Looking back at a busy year

By JOHN RANDALL / Guest Columnist

This week is the first anniversary of my column in the Shelby County Reporter.

This past year I’ve been able to report on being sick in Detroit at the NAP finals, running our first two sectional tournaments in December and April, two educational programs last summer, tournaments in Vicksburg and Atlanta and of course our wonderful week in Bermuda in January.

I’ve tried to spark interest in South Shelby to bring a bridge course to the school system. We’d do such a course pretty much for free.

I’ve also asked if there might be interest in a weekly game at one of our churches in Columbiana, Calera or Montevallo, or at a public facility.

Bridge is a wonderful fellowship activity and if offered in the schools would not only teach youngsters a wonderful game, but also the side benefits of math, logic, problem-solving and social interaction – all positive.

The greatest enjoyment we’ve experienced this past year is the number of new friends we’ve made and the joy of seeing other people develop new relationships. More than a handful of our regulars have thanked us for providing a place for adults to gather and enjoy three hours of companionship. No, we say, thank you.

WINNERS THIS WEEK:

Monday: Peggy Graham and Marilyn Spacht, Judy Funk and Kathy Flemming, Judy Converse and Kathryn Howell, Nancy West and Carolyn Giles, Lyn Hartwell and Judy Hasseld.

In the evening game, John Lusco and Mac LaCasse came back from taking 21 students to Italy for three weeks and easily swept the field, beating Katheryn Howell and Judy Converse, Jane Lewis and Sarah Smith.

Thursday: Judy Converse and Kathryn Howell, Aileen Hill and Judy Chase, Lorette and Clark Ogle, John Griffith and Jill Salmon.

Friday: Peggy and Gene Graham, Lorette and Clark Ogle, Gayle Cole and Beth Fletcher, Hazel Haas and Geri Dodson, Janet Johnson and Barbara Dawson, Jo Weatherly and Charlotte Lusco, Judy and Don Hasseld, Judy Chase and Bernie Liberman.

Saturday: Jan Lovorn and Judy Chase, Janet Johnson and Peggy Olson, Kathryn Howell and Adelaide St Raymond.

TIP OF THE WEEK:

Partner opens 1C and RHO (right hand opponent) overcalls 1H. You hold four spades and tolerance for diamonds and 6-8 points.

You should double. This is called a negative double and leaves a 1S raise as telling partner you have five spades. Negative doubles are really handy.

HAND OF THE WEEK:

With a club lead South lets East take the king and wins the return with the queen. Even if declarer fumbles and leads the ace from his hand, four tricks in diamonds are there for the taking.

The contract still depends on the spade finesse, which works. If West leads a benign heart, declarer takes the ace on the board and leaves the queen for an entry to his hand.

He returns to his hand with a diamond, getting the bad news. He still has to finesse the spades in order to get the twelfth trick, which he needs to do before playing hearts.

After the first finesse declarer gets his four diamond tricks, ending up in his hand with the queen, and finesses the spade a second time; then returns to his hand overtaking the queen of hearts with the king, dropping the two remaining hearts and finessing the king of spades for the third and final time.

This methodology allows declarer to come home with four hearts, four diamonds, four spades and the ace of clubs – 13 tricks and a top