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News from the Bridge Room in Tiverton, July 2021

Host Report by Christine and Stewart MacFarlane

We have just enjoyed four days of bridge and socialising in the Best Western – Tiverton.  The staff did everything they could to make us feel safe and comfortable and the players were very pleased to meet up with old friends and play some bridge with real cards again.

The weather was kinder than promised but some sporting fixtures (finals of Wimbledon and Euro 2020) created a challenge for the Director who had to hastily rearrange the programme.  It was a tough call for the players to decide upon watching the final of Euro 2020 or enjoying the last evening of bridge.

Some of the highlights close by that the players enjoyed during their free time included:

Knightshayes – National Trust house and gardens
Grand Western Canal – walk along the towpath
Canal Tea Rooms garden
Pannier Market
Museum of Mid-Devon Life

And historic heritage walks around the town.

Interesting fact about Tiverton:
Tiverton is a medieval town and has a town ‘leat’ (an aqueduct under the ground).  Every 7 years there is a ‘perambulation’ (water bailing) to commemorate the town’s water supply and keep it running.
‘Leat’ in Castle Street – Tiverton delivering fresh water (currently dry awaiting repairs)

Prize Winners
Day Description Prizes
Thursday Welcome Pairs 1st: Nora Mallett & Jean Lowe 2nd: Mike & Pat Gordon
Friday Championship Pairs A 1st: Mike & Pat Gordon 2nd: Nora Mallett & Jean Lowe
Friday Championship  Pairs B 1st: Vicky Bevan & Angela O’Donovan
Saturday Handicapped Teams 1st: Norma Allen, Gail Houghton, Mike & Pat Gordon 2nd: Jane Rawling, Chris Mewes, Sally Sheringham, Victor Rae-Reeves
Sunday Swiss Pairs   1st: Ronnie & Susan Engelbert 2nd: Sue Norgate & Verena Higgs
Sunday Farewell Pairs 1st: Patrick Hodson & Sue Norgate 2nd: Alan Evans & Bridget Johnson

Director’s Report by Colin Simcox

49 guests made it to the starting line of the four night break in Tiverton, which for most started with an excellent cream tea on the first afternoon.

          It is fair to say, however, that two pairs dominated the rankings; Mike and Pat Gordon won the Championship Pairs ‘A’ final (having qualified in second place), and with Norma Allen and Gail Houghton won the Championship Teams. On the other hand, Nora Mallett and Jean Lowe were second in the ‘A’ final (having won the qualifier), and third in the teams (although top of the X-IMP table), partnered by Daphne Greatorex and Pam Roots. Congratulations to both pairs, plus the other event winners.

          As the holiday progressed it became apparent that the bridge programme would need to be tweaked to accommodate a certain football match which was played on the Sunday evening. The solution was to play the Swiss Pairs on Sunday afternoon, and this was contested by 18 pairs (others were watching tennis or saving themselves for the evening). My featured deal comes from the second match of this event.

If west opens I see no excuses for EW to fail to reach 6D, even if north overcalls. This is an excellent example of not needing Blackwood – let’s look at some possible auctions:

1. West opens, north does not overcall:

1D  – 2S *   This is a splinter bid showing a singleton spade, 4+ diamonds and values

3C* – 3H*   Both these are cue bids showing first round control (ace or void)

4C  – 4S     West shows second round club control, so must be AK. East shows SA

5D  – 6D     West has run out of features to show, but east knows there are no club losers so can bid the slam.

2. West opens, north overcalls:

1D  (1S) – 3S* (4S)   Again the splinter bid (2S would be a Directional Asking Bid)

5C – 6D  West knows they are going to 5D so cue bids the ace of clubs – east surely bids the slam.

3. West passes, east opens:

1H (2S) – X (4S) This is the most difficult situation. South makes a weak jump overcall. West doubles to show both minors and 9+ HCP.
North bids 4S to make life difficult.

5D/6D – 6D/P  With such a powerful hand 5D is a pretty feeble bid by east, and even then there is a good chance west will bid 6D over 5D.

On this hand our hapless director was sitting south, partnering Christine the host, playing against the sucessful Mallett / Lowe pair (see above). The auction started 1D (2D) from which he deduced that their side had a spade fit (they had agreed to play ‘ELH’ – thus the ‘extreme’ suits were clubs & spades). Being a simple fellow he simply bid spades over their diamonds until they gave up – 5S over 5D and 6S over 6D. Of course they doubled but even he managed to make 9 tricks, 3 off for -500. Should be a good score. Shame the opposition were not vulnerable.

The traveller:      

Well done to the two pairs who bid 6D. Could the others please try harder when I’m playing and likely to be playing in 6S doubled?

A very enjoyable break, shame about the football.

Comments (1):

  1. Sally Sheringham

    July 30, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks so much to Colin and his team – and the hotel staff – for a hugely enjoyable and excellently organised break. Enjoyed it all apart from the football and wish I’d opted for bridge – less stressful!
    Thank you all, it was a really fab long weekend. Sally

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