News from the Bridge Room in Turkey, Feb 2020

Host Report by Ro Kaye and Anne Wright

“The food is out of this world” and “I never have been in a hotel with so much to do” are just a couple of the appreciative comments we heard from our guests. We cannot speak highly enough of the hotel staff who really went out of their way to make our stay as pleasant as possible. The rooms all had sea views, a balcony, a Jacuzzi bath and a complimentary well stocked fridge. There were many activities on offer every day, including air-shooting, table tennis, squash, tennis, pool, steam room, sauna, Turkish bath, billiards, darts, aqua aerobics and more.

As a whole group, we enjoyed dining a՝ la carte once each week; Western European the first week and Turkish the second. The bridge seemed to flow very easily after the ‘meal.’  The bridge room was well lit, with the additional attraction of tea, coffee, wine, beer and soft drinks readily available throughout all the sessions.

The local tour guide, Feray, was superb; she could not do enough for us on the trips. She shared snippets about life in Turkey, including the Agriculture and Education systems and drew a map especially for us to inform us about the history of the Country which borders three continents. We walked around the ancient city of Antalya and admired the sea in the harbour. Aspendos Amphitheatre never fails to impress visitors and the waterfalls in the Kurnsunlu National Park were in full spate after a period of heavy rain. The pretty and ancient town of Alanya left people wanting to return there in the future.

We thoroughly enjoyed the fortnight with the guests. The weather was mixed but that did not deter the guests from exploring the area, by foot, bus and taxi. One of the highlights for a good number of guests was the £10 trip to visit a local Hammam; some going several times!

The hotel ‘went to town’ on Valentine’s Day; red roses for the ladies, heart badges for everyone and champagne all round! The display of chocolate cake creations was a wonder to behold and they were delicious.

We highly recommend Turkey as a destination and look forward very much to meeting First for Bridge guests on future holidays


Prize Winners

(Click on the images below to see captions)


Director’s Report by Mark Hooper

This hand caused several different auctions and plenty of discussion in bar, with only 1 pair having reached the best contract

What do you bid if your partner deals and opens 1NT ?

Half the room transferred in to hearts and ended up playing in 4. It is drummed in to us to seek out a major suit fit, and indeed if partner has hearts with us, hearts may make as many tricks as diamonds.   But how do you find out, and then still get to diamonds when opener doesn’t have 3 hearts ?   If we transfer to hearts, and then bid diamonds, if partner bids 3NT they only have 2 hearts, so we know they have 3 diamonds, and we want to be in a diamond contract.   But when responder bids diamonds a second time, will opener think they have 6 hearts and 5 diamonds as they showed the hearts first ?

And then the 2nd question is what level do we bid to ?   With the right cards 7 might be on, but on a bad day you might not even make 6.

With this hand the fact that diamonds is 3 cards longer than hearts suggests that we ignore the heart suit and just go for a diamond contract.   Even if opener does have 3 hearts and 2 diamonds, diamonds will make more tricks than hearts, more often than not.   Maybe if opener has 4 hearts, hearts will be as good a contract (and higher scoring), but to find that out I’ll need to start with Stayman and then bid diamonds (at some level) over anything but 2.   Again, what will opener take me for if I do this ?

If we decide to just show the diamonds, the usual method when looking for a slam is to jump to the 3 level in the suit, i.e. bid 3 direct over 1NT.   This shows a strong hand with a very good suit (6+) and asks opener to cue bid any Ace.   Whilst technically correct, is this going to give us any useful information ?   We have 2 voids and the Aces in the other 2 suits.   If partner cue bids an Ace it won’t help us; indeed it is going to help the opposition.   Also using any form of Blackwood isn’t going to help us, the cards we need to know about are the 2 red suit Kings.   We don’t care about the Ace or King in either Black suit.

Let’s evaluate the hand to judge the level.   We have 8 diamonds, and partner has at least 2.   Leaving only 3 for the opponents.   If partner has the King, our suit is solid, the worst they can have is 2 small and we might need to finesse.   But we can never lose more than 1 trick in the suit.  What about the heart suit, well again opener might have the King.   If they do, then the suit is solid.   If opener has only 2, then we might need to ruff 1.   But of course if they only have 2 hearts then they will have 3 diamonds, so will have enough trumps to ruff (the defence will only have 2 between them).   Again even if opener does not have the K, there are chances of a finesse.

The upshot is that slam looks to be excellent if opener has either red suit King.   Of course we could construct hands where slam was poor (2 small diamonds and 3 small hearts), but even then there are chances; so surely slam is going to be good, far more often than not.

As above, any slow bidding isn’t going to help us, if we show hearts it might confuse partner, and anything that partner bids might help the opponents.   The practical bid is to simply bid 6 direct over 1NT.

This was the actual hand

As you can see 6 is laydown, indeed there is a chance of making 7 if the heart finesse is right.   Of course even with the above hands the hearts might break 3-3 and 6 also makes, for a better pairs score.   But the odds greatly favour a diamond contract.

Note that opener’s diamond support is particularly good here, but imagine the hearts and diamonds swapped in opener’s hand.   Now the diamond suit is only 1 loser and the heart suit is solid.   We would expect to make 6 99% of the time.   In this case 6 is also reasonable, but not as good as 6, since a 4-1 break in hearts would cause a problem.   We are going to have to ruff the lead, and then dummy is down to the same number of trumps as a defender, and we need the diamond finesse right, otherwise we will be forced to ruff again.   Note that even opposite Jx, diamonds will only ever have 1 loser and have 5 more trumps than any defender, so no chance of ever getting forced.

On this occasion those who bid diamonds were rewarded, 12 tricks were easy; while those who went for hearts got the rough end of it, when they couldn’t even make game.   There were no outlandish distributions, the hearts broke 4-2 which is most likely layout, and once dummy had ruffed a black suit lead, they were down to the same trump length as the defence.   Had the heart finesse worked there might have been a chance of 10 tricks, but when it failed and another black card came back, the hand fell apart.

Comments (1):

  1. Satya Handa

    April 30, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    I would have bid 7 Diamonds.

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