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Great game keeps mind active

I’ve always marvelled at how this game keeps the mind sharp and how much sharper bridge-playing “seniors” are than their counterparts who don’t have bridge or a similar pursuit to occupy them.

I think the play of competitive bridge does more than just keep the mind active, it also exercises the emotions — frustration, delight, pride and even anger — all of which is better than vegging in a chair and watching TV all day!

Living proof of this is the amazing Pat Riding, who turned 93 last week amid candles, cakes and well-wishers at the Bridge Club.

Pat not only still plays but sometimes gets into the results section of this column and she is a shining example to all.

Happy Birthday, Pat, and to use a cricket analogy, keep your eye on the ball as you edge closer to the century when you can wave your bat in the air and salute the fans.

News this week of things happening at the club over the summer in order to encourage our youth to take up this amazing game.

John Burville said: “This year, we are running a summer Bridge camp for students, and the schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, July 3, 4pm to 5.30pm.

Wednesday, July 4, 5.30pm to 8pm.

Tuesday, July 10, 4pm to 5.30pm.

Wednesday, July 11, 5.30pm to 8pm.

Wednesday, July 18, 5.30pm to 8pm.

Friday, July 20, 5.30pm to 8pm.

Saturday, July 21, 2pm to 5pm.

Wednesday, July 25, 5.30pm to 8pm.

Friday, July 27, 5.30pm to 8pm.

Saturday, July 28, 2pm to 5pm.

“The lessons for the students will start from mini-bridge into proper bidding, and additional play technique. There will be competitions with preset hands tailored to the level of the teaching.

“Although intended for students that have signed up for the sponsored Atlanta trip, these lessons are open to any young person interested in Bridge.

“At the end of the lessons, we expect the students to be able to manage most auctions starting at the 1 level, and understand some good play techniques.

“We are also opening up the sessions for adults, which will be run initially in a separate room. However, any adults wishing to attend, should sign up in advance.

In order to sign up, please send an e-mail to the Bridge Club advising what sessions they wish to sign up for. Please send an e-mail to lessons@bermudabridge.com”

So there you have it — sign up early as it may fill up!

This week’s hand is full of fun and fantasy and comes to you from the clever Richard Pavlicek of Fort Lauderdale in his report on The North Pole Regional — an event usually attended only by Inuit but for the first time had invited reindeer including Randolph, Raymond, Ralph and, of course, Rudolph.

It appears that Donner, Blitzen, Prancer and the rest are not bridge players.

Dealer South E/W Vulnerable





SJ987 S6

H987 HJ654

D876 DJ932

C765 CJ432





When Slush and Mush, the top Inuit pair, held the N/S hands the bidding was not good

South North

4NT 5C

5NT 6S


The 4NT and 5NT were asking for Aces and then Kings and North showed no Aces (not a surprise) and one King.

This inelegant contract sidled to a one-trick defeat after Slush cleverly endplayed East, but that was clearly not going to earn any points. Suddenly the Reindeer group appeared, full of stories on that hand.

First Randolph: “Oh we bid seven Spades and I made it on a trump coup ruffing three times and ending with South on lead and West’s Spade Jack was trapped in the end position — quite easy really.”

Then Raymond: “We bid 7 Hearts. West led a Spade and I had to hope for miracles. I ruffed the third round of Diamonds in dummy. Fearing a bad break in Spades, from the lead, I played the Club ten and ran it. When this held, I took the Heart finesse and all of a sudden my hand was good, making seven.”

Then Ralph: “How about that. We bid seven Diamonds and made it the same way.”

And then, of course, there was old red-nose Rudolph who had to be the most exotic: “Guess what — we bid 7 Clubs, some sort of Gerber malfunction as I recall. I won the Spade lead cashed all my red-nosed, er red-suit winners and ruffed a Heart. The Spade King was ruffed and over-ruffed and then a Diamond ruff gave me 13 tricks, rather easy.”

Nice story from Richard. From what I hear immediately after the event the Inuit Council met and reindeer are now barred for life from the event.

Is there any instructional value in this?

Well, yes there is.

After 4NT Blackwood and a reply, a bid of 5NT asks for Kings and confirms all four Aces. Knowing that, Mush, sitting North, should have jumped directly to 7 Spades, a contract that must have a chance.

The danger, of course is that the idiot Slush might convert to 7NT.