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Changing times at the Bridge Club — but for the better?

Will the world ever be the same again! After decades of play, the Friday night game at the Bermuda Bridge Club has been cancelled until further notice! I am sure that the decision was taken for what the Committee saw as all the right reasons, and that the change will be monitored to see whether the decision stays or not, but that doesn't change the shock value to me! I was ‘brought up' here on the Monday to Friday games and it will take some time for me to get used to it!

From what I can see the Friday game has effectively been ‘moved' to Thursday — the Thursday game will now have two sections, an ‘Open' section which mirrors the Friday game and the regular ‘0-300' section and clearly the hope is that the Thursday night numbers will get back up to where the Friday's used to be — I'll be watching with interest!

So, what happened to the Friday game, which lost numbers and started lagging the Monday game despite there also being a Monday afternoon game (the most popular game of the week!)? There are, of course, conflicting views as to why the numbers have fallen — some hold the view that the move from an 8pm start to a 7.30pm start was a contributing factor as people needed a bit more ‘cool off' time on a Friday after a full week's work. It seems, however, that a survey conducted by the Club does not support that view and that a number of people actually wanted an earlier start!

My view? I have given it some thought and I think the Friday game is a victim of changing social values and that people nowadays are a bit more sensitive to their spouses/social partners/families and that since Friday is seen as a ‘social' night and the start of the weekend it is no longer acceptable for one half of a relationship to head down to the Bridge Club! Similarly, even some of those couples that play together as partners may have decided that Friday nights are better kept for some food and vino and that the Bridge can be fitted in another night. I think these are, at the very least, contributing factors.

All very deep I know, and the answer is probably something a lot simpler!

I am also surprised that the experiment of a Sunday game, which I thought was a good idea, was not a success and has now been cancelled ... I think this was as a result of the popularity of the Monday games at the Club where both the afternoon and evening games are well attended. Also, I think the 2pm start was not attractive as it broke up the day and perhaps an early evening/late afternoon time would be better — hopefully the Club will give the Sunday game another try as now with the cancellation of the Friday game the Club will essentially be ‘dark' on three consecutive days with all the other games being crammed in to the Monday/Thursday period. Three days of no bridge is a long time!

This week's hand is interesting both in the bidding and play — in the bidding we see a declarer value his distribution more than his high card points and in the play we see the same declarer justify his bidding with a really neat play.

Dealer South Both Vulnerable

(Spades / Hearts / Diamonds / Clubs)

North: 853 / AQ75 / A43 / J754

East: 9642 / 84 / J865 / J109

South: AKJ108 / 32 / A62 / K7

West: AKJ107 / 92 / 97 / AQ63

The Bidding:

WEST / NORTH / EAST / SOUTH

- / - / - / 1H

4S / 5S / Pass / 4H

Pass / Pass / Pass / -

North's cue bid of two spades showed a limit raise in hearts (3 hearts would have been pre-emptive) and South bid the game based on his shape despite having an effective 12 high card points.

West began with the Ace of spades and followed up with the King — Declarer ruffed and took stock. Clearly West had pretty much all the high cards so the Ace of Clubs was probably sitting over the King, so a club play to the King was unlikely to be a winning play . With that in mind declarer developed a plan.

He drew trumps in two rounds ending in dummy and ruffed the last spade. He now played the King of Diamonds, a diamond to the Ace and a low one back. When East followed declarer inserted the 10 which held the trick! When this won declarer threw a club from dummy on the last diamond, crossed to dummy with a trump and led a club to the King — West won and cashed another club but that was it for the defence — 10 tricks bid and made!

West now chimed in ‘That was a lucky guess in diamonds'! ‘Not at all,' said Declarer — ‘If the diamond 10 had lost to your jack you were endplayed'! ‘You would have been forced to provide a ruff and discard or lead a club and with a good diamond still in my hand for one discard from dummy, I would have made the hand'!

‘Oh,' said West'. ‘So even if the finesse lost you were certain to win'! Declarer simply smiled in agreement — it was exactly that! Nice play ...

Watch here for the results of the Junior Open pairs which conclude next Tuesday.

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Published March 06, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated March 07, 2014 at 3:45 pm)

Changing times at the Bridge Club — but for the better?

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