The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
More(ton) on BSE
My recent column on breast
cancer and Breast Self Examination (BSE) produced a response from Dr Michael
Moreton, the International Medical Coordinator at the Bangkok Hospital
Medical Center in Bangkok. I have taken the liberty (with his permission) to
reprint his letter.
“I was a specialist in Women’s Heath care for many years and the techniques
used to screen for Breast Cancer are of special interest to me. I would like
to make a couple of additional comments to add to Dr Iain’s words.
“I agree wholeheartedly that Breast Self Examination (BSE) is a useful
method of monitoring the breasts. Every woman’s breasts are different in
texture and the patient becomes an expert in her own breasts and can
recognize changes that a doctor might miss. I suggest to patients that a
good time is in the shower or while waiting for the water temperature to
stabilize before getting into the shower.
“It is important to know the correct technique. You should press the breast
tissue between the chest wall and the flat pads of your fingers, do not use
the tips of the fingers. When you have your next physical exam ask your
doctor to demonstrate how to do this. Every doctor has had the experience of
a woman coming to see them and telling them that they have a breast lump and
it is only with the woman’s instructions that the doctor can feel the lump.
It’s a good technique; we both recommend that you do this self-examination
“The debate about Mammography swings one way and another. The modern
machines are now using a digital technique. This has several advantages.
With the older machines there was a worry that repeated mammograms might
even cause cancer due to radiation. There is no chance of that now. With the
computer we can also zoom in to worrying areas and get more information.
Digital also has the advantage that the pictures can be sent electronically
for a second opinion or put on a disk so that you can keep the pictures and
show a doctor in another country if that is your wish.
“Ultrasound, can also be useful in certain situations. In order to perform
mammography the breast has to be compressed between two plates and X-rayed,
in women with small breasts this can be difficult and U/S may be a better
method for these women. Similarly women with breast implants may be
additionally assessed with this method. If I am particularly interested in
one area of the breast I will ask the technician to look carefully at the
area. The U/S can be angled in from different directions and this can be
useful in examining a worrisome area of the breast. Most modern U/S machines
also have a Doppler ability and they can identify areas of the breast with a
particularly rich blood supply, which can be a sign of trouble.
“Another technique that has been discussed for several years and that you
may read about is Thermography. In this method the patient is placed in a
cool room and photographs are taken with a temperature sensitive camera. Hot
spots on the breast can be identified. The problem is that not all hot spots
are caused by cancers; I am not too enthusiastic about this method.
“The most exciting thing on the horizon is the use of genetic studies in
assessing the chances of cancer in any one patient. We know that there are
two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 which can be inherited and will increase the
chances of cancer developing. When this blood test is perfected any woman
will be able to have a blood test to see if she has a high risk or a low
risk of getting breast cancer. Then different screening programs can be
“A few dietary steps can be taken which may help to reduce the chances of
cancer. A diet full of fat is thought to be dangerous; one more reason to
avoid them. One positive step that mothers should take is to breast feed
their babies as it is found that this activity is protective.”
(Thank you Dr. Moreton for reinforcing the message on BSE. From here, it is
up to you, ladies!)
Heart to Heart
Dear Hillary (and Jim),
You gave Jim age 76 advice that a good way to learn to speak Thai is the “total
immersion” method. I used this method in France with great success. However,
here in Thailand things are different. The French people are more assertive than
Thai people. Until I became somewhat fluent, French people would repeat
everything I said, I think not to be rude, but to make sure they understood what
I had said. By them repeating what I said, I heard the correct pronunciation,
which was very good feed back. Here in Thailand the people are just too darn
polite for them to repeat or even ask me to repeat it. And they never, I repeat
never, correct me. When they don’t understand what I said they just give me this
blank look. Also, in France nobody laughed at me like many young men do here.
The French people seemed to be flattered that I was attempting to speak their
language and wanted to help me. Here is the method that works for me in
Thailand; My Thai wife went to Suriwong Bookcenter and purchased the exact same
grammar books that the Thai kids use in their first and second year classes. It
starts out just as basic as you can get. There is a picture of a train with the
รถไฟ - of course, no English. The next page, the train comes
so, รถไฟ มา.
Then a picture of the Uncle,
The next page, the Uncle sitting on the train,
ตา มา รถไฟ..
And so it goes. Just like our American grammar books. Each chapter has a section
on the alphabet and later the accent marks for the different tones. This way I’m
learning to read, write and speak Thai and it’s fun. Of course my Thai wife
works with me. Many bar girls never learned how to read and write Thai. This
would be a good way for a farang and his bar girl friend to learn Thai together.
Not withstanding all this, Thai kids six years old know how to speak their
language when they start grammar school. So, I found it was beneficial to take a
basic language class before I started on the school books. You (Jim) might want
to take private classes, one on one, a bit more expensive than group classes but
you could progress at your own pace.
Dear Uncle Bill,
What a kindly old uncle you are, possibly coming to see me “on a train”, and all
in Thai, too. I’m impressed, my Petal. I am also impressed that your Thai wife
works with you on getting your ‘pasa Thai’ up to speed. She was the one who got
you the books and helps you with your ‘homework’ as well. Lucky, lucky Uncle
Bill. (Or is that Unka Bin?) The fact that the French people spoke to you kindly
also shows what a nice person you are. Many people complain that the French will
only speak French and nothing else. Pop in and see me when you’re fluent in
Thai. You do have another 50 years planned on the planet, haven’t you?
You always have advice for all the lovelorn men out there to be very wary of the
bargirls, but what about us women visitors? Is it the same for us? We are just
looking for a good time while we are here, not looking for a long term
relationship (we’ve all had those and have escaped from them at home TG). What
do you have to say for us. You know, woman to woman. Is it safe? And where are
the best places?
A new tourist attraction! Thailand’s bar boys, and here I was thinking that you
all went to Spain or Uganda or somewhere like that. I must let the Tourism
Authority of Thailand know you are coming. They might even lay on a welcome
committee at the airport for you and your girlfriends. How many of them will be
coming over here as well? There will be no problem for them to find a willing
partner (non-long term). You will recognize them as they wear trousers with a
zip on both sides, so they can swing either way.
The Thai girls are really lucky. They are all size 6, 8 or 10 and it is easy for
them to find clothes. For western women, this is a problem as most of us start
at around size 12 and some of us can go a lot bigger than that. Have you any
ideas for us more ample ladies? A place somewhere that knows and understands our
problems and will cater for us.
Leader of the girls and Size 14
Dear Leader of the girls and size 14,
I was very tempted to suggest a slimming salon. They know and understand your
problem and in exchange for some thousands of baht, you will emerge like a
butterfly from the chrysalis, but you still won’t be size 10. No ladies, you
have to accept the fact that you are big-boned girls and the place for you is a
tailor shop that specializes in women’s wear.
by Harry Flashman
Sell your photo junk
most photographers, you will start to get a collection of old
photo gear. Some of it has become surplus to requirements, some
of it is broken and not worth repairing or too difficult to get
repaired in this country, and much has become redundant because
you have changed camera systems, or even changed complete
formats (6x6 to 35 mm for example).
I found myself in that situation recently after purchasing my
Panasonic Lumix Digital DMC-FZ50 (which is still delighting me).
It took a year of deliberation (some might call it ‘hesitation’
or just plain ‘dithering’) before I made the fateful decision to
a) go digital and b) go Lumix, after more than 20 years of using
Of course, some of you will ask why didn’t I stay with Nikon,
with its full range of digital SLRs? Good question, but easily
answered. The upper level Nikons are now very expensive, and
whilst I had some excellent Nikon manual focus prime lenses,
they were not going to be all that compatible with the new Nikon
digital auto-focus systems.
That also brings in one of the salient reasons in the purchase
of the Lumix - the fantastic 35-420 Leica zoom lens that comes
with the Panasonic Lumix, coupled with the electronic anti-shake
technology so you can hand hold, even at 420 mm. With digitals
these days, I believe that you are best served with electronics
from an electronic company, with lenses from an optical company.
The Lumix definitely fits that.
Having made the irrevocable decision, I looked at my now defunct
Nikon 35 mm film system. I had two cameras, a much loved FM2N,
and an FA. The FM2N was the typical journalist’s workhorse with
more rolls of film through it than I’ve had hot dinners, whilst
the FA was the back up. Only thing was the FA was no longer
working, having some kind of internal problem, by which the
mirror was locked in the “up” mode.
The lenses were a 24 mm wide angle, old and growing its second
crop of fungus (the first was cleaned off about five years ago),
a 50 mm ‘standard’ lens and a 135 mm ‘portrait’ lens. I also had
a spacer for macro work, which was also very old, but was the
good one that still allowed the auto exposure function to work.
Quite frankly, as far as I was concerned, these items were now
surplus and it was going to be very unlikely that I would use
any of it again (although I would still take the FM2N out of its
bag and lovingly stroke it every so often).
It was at that stage that a good friend of mine suggested I sell
the surplus items, and said that he had excellent results
selling items on eBay in the UK. He was returning to the UK
himself and offered to sell them, and I thought, “Why not? I’m
getting nothing for them sitting in the old camera bag.”
He had been back a couple of weeks when I got the following
Watchers Bids £
24 mm 40
50 mm 55
135 mm 17
That little lot came to 325 pounds sterling, which at current
exchange rates is over 20,000 baht, which certainly made
purchase of the Lumix a breeze (duty-free price).
What made the exercise even more astounding was the number of
‘watchers’ who had been looking as the bids went in on eBay. 14
looking at a broken FA and someone who paid almost 2,000 baht
for it. The lenses all went for very good money, though I would
have thought the 135 mm would have been more desirable than the
50 mm, but the 24 mm did attract the highest bid, as I thought
The moral to this tale is to look at the old camera gear, broken
or otherwise and clear out the cupboard and sell it on eBay. You
will get more than you ever imagined, but it certainly helped
having a friend who was a regular eBay user and stationed in the
Money Matters: Paul Gambles
MBMG International Ltd.
Reading the Runes, part 1
It must be frustrating being Bob Janjuah who is the Royal
Bank of Scotland’s extremely savvy credit strategist who achieved notoriety last
year by controversially warning of the impending credit crisis and subsequently
has been proven right. No surprise to us as we’d already reached the same
conclusions and had positioned our client portfolios accordingly. Yet at RBS and
most other banks, it appears that investment strategists and portfolio managers
have been continuing to maintain a significant weighting to equities for the
past year as the economy and equity markets became increasingly mired in the
sub-prime fall out and the credit crunch.
Janjuah and his team have now re-iterated their credit fears of last year and
advised clients to brace for a full-fledged crash in global stock and credit
markets over the next three months. We’ve had very similar concerns since the
sub-prime reared its ugly head back in 2007 and then became a full blown credit
crunch in the final quarter of last year, spilling over into the first half of
this year. Despite the financial sector’s resilience in surviving what has been
thrown at it so far, Janjuah and his team now see the same dangers as ourselves
- specifically that inflation will paralyse the policy-making of major central
banks. Thus, faced with a stagflationary outlook, every choice looks bad for
central bankers and that is very bad news for equities.
A report by the bank’s research team warns that the S&P 500 may well fall by
more than 300 points by September as “all the chickens come home to roost” from
the excesses of the global boom, with contagion spreading across Europe and
emerging markets adding, “A very nasty period is soon to be upon us - be
Fortunately, we were prepared when the market was at 1500 rather than closer to
1300 it is today and, unlike most private banking portfolios, we have had our
strategies ready for some time thus allowing our clients to make solid gains
over the last 6 months as opposed to losing 15% or more in equity markets. Scott
Campbell was at pains to point out during his recent Bangkok visit that although
there are opportunities in various asset classes, he’d like to see equities at
significantly lower levels before being in any tearing hurry to buy back in to
equity markets, at which point Asia and emerging markets may well look better
placed than western developed markets.
Bob Janjuah thinks that moves into distressed credit may still be too early - “I
do not think I can be much blunter. If you have to be in credit, focus on
quality, short durations, and non-cyclical defensive names.” This is, however, a
topic that we have covered in detail in our current research paper - “Distress,
Up to this point we’d agree with Bob Janjuah. However, his further comments
reveal the added frustrations of being a prescient economist operating in a
traditional asset class environment. Faced with a choice of equities or bonds,
both of which look grim in the short term, Bob finds himself in a parallel
dilemma to those central bankers who have to choose between inflation and
recession. Neither looks good and it’s not easy to see which is the lesser of
the two evils.
Therefore, the best advice that Bob Janjuah can give is that cash is the only
safe haven, the only asset class that offers protection and looks likely to
avoid losing money. Try not to lose too much money or your job would seem to be
the best advice that RBS (which also operates the Coutts brand these days) can
give most of its clients. In fairness, that places them way ahead of the
majority of private banks who continue to hold equities for the long term,
irrespective of how far they seem to be falling in the near term.
The best summary of the difference between the Wall Street portfolio managers
who are removed from clients in their ivory towers and the perspective of those
of us who are at ‘the coal face’ every day, and actually speaking to clients,
was summed up extremely well by Stephen Romick of FPA recently when justifying
why cash constitutes 40% (slightly higher than MitonOptimal weighting at this
time) of his portfolios right now:
“As long term investors one might say who cares, because one cannot time the
market. We agree in principle, but we have met few claiming to invest for the
long-term, who have also proven to have the stomach to handle the downside
volatility that brings prices lower than you ever thought possible. Our cash
hoard has not grown because of our top down point of view, but due to our
inability to find comfort in the upside versus the downside for the individual
investments we analyze. We are not ashamed to admit that the unknowns in this
environment scare us a bit - not enough to be disinvested, but enough to make
sure that we have enough on the sidelines to survive what the market throws us.
We know we lack the skill to pick the bottom, but we sure don’t like the idea of
picking the middle.”
On that same note, Scott Campbell recently visited Bangkok because the world’s
#1 portfolio manager in his sector feels that it is important to regularly come
and meet the investors whose money he directs. Scott advanced this theme even
further - “It may not be possible to time individual markets but that is
relatively unimportant anyway - asset selection (i.e. choosing which equity
funds or which equity sectors to be invested in) probably contributes only
around 5% of the total returns that are generated. Over 90% comes from asset
allocation - reading the big, macro picture and capturing or exploiting those
trends. That is possible and that’s what we’ve been doing at MitonOptimal, now
Midas Capital, for many years. It’s not rocket science; it’s mainly informed
common sense. There are opportunities in the markets right now, although not the
equity markets and there will be even more opportunities coming up - we can find
attractive investments now and we expect to find even more going forwards. We’re
not holding so much cash because we don’t know where to invest so much as we’ve
been taking profits off the table in our commodity holdings, especially gold and
oil which have done so well and which we expect to fall back allowing us to buy
back in at better prices and then enjoy a prolonged structural bull market. A
disciplined portfolio manager isn’t afraid to take money off the table when a
short term bubble appears during a long term bull run and that’s where we’re at
To be continued…
The above data and research was compiled from
sources believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd
nor its officers can accept any liability for any errors or omissions in
the above article nor bear any responsibility for any losses achieved as
a result of any actions taken or not taken as a consequence of reading
the above article. For more information please contact Paul Gambles on
Life in Chiang Mai:
by Mark Whitman
A movie recommendation……
and does anyone know what’s happening in Burma…?
My film colleague won’t mind I’m sure if I intrude on his
territory to mention a modest but engrossing work that is likely to get lost
in the spate of over hyped, ludicrously expensive blockbusters which have
been filling out local screens in recent weeks. None of which has
screenwriters and directors capable of seeing through a narrative with real
coherence and thus relying on special effects and plot ‘devices’ to obscure
Happily this is not true of ‘21’, which is (was?) enjoying a single
screening each day at Airport Major and deserves a better fate. Despite its
rather dull title and lack of stars it has already proved a hit in the
U.S.A. and Britain and become what is known in the trade as a ‘sleeper’, a
film which has far exceeded expectations and which was made on a relatively
small budget. In this case, I guess, around a twentieth of that quoted – 165
million dollars – for Dark Knight.
Put simply, 21 is a heist movie, set between a University town and Las
Vegas, and belongs to a sub-genre made famous by Jack Finney’s Five Against
the House. Recall, if you will, without giving yourself a headache, the daft
Oceans 11, the drear Oceans 12 or the dire Oceans 13 and then with a giant
leap imagine those duds with a spark of intelligence, originality and,
above, all humour.
Add to that a handsome, charismatic young lead and a bright supporting cast
led by the fine Kevin Spacey, who was also a producer on the film.He plays a
monstrously nasty and egotistical teacher leading scams against Las Vegas
casinos. He gets his come –uppance, but then, so does everyone, more or
less, since this is a film which operates outside the moral vacuum which is
stultifying much of recent American cinema, e.g. Dark Knight, which seems to
use Guantanamo Bay as the yardstick for the treatment of prisoners by the
True, 21 is not a great film. But it is a highly entertaining version of a
book, based on a true story and well worth your hundred baht and the 120
minutes running time. By the standards of, say, There Will be Blood, it is
shallow, brisk entertainment attractive for its relative brevity and wit. I
probably over rate it because its achieves its modest ambitions gracefully
and with a modesty rare and becoming in movies these days. As for it’s lead
actor, let’s hope that his slightly unconventional good looks and
intelligence are not too far off the wall for current Hollywood and that
decent parts continue to come his way, as recent credits suggest.
His name, by the way, is Jim Sturgess and he is aged around 27 and British.
He made his big screen debut in the excellent Mike Figgis version of The
Browning Version as one of the schoolboys and has been busy since. He is
currently working on a new film by Philip Ridley called Heartless but has a
couple of others in the pipe line and one of them – in which he plays a
young spy who infiltrates the I.R.A. with terrifying results – will
hopefully be his breakthrough into the really big time. Who knows, by 2010
he may be a big enough star to warrant a part in such garbage as Oceans
14…….Or hopefully a big enough star to refuse.
Have you noticed that despite never being out of the news, Burma is not
really in it? Stories and articles abound but we never hear anything really
concrete about how successful the relief aid has been. The latest news is
that UN helicopters are gradually being withdrawn; this contrasts with the
reports that help is still desperately needed and with the recent
announcement that one billion dollars is the estimated figure for that help,
over a three year period.
The problem is not new of course. Cyclone Nargis made the headlines and
awakened a wider public to the hideous cruelty of the ruling Junta, who
denied ‘their’ people the basic necessities of life. But with 130,000
Burmese dead or ‘missing’ even they could not deny their responsibilities
for ever. But what, I wonder, is the true situation a few months on.
In the monthly magazine The Irrawaddy, there is an article claiming that the
monks, whilst giving much of the help needed to the survivors, are currently
re-mobilising and planning a repeat of last September’s uprising. One doubts
it, since the crackdown was so brutal and extreme, and outside sympathy –
let alone help- was so short-lived.
In the U.S.A. the final stages have just been reached to ban the import of
all gems and jade from Burma, including those via a third country. One more
step against the generals. But they have recently signed the Asean Charter,
(a nonsense with their human rights record), and only three countries have
so far declined to sign- Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Let’s hope
they refuse to do so since it requires all ten signatories to make it
binding. Still, for all the news reports and updates the blackout on real
local reporting makes it frustrating to those who would like to know if the
work being done by agencies and helpers has had any effect on the regime and
the minds of the people themselves. Plenty of generalizations but no hard
evidence. Just the way the regime prefer it.
Let's Go To The Movies:
Now playing in Chiang Mai
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor: US/Germany/Canada Action
/Adventure /Fantasy – A shame! All this talent, all this fantastic attention
to detail, wasted on a mess of a movie that is nothing but one bang after
another, one explosion after another, one bloody fight after another, one
chase after another, all to no purpose. There is so little restraint, so
little taste, in what is seen. It is as though the creators just threw into
the mix everything they could think of, and then confused it all with very
fast editing, to simply make a loud blur of action. Ignore this one, unless
of course you like mindless action, one bang after another, and the rest.
Apparently some people do.
It’s a ludicrously extravagant tale of “a mythic battle between good and
evil played out in ancient China,” as a narrator informs us. It’s been seven
years since “The Mummy Returns” and as Brendan Fraser says in this movie,
“Here we go again!” Fraser is Rick O’Connell, and he and his wife Evelyn
(Maria Bello) are British aristocrat-adventurers who have retired apparently
living richly off of the $800 million worldwide box office of the first two
“Mummy” films. They head East in hopes of re-capturing the adrenalin of
adventure and meet up with their grown son Alex (Luke Ford).
There the three unearth the mummy of the first Emperor of Qin, China’s
ruthless Dragon Emperor, doomed by a double-crossing sorceress to spend
eternity in suspended animation, along with his 10,000 warriors, entombed in
clay as a vast, silent terra cotta army.
Also starring Jet Li.
Journey to the Center of the Earth: US Action/Adventure/Fantasy –
Starring Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, and Anita Briem. During a
scientific expedition in Iceland, visionary scientist Trevor Anderson, his
13-year-old nephew and their beautiful local guide, are unexpectedly trapped
in a cave from which their only escape is to go deeper and deeper into the
depths of the Earth. It’s utterly preposterous, but fun, as the trio travel
through never-before-seen worlds, and come face-to-face with surreal
creatures – including man-eating plants, giant flying piranha, glow birds,
and even dinosaurs. Can’t stand the smart-assed kid – I would have offed him
after about his third line of dialogue. Mixed or average reviews for the 3D
version, which we won’t be seeing here.
21: US Drama – Kevin Spacey is a crafty professor who trains brainy
students to cheat by counting cards and then flies them to Las Vegas to raid
the blackjack tables. I found it intermittingly interesting, and I do like
Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne. It is based on real occurrences in the
mid 1990’s when a group of MIT students got together to count cards at Las
Vegas on weekends, and did succeed for a while in breaking the bank. Mixed
or average reviews.
The Strangers: US Thriller/Horror – Repellent and repulsive. If I
were in charge of things, it would be banned. Shows kids how much fun it is
to terrorize people, and details how to do it. Why thoughtful, sane people
aren’t boycotting it is a mystery. The plot: Three malevolent, masked
strangers terrorize a couple in their isolated vacation home. Rated R in the
US for violence/terror and language. Mixed or average reviews.
The Dark Knight: US Action/ Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – A wonderful
film; dark, complex, and unforgettable, it succeeds not just as an
entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling and disturbing crime
drama. Heath Ledger gives a performance that is terrifying as a portrayal of
an insane mind, and is something to experience. Reviews: Universal acclaim.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army: US Action/Fantasy – Directed by
Guillermo del Toro and starring Ron Perlman as Hellboy, this is a dark and
difficult fantasy full of frightening creatures. It’s a brilliant nightmare,
and almost too rich – one is truly overwhelmed with astonishing visuals and
strange stories. Generally favorable reviews.
Scheduled for Aug 7
Mamma Mia!: US/UK/Germany Comedy/ Musical – Starring Meryl
Streep. Relentlessly chick-flick, or rather chick-musical, with insistent
Abba music. Donna, an independent, single mother who owns a small hotel on
an idyllic Greek island, is about to let go of Sophie, the spirited daughter
she’s raised alone. For Sophie’s wedding, Donna has invited her two lifelong
best girlfriends, while Sophie has secretly invited three guests of her own:
three men from Donna’s past, all possibly her father, to the Mediterranean
paradise they visited 20 years earlier. Mixed or average reviews.
Where the Miracle Happens: Thai Drama – Produced by Thai Princess
Ubolrat Ratchakanya, this film premiered in Cannes on May 16, and is a drama
adapted from a story in her book, “Rueng San Tee Chan Kit” (“Short Stories
from My Thoughts”). The Princess also stars in the film as a successful
businesswoman who values only material things until she loses her only
daughter in a car accident.
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
Buddhism teaches the value of patience and mindfulness. If your karma is
good, all will be well. Some people also learn patience from Bangkok
traffic, as you wait powerlessly for what seems like hours in order to move
forward a few meters. Other people, however, react to Bangkok traffic with
impatience. The former type of people are probably the better bridge
players. Bridge benefits from patience and mindfulness, as we will see.
Many players use a bid called a negative double. For those who are
unfamiliar with this bid, it is quite simple, but very useful. When your
partner bids a suit and the opponents immediately overcall in another suit,
your double is not for penalties, but is “negative”. It denies your
partner’s suit and shows the two unbid suits. Most particularly it shows any
unbid major (lying some about having the unbid minor is usually acceptable).
For example, your partner opens 1S and RHO overcalls 2C. Your hand is:
You have a decent heart suit, but cannot bid 2H (which shows a minimum of
about 9 or 10 points), because you do not have enough points. So you keep
the bidding low by doubling to show the red suits. Alternatively, your hand
Now you have enough points to bid at the two level, but only four hearts,
not enough to bid at the two level. Again, you double to show the red suits.
But what do you do if your hand is as below, and the opponents are
If you double, partner will think you have the red suits, so this is where
patience comes in. You pass. Your partner knows that pass in this position
means either that you are weak, or that you are lying in wait in clubs. If
your partner thinks you are lying in wait, he or she must double to give you
a chance to pass (or, if you are actually weak, to bid something). The full
deal is shown below, with you sitting West:
E deals, NS vulnerable
This was the bidding:
1SDbl 2CP PP PP
South made a reasonable overcall, with a good six card suit, 12 high card
points and a singleton. But, your partner looked at his void in clubs and
knew to double. Your karma must be good because this has delivered South
into your hands, with nowhere to run to—NS’s longest combined suit outside
clubs is spades, your partner’s opening bid.
Declarer took your spade lead with the ace, and then led the club queen (a
low club is
better), hoping to drop two opposing trumps. You take it and switch to a
diamond. Partner takes two top spades (with you throwing diamonds), and
switches to the heart queen. Now, no matter how South twists and turns, you
take a total of ten tricks (2 spades, 3 hearts, 1 diamond and 4 clubs), for
down 5. Soon, you are writing plus 1400 on your side of the score sheet.
Ah!—the rewards of patience.
Please e-mail me your favourite hands to [email protected]