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The Doctor's Consultation

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Money Matters

Life in Chiang Mai

Let's Go To The Movies

Bridge in Paradise

The Doctor's Consultation:  by Dr. Iain Corness

Cosmetic Surgery. Are you a candidate?

The other morning, one of my colleagues tripped in the doctor’s lounge and fell face first into a glass coffee table. This immediately broke into two pieces, with one piece neatly nicking an ear, whilst the edge of the glass top opened up a 3 cm gash on her forehead.
This was something which happened so suddenly everyone was taken aback; however, with so many doctors on hand, the situation was quickly taken care of and one of the plastic surgeons came in to repair the wounds. Later, I joked that if she wanted a face lift all she had to do was ask for it. I don’t think she appreciated the humour!
So what does a real facelift entail, not just simple repair of lacerations caused by coffee tables? The medical terminology for a facelift is a Rhytidectomy Procedure, which is designed to improve sagging facial skin and jowls, and loose neck skin by removing excess fat, tightening muscles, and re-draping the skin.
By standing in front of the mirror and placing your hands just in front of your ears and drawing back, you will suddenly see how you used to look some years ago (and you’ve done it many times already, haven’t you). That is what the facelift procedure is designed to do, but note that it is not just a simple case of cutting away sagging skin, but excess fat (in the wrong places) is removed, and the muscles tightened as well. Tightening the skin alone will not last, as older skin has lost its elasticity and will soon sag again. This is why a full face lift requires a skilled (experienced) cosmetic surgeon, and also why the operation takes several hours.
Being a major procedure, in cosmetic surgery terms, the anaesthetic is usually a general one, though it can be carried out under local anaesthetic. You would have to talk to your surgeon about this, but if you have some chronic medical conditions (as well as an aging face) it may be better to look at local, rather than general anaesthesia.
Some centres will carry out this procedure as an out-patient, but I honestly believe that something as major as this deserves an inpatient stay, and probably for a couple of days at least. Those who have had this done, do say that the first two days are the worst, and the bruising is fairly extensive, as well as the swelling. It often looks as if you have done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson (and lost every one of them).
The good books mention the following side effects and risks to be considered before being subjected to the cosmetic surgeon’s knife. There can be temporary bruising, swelling, numbness and tenderness of skin; a tight feeling, and dry skin. For men, there may be a permanent need to shave behind ears, where beard-growing skin is repositioned. The risks include injury to the nerves that control facial muscles or feeling (usually temporary but may be permanent), infection, bleeding, poor healing, excessive scarring, asymmetry or change in the hairline.
Recovery time as far as return to work is concerned (or being able to be seen in public) is generally 10-14 days. The good book also suggests that more strenuous activity should be postponed for at least a couple of weeks. The bruising should have all settled by three weeks, and it is also recommended that you stay out of the sun for several months.
There is also a further downside, in the fact that the aging of the skin will still continue. A facelift does not stop natural aging taking place. Consequently, your surgery will probably need to be redone in five to ten years.
However, many of the world-famous glamour faces have had this done, more than once, and those who I have met who have had it done are delighted with the result. After all, who doesn’t want to look several years younger?
Now all that is stopping me having my facelift is the time needed, the thought of pain, shaving behind my ears and the money!

 

Heart to Heart  with Hillary

Dear Hillary,
I have recently read in “The Scalpel”, the journal for barber-surgeons and loblolly boys, that quality champagne can have a most deleterious effect on aunties in general and horizontal aunties in particular! Aunties become most frolicsome and frisky! The thought of you taking a tumble from your hammock and being scraped off the deck by your editor, does not appeal to this correspondent! Buy you a Chateau Yummy? Not on your nelly!
Mistersingha

Dear Mistersingha,
I have absolutely no worries over your buying me even a soda pop. You are what we would call “kee niow”, meaning mean and stingy. I think you should also give up reading “The Scalpel” as some of the words have several letters and would be taxing for your brain. The thought of you taking a tumble while trying to find the big words in the dictionary does not appeal to this correspondent either. Go back to reading The Beano, I think it is more your style.


Dear Hillary,
Everyone seems to complain about what the Thais are doing. My problem is different and I am complaining about what farangs are doing in this town, making very abusive remarks about me and my son when we are out shopping together.
We are a very normal family, with my Thai wife and I still very happy after 15 years. Our son is 14 and a normal teenager. But when we go shopping together, that is my son and myself, we hear all types of remarks which a 14 year old boy should not have to hear. I know there are farangs with young boys, but the people should not believe that everyone is like that. This is my son!
What should I do? Go up and fight with them, or ignore them, which is very difficult as I am a normal Dad and want to protect my growing son. I get angry just writing about this abuse.
Normal Dad

Dear Normal Dad,
I agree that it must be very annoying, but fighting with people never fixes anything. I suggest you get a couple of T shirts made with “He’s my Dad” on one and “He’s my son” on the other. It should be enough to stop the background innuendo. (And that’s uncomplimentary remarks, not an Italian suppository!)


Dear Hillary,
A couple of weeks back you published a letter from some guy calling himself “Living It Now”. What a load of claptrap! I don’t know why you print letters like that. Or from that Mistersingha creep. These guys wouldn’t make it anywhere in the world, but think that because they can buy a woman over here that makes them smart asses or something. Selfish is all I say. Just ignore them, Hillary. Don’t give creeps like that any more column space.
Disgusted

Dear Disgusted,
I think it is important for everyone, including you and me, to know how people are thinking out there. If I were to censor every letter just because I might not personally believe in the sentiments, it would be a fairly slim column. I published your letter too, my Petal, even though I don’t quite agree with you either. It’s time there was a lot more live and let live, I’m afraid. Though it doesn’t look as if that will happen in my lifetime.


Dear Hillary,
I am not sure if anyone has written to you before about this, but there seems to be even more lady-boys than ever before. I (almost) got trapped the other night by this gorgeous creature who stopped me in the street beside the beach. I will say I had a few under my belt, so maybe my judgment wasn’t crash hot, you know the old beer glasses routine, but how can a man be sure at times like those? Any foolproof way, Hillary? You seem to know the answer to everything else, so this should be easy. And make it quick before I go out again, that’s a sweet pea! I don’t want to make a mistake that would make me the laughing stock of my mates.
Mighty Muscles

Dear Mighty Muscles,
In answer to your question, yes I have had other letters over the years from guys who have been caught out. Or worried about being caught out. I’m not sure which category you fit into, Petal, but I think it has been the morning after the night before. Correct?
So what to do? It probably is a little difficult to arrange a chromosome examination at the side of the road, but there are a few pointers. Firstly, Thai ladies tend to be small, while the lady-boys tend to be tall. Look for wide shoulders and narrow hips and the tell-tale Adam’s apple - but remember they can have this surgically shaved. The voice also tends to be dark brown too. As far as the figure is concerned, Thai ladies are generally not well endowed, while someone with a Pamela Anderson superstructure has bought it at the local plastic surgery shop! Thai ladies are also not aggressive. After the first refusal they will leave you alone, whilst the lady-boys will persist. And like all of these sorts of transactions, Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware)! And I am nobody’s sweet pea!


Camera Class:  by Harry Flashman

Auto-focus and senior citizens

For senior citizens, Auto-Focus (AF) was supposed to be the answer to their prayers, the ideal compromise for them. No longer would they have to rely on their own eyes to get sharp photographs when their eyes were getting a little fuzzy themselves, but the magic brain in the camera would do it for them. Well, that was the theory.

Tree in focus, animal out of focus!

Like all great theories, it wasn’t quite the same in practice. Even with the magic AF, it was still very possible to get soft out of focus images in the end.
There are unfortunately many situations where the magic brain just cannot work properly. For example, if there is no contrast in the scene, then the AF will not work. If you are trying to focus in a “low light” situation then the AF will “hunt” constantly looking for a bright area. When trying to shoot through glass or wire mesh in the zoo, the AF can become totally confused, and give you a sharp photograph of the mesh, instead of the animal in the cage. No, while AF may be a great development, it still is not 100 percent foolproof.
One of the reasons for this is quite simple. The camera’s magic eye doesn’t know exactly what subject(s) you want to be in focus and picked the wrong one in the viewfinder! You see, the focusing area for the AF system is a small circle in the middle of the viewfinder, so if you are taking a picture of two people 2 meters away, unless you have the magic eye focused on one of the people in the shot, the camera will focus on the background, several kilometers away.
What you have to do in this situation is to use the “hold-focus” (sometimes called “focus lock”) facility in your camera (and 99 percent of all AF cameras have it). To use this facility, compose the people the way you want them, but then turn the camera so that one person is now directly in the middle of the viewfinder. Gently push the shutter release half way down and the AF will “fix” on the person. Generally you will get a “beep” or a green light in the viewfinder to let you know that the camera has fixed its focus. It will now hold that focus until you either fully depress the shutter release, or you take your finger off the button. So, keeping your finger on the button, now recompose the picture in the viewfinder and shoot. The people will now remain in focus, and the background will be soft and fuzzy, instead of the other way round.
So what should you do in other situations when the AF is in trouble? Simple answer is to turn it off, and focus manually! Sometimes in poor light it is possible to shine a torch on the subject, get the AF fixed on the subject and then turn off your torch and go from there. But this is only when you cannot turn the AF off! It is amazing, here we have all these new “automatic” developments, and I am suggesting you turn them off!
Another focusing problem is when photographing a moving subject. When say, for example, you are attempting to shoot a subject coming rapidly towards you, the AF is unable to “keep up” focus with the constantly moving target. The answer here is to manually pre-focus at the point where you want to get the photograph and then wait for the subject to reach that point. As it gets level with the predetermined point, trip the shutter and you have it. A sharply focused action photograph.
Another super tip from the photographic studios of the glamour photographers - when making a portrait shot, focus on the eyes, nowhere else. I know it is easier to focus on the collar for example, but you run the risk of the shot going “soft” around the eyes. Very, very carefully focus on the eyelid margins and you will have a super shot, no matter how shallow your depth of field may be. Try it this weekend.


Money Matters:  Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.

False Promises - then and now, part 2

As we saw last week, continued concerns regarding the credit crisis and recession continue to run amok. The Dow put in its record high of 14,164.53 back on October 9, 2007. Recently, it has been down well below 7,500. This is a reduction of nearly fifty percent in less than two years.
For some perspective on the magnitude of the current bear market, the attached chart illustrates that, at this stage, the current correction has been by far the most severe correction in the post-World War II era and the second most severe correction since 1900. The only correction that was down more at this stage was the correction that began in 1929.
Given that more and more people are saying they see light at the end of the trouble, let’s visit that time with more famous ‘Crash’ quotes:
- “Hysteria has now disappeared from Wall Street.” – The Times of London, November 2, 1929
- “The Wall Street crash doesn’t mean that there will be any general or serious business depression... For six years American business has been diverting a substantial part of its attention, its energies and its resources on the speculative game... Now that irrelevant, alien and hazardous adventure is over. Business has come home again, back to its job, providentially unscathed, sound in wind and limb, financially stronger than ever before.” – Business Week, November 2, 1929
- “...despite its severity, we believe that the slump in stock prices will prove an intermediate movement and not the precursor of a business depression such as would entail prolonged further liquidation...” – Harvard Economic Society (HES), November 2, 1929
- “... a serious depression seems improbable; [we expect] recovery of business next spring, with further improvement in the fall.” – HES, November 10, 1929
- “The end of the decline of the Stock Market will probably not be long, only a few more days at most.” – Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics at Yale University, November 14, 1929
- “In most of the cities and towns of this country, this Wall Street panic will have no effect.” – Paul Block (President of the Block newspaper chain), editorial, November 15, 1929
- “Financial storm definitely passed.” – Bernard Baruch, cablegram to Winston Churchill, November 15, 1929
- “I see nothing in the present situation that is either menacing or warrants pessimism... I have every confidence that there will be a revival of activity in the spring, and that during this coming year the country will make steady progress.” – Andrew W. Mellon, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury December 31, 1929
- “I am convinced that through these measures we have re-established confidence.” – Herbert Hoover, December 1929
- “[1930 will be] a splendid employment year.” – U.S. Dept. of Labor, New Year’s Forecast, December 1929
- “For the immediate future, at least, the outlook (stocks) is bright.” – Irving Fisher, Ph.D. in Economics, in early 1930
- “...there are indications that the severest phase of the recession is over...” – Harvard Economic Society (HES) Jan 18, 1930
- “There is nothing in the situation to be disturbed about.” – Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, Feb 1930
- “The spring of 1930 marks the end of a period of grave concern... American business is steadily coming back to a normal level of prosperity.” – Julius Barnes, head of Hoover’s National Business Survey Conference, Mar 16, 1930
- “... the outlook continues favorable...” – HES Mar 29, 1930
- “... the outlook is favorable...” – HES Apr 19, 1930
- “While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed through the worst - and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover. There has been no significant bank or industrial failure. That danger, too, is safely behind us.” – Herbert Hoover, President of the United States, May 1, 1930
- “...by May or June the spring recovery forecast in our letters of last December and November should clearly be apparent...” – HES May 17, 1930
- “Gentleman, you have come sixty days too late. The depression is over.” – Herbert Hoover, responding to a delegation requesting a public works program to help speed the recovery, June 1930
- “... irregular and conflicting movements of business should soon give way to a sustained recovery...” – HES June 28, 1930
- “... the present depression has about spent its force...” – HES, Aug 30, 1930
- “We are now near the end of the declining phase of the depression.” – HES Nov 15, 1930
- “Stabilization at [present] levels is clearly possible.” – HES Oct 31, 1931
- “All safe deposit boxes in banks or financial institutions have been sealed... and may only be opened in the presence of an agent of the I.R.S.” – President F.D. Roosevelt, 1933
All of this sound familiar? Please note that the Dow did not bottom out until mid-1932. Maybe we should look back further in history: “The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn’t want to go bankrupt.” - Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC), 55 BC.

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]


Life in Chiang Mai: by Mark Whitman

The wreck of the Mary Deare

It’s about a month since I got back to Thailand from the U.K. Long enough to realize that Chiang Mai (and according to all reports, the rest of Thailand) is at a crisis point in terms of tourism and visitors. That deserted ship is called to mind as one enters restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies and shops. Quite how most, indeed all but a very few, are managing financially, is one of the many mysteries that we farangs will never understand. We’ve grown accustomed to the term double whammy, but it seems that Thailand is reeling from the effects of a quintruple whammy, if such a thing is possible. Can businesses survive the next few months and what happens if the next high season is an echo of the last one?
The five ‘problems’ are headed by the insoluble one of the global downturn. Money is more than tight. People are cutting back on holidays and travel generally; those who took two or three contemplate one, those who took long trips cut back on the duration and the budget. A couple of years ago I knew plenty of people who considered thousands of pounds the norm for the family or two-person holiday. Not so now.
Since the revenue from tourism is supposed to count for 7% of the nation’s income, and six times that in centres such as Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai and so on, this is a dire situation. Staff outnumber occupants in some large hotels and one doubts whether bookings are much higher in July and August. It only needs another hyped up story about swine ‘flu, how the media love such stories and thrive on half-baked information and opinion, or something similar, and the masked faces will disappear altogether. A propos of that, those flimsy cotton masks so beloved at airports and stations, offer no benefit whatsoever. The moment they are damp from a person’s breath they are useless and far too ‘open’ to prevent any germs spreading. But I digress…
The major problem has been accentuated by the strength of the baht against so many major currencies. No one that I know or have read has any explanation for this. True, the pound made a small rally a few days ago but it seems that the U.S. dollar, the Euro and other currencies are still oddly weak over here. Surely this affects exports as well as tourism.
Also, Thailand is still reeling from the effects of the self-inflicted wounds by the yellow shirts at Suvarnabhumi, then by the red shirts at Chiang Mai at the time of the proposed gay pride parade and more latterly – and disastrously, since it was also humiliating – in Pattaya and Bangkok during the run up to the Asean conference.
It is not just the press that loves to talk up a drama but those in the midst of one – those caught at the airport or in fear of their lives as paid bullies harangue them in this beautiful city – also recount their ‘adventures’. The three major confrontations have had the effect of at least another tsunami. It may take another year or two before confidence is restored. Another such P.R. disaster would be a catastrophe. And all the while, costs seem to be rising in Thailand. Even a short absence has revealed that the fourth problem is inflation. True, there are sales and discounts galore but underlying costs of essentials seem to be rising steadily.
Meanwhile, the fifth problem is the inroads being made by other countries, not least near neighbours such as Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. True, they cannot yet compete with the infrastructure of tourism which Thailand has developed over the past decades but they are certainly catching up and – except at the top end of the market – they more than compete with Thailand in terms of cost.
Thailand has had a good run for its money and, although I cannot think of another country that I would prefer to holiday or live in, there are plenty of people who do not feel the same. It is going to take a Herculean effort on the part of the authorities, the tourist board and above all the government, to counter the decline. And here I think lies the main problem. I am not sure that many people here even want tourists or residents from other countries. Forget the idiocies of such dubious practices as double tier pricing, which cause annoyance quite disproportionate to the cost involved, just think of the deeper issues. There is no doubt that many people find the visa system both complicated and onerous. It must be possible for a more streamlined system to be put into operation. No one denies the right of the immigration authorities or the government to impose controls and restrictions, but the present system is complicated to the point of being unwelcoming.
A friend also put it to me recently that he felt there was an assumption of ‘guilt’ on the part of incomers as though we had to prove our good intentions or innocence rather than the other way round. Put frankly, he felt almost threatened. If it were not for his Thai partner, he would leave for Sri Lanka, selling up his beloved farm here and ending the lease on his Chiang Mai house. And yet he would be sorely missed since he employs local people and more than pays his way in the Thai economy.
It is sad that someone should feel – not uniquely – that he is to some degree unwelcome.
No doubt loftier minds than mine in the Thai government are thinking on these things. One can only hope so. Waiting for the world economy to ‘turn around’ may be a lengthy business. Waiting for people to forget the violence of some recent events and the anti-gay, anti-Asean, anti-tourist activities in general may also be a long haul. A charm offensive, a blitz in terms of promoting tourism, may help. But the root causes of inflation, combined with a strong baht and a reluctance to wholeheartedly welcome foreigners of all races and persuasions need a deeper response than plentiful advertising and better public relations. I may be wrong, and I hope that I am not, but unless Thailand enters a period of stability and supports the present prime minister, I think the present doldrums may last for longer than this present low, low season.


Let's Go To The Movies:  by Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Chiang Mai
Up:
US (Disney/Pixar), Animation/ Family – Everyone’s current favorite, tops at the US box office, and the most loved film of the year so far!  An animated fantasy adventure about a 78-year-old balloon salesman (voiced by Ed Asner) who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America.  He discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: 8-year-old Russell.  Also starring Christopher Plummer, and a speech-assisted dog.  Another masterful work of art from Pixar – an exciting, hilarious, and heartfelt adventure, impeccably crafted and told with wit and depth.  Reviews: Universal acclaim.
Dek Khong:
Thai, Comedy/ Drama – The “King Kong Gang” is a powerful and invincible gang that rules and terrorizes all the kids in the kindergarten, led by a boy of such immense size that a high-school girl who thinks he’s in high school falls for him, rendering him incapable of leading his gang.
Roommate
: Thai, Romance/ Drama – About three young females and two young males who live together and play together in a rock band named Roommate.  As you might expect, includes the band’s music as well.  (In Thai only/ no English subtitles.)
Drag Me to Hell:
US, Horror/ Thriller – Terrific! Director Sam Raimi started out making perversely entertaining horror fare like the Evil Dead movies before directing blockbusters like Spider-Man.  Well, he’s back, and in outstanding B-movie form.  Get into your horror-film frame of mind, and go for a lot of laughs and chills.  Alison Lohman stars as a loan officer who becomes the victim of a curse, with evil spirits on her trail and certain damnation in her future – unless she can break the spell.  Drag Me to Hell is a wickedly good time: blood-curdlingly scary and ghoulishly funny, it’s also taut and timely.  It’s the best-reviewed horror film in years; I thought it a hoot!  Reviews: Universal acclaim.
The Vista version is dubbed into Thai, with no English subtitles; in English at Airport Plaza.
Angels & Demons
: US, Crime/ Drama/ Mystery – A tight, taut thriller.  The team behind the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code returns as Tom Hanks reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who once again finds that forces with ancient roots are willing to stop at nothing, even murder, to advance their goals.  Mixed or average reviews.
Blood: The Last Vampire:
Hong Kong/ Japan, Action/ Horror – A thoroughly disgusting mess of violence and killing.  A remake of the 2000 movie of the same name about a vampire who is part of a covert government agency that hunts and destroys demons in Japan and who is inserted into a military school to discover which one of her classmates is a demon is disguise.  Rated R in the US for strong bloody stylized violence.  In English, mostly. 
I think this film is depraved in its depiction of the “beauty” of killing – the graceful spumes of blood, lovingly photographed in slow motion; the languorous way that severed limbs and chopped heads slowly curve to earth.  I consider it a shameful and perverted use of the potentialities of cinema, and serves only to brutalize the people who come to see it.  Constant watching of films like this immures people against empathy with anguish and death.  I would be happy to see this film and its ilk prohibited from ever being seen anywhere, and all those remotely connected with its creation jailed. 
Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins:
US/ UK, Action/ Sci-Fi – In this new installment of The Terminator film franchise, set in post-apocalyptic 2018, Christian Bale stars as a man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators.  If you’ve seen any of the other three installments of this series, you know what to expect: Plenty of chases, explosions, and great effects.  Mixed or average reviews.
Night at the Museum 2: Escape From the Smithsonian:
  USA/ Canada, Action/ Comedy – If you liked the first adventure, you’re sure to like this one even more – bigger, better, and with fantastic special effects.  After a wacky night at the New York Museum of Natural History, the perpetually hapless Larry (Ben Stiller) must infiltrate the Smithsonian after some of his resurrected friends were shipped to Washington for storage.  He finds himself in the middle of a vast conflict between many of the museum’s most noteworthy historical figures.  Mixed or average reviews.
Scheduled for June 18
Apparently, the previously scheduled State of Play has been delayed or cancelled.  It’s a highly-regarded thriller about an investigative journalist (Russell Crowe) in the midst of a vast conspiracy – engrossing, smart, unnerving, and timely.  The excellent cast includes Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, Jason Bateman, Jeff Daniels, and Helen Mirren.  Generally favorable reviews.  Here’s hoping it shows up some time.


Bridge in Paradise : by Neil Robinson

Last week’s column was about bidding and so is this one. Imagine you are sitting South and you hold the hand below. Your partner deals and opens the bidding with 2C. What contract do you expect to end up in? 

S: 98

H: 42

D: AKQ1094

C: Q65 

This hand was played recently in the Sunday duplicate game in Chiang Mai, generously hosted by Phil Watts. The bidding below was typical. No one vulnerable and North dealt. 

North   East        South     West

2C         P              2N           P

3N        P              4N           P

5S         P              5N           P

6H        P              ?               

The bidding needs a little explanation. 2C is of course strong, showing 22+ high card points or 8+ playing tricks. 2N is a step response showing 10+ high card points – it is conventional and does not mean a no trump type hand. 3N on the other hand does show a no trump type hand and a minimum range for a 2C opener, i.e. 22 to 24 high card points. 4N is asking for aces and 5S shows three. 5N asks for kings and 6H shows two. Sitting South you know that you are missing one king and missing about three additional high card points somewhere. So what do you bid now? When this hand was played, two tables opted for 6N and one table (with a different bidding sequence) ended up in 6D. This was the full deal:

                      S: AK6

                     H: AQJ10

                     D: 85

                     C: AKJ3   

S: Q10753                      S: J42

H: 765                             H: K983

D: J63                             D: 72

C: 97                               C: 10842

                     S: 98

                     H: 42

                     D: AKQ1094

                     C: Q65        

Thirteen tricks are cold: six diamonds, four clubs, two high spades and the ace of hearts. So, should the grand slam have been bid rather than the small slam? I believe the answer is yes! South has an almost certain six diamond tricks, particularly when partner shows at least two diamonds by bidding a no trump shape. Since partner has opened 2C, surely partner has seven tricks to contribute. The chances are high that the grand slam can be made without a finesse for the missing king, but at the very worst, it should only be a finesse away. So, my answer to the question at the beginning of this column is that South should immediately be thinking: “if we have all the aces, then this is 7N – or 7D if I want to be cautious”.
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]