The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
The Great British Bottom
I have just returned from a
week in the UK, and Scotland in particular. I was joined by my eldest son,
Dr. Jonathan Corness, for the trip to visit my 91 year old Mum, and after
being subjected to temperatures of minus four degree at night and relatively
tropical temperatures of between four and six degrees in the day plus
constant rain, we were in complete agreement on one subject. Why did our
forefathers decide that the north of Scotland would be a good place to
settle? Or for that matter, the UK. They should have been locked up in a
maximum security home for those people with psychiatric problems. They used
to call them ‘lunatic asylums’ in those days, and that is where our lunatic
ancestors should have been residing, and not trudging around the wet and
misty moors herding sheep while wearing a hairy skirt style thing and no
However, there was something else we noticed, in between shivering and
trying to get into any place that was warm. (As an aside, it is amazing just
how long you can make a cup of coffee and a bun last, while hovering near
the fire in Annie’s Tea Room.) No, what we noticed was the Great British
This anatomical aberration is owned by at least 20 percent of the bonnie
lasses in Scotland, and an equal percentage of English ladies. How some of
them manage to get into the small cars which abound on the wet British roads
is beyond me. There is no way a standard seat could accommodate a 40 pick
handle beam. The overlap must hide the gear lever, or perhaps they all drive
To compound the problem, and at least draw attention to it, the British
female likes to wear very low hipster jeans, or the new fashion ‘ra ra’
skirt with tights. These garments are worn to display a fatty apron in the
front and a bottom cleavage which exceeds the one on their chests.
Now why they should think that these sights are alluring and attractive, I
do not know, or perhaps the British government has banned the sale of
mirrors? They seem to have banned everything else in the name of Health and
Safety. For example, I believe they were thinking of banning the Noddy and
Big Ears books we all read as children, because it has been presumed that
Noddy is gay because he didn’t have a girlfriend in Toyland, and you are not
allowed to make fun of people with physical deformities!
But back to the Great British Bottom. In the cold climates (read
‘freezing’), a high carbohydrate diet does help the metabolism, but it does
also help stack on the weight. (The British Army ration packs for cold
climates are 55 percent carbohydrates, for example, and the current U.S.
Military Recommended Dietary Allowance (MRDA) for males in environments that
are colder than 57°F (14°C) is 4,500 kcal/d.)
Now looking at the ensuing weight problem, I am not sure if this concept can
be applied to our subcutaneous fat, but gravity does pull everything
downwards, as noted by Sir Isaac Newton in 1687, and it settles to the
bottom, one might say. And that just may explain the Great British one.
Official obesity figures in the UK indicate 17 percent of men and 21 percent
of women are obese (a body mass index of more than 30 kg/m2). Frightening
thought - one in five British women could crush you.
So what should these women do? First I would suggest they get out of the UK,
and if the PAD allows planes to land, here is not a bad sort of a place to
Now, no matter how much excess weight or fat you have, if you want to lose
weight permanently, your diet program should be directed toward a slow,
steady weight loss. According to official UK government dietary guidelines,
you should lose no more than one kg of fat a week, giving the skin a chance
to take up the slack.
See a dietician, get a simple regime and follow it and wave goodbye to your
bottom (and your belly)!
Heart to Heart
Yes you can buy cheese at the hardware store! I am an American who was
raised in Mississippi in the late 1940’s. When visiting my grandmother
during the summer, I often went to the local hardware store to hangout
and look at all of the neet (sic) stuff. For a 6 year old boy, this was
heaven. While there, I would all ways buy a chunk of cheese to eat.
There was a large hoop, maybe 25 kilo, sitting out in the open, no
cover, no refrigeration, cut it yourself and take to the counter for
payment. Whenever you tell someone they will not find cheese in a
hardware store, it brings back fond memories from my childhood. Thank
you for the reminder.
I am glad I help bring back those childhood memories even though it was
some time ago, wasn’t it, my Petal. I wonder if you can still buy your
cheese from the local hardware store in Mississippi, or did that go the
way of button up boots and Santa Claus? By the way, Robert, I know that
American spelling deviates from the UK spelling, but what is “neet”?
Surely, that should have been “neat”?
Reference Archie’s recent letter. Even if a UK pensioner living in
Chiang Mai has a legally registered Thai wife, I would imagine if she is
not a resident of the UK you could not claim a married man’s pension. Is
I am sorry I can’t help you there, Petal. The UK Pensions Department is
well out of my sphere of activity, but perhaps some of my other readers
can give us a clue. Can you claim? Are you in that situation? Archie
says he is and does get the married pension. Let me know.
Do tell Archie that as an ex-NHS (now Ministry of Work and Pensions)
civil servant, I know of no rules to qualify what he says.
Hasn’t Archie brewed up a storm! It really is time that people who know
about these things told us all the definitive answer, before there’s a
queue at the local Amphur with British pensioners and young Thai ladies
all hoping for the UK handout. To remind you all, I publish Archie’s
letter again below.
Here is some advice to UK single pensioners, marry your Thai girl friend
and get a big pay rise (married man’s pension), then your wife will get
also her UK national insurance card, which will make her very happy. I
know because I have just done this, and we are both happy.
I sort of get the impression that your advice on getting married is the
right choice, but for all the wrong reasons! Being an old biddie with
probably some out of date ideas, I believe you should get married to
show your commitment to your partner and to share life together, not
primarily as a way to extract money from the British government.
However, I am glad you are looking after your Thai girlfriend, my Petal.
After reading that you have been getting success stories lately I
thought I could tell you about mine. Finally I have been successful, but
there were a couple of mistakes on the way to getting there. It
certainly wasn’t plain sailing. Like many young fellows arriving in
Thailand, I could not believe my eyes at first. So many beautiful girls,
so available and so difficult to choose! My first choice was Nid but she
had to choose between being faithful to me or to the two guys she had on
the string from America and Holland. She was not willing to tell them
what was happening and chose the regular double income by bank transfer,
rather than my cash in the hand. The second girlfriend wasn’t much
better. She took the cash, plus anything else that wasn’t nailed down.
You would think I would have called in quits by then, but I didn’t.
Number three ripped me off too, but this time it was only a motorbike
that went with her.
It was shortly after that when I began to think I was looking for my
princess in the wrong places and so I gave up the easy bars and the easy
girls and met my next lady in the glasses shop where I went to have my
eyes tested. We went out the next week and now, after two years we are
married. I have never been happier. To all the guys out there I say,
don’t be a sucker. There are girls in Thailand and there are ladies.
They don’t live under the same roof. It will take you longer to find
your lady, but believe me it is worth it.
It sounds as if you should have had your eyes tested much earlier in the
piece, then you wouldn’t have stumbled around blindly for the first
three times, Petal. As you have correctly mentioned, life was not meant
to be easy. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a princess you
sometimes have to kiss a lot of frogs. Toads are even worse! Thank you
for your success story and I am truly glad you found the secret to life
with a lady in Thailand.
by Harry Flashman
Digital time exposure for beginners
Digital photography is the ideal camera for time exposures.
However, talk time exposure and most photographers will run
away. How many times have you used the “time exposure” facility
on your camera for example? How about “never”! That’s the usual
response to that question. And the reason? “Looks too
complicated or too hard to work out the exposure.”
Let’s address the “too technical” aspect first. A camera is
purely a device that lets a certain amount of light fall onto a
sensor (digital remember) for a predetermined amount of time.
This is the old “f8 at 1/60th” sort of routine. The number of
the “f” stop (the aperture) tells you how large the hole is that
lets the light in, and the 1/60th denotes how long the hole was
left open. Sounds technical - but it’s not!
Way back, when photography was in its infancy, the film material
was so insensitive that the exposure times were nowhere near as
“short” as today. 1/60th was unheard of - it was more like a
three weeks at f4 in those days! With today’s super-sensitive
film materials and printing papers you can get away with “short”
time exposures and you don’t even need to be accurate any more.
Near enough is good enough!
What do you need for digital Time Exposure photography? Well, a
digital camera is a good start, but it has to be one with “T” or
“B” settings. The “T” setting stands for Time Exposure - one
“click” opens the shutter, the second “click” closes it. “B”
originally stood for “bulb” and the way that works is by holding
the shutter release down keeps the shutter open until you take
your finger off, which closes it. Why two settings? Simple, use
“B” for time exposures up to a minute and “T” for longer ones
(mainly because your finger will go numb holding the button down
for 20 minutes!).
Yes, time exposure photography is fundamentally the same as
ordinary daylight photography, but there are some constraints,
caused by the very long exposures necessary. The main one is one
of “noise” being simply a breakdown of the light to produce
blown out areas of the image. This is in some ways similar to
the production of ‘grain’ with film at high ISO readings. So for
best results in digital photography, keep the ISO setting at 100
ASA (or ISO).
For night photography in cities it is best to use a low ISO
setting to reduce noise, an f/stop that gives enough depth of
field and sharp images, and a few different exposure times in
seconds. As a rough guide, 20 seconds should be in the ballpark.
The last thing you need is a tripod, unless you are good at
standing motionless for twenty seconds or so. And a strong
sturdy one, not one of those lightweight skinny aluminium models
that will blow over in the breeze. However, if you have not got
a tripod, it is not the end of the world, but you will have to
find some way to keep the camera steady. I have taken 30 second
time exposure with the camera sitting on a table, or the roof of
The important point to grasp is that all Time Exposure
photography is “hit and miss”. There’s no real way anyone can
tell you exactly “f8 and 24 seconds”. The camera’s exposure
meter doesn’t help here either. There’s too many variables, but
all you have to do is to take the same scene or picture with
several different exposure times - one of them will be right.
Believe me! And you don’t have to wait long with digital
photography to see the results.
Make a note of the order your time exposures were shot in, and
jot down the “best” result and then take another at that
exposure. You may just surprise yourself.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles
MBMG International Ltd.
A brief introduction to life assurance
What is it? Do you need it? And if you do, how much for how long?
Given the state of the markets, you may be considering
heading to the tallest building and taking a running jump off. Before you do
then you may want to consider Life Assurance.
Basically there are two main types of life insurance, Term Assurance and Whole
of Life Assurance. You only need life assurance if a person, persons or third
party will suffer financial hardship in the event of your death.
How long you effect a policy for will depend entirely on the purpose of the
policy. If you are a parent wishing to provide for children in the event of your
death, typically you will be covered until your youngest child is 21 or 25 years
old, depending on when you deem them able to stand on their own financially.
Whole of Life is, as the name suggests, until you die, and the reasons for
taking this in preference to Term Assurance are many and varied, it could be to
pay inheritance tax, to guarantee your children a capital sum in the future or,
if taken in conjunction with critical illness, to cushion the blow in the event
of being diagnosed with a “dread disease”.
What is Term
Term Assurance provides cover for a fixed term with the sum assured payable only
on death. There are no investment benefits or payments on survival. Term
Assurance premiums are based primarily on the age and health of the life
assured, the sum assured and the policy term. The older the life assured or the
longer the policy term the higher the premium will generally be.
Types of Term
Term Assurance policies can be written on a single life, joint life (first or
second death) or on a life of another basis.
The most common form of Term Assurance is Level Term Assurance where the
premiums are fixed for the duration of the insurance term and a payment will
only be made if a death occurs during the insurance period. A Level Term
Assurance policy is taken out for a fixed term. This type of term assurance
policy can be a useful for providing security for dependents up to a certain
You must have a financial interest in the person that you are insuring when
taking out any Life of Another policy and the provider may require proof of this
before cover is given. It is this type of policy that is usually used for Keyman
Insurance or Cross Partner Protection. These types of policies either insure a
valuable employee who, if they suffered a fatality would be a serious loss to
the company, or to give partners/co-directors the opportunity to buy out the
other partner’s company share in the event of death or serious disability.
Premiums for these types of policies are usually tax deductible. However,
depending where you are in the world then, in the event of a claim, the capital
sum may be taxable.
What is Whole of Life Assurance?
Whole of Life Assurance policies give you protection for life. Unlike Term
Assurance that only pays out if you die during the term of the policy, a Whole
of Life assurance policy always pays out eventually.
For this reason Whole of Life assurance can be more expensive than term
assurance, although this is not always the case.
The main type of Whole of Life assurance used these days is a unit-linked
product which offers a variable mix between investment content and life cover.
Whole of Life
The initial premium is usually fixed for 10 years and is generally reviewed at
that point to see whether the growth of the investment fund is sufficient to
maintain the same premium level. It is possible that the premium may have to
increase, or sum assured reduce, at that point.
What is Critical Illness Cover?
This can usually be written as a stand alone policy or combined with a life
assurance policy. A Critical Illness policy will cover you in the event of a
pre-determined illness or disease. Not all Critical Illness policies are the
same and policy conditions will vary. It is vitally important to understand
exactly which conditions are covered before you proceed with a particular policy
or insurance plan.
With most Critical Illness policies a capital sum is paid out on diagnosis of a
specified medical condition or occurrence of heart attack, most forms of cancer,
kidney failure, major organ transplant, stroke, etc.
Critical Illness lump sum benefits
The lump sum benefits derived from a critical illness insurance policy are not
By the way, those who do take the jump will not be covered so keep on in there.
The markets will get better.
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
News and Views
Concert at the Kad: The big event on Saturday 13 is the
Classi-Jazz concert being given twice – first at 2 p.m. for students (only
100 baht) and again at 7.30 p.m. for a general audience (100-500 baht). The
first half of the performance comprises music by Bizet, Brahms and Mozart.
After the interval, Gershwin gets the spotlight with some songs, followed by
a performance of his most well known large scale work – Rhapsody in Blue,
with soloist Bennett Lerner accompanied by the Chiang Mai Philharmonic Band.
Movies at Vista Central:
Also a reminder of the EU Film Festival (detailed last week by my film
colleague), which open two days earlier on the 11th in the same building at
Kad Suan Kaew. The programme will also be available at the cinemas on the
fourth floor and all the movies are in the original languages with English
sub-titles. Tickets are a mere 70 baht and all of the 16 movies will be new
to Chiang Mai.
DVD Film and Music: Writing
about cinema reminds me that there is one indispensable shop in the city for
a film enthusiast. It’s been open for about a year and is situated just off
Suthep Road (turn right at the lights at the end of Nimmanhaeminda Road
where the CMU Art Gallery and complex is sited, and left again at the first
set of lights in the main road). This oasis (perhaps Aladdin’s Cave is a
better description) is located about 20 metres on the left, and is open from
9 a.m. It stocks thousands of DVDs and at a rough guess, I’d say that over
90 per cent of them are worth viewing, with a goodly number of great movies
and a fair share of masterpieces from directors including Bresson, Ozu,
Dreyer and Mizoguchi. There are classic westerns nudging recent releases.
Films about film and about music. In the movie desert represented by the
commercial releases we get to see here, this is surely the most essential
shop in Chiang Mai. (Phone 053-808-084)
Rambow: One of the ten per
cent of their stock not worth booking out is the British film about
children, which is also on view at local cinemas. This is a tedious and
amateurish piece of work which many lazy critics (not the Mail’s
though – he has been kinder to it that I would be) have compared with
Stand by Me. In fact, this guileless work bars no resemblance to the
American movie, except that the central characters are youngsters. Stand
by Me starred the highly professional River Phoenix and Will Wheaton
among others and was a moving rites of passage movie. The new one looks as
though it were shot in the director’s back garden and budgeted on a shoe
string. British cinema is populated with fine films about childhood, Lord
of the Flies, The Fallen Idol, The Go-Between, Sammy
Going South, A High Wind in Jamaica and the trilogies by Terence
Davies and Bill Douglas among so many others... And yet this lack-lustre
work has attracted praise. It is part of the assault on excellence that
characterizes criticism these days, calling it elitism simply because it
dares to set standards rather than pander to the lowest common denominator
and lazy viewers. Of course, television is largely to blame and I regret
that British TV, once accurately described as the ‘least bad television
service in the world’ has also dumbed down in recent years. I gave up my set
years ago and use the one in Thailand solely to look at DVDs – currently
Malle’s Lift to the Scaffold, the Dardenne brothers’ Rosetta
and La Promesse and Dassin’s Thieves’ Highway.
Jade: What a sad comment on
greed the recent auction of jade from Burma has been. The generals and their
criminal cohorts netted around 175 million dollars from 2,650 buyers – well
over 2,000 of whom were dealers from China. Despite a complete embargo from
many countries on these sales, buyers came from far and wide, including
Canada. Shame on them and the people who will buy the jade and rubies which
benefit a dictatorship and not the people of Burma.
City Life: On a happier
note, what a pleasant event the annual garden party at the magazine’s
offices always proves to be. Sad there was no dancing and entertainment this
year (unless it was early) and that the musicians who were there did not get
more attention. Still, there were lots of stalls and charities represented
and plenty of food and drink and things to buy. Plenty of friends and
acquaintances to meet as well. The charities such as Lanna Dog Rescue seemed
to attract some attention and much of the other proceeds went to the
Hillside Rooftop Party total. And that as you may know already is looming…on
January 10. See you there.
D2 International Buffet:
Writing of super events, the highlight for me recently has been the
candlelit event at Moxxie’s. Each month they have continued to provide the
best buffet (by far) in town and this well attended event on November 29 was
no exception. In fact, thanks to the quality of the free flow Australian
wines from ItalThai, it certainly seemed the best yet! The staff – as always
– excelled themselves and the food was memorable. Quality tells…
PAD: I was tempted to
suggest that too much has been written about the chaos and crisis caused by
the actions of PAD and their lame brained supporters to warrant further
comment. By the time this appears, some sort of resolution will have been
achieved I guess but at a cost to Thailand that will take years to recoup,
both in terms of finance and the ‘credibility’ of the country. It is
certainly impossible to think of the situation being left to fester as it
has been in any other country – would JFK, Charles de Gaulle or Heathrow
Airports have been left occupied? Of course not. But I end the column with a
further question. Given the choice between the recently ousted feeble
‘leadership,’ the dubious notion of PAD, the coup of a couple of years ago
or the Thaksin-led government which they replaced, which do you think the
majority of Thai people would wish for? I think I know.
Let's Go To The Movies: :
Now playing in Chiang Mai
Beverly Hills Chihuahua: US Comedy/ Adventure/ Family – In this
Disney talking-animal comedy (not an animated movie) a pampered Beverly
Hills Chihuahua finds herself accidentally lost in the mean streets of
Mexico. Alone for the first time in her spoiled life, she must rely on some
unexpected new friends to help her to find her way back home. Critical
reaction seems to be very mixed, with people either loving it or hating it.
Overall, mixed or average reviews.
You must know fairly well at this stage whether or not you and your child
enjoy talking animal pictures. I found it amusing with parts quite a lot of
fun. It’s well done of its kind.
Ong-Bak 2: Thai Action/ Adventure – With Tony Jaa. The first Ong-Bak
was one of the better Thai action films of recent years, and expectations
are high that this one will be very good entertainment indeed. It’s set in
the times of King Naresuan. I must admit I enjoy watching Tony Jaa in
action, and marveling at his outrageous stunts.
Twilight: US Vampire love – Yes, it was a phenomenon, the opening
weekend of Twilight – somewhat akin to the Beatles frenzy, at least
for heartthrob Robert Pattinson, who is a handsome, smoldering devil as the
vampire. Here in Chiang Mai there were squeals from a few patrons at the
first appearance of Pattinson on screen when I saw it, but apparently
nothing like the near hysteria that greeted his visage in every new shot in
American moviehouses and where girls were getting injured in the mass
near-rioting wherever Pattinson had a personal appearance.
It’s a heavy-duty love story, quite well done overall, with a few
interesting twists, and I rather enjoyed it. In the story of Twilight,
you have your against-the-odds teen love, your woman in peril, your
vampires, and your cult following. Mixed or average reviews. Vista has a
Thai-dubbed version only, with no English subtitles. Airport Plaza has it in
the original English, with Thai subtitles.
Traitor: US Drama/Thriller – With Don Cheadle. An uncommonly intelligent
espionage thriller that explores the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by
agents who go deep undercover in the service of their country. As a thriller
for adults who don’t require manic chases, frenetic shoot-outs, and ten cuts
per second, Traitor is smart, effective, and at times suspenseful.
It’s one of a very few terrorist-themed movies that presents its situation
without resorting to exploitation or oversimplification. I am a lot more
fond of this movie than most reviewers: I think Don Cheadle gives another
outstanding performance in this film – really a great person to watch. And I
found the story very engrossing. Mixed or average reviews, but I urge you to
give it a try. Probably in its last days here, at Airport Plaza only.
Son of Rambow: France/ UK/ Germany Comedy/ Drama/ Family – A nostalgic
look at the comradery, the coming of age, the bittersweet vulnerability, and
the fantastic humor of childhood. The film’s two boys have, along with
writer-director Garth Jennings, turned a coming-of-age story into a treatise
on both the fragility of artistic vision and the danger of popular opinion
.Generally favorable reviews. I recommend it: A real charmer!
Twentieth Century Boys: Japan Fantasy – A live-action film based on a
wildly popular long series of manga comics that seems to have been inspired
in part by the works of Stephen King, and I find many allusions to “It” and
“The Stand.” The main character is Kenji, who stumbles upon a cult behind a
series of mysterious incidents that have bizarre similarities to those in a
book that Kenji himself wrote as a child. This is a big Japanese
extravaganza with many of Japan’s top stars. Unfortunately, it’s in a
Thai-dubbed version only, which is a real shame.
007 – Quantum of Solace: UK/US Action/ Adventure/ Thriller – A
continuation of the 2006 Casino Royale, which was a reinvention of
the James Bond film series for present-day audiences. Here, with a different
director, I found the undertaking greatly diminished in charm and style and
elegance, with the action sequences more mindless and muddled, the plot
vastly more convoluted and confusing, but with much to still like if you’re
a fan of Bond films. Generally favorable reviews.
Headless Family / Hua Luud Family: Thai Comedy – The usual, this time
about a family that has a freak accident that leaves them able to detach
their heads without ill effects.
The House Bunny: US Comedy – About the travails of an ex-Playboy Bunny.
I did see it, and it is appallingly nauseous. Only for those who enjoy dumb
blonde jokes. Mixed or average reviews.
Scheduled for Dec 11
The Day the Earth Stood Still: US Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – A
remake of the 1951 classic sci-fi film about an alien visitor and his giant
robot counterpart who visit Earth. Starring Keanu Reeves.
Don’t Miss – This Weekk
December 10: The Manderin Oriental Dhara Dhevi plays host to
the Citylife Ladies’ Night Christmas Party at the fabulous Horn Bar.
Citylife will put on a delicious canapé spread prepared by the resort’s
superb chefs plus all ladies get a complimentary welcome cocktail. A free
raffle for all to enter and many reductions on selected drinks will make
this night one to remember.
December 11: A very special Expat Ladies’ Lunch, arranged by Sally,
at the Coq d’Or, starting at noon, and open to all, including husbands and
‘significant others’! A welcoming Kir Royale is included in the price of 600
baht, and the menu includes a vegetarian option. The gossip may be a little
subdued, with ‘significant others’ listening in, but the food, of course,
will be superb!
December 12: The much-acclaimed Chiang Mai Choral Society gives their
free winter concert, ‘A Winter Pot-Pourri’, at Payap’s Saisuree Chutikul
Music Hall on Mae Kaow campus at 7.p.m, with a mix of Christmas songs,
Broadway hits, Opera choruses and much more, including, as guests, the
Spirit House Singers, who are having a busy time this December!
December 13: Classi-Jazz, presented at 7.30 p.m. by the Chiang Mai
Youth Philharmonic Band & Symphony Orchestra at Kad Theatre, featuring
Chiang Mai’s own Bennett Lerner on piano, playing his superb rendering of
Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. Other treats include Bizet’s ‘Carmen Suite’,
and Mozart’s ‘Divertimento’. Tickets cost 750 / 400 / 250 / 150 baht. There
is a matinee performance at 2pm but this is for students only at a price of
100 baht. The orchestra is promoted by Payap and several CM schools,
together with commercial sponsors, all aiming to further the musical talent
of these young people, with the aim of, one day, forming a full-grown Chiang
Mai Symphony Orchestra. This is due to be a real ‘don’t miss, and the young
musicians truly deserve all the encouragement they can get!
December 20: The Spirit House Restaurant on ViangBua Road presents
the Spirit House Singers in a concert of Christmas music entitled, ‘Just a
Few Carols’. Carols ancient and modern, plus one brand new one, should
satisfy our traditional longings at this festive time! Audience numbers a re
limited to 60, tickets are 200 baht, including a light buffet after the
performance, and all profits go to FERC. Tickets at the door, (come early!),
or reservations at [email protected]
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
This week, back to defence, the most difficult part of bridge because you
cannot see what your partner has. I have just been kicking myself about some
poor defensive plays that I have made recently. This hand illustrates one.
This was the bidding:
West North East
P 1D P 1N
P 3N All pass
Now, imagine you are sitting East. Dummy and your hand
are shown below:
S: ? S: AJ93
H: ? H: 63
D: ? D: 7532
C: ? C: A109
My partner led the seven of
hearts. Dummy played the jack, which won the trick. Declarer then led a low
club from board. Which card do you play? If you played the ten or the nine,
this is the same as I did. If you played the ace – congratulations – you are
probably already a skilled defender and do not need to read on. If, like me,
you played low, maybe you are wondering why it is wrong. After all, the
bridge maxim says “second hand low.”
The reason it is wrong to
play low here is that you can see eight tricks in dummy. Three heart tricks
– from the lead your partner probably has the king, but this is trapped by
dummy’s holding. Five diamond tricks – even if your partner holds the queen,
it will not score because it also is trapped under dummy’s holding. Based on
the bidding, South has at least five points, and probably more. If you let
declarer get a club trick, then he has nine tricks and scores 3NT. The only
chance to defeat the contract is in spades. If your partner has the king of
spades, there is a chance. If declarer has it, or if you delay until
declarer wins a club trick, then there is no chance to defeat the contract.
So, you must rise with the ace of clubs and lead a low spade to your
partner’s (presumed) king. When you partner wins and leads back a spade this
traps the queen. With a good split in spades, you will take four spade
tricks to go with the ace of clubs. The full deal is shown below. If you
play low in clubs, declarer makes 3NT. If you go up with the ace, you beat
S: K84 S: AJ93
H: K10872 H: 63
D: 6 D: 7532
C: 8643 C: A109
The lesson I learned is
about counting declarer’s tricks. If declarer is about to win sufficient
tricks for the contract, do not duck, even if you are second hand. Win and
play to try and make enough tricks to beat it. Please send me your
interesting hands at: [email protected]