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Bridge Club lucky to have veteran Tony

Following on from last week’s column I will in future try and include, in the results section, success by our members in non-bridge club online games.

For now, if you finish top three in any Open game with more than 100 pairs taking part, or any 99er game with more than 50 pairs taking part, please let me know at davidezekiel999@gmail.com. Give me the date, which website you played on, your position, score, number of pairs playing and who your partner was and I will do the rest.

I thought I’d take the opportunity this week to wish local bridge legend Tony Saunders a happy big birthday and talk a little bit about him. I arrived in Bermuda in October of 1975 on the BA flight and did what any self-respecting bridge addict would do – I got some food for my wife and myself at the Glenmar Guest House near Modern Mart, made sure she was comfortable and then……..left to find the Bridge Club!

In those days it was housed in the basement of the building right next to BF&M and as I walked in the first person who greeted me was Tony Saunders, then the chief tournament director. I explained to Tony that I was just checking out the place and he seated me behind one of the better players at the Club so that I could kibitz.

I wasn’t impressed, but I was more than impressed in my first game when I came up against the likes of Tony and his partner Dieter Ahrens, and Malcolm Lewis and Ernie Owen who I later went on to partner. Tony was at the forefront of Bermuda Bridge at the time and had already represented Bermuda in the Bermuda Bowl World Championship and went on to represent the country on many more occasions, as he and his partners were always at or near the top of the local standings.

Tony has always been great to play with and against – technically hugely good, and known for this analysis and always holding his composure. Known for his politeness, Tony never directly criticised a bid or play, but once in a while in the post mortem would raise his eyebrow and ask something like: “So you thought the diamond finesse was better than going after clubs?” Okay Tony, message received!

The Bridge Club is really lucky to have members such as Tony and Janice, herself a really good player, and it’s no surprise that Tony keeps doing well against the more youthful opposition. We all wish him a happy birthday.

Before I get to the hand, the Bridge Club is planning another online teams game on Thursday, February 25 at 7.30pm.

If possible, there will again be two separate games – one Open and one for more junior players. To set this up the Club needs to know numbers ahead of time, so please advise Peter Donnellan by e-mail no later than Wednesday, February 24 if you are planning to enter a team.

Today’s hand came up in a Team game, with similar contracts but a very different result.

Both Souths were able to show their 5-6 shape in the red suits by opening a diamond and then rebidding hearts and both ended up in 6 Hearts, which, with the diamond suit lying perfectly looks like an easy make. And it was at one table, when West made the pedestrian lead of the Spade 10.

Declarer won, crossed to the heart King and led a diamond – there was now nothing the defence could do to stop the slam from making.

I am a fan of aggressive leads against suit small slams, and on this one at the second table West was hugely rewarded for leading a club – look at what happens! Declarer ruffs and makes the same play as in the other room, but East wins the diamond Ace and continues another Club, forcing declarer to ruff again. Declarer is now left with only two trumps in hand and with the trumps breaking 4-2 the hand goes down. A bit unlucky, but well done by West.

Notice that 6 diamonds, with that ropy trump suit, is unbeatable!

In closing, I am sure that most of you know that Ellen Davidson and her husband Charles are leaving Bermuda, actually today! Charles is retiring and they will be making their home in Atlanta, where their family live.

Ellen and Charles have been with the Club for ten years and although we did not see much of Charles at the Bridge Club, he did play quite often at the Granaway game at the Dinghy Club.

Ellen served on the Board of ACBL Unit 198 as secretary and we thank her very much for her contribution there. She also played a very large part in the success of John Burville’s Youth Programme, where she helped in so many ways, including travelling abroad with the students.

Ellen achieved the rank of Life Master last year and she will thus be on the club Life Master Board for years to come. We wish them both every happiness in their new home and hope they will come back to Bermuda to see us in the future.

And finally, talking of John Burville’s youth programme, one of the youth pairs, Daque Davis, and Ahzjanai Smith entered an ACBL special event for youths on February 13, The “Red Point Youth Valentine Pairs”. There were seven tables, including some strong youth players, and Daque and Ahzjanai came second East-West with a score of 62 per cent. A great result, so a big well done to them and to the programme.


Monday, February 15

1. Magda Farag – Sheena Rayner

2. Martha Ferguson – Judy King

3. Michael Tait – Jane Clipper

Tuesday, February 16 <149

1. Richard Keane – Neil Gilbertson

2. M Louise Payne – Katyna Rabain

3. Marion Silver – Duncan Silver

Wednesday, February 17

1. Margaret Way – Edward Betteto

2. Richard Gray – Wendy Gray

3. Gertrude Barker – Jane Smith

Thursday, February 18

1. William Pollett – Charles Hall

2. Elizabeth McKee – Linda Pollett

3. Magda Farag – Jane Smith

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Published February 20, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated February 19, 2021 at 4:20 pm)

Bridge Club lucky to have veteran Tony

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