Numbers up for the Bermuda Regional
By the time this column appears the 2020 Bermuda Regional will have concluded with the prize-giving and banquet last night, and the organisers and locals should be more than pleased with how it all went. Numbers are clearly up from last year, which itself was 140 tables up from 2018, and the visitors were pretty much unanimous in their praise of the event.
Tournament chairwoman Sheena Rayner and chief director Sol Weinstein will have seen all their hard work and preparation pay off, and we know that they are supported by two hardworking teams.
On the local committee are Bill and Linda Pollett, Alan Douglas, Judy Bussell, Rosie Smith, Tracy Nash, Lorna Anderson, Wendy Gray, Judy King and Gertie Barker. On Sol’s director team are Greg Coles, Nancy Strachan, David Metcalfe, Melody Euler, Brian Weikle and our very own ACBL director Jack Rhind.
Add to this the great bulletins from Janet Evans, the exemplary Fairmont staff and the volunteer caddies from Bermuda Cancer and Health, and you see what a full team it takes to make this event work — well done to all!
Locals have already had early successes at the table at the time of writing this column but I will leave the full summary and results for next week’s column.
What I can report on is the great success of the youth programme spearheaded by John Burville and Bill Pollett. Last weekend at the Regional saw a great turnout with 12 youths playing in the Saturday Newcomer Charity Pairs, 15 on Sunday afternoon playing in the Newcomer Pairs, and 23 youths playing in the mini-bridge.
All credit to Lisa Burland and her team who did a great job in getting the students organised and signed up on the Sunday.
Mr Pollett also has to be recognised for his wonderful efforts in the youth bridge programme, both at Warwick and also covering on Thursday afternoons at the Bermuda Bridge Club where we have a regular youth game (around four tables with students from six schools).
Not only that, but Bill’s efforts with Charles Hall in the adult lessons have brought a lot of new players to the club. Many played in the Saturday and Sunday newcomer pairs at the Regional with the youths.
It’s a long haul getting newcomers into the game and without initiatives such as this the future of the Bridge Club would be a lot cloudier.
As I was writing the column I received a call from Bob Hamman, top-ranked bridge player in the world for almost a decade, and after we got the business stuff out of the way he gave me the inevitable hand.
You are playing Teams and arrive in 3NT with the following, see Diagram 1.
West leads the spade jack — over to you!
A lot of players won the Ace of spades, took the club finesse and ... went down!
The full hand can be seen in Diagram 2.
You are looking for nine tricks — if the club finesse works there are no problems but what if it doesn’t? You now have only eight tricks and are still looking for the ninth.
At the table most players won the spade ace and took the club finesse — West won, and having noted partners two of spades at trick one switched to a diamond — now the contract cannot be made as defence will cash three diamonds when you play on hearts — one down!
One option is to duck the first spade making it look like you are exposed in that suit, and at the table that might work as West will undoubtedly continue. The fly in that ointment is that when East gets in with a heart he may not have any more spades to lead if spades were 5-2 and would undoubtedly switch to a diamond, which is fatal.
Another option is the win the first spade with the Queen, not the King, and then play a heart as that might persuade East that West stated with KJ109x and he will continue a spade. You cannot win with the King at trick one as East will know that you have KQ as the one card that West denies with his lead of the jack is the spade queen.
I think the correct play is to try and sneak a heart trick in at trick two, but how you do that is another question. I think I would win the spade ace and play a low heart from dummy hoping that East ducks with the ace or that whoever wins continues a spade.
Choices, choices, choices and the right play may well depend on what you know of your opponents expertise, often an important factor in this game.
In closing I bring you the sad news of the passing of Jean Bath last Friday. She passed away peacefully at the home of her son Richard, who cared for her in her later years.
It is somewhat ironic that this coincides with the Regional as Jean played such a big part in this event including holding the position of tournament chairwoman and Bridge Club president.
She was a regular fixture at the club and was among the top women players at the club for nigh on four decades. She was involved in the many changes at the club before we landed at Pomander Road and her contribution to local bridge cannot be underestimated.
She was already missed at the club when she stopped attending, and our thoughts are with Richard and the rest of the family.
A memorial service will be held later this month.
Results for week of January 20
1. Richard Gray/Wendy Gray
2. Alan Douglas/Lorna Anderson
3. Margaret Way/Gill Butterfield
1. Charles Hall/Tony Saunders
2. Bill Souster/Sheena Rayner
3. Edward Betteto/Joseph Wakefield
1. Margaret Way/Julia Beach
2. Ellen Davidson/Jeanette Shaw
3. Charles Hall/Joseph Wakefield
1. Tony Saunders/Molly Taussig
2. Magda Farag/Jane Smith
3. Peter Donnellan/Lynanne Bolton
1. Alan Douglas/Sharon Shanahan
2. John Luebkemann/Ellen Davidson
3. Judith Bussell/Burdette Coates
1. Elizabeth McKee/Linda Pollett
2. Edward Betteto/Fabian Hupe
3. Annabelle Mann/Charles Hall
1. Elizabeth McKee/Diana Diel
2. Peter Donnellan/William Pollett
3. Bonnie Kraft/John Kraft
1. Patricia Siddle/Tony Saunders
2. Ellen Davidson/Caroline Svensen
3. Joyce Grieb/Dick Grieb
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