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Otago- Southland News with Moss Wylie

“Alex” in summer.

Alexandra lies in the heart of Central Otago and is known for its wonderful climate. Some of NZ’s best orchards and wineries are located in the area. People are also drawn to the well-maintained walking and biking tracks along with the rugged scenery.

The Alexandra Bridge Club own a new purpose- built premise in the township. They moved from Clyde where they had used an old shop since 1972. January 3rd saw their first 5A open tournament kick off under the directorship of Dennis Mc Caughan. 48 pairs filled the club room to capacity. The two-evening affair allows time during the day to indulge in Central’s finest cherries and wine under clear blue sky.

The final board of the night saw last year’s winners do the double. Aggressive bidding by their opposition saw Greg Buzzard and Marilyn Jackson receive a good board by passing throughout the auction.

Board 4
West Deals
Both Vul
A 8 7 4
J 10 3 2
K 10 9 8
K 10 3 2
A 9
J 8
J 7 6 5 3
W   E
Q J 9
K Q 7 5 4
K Q 10 9 7
6 5
8 6
A 6 5 4 3
A Q 4 2
West North East South
Pass 2  Pass 2 
All pass      


North opened 2Diamond-small in first position showing the majors, 4/4 or better. Not a very good hand to open with such a bid with their only fit in a minor suit.  

East passed, giving South the opportunity to squirm in their seat before bidding a reluctant 2Heart-small. This was passed out giving Greg and Marilyn + 300 for a good enough board to conjure the win.

Marilyn Jackson and Greg.jpg
   Alex winners, Greg Buzzard and Marilyn Jackson

Peter and Trish Downward from Ashburton had a strong second session performance (65%) to come within a whisker of the winners.

Last Round Blues for Greg

The Otago Southland 10 A Swiss Pairs was hotly contested on January 18th in Invercargill with 32 pairs. Murray Wiggins was in the neighbourhood and put his hand up to direct the 9 rounds of 8 boards.

Greg Buzzard had another solid performance, this time with another local, Bruce Batchelor. They hit the lead in round 4 and had a shocker in the last round to gift the win to Donna Ruwhiu and Kristen Collins of Dunedin.

    Swiss Winners in Invercargill

Donna Ruwhiu and Kristen Collins.jpg
    Donna Ruwhiu and Kristen Collins

The thing about Swiss Pairs is to go for the safest slam as the match points are about the same in a suit as no trumps. Greg chose to ignore this golden rule, paying the price. He was in 6NT and went wrong in the diamond suit after the Diamond-small8 opening lead.

Board 23
South Deals
Both Vul
7 4 3
Q 9 7 3
9 8 7 5 2
J 9 6
A K J 8 2
K 9 4 3 2
W   E
A Q 10 8
A 10 7 6
A K Q 10 6
K 5 2
10 6 5 4
J 8 5
J 4 3

 Even guessing the position of the diamond honours only yields 12 tricks in no-trumps. After a heart lead from South and successful diamond guess, North's last three cards can be Heart-smallQ9 and squeeze. Once you have failed to play diamonds for no loser, you cannot then make 6NT whereas you can afford a trump loser in 6Diamond-small.

Hats off to Lorraine Oliver and Caroline Wiggins who bid and made 7Diamond-small on the principle of restricted choice, when playing trumps. On a club lead Lorraine played the Diamond-smallA and saw North play the queen. Now South is more likely to hold J8. Well done, Lorraine.

An invitation to the Deep South

Finally, the Invercargill club are holding the South Island Pairs August 29/30th. It is about 20 years since the event has come to the deep South. So, if you have got a woolly jersey, it may be time to pull it out of your attic!  Flights are about $100 each way from Wellington and Auckland if you book soon.  Alternatively flying to Queenstown and doing a roadie is a great way to combine bridge with a scenic break.

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