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Club’s Christmas party returns after three-year hiatus

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I am really pleased to report that tonight, after a hiatus since 2019, the Bermuda Bridge Club will host the traditional Christmas party at the club.

This event is somewhat special, as it is yet one more step forward after the huge and demoralising impact of Covid-19 on the club and on all our lives over the last three years.

Those who attend will, as always, have a great time – great food, a game of bridge for some, and an always beautifully decorated Bridge Club for which we have to thank those members who turned out over the last two weeks to help.

Congratulations to the committee for getting this back on track and I hope they are rewarded with a superb evening.

One of my favourite bridge writers and commentators is Larry Cohen of Delray Beach, Florida – a brilliant player himself, he brings wit and humour to his writings and I absolutely love this hand which he entitled “Torturing Partner” – here it is in Larry’s words.

Torturing Partner by Larry Cohen

How much do you trust your partner? Do you hate your partner? Would you like to torture him in the auction? All of these thoughts ran through my mind after I (as North) picked up this (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Playing in a 2007 tournament, my partner, David Berkowitz, opened one notrump, showing 14-16 balanced HCP. What should I have done with my 20-count? This depends on methods. I had available a bid of three spades to show a three-suiter with short spades (one or zero) and a game force.

I had a lot in reserve, but this seemed a reasonable way to start. After my three spades, David bid three notrump. That meant he had some spade cards. I knew we had 34-36 HCP so, surely, we would get to at least a small slam. The only question was whether or not we could bid seven. Opposite spade wastage, was there still a chance? I thought so.

I made a further try by bidding four spades. This presumably showed first-round control (a void or singleton ace). David bid five clubs, admitting to a suit. If he had had long spades and no other four-card suit, he would have tried to sign off in four notrump.

Now that he had clubs, I was interested in reaching seven clubs. What next? I tortured him again with five spades! I had bid three spades, four spades and five spades. Was I afraid he would think we were having a mix-up? No. This must have been a try for seven (since we were pretty much committed by now to a small slam).

David bid five notrump. I wasn’t sure what this meant. Maybe he was trying to sign off? Maybe he meant it as “pick-a-slam”? This is the most common use of five notrump in such auctions with no suit agreed. Maybe he meant it as forward-going? I didn’t know for sure.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist making the “master bid”. You guessed it. I bid six spades! This must have been a try for seven clubs. If he weren’t interested, he could play in six notrump.

This is the ultimate trust (and torture) for partner. I had bid three spades, four spades, five spades and six spades with a singleton ace! I still wasn’t worried. David bid seven clubs and we played there. Here had been our tortuous, and tortured, auction (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

This was the full hand (see Figure 3)

Figure 3

After a trump lead, David drew three rounds and claimed (ruffing a spade in dummy for the thirteenth trick). “Sorry, partner, for the torture in the auction,” I said. “Thanks for keeping the faith!” David just glared at me, perhaps plotting his revenge!


The hand is unique in the bidding, and what I really love about it is Larry remaining confident that he and his partner were totally in tune and that he would not be left hanging in four, five or six spades!

It also shows the hours of work the top pairs put into their bidding systems which allow them to almost describe partner’s hand the minute the auction is over. Note that on this hand there are only 12 tricks in notrump.

Brilliant – and a lot of fun! For Larry!


Friday, November 25

1. Rachael Gosling – Dorry Lusher

2. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray

3. Aida Bostelmann – Heather Woolf

Monday, November 28

1. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray

2. Lorna Anderson – Heather Woolf

3. Lynanne Bolton – Kathleen Keane

Tuesday, November 29


1. James Mulderig – Robert Mulderig

2. Tracey Pitt – Desiree Woods

3. Sarah Jane Varley – Marc Drew


1. Vivian Pereira – Julia Cook

2. Marion Silver – Heidi Dyson

3. Barbara Elkin – Neil Gilbertson

Wednesday, November 30

1. Diana Diel – Pat Siddle

2. Sheena Rayner – Molly Taussig

3. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

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Published December 03, 2022 at 7:57 am (Updated December 03, 2022 at 7:44 am)

Club’s Christmas party returns after three-year hiatus

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