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The country has just had a scorching weekend weather wise and sitting inside playing bridge at the Tauranga Bridge Club was perhaps the best place to be over the Anniversary Weekend.   Well appointed rooms with enough space to hold 33 tables comfortably in air-conditioned ambience along with great catering and hospitality was infinitely preferable to sweltering on the coast or home.  

The three-day weekend started with the Waikato Bays 10A Pairs played across three sessions.   Locals Kate Terry and Judy Pawson kept up a quiet assault on the leaders improving in every session and ended up pipping Central Districts duo Wayne Burrows and George Masters by a fraction of a percent.  Happily, Wayne and George were able to gain some parity by winning the Consolation Pairs on the final day of the Congress.

Kate Terry and Judy Pawson 2018.jpg                Wayne Burrows and George Masters 2018.jpg
    Kate Terry and Judy Pawson                               Wayne Burrows and George Masters
Kate also in her acceptance speech revived very well the oft-forgotten art of good speech making.
In coming 6th in the Consolation Pairs, Kate and Judy were very happy with their weekend.

Arguably the premier event is the 10A Teams which kicked off on Sunday and we saw some swings in form from the previous day with team Yule (Kathy Yule, Lorraine Starchurski, Russell Wilson and Alister Stuck) finishing the day at the top of the field after only one loss in their 6 rounds of 12 board matches.   The finals were held the next day and all the teams were pretty evenly matched with all finalists recording at least one loss.

Gary Foidl Yuzhong Jeffrey Luh Henk Ping 2018.jpg
 Provincial Teams Winners, Gary Foidl, Jeffrey Luh, Yuzhong Chen and Hank Ping

How close was this:

1. Gary Foidl, Yuzhong Chen, Hank Ping, Jeffrey Luh   133.37  
2. Lesley Quilty, Sonia Crawford, Tom Winiata, Tom Henwood  132.69
3. Gary Chen, June Lei, Jeter Liu, John Wang 132.04
4. Russell Wilson, Alister Stuck, Lorraine Stachurski, Kathy Yule  130.17

Special mention must go to Sonia Crawford who is looking forward to celebrating her 91st birthday soon and showed she is still on the top of her game with her team being the runners-up.  

I asked my nephew Jacob Kalma for a memorable hand from the weekend and he was waxing lyrical by the following hand. When sitting West he picked up a hand with 10 spades (and a pretty solid suit at that!) and only two losers.

Board 12
West Deals
N-S Vul
J 8 6 5 2
Q 4 3
Q 8 7 5 2
A K Q J 10 8 6 5 4 3
Q 7
W   E
7 2
A J 10 7 5 2
K J 10 3
A K 10 4 3
K 9 8 6
9 6 4

Jacob opened 2Club-small (game force) and his partner responded 2Diamond-small (waiting or weak).    South intervened with a 2Heart-small overcall and Jacob jumped to 3Spade-small as a suit setting bid.   North also decided to join the bidding with a 4Heart-small.    East then used Roman Key Card discovering the 3 key cards which allowed them to happily bid to slam.    I heard of at least one person who opened the hand 6Spade-small which made it more difficult for North to find the heart lead and thus giving E-W 13 tricks on a club lead.   

 While Jacob and his partner bid the slam well, another approach might be to open the West hand 4NT, a rarely used specific ace ask. East's 5Diamond-smallreply showing only that ace would not be welcome news to West who would sign off in 5Spade-small. However, East could now value that singleton heart rather highly and since the 4NT holder normally has solid trumps and at least one more outside ace, could raise to 6Spade-small. That sequence is worth remembering for the next time you are going to pick up a hand like this West hand, probably in 2074!

More Sunshine Bridge in Thames

The other major tournament in 2018 was the Thames Summer Congress which was also held on another scorching weekend on the second weekend of January.   While a few people were missing in action due to bridge activities in Canberra at the same time,  a solid field of 24 teams turned up to compete in the 5A teams on the Saturday with the Barclay Swiss Pairs taking place on Sunday.

Winners in the John Eldridge Memorial Teams were the husband-wife duos of Jo and Sam Simpson alongside Barry Jones and Jenny Millington while Gary Chen and Grant Jarvis achieved the rare Thames double (winning the Barclay Swiss Pairs trophy only a couple of months after scooping the Christmas hams at the Thames Christmas Tournament!). (Hopefully, the hams were not "rare" when eaten!)

barry jenny .jpeg        Jo and Sam Simpson 2018.jpg        Gary and Grant 2018.jpg
Top team at Thames: Barry Jones            Jo and Sam Simpson – "mercenary assassins"      Gary Chen and Grant Jarvis
and Jenny Millington                                  who "dispatched" their bridge victims one by 
                                                                  one during the event finishing top of the datums.

Matamata farewells Sadie at the age of 103

Finally, the Matamata Bridge Club recently lost a long time member and patron Sadie Swap who passed away only a month shy of her 104th birthday.   Sadie joined the Matamata Bridge Club in the early 1960’s (nobody can quite remember the exact date) when Contract Bridge was at the height of its popularity. 

She was a constant presence at the bridge club in Matamata and played until she was over 100. Perhaps her playing highlight was winning the Club Handicap Championships in 1990 when she paired up with her daughter-in-law Dale Swap and which gave her a spot on the honour board.   

Sadie Swap 2018.jpg

Sadie celebrating her 100th birthday at the Matamata clubrooms in 2015.

She was also very independent living alone in her town house and driving herself to bridge until she was 99… after which she used to be picked up so that she didn’t miss her Wednesday session at the bridge club.   Sadie will be fondly remembered at the club and while there are a number of  reasons that contributed to her long life – I’m sure that bridge was an important factor in her long and happy life. 




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