are not relevant. Specific cards are relevant, the ♠A K and ♣A.

Second the worse heart holding that South could hold is three small.

Third, splintering with 4♣ or 4♦ to show shortage in that suit plus spade support is hardly useful when you have a void AND a singleton.

Fourth, venturing above 4♠ is risky without further positive information because 5♠ may be too high.

Seems like an impossible conundrum.

My system has a huge array of bids to show spade support (Jacoby etc.) and I am reluctant to suppress support in case opponents get together and find a huge fit in a minor suit. However my choice is 2♥. South rebids 2♠.

North has learned two useful things.

First that South is minimum but he has at least five spades. So even in the unlikely scenario what North/South were missing ♠A K they would be the only two spades missing and they might well be 1-1.

Second, North’s 2♥ response shows at least five hearts so North would expect South to support hearts with three. So North can assume there are no heart losers. This suggests that if South has either of the black aces slam is at least reasonable. There is also the possibility that West might lead a diamond if the ♣A is missing. Now it seems reasonable to go beyond 4♠. If I had no more advanced tool available I would maybe Blackwood (an unusual and normally undesirable action with a void) and settle for 6♠ when South shows two aces. You should be pleased with yourself if you reached 6♠ but for interest’s sake only I can show you how I would expect to reach 7♠ with an expert partner.

Over 2♠ if North bids 3♦ it shows diamonds, game forcing because it is a new suit at the three level.

If North jumps to 4♦ it is a splinter bid, agreeing spades and showing a singleton or void diamond.

So what would it mean if North makes a double jump, above game, to 5♦? I play it as exclusion Roman Key Card Blackwood, agreeing spades, guaranteeing a diamond void, and asking how many key cards partner holds discounting the ♦A. Partner’s response would show three, the ♠A K and ♣A, making 7♠ a certainty.

Before you jump up and down in excitement beware!!!!

I don’t recommend conventions that come up once in a blue moon. Somebody will be sure to forget. I can only remember my partnership using exclusion Blackwood twice in my lifetime.

If you bid 6♠ with a combined 21 points you will score well. 6♠+1 will be excellent. If you bid 7♠ and get it wrong you would probably score zero. Remember, only bid grand slams if you can count 14 top tricks. 15 is preferable if partner is playing it!!!

I was pleasantly surprised that half the tables bid 6♠, some with more guesswork than others. Nobody bid 7♠. So those who bid the small slam scored 75% on the board.

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