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Otago- Southland News with Brad Johnston

It’s been a while since I last wrote to you, and in that time some things have happened. One of these is that there’ve been some local tournaments (of course). So, it’s good to celebrate the winners. Not to waste your valuable time, here’s a list:

Tournament Results







Taieri Open Pairs

Arleen Schwartz and Murat Genc


Paul Freeland and Margaret Perley


Tony Winters and Harry Shepherd


Otago Winter Teams

John Sheehy, Maria Godfrey, Harry Shepherd, Geoff Eyles

63.37 vp

Marilyn Jackson, Greg Buzzard, Kay Nicholas, Lesley Andrew

61.04 vp

Michael Johnstone, Paula Gregory, Moss Wylie, Lindsay Glover

56.21 vp

Otago Winter Open Pairs

Geoff Eyles and Harry Shepherd


Graeme Stout and Jeff Thompson


Paul Freeland and Margaret Perley


Otago Winter Intermediate Pairs

Ruth Airey and Dot Cotton


Dale Cameron and Alan Lewthwaite


Jeff Elton and Alec Weavers


Winton Junior Pairs

Ruth Slee and Norma Macdonald


Yvonne Braithwaite and Hennie Pay


Gayle Ross and Margaret Robinson


Winton Intermediate Pairs

John Macleod and Richard Hishon


Judith Lawton and Robyn Reidie


Alan McRae and Willsher Jackman


Oamaru All Grades

Matt Blakely and Brad Johnston


Michael Johnston and Paula Gregory


Frances Sheehy and Ann Wood


Winton Open Pairs

Bruce Batchelor and Greg Buzzard


Glenn Coutts and Graeme Stout


Moss Wylie and Kevin Skoropada


Otago Junior Pairs

Jennifer Macmillan and Eleanor Westoby


Allan Lockhard and Kate Aisi


Jane Whitmore and Irene Carson


Taieri Graded Pairs

Donna Ruwhiu and Kristen Collins


Kevin Skoropada and Moss Wylie


Murray Barron and David Larsen


 Otago Winter Teams Winners                                                                   Winners of Otago Junior Pairs

Maria Geoff John Harry   Otago 19 Winter teams winners.jpg                             Jennifer McMillan  Eleanor Westoby   otago 19.jpg 
 Maria Godfrey, Geoff Eyles, John Sheehy and Harry Shepherd               Jennifer Macmillan and Eleanor Westoby

I want to draw special attention to the following:

  • Moss Wylie and Kevin Skoropada are not a practised partnership, agreeing to play the Winton and Taieri tournaments because of a work-gap for Kevin. To come second and third in a relatively new partnership is always a happy achievement; so well done!
  • Murray Barron and David Larsen won the sectional prize for the 2nd division, and had a session win of 62.25% on the day. This means they were punching well above their weight at the event.
  • You won’t see them there, but in the Winter Teams COUTTS (Sam and Glenn; Graeme Stout and Jeff Miller) were the one team to not win a match. In the Swiss format, their last loss was handed to them by JOHNSTON  (Brad Johnston and Matt Blakeley, Kristen Collins and Donna Ruwhiu), another team who weren’t expecting to be aiming for 4th last with one match to play.
    Great Performance in Taieri Graded Pairs     Winners of Winter Otago Intermediate Pairs
    Murray Barron  David Larsen    19.jpg                              Ruth Airey Dot Cotton.png 
    Murray Barron and David Larsen                                   Ruth Airey and Dot Cotton


Learner Classes

I can’t speak for the rest of the clubs around Otago/Southland, but I know that the Otago Bridge Club has welcomed 16 new players from the lessons into the Junior Division at the club.

Directors' Week-End

Otago hosted a tournament director seminar/examination weekend with Murray and Caroline Wiggins that was attended by 15 Club Directors from around the region and was much appreciated by all who attended.

Continual Learning

The Otago Bridge Club has started trialling a new initiative that other bridge clubs may be interested in. Back in the days when cash bars made a profit at bridge clubs, and scoring was manual; many people sat around discussing the hands and actually learning some things about bridge in the meantime.

Now with instant results not many people are doing this any more. To counteract this, a few volunteers at the club are taking turns writing up ‘nightly recaps’ of the hands; pointing out things that people did well, things that people could have done better, and some of the underlying philosophies of a ‘better approach’ to bridge – which are then emailed out to people the morning after the session. These are targeted at the players who’ve come out of lessons and plateaued at a point when they want to improve; but have no idea what the best way forwards is. Having a continuous stream of feedback will let those that want to improve have an easier way to actively participate in their bridge journey.
There’s been a lot of positive feedback from this initiative, maybe that means people are actually reading the recaps and engaging with any feedback or ideas in them to help improve their bridge.

Question 1:

You are declarer in 6Heart-small by East and see this lay-out after a passive Heart-small9 lead.

                                    West                            East

                                    Spade-small Q854                       Spade-small A6

                                    Heart-small J75                          Heart-small AKQT843

                                    Diamond-small AKJ6                       Diamond-small 94

                                    Club-small Q4                           Club-small A8

How should you play after drawing two rounds of hearts (they break 2-1):

a.Run all the hearts                          

b.Take a diamond finesse     

c. Try to ruff out Diamond-smallQ   

d. Play a club towards the queen  

e. Play a spade towards the queen     

f. Run Spade-smallQ



and try this everyday kind of problem:

At unfavourable vulnerability, your partner deals and passes and you hold the following as East: 

Spade-small K865

Heart-small 953

Diamond-small AT763

Club-small K

West              North            East                South

Pass                Pass            Pass                1Spade-small

Pass                1NT                ?

What do you bid now:

  1. Pass
  2. Double
  3. 2Diamond-small
  4. Would have opened 1Diamond-small last time round


Here is the summary of the detailed analysis to the first problem:  (a, d, and f were not good ideas...)

“So – what play’s right? This one was a trick question, because none of the options are particularly good on their own; but you can pick a line such that if your first option doesn’t work, you then have time to try a second one. This is akin to betting on multiple horses in one race –

you’re not solely invested in one lucky outcome.

If you try to ruff out the Diamond-smallQ you can’t take a Diamond-small finesse, and if you try to take a Diamond-small finesse you can’t try to ruff out theDiamond-smallQ – so these lines are mutually exclusive. Because nothing else seems particularly appealing, I’d draw 2 rounds of trumps and play a low Spade-small towards the Q. If North has the Spade-smallK I can win their ♣ return, cash 1 top Diamond-small (to check for a singleton Q offside), and then cross to East and take a Diamond-smallfinesse. "           the actual hands

J 7 3
10 8 5 2
10 9 7 6 3
Q 8 5 4
J 7 5
A K J 6
Q 4
W   E
A 6
A K Q 10 8 4 3
9 4
A 8
K 10 9 2
9 2
Q 7 3
K J 5 2


and to the second problem:

“This is quite a simple question; as it boils down to whether the East hand is worth a 2Diamond-small overcall or not – no other action is worth even considering.

The ‘lessons’ would have taught you that with a 5-card suit, and 10-15 HCP that you can overcall at the 2-level. I think that this is absolute poppy-cock as a comprehensive rule – but no-one ever explains this to people, and they just go off what they remember in lessons.

On this particular hand, both sides are vulnerable (so going light on a part-score board is ill-advised for your score), and your Diamond-smallsuit is rather holey (you’re not sure that it’s the best possible lead). Also, your partner is a passed hand that couldn’t act over a 1Spade-small opening after they’d already limited their hand by passing.

What this all means is that there’s very little upshot to overcalling 2Diamond-small and lots of risks.

                                                                             the actual hands

West Deals
E-W Vul
J 9
10 8 2
9 4
A J 9 6 5 3
10 7
Q 6 4
K J 5 2
Q 7 4 2
W   E
K 8 6 5
9 5 3
A 10 7 6 3
A Q 4 3 2
A K J 7
Q 8
10 8
West North East South
Pass Pass Pass 1 
Pass 1 NT ?  


Despite this, it was kind of right on the night with 2Heart-small and 2Spade-small both making for the opposition and 3Diamond-small only down one, a great score if not doubled!”

As we know, the percentage action is not always the winning action at the table.




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