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First Bermuda Online Tournament proves a success

Congratulations to all of those who were involved in the first Bermuda Online Bridge Tournament, which was a huge success! There were 579 tables in play over the five days and once again huge plaudits to Bill Pollett, Peter Donnellan, Jack Rhind and Janet Evans who were the main drivers of the event.

The tournament replaced the Bermuda Regional which is normally held at this time, so hopefully this year’s event was a one-off as a replacement and we can all gather next year at the newly announced venue, the Hamilton Princess, which will be a new experience for our visitors with proximity to the restaurants and shops.

You can still download Janet’s excellent Daily Bulletins at

Local players did not have the usual level of success as in previous years in-person tournaments and the online format probably attracted some higher level of players who typically might not travel abroad for these events. The event ran from Saturday to Wednesday and three pairs gained overall wins in the 14 events held over the four days.

Monday 1499er game – Sharon Shanahan and Claude Guay

Tuesday 99er game – Marion and Duncan Silver

Wednesday 1499er game – Pat Siddle and Marilynn Simmons

There weren’t many master points available and Alan Douglas won the most with 15.1 master points among the locals in the Open Category, enabling him to gain Diamond Life Master Status.

Well done to Alan, who has been a top Bermuda player for four decades – achieving Diamond is a real achievement for anyone living in Bermuda where travel to Regionals and Sectionals to win the big points is just not available.

In the 99er Category the joint leaders were Jane Gregory and Wenda Krupp with 3.55 master points.

Some more interesting overall stats from the event:

• We had 623 different people playing in at least one game

• 579 tables in play

• 452 Section Top prizes were earned

• 1556 master points awarded

In summary, success in numbers and in quality.

Today’s hand is one of those frustrating ones where there is no ‘correct answer’ – you make the hand if you come out on the right side of a 50-50 guess, but the hand is here to have you think about the options, and perhaps turn the 50-50 into 52-48 or better! See Figure 1.

Figure 1

South usually opened 2NT showing 20-22 balanced and North had an easy raise to 3NT.

West leads the spade 4 and East plays the Jack- over to you……..

Do you see the problem? If spades are 4-3 there is no problem, but the lead was not the 2 of spades so the danger signs are there, and you have to provide for them being 5-2 and that West started with A10xxx.

You have to knock out the Ace of Clubs in order to make your contract – if East has the Club Ace you have to duck the first spade and play the queen on the second spade – West will either let you hold the trick or clear the suit. Now when East gets in with the Ace of Clubs he has no spades left and the contract is safe.

But what if West has the Ace of Clubs? Now you have to win the first spade as West can’t hurt you when in with the Club – if you duck the first spade in this situation West will clear the spade suit and cash two good spades when in with the Club Ace – down one!

So, is there any great answer I can give you? I’m afraid not, but I can give you a tip that keeps me sane and perhaps tilts the odds slightly in my favour. What I try and avoid in these situations is going one way on Tuesday and another on Wednesday and getting both wrong, so I always play for “split Aces”. Meaning that each defender holds one Ace.

There is some logic to that, especially where the bidding starts at the one level and the opponents stay silent- if one of them had both Aces there is a chance that they may have entered the bidding and that leads to the thinking behind playing for “split aces”.

So with that thinking on this hand you would duck the first spade and now there is no way the defence can beat you.

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Published January 30, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 29, 2021 at 4:49 pm)

First Bermuda Online Tournament proves a success

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