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Remembering bridge stalwart Michael Bickley

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All the Bridge Club games are still online while the current restrictions are in place, but the news is that all the ACBL Virtual Club games this week are attracting silver points – this includes our own Club online games held each weekday at the times below.

• Monday at 2pm

• Tuesday at 7.15pm (149er game)

• Wednesday at 10am

• Thursday at 7.30pm

• Friday at 2pm

These online games help the Club, which receives back from the ACBL most of the entry fee you pay. Members should be aware that the Club needs income even though the members are not able to use the building – the overheads and upkeep of the clubhouse continue even when there are no games, so please try and join in the Bermuda Bridge Club online games and help the Club while we await the easing of the current Covid assembly restrictions.

This week’s hand does not look complicated, but complications are not always easy to spot and, with that as a hint, see how you would have played the hand in 4 spades before you read the commentary. You need to look carefully (see Figure 1)!

Figure 1

The bidding was good (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

North’s 1NT was forcing for one round and South showed a second suit. The 3 spade bid was invitational to game with only three-card trump support and South accepted. If North had the same hand with four-card trump support she would have bid an invitational 3 spades over the 1 spade opening. Both declarers received the lead of a low trump which was taken in hand with the ten – this was a good start for the defence as it cuts down on any club ruffs.

The first declarer saw an easy ten tricks with 5 spades and 5 diamonds and played quickly. He drew trumps in three rounds then cashed the Ace and Queen of diamonds, and to his horror discovered too late that the diamond suit was always blocked. All he could do now was to cash two more diamonds before conceding four tricks to the defence.

The second declarer was a bit more experienced and paused to consider the diamond suit. He saw that all would be well if the diamonds were 2-2, but not if they were 3-1. So, he played a low trump to dummy’s Queen and led the Jack of hearts from dummy. East followed low and declarer threw the six of diamonds from hand. After ruffing the heart continuation, declarer drew the outstanding trumps with his Ace and ran the diamonds, taking five trumps and five diamonds.

Not that difficult, but many declarers would fall into the trap with the diamond suit and generally it is the more experienced declarers, having been there before, who would see the danger.

I am once again so very sorry to be the bearer of the sad news that one of the great characters of Bermuda bridge, Michael Bickley, passed away on January 14.

We understand from his daughter Helena that he had been suffering for some time in a battle with cancer and that he died at home.

Michael was a very longstanding member of the Club, and believed that he and Tony Saunders were the longest active members, having joined the Club in the early 1960s. Until recent years, he was a very regular, and often successful, player and in 2017, playing with one of his favourite partners, Dorry Lusher, he had a great 75 per cent game that was reported in the ACBL Bulletin.

He lived in St George’s, and the journey to the Club proved somewhat difficult for him when he could no longer drive, but he made every effort to come and play, using taxis, lifts from fellow players, the bus and of course the ever supportive Helena.

Michael played for many years with Tony Saunders, who was always in the top echelons of the game, and they were always in the mix and were frequent winners. Michael had a marvellous open personality and a lovely sense of humour, and to know him was to like him. He had a real flair at the bridge table and every so often would find a play or defence not replicated elsewhere, and on many occasions I left his table shaking my head after one of these killed our result!

Bermuda bridge will be much the poorer for the loss of Michael and our sincere condolences go to daughter Helena and son Christopher.


Friday, January 14

1. Lorna Anderson – Joyce Pearson

2. Judy King – Martha Ferguson

3/4 Judy Bussell – Magda Farag

3/4 Charles Hall – John Rayner

Monday, January 17

1. Charles Hall – John Rayner

2. Marge Way – Fabian Hupe

3. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

Tuesday, January 18

1. Julia Cook – Joann Dawson

2. Janice Bucci – Angela McKittrick

3. Malcolm Moseley – Mark Stevens

Wednesday, January 19

1. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

2. Magda Farag – Julia Beach

3. Lynanne Bolton – Peter Donnellan

Thursday, January 20

1. Jane Smith – Peter Donnellan

2. Richard Hall – Tim Mardon

3. Lisa Ferrari – Betsy Baillie

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Published January 22, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated January 21, 2022 at 1:32 pm)

Remembering bridge stalwart Michael Bickley

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