The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
Mature Onset Diabetes
Are you more than 40 years of
age? Are you overweight? Do you have a blood relative who has Diabetes? If
you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then you may have Mature Onset
Diabetes. If you answered “yes” to all three, then it is dollars to donuts
that you do have it. (If you come from the UK, you can make that pounds to
Diabetes (sugar) is one of the commonest ailments in the world. There are 60
million people living in the UK (I’d probably say ‘surviving’ in the UK is
more accurate) and 2.1 million of these had diagnosed Diabetes, of which 1.8
million had the Maturity Onset form of the condition. Official estimation
from the UK would also suggest there were another 1 million walking around
with Mature Onset Diabetes that did not even know they had it. That’s a
worry. Not for me, but for them.
Before we go much further, just exactly what is Diabetes? Quite simply, it
is an inability of the body to use glucose correctly. Insulin is produced by
the body to keep the glucose system in balance and if the insulin production
is lacking, this is called Type 1 Diabetes. With Mature Onset Diabetes (also
called Type 2, or Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes) the cells become less
responsive to insulin, and there may be a reduction in insulin levels as
Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When
you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into
glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes
the sugar from the blood into the cells.
When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can
cause many problems. First off, your cells may be starved for energy, so you
begin to feel tired. Secondly, over time you may develop heart disease
(cardiovascular disease), blindness (retinopathy), nerve damage
(neuropathy), and kidney damage (nephropathy).
So how do you know if you have developed (or are developing) Mature Onset
Diabetes? The main symptoms to look for include a lack of energy, hunger
(which comes from the fact that the cells are ‘starving’), excessive passing
of urine combined with thirst and a dry mouth, insufficient sleep because of
the need to pass urine at night (though this may be due to prostate
enlargement in males) and blurred vision (again not to be confused with
reading difficulties - short arms - which is called Presbyopia and occurs
after 40 years of age), slow healing of minor cuts and sores.
How does Diabetes cause such diverse symptoms? Large blood vessels may be
damaged by atherosclerosis, which is a major cause of coronary artery
disease and stroke. Other long-term complications result from damage to the
small blood vessels throughout the body. Damage to blood vessels in the
light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye causes the visual impairment
(diabetic retinopathy). Diabetes also increases the risk of developing
If diabetes affects blood vessels that supply nerves, it may cause nerve
damage. There may be a gradual loss of sensation, starting with the hands
and feet and sometimes gradually extending up the limbs. Loss of feeling,
combined with poor circulation, makes the feet and legs more susceptible to
ulcers and gangrene. The nerve and blood vessel damage may also produce
impotence in men (which Vitamin V may not be able to fix).
Damage to small blood vessels in the kidneys may also lead to further
complications. Damage to the nerves controlling the body’s internal
functions (autonomic neuropathy) can lead to problems with low blood
pressure on standing (postural hypotension) or disturbance of the GI tract
(vomiting or diarrhoea) and increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.
So if you think you might have it, or are a likely candidate, what next. A
simple trip to your doctor and some inexpensive blood and urine tests will
confirm or deny.
In the initial stages, dietary measures may be sufficient to control this
condition, but oral drugs and sometimes insulin injections become necessary
as it progresses. But you have to prove you have it first!
Heart to Heart
Thank you so much for your reply to my previous e-mail where I had
implied that I can’t get a bird in a brothel! I took your advice, went
into a bar and slapped 2,000 baht on the table and shouted “OK birds, I
am over here, come and get it!” And did they... they were all over me,
and it was all going fine. I had a great time. However, it slipped out!
It had to I suppose! What can I do! I didn’t mean to do it, but a
‘gnaam’ just slipped out. I think it was followed by a ‘lai lai der’.
That was it, a deathly silence. Then one of the birds said “Falang Laos”
and the party was over. Oh dear, I’ll try again next week. You lucky
people that only speak English! Regards,
I aint bovvered
Dear I aint bovvered,
Despite your hiding behind your pseudonym of ‘I aint bovvered’, I get
the distinct impression that you are very ‘bovvered’ by it all.
Otherwise you wouldn’t continue writing to me with your tales of woe,
would you Possum? Re-reading your email, I am glad it was just a ‘gnaam’
that slipped out. For a while there I thought you were trying to make
pun of me. I also get the distinct impression that you are an antipodean
with that quaint way to refer to the bar girls as “birds”. The only way
the ladies of the night are similar to our feathered friends is that
some of them have been known to go “Cheep Cheap” under certain financial
conditions and are good at midnight flights under other conditions. Do
try again later, but is your English really English? It doesn’t seem
that you are all that lucky. Best of luck and ‘kaneedur’.
The chap who called himself “I aint bovvered” is surely pulling your
leg. We native English speakers may be able to understand conversations
in Thai/Laos but to get good enough to understand the differences
between Thai and Isaan (Laos) and then how to speak it, is exceptionally
rare in my opinion. He also claims that he gets the intonation right
each time too. If he can really do all that he is another Einstein. He’s
just another show-off as you pointed out.
I can’t be bovvered either!
Dear I can’t be bovvered either!
As you will have read from the email above yours, our ‘bovvered’ chap
has returned to these pages, complete with the perfect tones. And still
in trouble. I feel that he should just go to the beer bars and pretend
he is deaf and dumb. He might do a little better.
David from Western Australia wants to apply the British Standard (BS)
Duck Test, “If a bird looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks
like a duck, then it probably is a duck” to all women. David must have
really gone down the gurgler to be so bitter. All women are not the
same. Thai women are not the same as western ones and bar girls are a
different species altogether. David feels that all women are out to rip
off mankind and all that is left is 0.01 percent of decent women. How
pessimistic is that? He should stop feeling sorry for himself and get
out and enjoy the company of the ladies in the bars. That’s what they’re
there for. You don’t have to buy the library when you want to read a
Jack from Melbourne
Dear Jack from Melbourne,
Despite the 50 percent divorce rate in many countries, including
Australia, all women are very obviously not the same. I’m not like that
for one. Despite David’s pessimism, his 0.01 percent still works out as
1,000 women, even in Australia. I agree that if you want a ‘good time’,
the good time girls are there to give it to you. The problems always
arise when the smitten male forgets that a good time girl is just that -
a good time girl. A girl for the good times in life, not a girl who is
good for life times. It should also be understood that a beer bar is not
an outside office for an accredited match-making and marriage agency. I
have said in this column many times that you don’t go into a hardware
shop if you are looking for a piece of cheese.
I enjoy your bits each week and the advice is right on. Somebody said
you should get a raise from your editor and I reckon so too. You are
doing a public service so you should get the top dollar. All the ones in
the US like Oprah get big money, so should you. Keep up the good work.
Aren’t you just the nicest man! Comparing poor little Hillary with the
mighty Oprah! However there are some differences between us, you know.
She’s in America, for one! You worry me though, when you say you “enjoy
my bits” each week. What “bits” are we talking about here? Some of my
bits are never discussed here in the column. This is a family newspaper
Hughie. As far as a raise is concerned, I’ll show your letter to the
editor, but he’ll just laugh and say I made it up.
by Harry Flashman
Getting down to basics
take a look at the photographs with this week’s column. These
are commercial shots done for an advertising campaign for the
Chivawattana health benefits card. The photographer knew what he
was doing (not me, by the way) and I want you to analyze just
why these are successful photographs.
The subjects include children, adults, plus mothers and
daughters. Varied subjects, but there is a common thread running
through them all. Do you see it yet? Quite simply, the
photographer got down and shot from the same eye level as the
subjects. Nowhere does he (or she) take a superior view on the
subject. The photographer got down to basics and got down to
shoot from the same height as the subject.
The end result of that is to produce an immediacy in the final
photograph. You feel as if you are there, part of the scene. And
when you begin to relate to the scene, you will relate to the
message, and that of course is the secret of advertising
However, this week’s column is not designed to just give
advertising pro photographers the warm and fuzzies, but it is to
make you look at any photograph that pleases you, pleases your
senses to the point that you say to yourself “I wish I’d shot
that.” Having decided on the photograph, then go and duplicate
the shot. Not duplicated down to the last speck of dirt, last
fold in the clothes, but duplicate the style of the shot, not
the subject matter. OK, professionals have a budget to hire
great models who know how to pose. You are going to have to use
your friend from across the street, but look at what the
lighting was in the pro shot, the placement of the subject and
the position from which it was shot. When you have those three
factors mastered, you will be producing ‘professional’ results.
Let’s look at the three factors. Where are the shadows in the
photograph? That will immediately show you whether it is long
shadows, meaning late afternoon or very early morning or short
shadows, meaning middle of the day. The position of the shadows
will also tell you whether the light source was relative to the
subject. In front? Behind? From the side? Simply by looking at
the picture you can get the answer.
Now, look at the placement of the subject in the shot. Central?
Or at the intersection of thirds, one third in and one third
from the top or bottom?
Finally, the position of the photographer, relative to the
subject. High? Low? Or eye level? There is nothing radical about
this analytical approach, but it gives you a very quick learning
You must cultivate the enquiring eye so that you begin to
analyze every photograph you have ever seen published anywhere,
that includes landscapes, industrial shots and travel shots, as
well as simple portraits. By doing that, ‘simple’ happy snaps
become real portraits, and you are well on the way to becoming
an accomplished photographer.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles
MBMG International Ltd.
Reading the Runes, part 2
Going back to forlorn Bob Janjuah, his reading of the runes
is that Wall Street may rally a little further into early July before
short-lived momentum from America’s fiscal boost begins to fizzle out, and the
delayed effects of the oil spike inflict their damage and that is when the US
Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank face their dilemma as workers
start to lose their jobs in earnest and lenders cut off credit. Janjuah sees
this as a defining moment.
“Globalisation was always going to risk putting G7 bankers into a dangerous
corner at some point. We have got to that point.”
In a recent MBMG Daily Update we highlighted this dilemma for Central Bankers
but also highlighted one of the positive themes preached by Scott Campbell
earlier this month - the silver lining for Japan within the global dark cloud of
“Central bankers everywhere seem to be torn every which way right now - in
developing nations the dilemma which has them on its horns is whether the credit
crunch or inflation is the larger threat to their economic progress whereas in
developed economies, the choice is being expressed as a clear choice between
growth and inflation.
In both cases, inflation seems to be gathering momentum as the greater perceived
danger. The Philippines, Indonesia and India have joined the Bank of Thailand in
increasing interest rates, while China has increased the required reserve ratio
for banks. Other Asian central banks are following the Greenspan/Bernanke model
(as also adopted by the European Central Bank’s Governor M. Trichet of late) and
are letting their talking do the talking with increasingly threatening noises
about what they’ll do if the inflation genie doesn’t somehow manage to squeeze
himself back into the urn.
Speaking of Mr. Bernanke, even the Fed seems to have gorged itself on rate cuts
and is sending out signals that now that the credit crunch is, in the Fed’s
opinion at any rate, behind us all, then we can look forward to the prospect of
future rate hikes to deal with that pesky genie. On the other side of the
Atlantic the BoE’s governor, Mervyn King has added his two pennies worth - that
a slowdown of UK growth is necessary to dampen prices. He propounded that
British families will find it particularly difficult to deal with the decline in
living standards that is seemingly around the corner. Obviously the exhortations
weren’t delivered with quite enough conviction though because Sterling has
continued to drift and it seems that the currency markets see dark times ahead
for the sceptred isle.
You might say that flip flop would be an apt description of central bank
strategy of late - you might well say that. Fighting talk doesn’t amount to much
if you’re stood on shaky ground. In the rush to communicate, bankers everywhere
would do well to remember that some times less really is more.
Notably absent from the brouhaha is Japan - as Scott Campbell recently
commented, Japan is one of the few places in the world that would positively
benefit from a dose of inflation. After years of deflation, then even the
slightest signs of nascent price increases are a positive - one example quoted
recently was how sales at department stores recently jumped because buyers,
expecting inflation, decided they had an incentive to buy now before prices go
up rather than the previous strategy of waiting for them to come down! The BoJ
governor will probably find himself sitting all alone at the next central
bankers’ get together - on the end of envious glances from his colleagues who
wished that they too could just come out and state clearly that risks to
economic growth override inflation concerns. But for now they can’t. This could
be a further catalyst for the Japanese stock market right now.
Many of these themes are echoed by Bob Janjuah, who believes that central banks
dare not respond with easy money because oil and food costs continue to push
headline inflation to levels that are unsettling the equity markets and damaging
economic, business and consumer confidence.
“The ugly spoiler is that we may need to see much lower global growth in order
to get lower inflation ... the Fed is in panic mode. The massive credibility
chasms down which the Fed and maybe even the ECB will plummet when they fail to
hike rates in the face of higher inflation will combine to give us a big
sell-off in risky assets.”
Almost as though they were reading from Scott’s script when he visited Bangkok,
RBS expects the oil price spike to subside in the shorter term, although if
supply and demand remain as stretched as it is now with increasing Asian demand
we’d be looking to view this as a buying opportunity.
Poor Bob Janjuah can see the future but, unless RBS suddenly develop a genuine
multi-asset multi-manager approach, they may not be able to do too much about
it. We’re reminded of Aigisthos, who in the Odyssey is warned by the gods not to
kill Agamemnon, but chooses to ignore the advice and is eventually slain by
Orestes, Agamemnon’s son. By not heeding the warning, Aigisthos invited and duly
suffered the gods’ revenge. If portfolio managers everywhere fail to heed the
warnings, then the gods of the market will almost certainly avenge themselves by
allowing the prophecy to be fulfilled, as then totally unmythological but
nonetheless powerful force of debt deflation takes hold next year.
There may well be troubles ahead. In fact we’re certain that there will be and
there may well be a lot of tear drops to be shed, but with the strategies
outlined recently by Scott Campbell, we are confident our clients can look
forward to continued gains and, at least, outdoing cash as his sole aim is to
beat the LIBOR (bank rate) by 4% after all charges.
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 humbling experience, memories
of a classic (and still timely),
movie and ‘obscene’ works of art…
The difficult we’ll do right now —the impossible takes
longer—or so the saying goes. It more or less happened on Saturday night at
the Amari Rincome ‘launch’ of the next Hillside 4 Charity bash. Eight
heartfelt – and humbling – presentations were made to the 150 people
attending and to the committee and sponsors who had to whittle the list
down. Each charity had a legitimate claim and the decision must have been
difficult. Three were chosen, (see elsewhere for details), and five received
a consolation prize of 30,000 baht – all money to be allocated from the
With a generous 100,000 baht from the German organization Thailand Friends
and previous events and Saturday’s dinner, there is already 200,000 plus in
the kitty towards the hoped for million baht. Between now and January 10
there will be many more social fund raising events…so keep an eye out.
Needless to say everybody present had their favourites and if it had been
based on the actual presentation alone the Lanna Dog Rescue would have been
one of the winners, since this was presented cogently and intellectually and
made the case - sadly ignored – that our treatment of animals is as much a
reflection on society as is our treatment of humans. The five ‘non- winners’
need help and volunteers and can be contacted as follows:-
Croston House Childrens’ Home-www.crostonhouse childrenshomethaialnd.org;
Kids Ark Foundation-www. KidsArkFoundation.org; Lanna Dog Rescue- www.
lannadog.net, Schools of [email protected] :Wildflower Home- www.
wildflowerhome.net. I know they would appreciate your interest since they
all run on volunteer help and donations.
Unless you are a film buff of a certain age you may well not have heard of
Norman McClaren, who was originally Scottish and did most of his best work
from the late 1930s with the National Film Board of Canada under an even
more distinguished Scot, John Grierson. Whilst there, McClaren made many
shorts, documentaries and most famously the Oscar winning Neighbours (1952),
which brilliantly used pixilation in its depiction of a little morality tale
which has astonishing relevance today.
The story depicts two guys living in adjacent homes with their families. One
day they notice a beautiful flower growing on the border of their gardens.
They start frantically building a white picket fence each hoping that the
flower will be on their land. From friendly neighbours they become
argumentative and competitive ones and eventually start fighting. The battle
continues and their families are involved, with anger turning to bitterness
and finally brutal deaths. The flower too wilts and dies.
The film is just eight minutes long and despite not having seen it for years
I recall its imagery and message and would love for a print of it to be
shown widely on Thai and Cambodian television, there is no dialogue, and to
the generals, politicians and media who are posturing around the borders of
those two friendly, neighbouring countries. It shows the barbarity of battle
and the futility of bitterness, where no one wins.
Works of ‘art’ described as obscene are usually those depicting sexual acts
– such as Rodin’s The Kiss or Lawrences’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover - which
seemingly offend people. Modern day society has thankfully become more
tolerant but I recently saw an article in the best British newspaper, the
Guardian, about a new exhibition of works by Damien Hirst, (valued at 55
million pounds or 4225 million baht), which seems to justify the word
obscene or, failing that, hateful.
Many of the works were of stuffed, preserved animals and one of the others
illustrated was a copy of the magnificent Mediaeval Rose Window at Durham
Cathedral – one of the greatest in Britain. This object has a so-called
value of 800,000 pounds. And why is a copy of something priceless and
timeless obscene to me? Well it has been created from the wings of untold
thousands of real butterflies which have literally been pressed into service
for this ludicrous purpose. I can think of few things more repellent. Let’s
hope it remains unsold, along with the other works. Any buyer would seems to
be on a par with those grotesque people who buy elephant’s feet, carved out
and used as ‘umbrella stands’ or those who proudly hang tiger skins or
animal heads on their walls. Obscene—yes.
Let's Go To The Movies:
Now playing in Chiang Mai
Where the Miracle Happens: Thai Drama – Make no mistake, this is
a powerful plea for compassion towards neglected segments of Thai society –
the uneducated and exploited people, many hill-tribe, that are not really
citizens of Thai society. It’s a plea for giving everyone living in Thailand
at least the opportunity for education and health care, and freedom from
Produced by HRH Princess Ubolratana, this film is a drama adapted from a
story in her book, “Short Stories from My Thoughts.” Her Royal Highness also
stars in the film as a successful businesswoman, Pimdao, who loses her
daughter in a car accident. Pimdao herself is seriously injured, but
survives after a heart transplant. To fulfill the philanthropic wish of her
child, Pimdao travels to a remote school in Chiang Rai (the film was shot in
Chiang Mai) and tries to help the rural teachers develop proper educational
facilities for poor children. The drama surfaces when some of the locals
doubt her true intentions and Pimdao has to prove herself while her new
heart begins to weaken.
Some background: The book, and this film based on the book, is
obviously inspired by HRH Princess Ubolratana’s tragic loss of her son Khun
Poom Jansen in the Indian Ocean when the tsunami hit Phuket in December
The message is clear: those who have the means – the riches from the Thai
economy – need to take a paternal interest in the country as a whole. It’s
one’s responsibility, and is simply the decent thing to do for a country
that has been good to you. HRH Princess Ubolratana, who also had a hand in
writing the script, has herself initiated several projects aimed at the
betterment of the Thai people, projects such as “To Be Number One” and
“Miracle of Life.” This film is a part of the “Miracle of Life” project,
which aims to provide education to underprivileged children in Thailand.
Her Royal Highness says that she hopes the movie will be “a vehicle to shed
light on the problems faced by children in Thai society.” And the family
problems many Thai teens face.
It’s a heart-felt plea, told in basic and simple dramatic terms, with the
standard ingredients of Thai drama and comedy fused into a quite moving
film. Her Royal Highness acquits herself quite beautifully as the prime
actor of the film. The production values are top rate – the photography is
If you relax and let yourself be drawn into the story, there’s no way you
won’t be very affected at story’s end – I admit it, I was in tears.
WALL•E: US Animation/ Comedy/ Family/ Romance/ Sci-Fi – WALL•E is a
work of genius from the first frame to the last. Robot love in a dead world,
and the cutest love story in years. There’s virtually no dialogue for the
first 30 minutes; you’ll be enthralled. Reviews: Universal acclaim.
Shaolin Girl: Japan Action /Comedy – A sequel to the popular Hong
Kong film Shaolin Soccer. This time a Japanese filmmaker is at the helm;
about a girl who returns to Japan after spending 9 years in training to beat
a master of Shaolin Kung Fu in a lot of fake fighting. All reports indicate
it’s a pretty mediocre film, but that’s all right, it’s shown only in a
Thai-dubbed version, so you wouldn’t likely see it anyway.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor: US/Germany/Canada Action
/Fantasy – What a shame! All the talent, all the 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, all to
no purpose. Ignore this one, unless of course you like mindless action, and
It’s a ludicrous tale in which Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello play retired
British aristocrat-adventurers who head East for adventure and to meet up
with their grown son, played by 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 entombed in clay as a vast,
silent terra cotta army.
Journey to the Center of the Earth: US Action/Adventure/Fantasy –
Utterly preposterous, but fun, as a trio of adventurers travel through
never-before-seen worlds, and come face-to-face with including man-eating
plants, giant flying piranha, glow birds, and even dinosaurs. Mixed or
average reviews for the 3D version, which we won’t be seeing here.
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. Reviews: Universal acclaim.
Rogue: Australia/US Thriller – An American journalist on assignment
in the Australian outback encounters a man-eating crocodile. Generally
Hanuman: The White Monkey Warrior: Thai Action – A martial-arts
fantasy, and a questionable retelling of Khon drama.
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?:
Coco the Clown!
This week’s treasure is a charming little magnolia called, amusingly,
Magnolia coco, which is small enough for a courtyard garden or even a
pot. It comes from South China, and grows well here in Chiang Mai, not
far from its original home. Its Thai name is Yee-Loob,; unfortunately
it’s not seen here as often as it should be, possibly because it is not
the showiest of plants. Its leaves are oval and pointed, like other
magnolias; its flowers are terminal, occurring at the top of the tree
and measuring about one inch in diameter. The three greenish sepals
open, but the 6 white, scented petals remain closed in a little white
ball which is quite lovely on discovery, as it rewards you with its
delicious perfume. Do seek it out—it’s well worth it for its modesty and
charm, which will need pointing out to people who don’t’ “get it”, but
which will delight all who would otherwise be unaware of its existence.
Another tree, from India, with similar shaped but larger flowers,
Talarnus candellia is a magnolia with open petals, called Montha in
Thai. Both are overshadowed by two even larger trees, Michelia champaea,
(Jum Pah), and Michelia longiflora, (Jum Pee). Michelia champaea has
yellow flowers; Michelia longiflora’s flowers are white. Both are
understandably more popular as the abundant flowers continually fill the
air with a strong scent and are also useful for picking to make the
puang malai garlands with their distinctive “tassels”.
Finally, Michelia figo, (Jum Pee Kak), should be praised for its refined
and small black-green leaves and black-haired stems growing in the habit
of a small, dense bush. This last is my favourite, as a hedge background
to a flower border—its excellent colour should really be better
appreciated. It has the bonus of abundant small cream flowers, which are
not showy but smell deliciously of bananas!
Micheapaea is considered sacred to the god Vishnu, and as such is
planted around Jain and Hindu temples. Nobody wearing shoes is permitted
to stand under its shadow. Its flowers are used to treat kidney disease
and to relieve inflamed eyes.
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
This is the first of a short series of related columns on defence. Defence
is the most difficult part of bridge, because, unlike declarer, defenders
cannot see their partner’s hand. The featured player in these columns,
sitting East, is Robert the Rules, a charming Welsh friend of mine. We often
play together at the historic old club in Muang Som-mut. His nickname comes
from his habit of pronouncing on everything according to rules he drew up
years ago, and rarely changes. When you are in Thailand, you must do this,
but you should never do that etc. At the bridge table he is the same—he is
sometimes willing to add a new rule to his catalogue, but never to break
Imagine you are defending against four hearts. Partner leads the queen of
clubs, which promises the jack and denies the king. Dummy has three small
clubs. You hold ace and three low cards. What card do you play? Some
players, from a misguided sense of deference to their partner, do not want
to smother their partner’s queen with the ace. Robert the Ruler would never
make this mistake. He knows declarer holds the king, that it might be
singleton, and that he must go up with the ace or he may never score it.
That was a fairly straightforward situation. Now imagine your partner leads
not the queen of clubs, but the jack. The jack promises the ten and denies
the queen. Dummy has king and two small clubs. You have the ace and three
small. What do you play? Unless you have good reason to believe that
declarer’s queen is singleton (or unless you can see that an immediate
switch of suit is necessary), you must duck, so that you can kill the king
with the ace later. In this example, if you go up with your ace then
declarer will later score two tricks, the queen and the king. If you
withhold your ace, declarer can never score the king. The principle is to
keep an honour to beat an honour in dummy.
I was sitting West with Robert as my partner on the hand below, with
everyone vulnerable and South dealer. Like most members of the Som-mut Club,
our opponents believe in quick auctions. South opened one spade and North
went directly to four.
I led the jack of clubs. Dummy ducked and Robert went up
with the ace. Now, all we could possibly score in addition to this first
trick were the two red aces. Ten tricks and contract made. I pointed out
(rather forcefully) to Robert that all he had to do was duck the first
trick, and keep the ace hovering over the king. Declarer will win in hand
with the queen and draw trumps. He will then force out the ace of hearts,
hoping to throw away a low club from hand on a good heart from dummy.
However, as soon as I get in with the heart ace, I will lead the ten of
clubs. Whether or not declarer covers with the king we will score two club
tricks to go with our two red aces. Then I would be writing +100 on the
score pad, not -620. I must have made the point forcefully enough such that
the principle of keeping an honour to beat an honour in dummy made its way
into Robert’s lexicon of rules. But, as you will see to my cost next week, I
learned to rue the success of my lesson!
Please e-mail me your favourite hands to bridgethailand @live.com.