HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The Doctor's Consultation

Don’t Miss

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Money Matters

Let's Go To The Movies

Bridge in Paradise

The Doctor's Consultation:  by Dr. Iain Corness

Pole dancing - trendy and healthy!

I receive much medical information from overseas, and I thought I should share the latest with you. The heading was “Pole Dancing - Trendiest Way For Guys To Get Into Shape!” It continued with, “No longer an activity limited to smoky basement clubs off the back streets of Soho (London). In recent years pole dancing has shed its sleazy image and become a rather popular way for women (and men it seems!) across the UK to keep toned and fit.”
Now, so that there can be no misunderstanding, this does not mean that you should go and dance with a Pole called Wienczyslaw from Warsaw, who may not appreciate your fitness routines. This is the arena of the chrome pole palaces of health, of which there are several in Chiang Mai.
This article was really edifying as finally I know why certain go-go bars on Walking Street are so popular with the male population - the lads are there to get fit. Silly me, thinking they were there to drink beer and ogle! It is fitness training, not vision training.
The Brits are so enthusiastic about pole dancing, that training DVDs (available from can now be found alongside your average aerobic workout and there are a number of classes that are offered all over the country. (By the way, I am not making any of this up.)
Luckily the classes are not intended to be professional training but are presented more as a fun way for women of all ages and sizes to get fit, improve flexibility and posture, tone up, burn calories and boost confidence. I would agree on that, as our local pole dancers definitely do seem fit, flexible, toned up and full of confidence. It does work, it would seem. However, it should be noted that the local chrome pole dancers also have a certain dusky hue, which may herald some basic differences between Thailand’s pole dancers and those from Plymouth.
Again, according to my medical information from the UK, once you have mastered the art of climbing up, twirling, spinning and swinging around the pole you will find some of the most notable benefits of pole dancing are:
• In a one hour session you can burn as many as 250 calories, almost equal to a good gym session.
• It builds and tones your upper body, strengthens your stomach muscles and increases muscle definition in your bottom, arms and thighs.
• It makes your body release the endorphins which make you feel better and more energetic, a definite plus on Walking Street.
The medical info paper continues by asserting that pole dancing is proving so trendy that an increasing number of men are getting in on it! All this is according to someone called AJ, who is apparently one of the UK’s leading male pole dancing instructors and has been teaching for the past five years at Covent Garden’s Pineapple Studios with his company PoleFX. “Over the past 12 months we have seen a huge rise and interest in pole dancing, not only from a student level but also featuring in films such as The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei and Crank: High Voltage with Jason Statham and Amy Smart,” said AJ.
In fact, so popular is pole dancing, that in October this year AJ will be co-organizing Mr Pole Fitness 2009 in conjunction with Miss Pole Dance UK. It definitely won’t be one to miss!
However, on a couple of research trips, I have found the local pole dancers are not too pleased when their territory is invaded by pale skinned men or women (who are only intent on getting fit, and could not be termed exhibitionists in any way). Is there a new opening here, to bring back the tourists, I wonder? I think I should invite AJ to come over here, where the noble art of pole dancing originated and see if his pole fitness can out do our local ladies!
And I suppose you used to think that medical information was all dry and dusty, didn’t you? Mind you, there’s also some absolute codswallop (like this one)!


Don’t Miss

May 2: Classic Xavier - an evening of Baroque to Contemporary: Two accomplished flautists will join forces on May 2 at the AUA auditorium for a concert featuring an exceptional repertoire of flute music including works by Mozart, Furstenau, Faure, Stamitz, Quantz and Garibaldi.
Xavier Vichitporn will team up with Hiroshi Matsushima, the highly acclaimed Japanese flautist.  Hiroshi joined the faculty of the Mahidol University College of Music in 2002, coming to Chiang Mai as part of a cultural mission by the Japan Foundation.  Prior to his arrival in Thailand, he performed at major music festivals in Europe, including Reichenau am Bodensee, Rheingau, MDR-Musiksommer and Schleswig-Holstein, and has played in several professional orchestras, such as Hof Symphony, Munich Symphony, Munich Chamber Orchestra and the German ‘Philharmonia of the Nations’.  He is highly regarded as a thoughtful, engaging, and challenging teacher, and is much in demand for his teaching skills.
An avid proponent of both new music and Japanese music, Hiroshi has commissioned and performed many works by notable modern composers, has premiered Toru Takemitsu’s compositions for flute in Thailand and has cooperated with players of traditional Japanese instruments.
The concert will begin at 7.30 p.m.; tickets are 200 baht, (100 baht for students), for advance reservations please email [email protected]  For full information and programme notes, please visit www.imeem .com/xavierflutestudio.
May 8: The 2009 JJ Talent Contest
. Heats will run between now and the final in November, and are open to various categories of young bands and soloists, Thai and foreign.  This regular event gives a great chance to youngsters to try out their talent; several previous winners have gone on to greater heights of popularity as a result. This may not be everyone’s idea of a musical evening, but the excitement it generates may well compensate for the loudness of the noise!
JJ Markets is located alongside Tesco Kam Thieng - there are very good restaurants and bars in the immediate area.  Why not go along and make a night of it!
May 9: The Chiang Mai Challenge Adventure Race
. (See sports section on page 19)
May 13: La Vie en Rose.
There’s a busy couple of weeks ahead for Chiang Mai’s well-known counter-tenor, Ong-ard Kanchaisak.  As well as his two concerts on May 4 and 8 at Baan Kru Book on Nimmanheiminda Road Soi11 and the AUA auditorium, (see last week’s ‘Don’t Miss’ for full details) he will be appearing in concert at the newly opened La Vie en Rose opposite Hillside 4 condos on Huey Kaew Road.  The recital, ‘Ong-ard in Mellow Mood’, will be part of an event including dinner.
Ong-ard will be accompanied on the piano by Remi Mantep, and will be delighting the diners with folk songs, chansons, songs from the musicals, and swinging jazz numbers.  All are welcome; the event will take place between 7 and 10 p.m.
May 16: Battle of the Bands.
A totally different musical occasion - the Final of the American Pacific International School’s ‘APIS Idol’ talent contest for solo vocalists form the school’s Elementary, Middle and High School levels, combined with the multi-school ‘Battle of the Bands talent contest for what were called ‘pop groups’ when most of us were at school!  Schools whose students are taking part are APIS, Prem International, Nakorn Payap International, Lanna International and Chiang Mai International.  Loads of young talent and loads of fun – at APIS’s auditorium, beginning at 4 p.m. (doors open 3.30 p.m).  Tickets are 200 baht, (100 baht for students), available at the door, by calling Syd Moss on 084-665-0562, or by emailing on [email protected] com.  For directions to APIS, please visit php and download the map.
May 17: Lecture - The Teachings of Claudio Arrau
. For those who are truly into classical piano, this lecture should be interesting, as it covers the supreme technical skills of the world-famous Chilean pianist, Claudio Arrau, (1902-1991), with whom Bennett Lerner had the good fortune to study for 10 years from 1963-73.
Assisted by Achira Assawadecharit, Bennett will discuss his experiences as a student with the great man, and will demonstrate Arrau’s technical principles.  Arrau’s piano technique was based on the use of arm-weight and upper arm movements to a much greater degree than in other methods of piano playing - “The music is in your arms!” - requiring a profound analysis of the fingers, hands, arms, and back in relaxation and in motion, as well as a detailed response to musical notation (phrasing, dynamics, etc.), providing the pianist with a means to achieving depth in both his sound and his interpretation.
Arrau’s teachings are now being handed on through the fourth generation in many parts of the world.  The lecture will take place at Payap University’s Gaew Narawat Campus Music College premises, in Room MB1, (the Choir Room), at 4.30 p.m.  Admission is free.

Heart to Heart  with Hillary

Dear Hillary,
I have a neighbor with a voyeur wife, and I’m at my wits end to know what to do about it. When I go into one of the upstairs guest bathrooms, balance a stool on a chair and climb on top, peering through the top most slit in the venetian blinds I can just see, with use of powerful binoculars, through a narrow crack in my neighbor’s bathroom curtains this shameless hussy taking a shower and flaunting her nude body for all the world to see. She is a serial offender as this occurs every night, without fail. Not only is this obscene, but extremely dangerous as the stool becomes very unstable when I start to tremble. Serious injury is more than likely, bearing in mind should I fall I would only have the use of one hand to try and save myself. My question is - if I topple from this precarious perch and suffer grave injuries, can I claim compensation from this disgusting exhibitionist?
Puritanical Pattaya Parishioner
Dear Puritanical Pattaya Parishioner (PPP),
You appear to be confusing your aspirations with your capabilities, my one-armed Petal (or are you just missing one hand?). To begin with, taking the start of your letter, you are mistaken, the lady next door is not a voyeur. You are the voyeur. By the end of your letter, you have decided that she is an exhibitionist, which is unfortunately incorrect as well. In fact, you are the (literary) exhibitionist, telling the world, behind the safety of a nom de plume, that you have a problem precariously perching in what one imagines is a semi-nude pose, hanging on with your one good hand. Rather than advise you on the legal situation regarding compensation, I would suggest that you beat the problem (oops, sorry, meet the problem) head on and while wearing your raincoat visit Walking Street in Pattaya any evening where I am sure you could find some lovely ladies who will be happy to help you with your underlying needs.

Dear Hillary,
Don’t you get tired of all these men who write in complaining that they have been ripped off, jilted, robbed and bankrupted by women half their size and half their age. Is this some inbuilt male self-destroying mechanism, or are they all just suckers for a pretty face? Or is it just all the beer that they drink?
Dear Amazed,
And I believe that must be Ms. Amazed judging by the tone of your letter. Now, have you lost someone to the brown maidens, I wonder? No, males generally do not show self-destruction as one of their less redeeming features, well, not to my knowledge at least. However, you are correct that some (not all, my Petal) of them fall prey to the flattery found in the beer bars, and when viewing the world through beer glasses, you can get a somewhat distorted idea of what is real and what is clever salesmanship. So I’m sorry I cannot fully answer your queries, but perhaps you can answer just why do these men succumb so readily? Is there something missing in their previous relationships?

Dear Hillary,
I remain utterly flabbergasted that every week, or it seems that way, you will get another letter from a broken hearted male who has lost another house and several ounces of gold to another young Thai hussy. That is after the buffalo has had its expensive injections to get it on its feet again. Does nobody warn these people that this is the most likely outcome? Perhaps you should have a notice inserted in the Mail that Thai women are a wealth hazard! I suggest the front page, to get their attention. Or are they blind already?
Browned Off
Dear Browned Off,
Are you Browned Off or “Burned Off”, Petal? It sounds that way to me. You do not say where you came from, but all the western so-called developed countries have their own financial hazards in the men and women stakes. Called divorce settlements and alimony, these are resulting in many men walking the streets of Thailand rueing the fact that they have lost several houses, cars and been made poor by the women in their own country. In America they are even drawing up “pre-nuptial” agreements as a form of “damage control” to try and quantify and contain the loss on splitting up. Since more than 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce in the western world, that’s a lot of houses out there in the matrimonial maelstrom. No wonder the sub-prime market collapsed under the weight of all that lot. However, Hillary remains absolutely flabbergasted that people such as you protest so loudly your amazement that this happens here, as if it didn’t in your own countries. If you don’t believe me go your local Chicken Pluckers Arms in the UK and take a straw poll of how many men have lost everything but their shirts to some English women. You get off lightly over here. Hillary does also take you to task, branding all Thai/Farang marriage failure females as being hussies. Would you say the same about British women? Or Americans?

Camera Class:  by Harry Flashman

12 months of digital photography - How does it stack up?

After more years than I care to remember using film stocks, I succumbed and joined the digital evolution 12 months ago, purchasing my first ‘real’ digital, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ 50.
After three months of ownership I was still very much in love with this new camera. After 12 months, am I still ecstatic? The answer is yes and no!
Let’s go through the silly things first, which are all fairly minor, but do decrease some of the enjoyment in using the camera. Remember that while an image is the end result, it is how easy and enjoyable in the handling of the camera that also counts for the photographer.
First, silly item(s) - the covers over the battery, the AV digital slot and the memory card. The battery compartment requires moving a lever, the digital slot has a spring-loaded door (which I always forget to shut) and the memory card has a sliding cover. The intuitive method would have been to have all three operated the same way.
Another silly item - the thumb wheels to alter shutter speed and aperture are on different sides of the camera. One wheel would have done, click to the left for aperture, click to the right for shutter speed (just the same way as electric mirrors on a car use the same switch).
Other annoying features include the lack of any sub-35 mm setting on the otherwise brilliant zoom lens with its range of 35 mm - 420 mm. Add-on wide angle lenses which suit this camera are also not highly rated and everyone I know with one has given up using the conversion as it decreases sharpness.
Another somewhat disconcerting feature is when you are shooting any scene with a bright light source in it. This leaves “light trails” down the viewfinder, but these do not appear in the final picture. As I said, disconcerting until you have experienced this a few times and have started not to worry!
Finally, the on-camera pop-up flash is about as good as lighting a match. Woeful! This leaves you with the option of having to find a Lumix flash or one that is compatible. Lumix units in this country are unheard of (the downside of buying something not readily available in Thailand), but the Olympus range is compatible, but ridiculously expensive, more than the amount I paid for the camera. What I finally did was to buy an aftermarket flash (Jessops) and forget all about TTL capabilities. After all, with the ‘instant’ playback available with digital cameras, I set the flash to what I think it should be and then after the test shot and review, change the settings from there. A bit more fiddly, but fun in its own way.
And the up-side? Wonderful range in an equally wonderful Leica lens. As mentioned before, 35-420 mm is an awesome range, and my results are pin sharp all the way through. For years I have bleated on about never using a zoom lens, and always use prime lenses. This lens shows how wrong I have been.
Of course, I have to mention the ‘instant replay’ which characterizes digital photography. The close-up control is easy to use so that you can review the fine details in a shot to make sure it is really sharp. I find that if it is still sharp at X 8, it will be a suitable print up to 10"x8", though obviously something sharp at X 16 is even better.
The Lumix has also made me lazy. Where before I spent much time looking to see that I had the correct exposure setting and then worrying until the negatives came back, with the FZ50, I use the automatic exposure setting, plus the auto bracketing feature giving me plus and minus two thirds of a stop either side from the chosen exposure setting. A quick review and I know I have the shot with the correct exposure. No waiting, it’s there!
The instruction book is comprehensive, though most of the “modes” I select manually, being not that lazy - yet!
In summary, a great camera for the price. Get one of you can find one!

Money Matters:  Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.

What is a ‘Ponzi’ Scheme?

The term comes from Charles Ponzi who became known as one of the biggest rip off merchants in America in the last century. He was known to be a compulsive liar - when he was in prison, he sent his mother a letter saying he was a ‘special assistant’ to a prison warden.

Charles Ponzi’s official mug shot.
The actual term means that if someone has invested in a particular product/fund/scheme early on and wants to redeem money then they will be paid by the money paid in by later investors, not any actual profits.
What Charles Ponzi did was promise 50% profit within 45 days or 100% in 90 days.
How was he able to do this? After he was released from jail he received a letter from Spain. In this was an International Reply Coupon (IRC). The reason for the IRC was to permit someone in one particular country to send it to someone else in another country. This person could then use it to pay for the postage if they wanted to reply. The IRC was priced at what the cost of the purchase was where it was bought but could also be swapped for stamps to cover the cost of postage where it was redeemed. If the values were different then there was the possibility of making a profit.
In 1919, inflation hit Italy and brought down the cost of postage when compared to the US dollar. This meant that IRCs could be purchased in Italy and then changed for American stamps to get a higher value. What this entailed was:
- Send money overseas
- Get someone to buy the IRCs
- Send IRCs to America
- Redeem the IRCs for stamps of a higher cost
- Sell the stamps
Charles Ponzi was later to claim that the net profit to him after all costs and exchange rates was well over four hundred percent. In a way, it was a type of arbitrage - this is where one profits by purchasing an asset in a particular market at a lower price and selling it straight away in another market at a higher price.
Ponzi borrowed money, sent it to relatives in Italy telling them to buy postal coupons there and send them back to him. However, that was when the problems started. There were many administrative problems to overcome.
This did not deter Ponzi. He borrowed some money from American friends saying they would double their money within three months if they gave him what he needed. In retrospect, it is amazing to say so, but he did deliver on this initial promise. Encouraged by this, he founded his own company which was called the Securities Exchange Company. He used this to promote his now infamous scheme.
The initial investors benefited as promised. More and more people wanted a cut of the action. Ponzi hired people to sell the concept and paid them generous commissions. In February 1920, Ponzi made USD5,000. One month later he made over USD30,000. Two months later he pulled in USD420,000.
After depositing over USD3 million in the Hanover Trust Bank he had a controlling interest in the bank itself. Within six months of setting up his company he had made millions. Yet more and more investors poured in. People were even taking out mortgages on their homes.
Money continued to flow in. What people did not realize was the whole thing was already operating at a financial loss. However, providing new money kept coming in then other investors could be paid out. It was starting to look as though it was too good to be true. In fact, when one financial writer said it was, Ponzi took him to court and won a large claim in damages which gave people new faith in what he was doing. By late July 1920, Ponzi was making USD250,000 per DAY - this is equivalent to over USD2.5 million in today’s money.
However, some people were still suspicious and both the Massachusetts’s government and the Boston Post carried out separate investigations on Ponzi. The latter hired Clarence Barron to examine Ponzi in more detail. He reported that even though the returns were incredible, Ponzi was not actually investing in the scheme himself. The killer came when Barron revealed that for all the investments that were in the Securities Exchange Company to be covered there would need to be 160 million reply coupons in circulation. In fact, there were only 27,000.
There was a run on the company but Ponzi paid out USD2 million in three days to allay fears and this worked - temporarily. The Boston Post then published an article which showed Ponzi was in debt to the tune of millions. This was the beginning of the end. In early August, the FBI raided the offices of the Securities Exchange Company and closed it. Ponzi was arrested and it was proven that he owed over USD3 million. In the end this bought down six banks and people were lucky to get back 30 cents to one US dollar invested.
Ponzi was jailed after being found guilty of mail fraud. He was freed after three and a half years only to face charges of larceny. He was found guilty and sentenced to seven years. He appealed and was released on bail. Not being able to help himself he went to Florida and set up a land purchase scam which promised 200% profit in two months. Some of the land sold was actually under water!
To cut a long story short, Ponzi was jailed for this one, too. He then tried to escape to Italy but was caught and returned to Massachusetts to serve out the rest of his sentence. He was released in 1934 and was deported to Italy where Mussolini gave him a job. However, he was so bad that he had to do a runner to Brazil after having stolen money from the Italian treasury. He then died in 1949.
So, what does all of this tell us? Basically, if something sounds too good to be true then it usually is. If banks are offering great deals then it is because they need money to stay afloat. If fund managers propose unbelievable returns then it is because no-one would invest with them under normal circumstances. Remember, these times are about preservation of capital, not frittering it away on get-rich-quick-schemes. It is possible to make money and beat the bank but look at the small print first and do not expect brilliant returns, just good single figure ones.

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 [email protected]

Let's Go To The Movies:  by Mark Gernpy

Alert: Major Cineplex at Airport Plaza has a 20 baht surcharge for Wolverine.  They told me it’s because “it’s an expensive film.” (!) By the way, if you’re over 60 you can get a good senior discount at Major Cineplex.

Vista has postponed Slumdog Millionaire one week, to May 14.

Now playing in Chiang Mai

X-Men Origins: Wolverine:  US/ New Zealand/ Australia, Action/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi – Though early reviews are lukewarm, I think it’s simply brilliant, starting out with eight minutes of nigh perfect popular filmmaking, a sequence that is thrilling, sensible, and, wonder of wonders, deeply intriguing!  It then veers into a quiet sequence building up a love-interest, which might seem to be just padding, but no, get involved with it, because the love relationship leads to some real emotional payoffs down the line.  Really, it’s a superb action film for anyone who likes the genre, with excellent performances by Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, and many others.  There are two very short additional scenes during the closing credits.  20 baht surcharge at Major Cineplex, none at Vista.

The Haunting in Connecticut:  US, Horror/ Thriller – A classic haunted-house film, technically proficient, well acted, with an alarming score, creepy photography, and a great house.  A family moves into a house where the bad deeds of previous tenants have left a foul psychic residue.  Peter Cornwell’s film has plenty of effective scares, but it is also a moving family drama featuring an impressive performance by Virginia Madsen.  Generally negative reviews.

Khan Kluay 2:  Thai, Animation/ Adventure – The legendary elephant is back in action in this superb sequel to the animated movie Khan Kluay.  Brilliant, beautiful animation that looks 3D though really only 2D, with an engrossing story.  It’s much more assured than the first Khan Kluay, and the animation skills are now really quite advanced.  There are some truly scary parts in the film, as there usually are in good children’s tales.

Race to Witch Mountain: US, Adventure/ Fantasy – A perfectly acceptable and innocuous action film for children (mostly) with all the standard chills and thrills, chase-movie suspense, and wisecracking humor – and a few slam-bang action setpieces.  Well done of its type, and the ex-Rock Dwayne Johnson is (mostly) charming as a cabbie who protects two children with paranormal powers from the clutches of an evil organization that’s up to no good.  Mixed or average reviews.

Rahtree Reborn:  Thai, Horror/ Romance – A rather amateurish half comedy, half laughably inept horror film, starring Love of Siam heartthrob Mario Maurer, experimenting in a different movie genre.  The striking posters are truly much better than the film.

Crank: High Voltage:  US, Action – The indestructible hopped-up hitman Chev Chelios is played to the hilt once again by Jason Statham, picking up where the first film left off - except this time, he’s chasing a Chinese gangster who hijacked his heart and substituted it with a mechanical one that needs to be jolted regularly with an electric charge to stay pumping.  Rated R in the US for frenetic strong bloody violence throughout, crude and graphic sexual content, nudity, and pervasive language.  Mixed or average reviews.

Fast & Furious 4: US, Action – Vin Diesel and Paul Walker re-team for the ultimate chapter of this film franchise built on speed and cars.  It’s almost entirely about car races and car crashes, and it’s a profoundly silly movie!  Mixed or average reviews.

Looking ahead

May 7 - Star Trek (2009):  US/ Germany, Sci-Fi/ Adventure/ Action – All new!  This much-anticipated film is a reboot of the series, going back to the series’ ’60s roots by depicting the formative experiences of the legendary heroes Kirk and Spock, and their young, new crew.  From director J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III, Lost, and Alias).  Early reviews: generally favorable.

May 7 - The Tale of Despereaux:  UK/ US, Animation/ Family/ Fantasy – Quite a curious film, with a curious style and point of view.  Atmospheric and charming, and not your ordinary plot-driven animation by any means.  Rather laid-back, and amusing rather than funny, and pleasant rather than exciting.  A fable with simple themes, the straightforward story begins in a nameless town with a “Camelot” vibe, and is told with lushly drawn backdrops, many of which have the look of really old paper.  There’s also a depth of field throughout The Tale of Despereaux that’s reminiscent of skilled hand drawing.  This may be the first animated film where you notice the cinematography.  Mixed or average reviews, but I’m quite fond of it.

May 14 - Slumdog Millionaire: US/ UK, Crime/ Drama/ Romance – Breathless, exciting, heartbreaking but exhilarating at the same time, this film won Oscar best picture and best director – and awards for adapted screenplay, original score, film editing, original song, sound mixing, and cinematography.  Definitely to be seen!  Rated R in the US for some violence, disturbing images, and language. Reviews: Universal acclaim.  At Vista only.

Bridge in Paradise : by Neil Robinson

This hand was played in a game in Chiang Mai recently.  Last week was a difficult defensive play.  Today it is the turn of declarer.  No one was vulnerable and South dealt.  This was the bidding:

South   West      North     East

P           P              2C           3C

3H        P              4H           All pass

Imagine you are sitting South, with the dummy and hand below.  The opening lead was the queen of clubs.  You have a great dummy and 30 HCP between the two hands.  How do you make the contract?

                    S: AK5

                    H: AQ6

                    D: AQ754

                    C: A8          

??                                     ??

                    S: -

                    H: 987

                    D: KJ9

                    C: -              

At the table the ace of clubs won the first trick.  A low spade was led from dummy to the queen in hand.  Declarer finessed in hearts, with the queen losing to East’s king.  East then led the king of clubs and another club.  West ruffed with the jack, forcing the ace of hearts from dummy.  The six of hearts was led and the trick was won by East’s ten, with West discarding.  East now led a low spade, which dummy was forced to win with the king.  You have already lost three tricks (the king and ten of hearts and the king of clubs) and cannot afford to lose any more.  The situation now is shown below. What do you lead from dummy?

                    S: A

                    H: -

                    D: AQ754

                    C: -              

??                                     ??

                    S: -

                    H: 987

                    D: KJ9

                    C: -              

At the table, declarer tried to get to hand by leading a low diamond to his king.  East ruffed and the contract was down.  The correct lead is the ace of spades, which you trump in hand.  It is critically important to get to hand to pull the last trump.  You have plenty of winners in diamonds and do not need the ace of spades, so the correct play is to trump your winning ace!  (If East trumps the spade first, you simply over ruff.)  Now you can pull the last trump with your nine and claim the rest.  Congratulations if you found the right play.  The full deal is shown below:

                    S: AK5

                    H: AQ6

                    D: AQ754

                    C: A8          

S: J943                             S: 8762

H: J5                                 H: K104

D: 108632                        D: -

C: Q5                                C: K96432

                    S: Q10

                    H: 98732

                    D: KJ9

                    C: J107        

Chiang Mai now has an official bridge club - the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai.  We welcome new players.  For information on the Club please contact Chris Hedges at: [email protected]  If you have bridge questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected]