Bridge Club to reopen next week
At last some local news and some good news at that! This from Wendy Gray, Bridge Club president, to the members:
“I am pleased to tell you that we hope to re-open the Club next Wednesday, June 9, with our 9.30am game. Our full schedule of games at the Club will continue after that as normal.
“Admission to the Club will be by SafeKey or proof of vaccination (card or certificate) or proof of a recent (within the previous 3 days) negative Covid test.
“We are checking with the Department of Health on other protocols (including those who have travelled and those who have been in contact with travellers) and I will inform you about these before next Wednesday. However I thought you would like to have advance notice now of the reopening date.”
This is great news, and while it might take a bit of time to get the numbers back to something resembling pre-Covid levels it has to start somewhere. I’m sure there will be some uncertainty from some members in the early stages but what we do know is that those running the Club will proceed with all the proper protocols in place and requiring all players to have a SafeKey in order to play will make it a really safe environment. Fingers crossed that this is the start of a smooth run to normalcy.
With not much going on at the Club level at the moment I thought this might be a good time to bring you an exciting and fascinating hand from the top level of bridge – The Bermuda Bowl, the world championships of bridge, so named because it was first held here in Bermuda in 1950 under the guidance of Norman Bach.
The hand could not have come at a tenser time – it was the last hand of the last set of boards in the final after two weeks of gruelling bridge. In the 2017 finals featured the Americans against the French and when this hand came up the USA was 19 imps ahead – the players didn’t know the exact score, but clearly the USA team must have known that they had the lead which makes the bidding on the hand inexplicable in some ways and explicable in others, as you will see.
Sitting North was Brad Moss for the USA and his partner sitting South was Bob Grue. See Figure 1.
1NT 2H (1)
2NT (2) 4H (3)
4S (4) 4NT (5)
5H (6) 5NT (7)
1. Transfer to spades
2. Super accept in spades – 2 spades would have been a forced acceptance
3. In their methods this was a splinter and a slam try
4. A surprising sign -off in game despite holding the heart Ace opposite the singleton
5. Not stopping – Roman Key Card Blackwood
6. Two key cards, the Aces, but no trump Queen
7. South saying, “I think a small slam is easy, have you got extras to perhaps play the grand slam?”
8. Hmmmm … … I have no idea where this bid came from with Jxx in the club suit!
As you can see 7 spades has no chance and went to a one trick defeat as there is nowhere for the club loser to go.
In the other room the French pair also sniffed at the grand but after 5 hearts Bessis bid 6 clubs asking partner for something good in clubs – Volcker then signed off in 6 spades.
This was a massive 17-imp swing to France who ended up losing by just two imps and luckily for Moss-Grue there was enough of a cushion to bring them and their team-mates the title of world champions – a bit like Chelsea at the moment when it comes to club football. Sorry, had to slip that in!
I found the last bid of 7 spades a real mystery and one can only put it down to extreme pressure, though Brad Moss is not just a brilliant player but also loaded with experience and a prolific winner at the top level.
My view on bidding grand slams is very, very simple – bid the grand when after the bidding you can claim your contract without needing to see partner’s hand. Simple, no exceptions!
The risk/reward between bidding a solid small slam and an iffy grand slam is simply not worth it in terms of potential gain against potential loss – not only in points but in morale for the rest of the session.
Before I finish, did you notice something interesting about the hand? Well, there is a grand slam available … … but in diamonds! Declarer ruffs one heart before drawing trumps and claims 5 spades, 1 heart, 4 diamonds, 2 clubs and the heart ruff for 13 tricks – the contract makes any time the opposing diamonds are 3-3 or 4-2. Crazy, isn’t it?
BRIDGE CLUB RESULTS
Monday, May 31
1. Charles Hall - Bill Pollett
2. Wendy Gray - Richard Gray
3. Lynanne Bolton - Peter Donnellan
Tuesday, June 1
1. Louise Payne - Katyna Rabain
2. Marion Silver - Duncan Silver
3. Tracey Pitt - Desiree Woods
Wednesday, June 2
1. Ed Betteto - Bill Pollett
2. Judy King - Martha Ferguon
3. Lynanne Bolton - Peter Donnellan
Thursday, June 3
1. Betsy Baillie - George Correia
2/3. Gertie Barker - Lynanne Bolton
2/3. Des Nash - Bill Pollett
Friday, June 4
1. Marge Way - Ed Betteto
2/3. Elaine Stevens - Ian Hilton
2/3. Charles Hal - Peter Donnellan