The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
Living through the 50-60 decade
I have been doing some research
recently into the most frequent cause of death. This was prompted by study
into the H1N1 2009 virus (AKA Swine Flu). Let me assure you, the pigs have
been subject of a bum rap. You have more chance of being hit on the head
with a piece of frozen whatsit discharged from a plane 30,000 feet above,
than you have of dying from Piggy Flu.
However, the danger period as far as claiming early on your life assurance
is concerned (or I should say, your beneficiaries claiming early) is the
If you are between 50 and 60, coronary heart disease is one of the most
likely causes of your being struck down early, other than a blow from a
Coronary heart disease refers to the build up of ‘plaque’ (not the dental
kind) in the inside of the coronary arteries, the arteries that ‘feed’ the
The heart muscle does not get its oxygenation from the blood inside its
chambers, but through separate “coronary” arteries that run around the heart
and supply the heart muscle directly.
If the inside diameter of the coronary arteries is reduced by 50 percent, it
means that the oxygen required cannot be supplied in enough quantities to
keep the heart muscle alive when it is called to perform extra work, such as
running to (or out of the way of) a song taew, for example. Viagorous
exercise could also come under this heading. Constriction greater than 50
percent means that the heart muscle ‘starves’ of oxygen even more quickly.
We know these days that the ‘plaque’ build-up is made of cholesterol and
calcium, and that the likelihood of deposits depends on many factors,
including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, stress and
cigarette smoking. This is why we advocate regular testing for those
physical factors, and strongly advise you to give up smoking! We actually do
want you to live a little longer, with a good quality of life.
To diagnose coronary artery disease, we will evaluate a patient’s risk
factors and perform some tests and then divide the patients suspected to be
at risk into the two groups; high and low risk. After that, there are two
main diagnostic procedures that will usually be performed, conventional
coronary angiography (CAG) or the 64-Slice CT.
However, whilst CAG might be the gold standard, it is also expensive (like
gold) and time consuming, as it requires a stay in hospital of four to six
hours. Being a direct intervention, with cardiac catheters, there can also
be a risk of hemorrhage, though this is not usually the case. But it can
The alternative is the 64-Slice CT. This is the latest variation of CT
scanning, with the original known as 16-slice CT. This was fine for
assessing organs which did not move, but was not as accurate in
demonstrating coronary artery problems, because the heart is moving and
beating inside the chest (unless, of course, if you have died already and
please advise the technician beforehand). However today, with the advent of
the most advanced form of this imaging, the multi-slice detectors and high
powered computer programs called the 64-Slice CT, we can efficiently get
information on the coronary arteries in as few beats as possible, in around
4 seconds. And this comes with 90 percent accuracy.
The 64-Slice CT has many advantages. First off, nobody is actually slicing
you open to insert cardiac catheters into your arteries. The 64 ‘virtual’
slices are done of your cardiac image and the coronary arteries by the
computer program, not physically. Each slice is 0.625 mm, so will be able to
pinpoint calcium deposits. It is a quick and painless procedure. You do not
have to wait around in hospital afterwards, other than perhaps wait for the
radiologist’s report. A boon for the busy 50-60 year old businessman (the
group most at risk). And finally, it is much cheaper than having a coronary
If you have no risk factors, other than being over 50, I would seriously
consider the 64-Slice CT.
Heart to Heart
You keep harping on about meeting the “right” Thai women, but why would
you bother going through all the rigmarole when there are so many
gorgeous babes in any of the bars? You couldn’t get to them all with two
lifetimes, not one. You talk about learning Thai, when you don’t need
to. Any of the bar girls can speak enough English to get by. You know
what you’re going to get. They know what is expected of them. You don’t
have to go upcountry to meet the parents. There’s no dowry involved, so
it is cheap. It is just so easy, when your way is just so difficult and
takes a long time. What’s the advantage?
It all depends on what you want in life, Petal. Do you want 365 one
night stands every year, or a constant partner for 365 days a year? The
men I recommend doing it the “so difficult” way are those who are
looking for a partner in and for life. Certainly most of the bar girls
can speak “enough English to get by” as you say. That’s enough English
to say “Buy me cola,” “You want pay bar for me?” and “I go with you.”
They also have enough understanding of your needs that they can extract
motorcycles, gold chains, cars, houses for Mama and Papa and a lifetime
of veterinary care for the family buffalo. And if you don’t believe me,
read any of the back issues of this newspaper for the tales of woe from
those who have been ripped off by this week’s easy girlfriend. You
strike me as being very self-centered and a bit “keeneow” (stingy) as
You will also note that I have even recommended your way for men coming
over here for two weeks, and I also recommend at the same time that they
don’t fall in love and refrain from buying anything greater than trinket
So what’s the advantage? The chance of having a meaningful relationship,
as opposed to your meaningless ones.
If any of your readers are wondering where to go for a change I can
recommend Udon Thani, Roi Et and Kalasin.
Fifteen minutes from the centre of Udon Thani there is a flower nursery,
called “Miss Udorn” with an amazing dancing plant, if you can play music
or even sing a song the plant opens and shuts its leaves! Then there is
Ban Chiang in Udon, where you can see the remains of one of the worlds
Roi Et has one of the tallest standing Buddha Images in the world.
Eighty kilometres from the City of Roi Et is Wat Pah Namthip. Take
highways 2044 and 2136, and I guarantee it will take your breath away.
Seven stories, four of which are complete with the most beautiful
decorations, it is for sure the most beautiful Temple in Thailand.
Kalasin has the Dinosaur Museum with some of the worlds largest Dinosaur
remains. A fantastic place for young and old alike, just follow the
signs to “Jurassic Park”.
I loved Issan Hillary, the people were so nice, a lot come up to you and
ask if they can practice their English. Anyone reading this that has
never been to these places you just have to go.
One last thing Hillary, we read a lot about Farang being done out of
their money by Thai ladies. I frequent a beer bar in Chiang Mai, I know
I can’t tell you the name, but it is the Number One Bar here (wink wink
nudge nudge). The young ladies are not the pushy type pestering you to
buy them a drink, but of course you do, otherwise they would not be
there, and without them you would have to talk to a lot of boring old
One of the girls met her Mr. Right, he paid her bar fine for two weeks
and promised he would return in a couple of months to marry her. She was
so excited about marrying and moving to England, well yes you guessed
it, he never showed up, even though he was sending her emails. I felt so
sorry for her, but guess she is not the only one to fall for that trick.
So it does work both ways with Farang and Thai being taken for a ride.
Oh! One last thing, the young Abbot of Wat Doi Noi Lamphun was featured
in the National Geographic Magazine, Thai Newspapers, and Channel Five
TV. He was showing off his Bio Diesel and Petro Plant and other
inventions of his. I will send you some photos of his latest inventions,
How nice to hear from you again and thanks for the travel tips, and yes,
we published the details of your young abbot as well. Never mind these
two bit publications like National Geographic. They’re only found in
doctor’s waiting rooms!
Glad you brought up the item on double dealing by the farangs that come
over here. There’s probably more of those than all the quoted rip-offs
by the bar girls, with all the promises of marriage and overseas trips.
Sorry I had to shorten your letter somewhat - the usual problem of
by Harry Flashman
Uneconomic repairs and Photofun
other week a keen amateur photographer wrote in with a problem.
“I have an old, 25 years I think, Pentax K2 which I need to have
overhauled as the shutter speed indicator moves sluggishly, I
believe the lubrication has dried up. I have tried firing the
shutter at different speeds for a long while but the problem is
This photographer had really done as much as he could under
these circumstances and it is time for a trip to the camera
doctor. However, what should also be looked at here is the
economics of persevering with this camera - after all, it is 25
years old at least. For example, would you bother with a 25 year
old car, or think about trading it in at that age, for a newer
(and better) one? My feeling in this case is that if the repair
quotation is more than 1,000 baht it isn’t worth it. The old
K-mount Pentax’s were good cameras, but the technology and
optics have been improved greatly since then.
Being a great believer in “good” second hand equipment (see
previous columns on how to buy a second hand camera) I would be
going down that route, rather than the repair one. With 25 year
old cameras that have had a long history, there are other parts
ready to wear out, as well as just the shutter mechanism. A
newer Pentax would have fewer problems, and give the owner more
fun in trying out its capabilities.
I think it is important to remember that “fun” is the important
ingredient in photography. If it isn’t fun - then don’t do it -
and that just about goes for everything in life!
One way to really have fun with your camera is seeing what it
really is capable of. And after seeing what it can do, being
able to reproduce the effect. This is why I keep stressing the
Manual Mode in the camera, and keeping a notebook. If you glue
your SLR in the Automatic Mode, then you will only get shots
that are “average” in exposure - shutter speeds and apertures
worked out by the camera’s electronic brain, rather than yours.
Stick it on manual and experiment. That shutter speed that the
electronic brain says is incorrect might just give you a
wonderful emotive blurry shot that is an award winner! Or if
nothing else, worth blowing up and framing and hanging on the
wall! And by using your notebook, you will know just how you did
it, and can do it again, and again and again.
The annotations in the notebook should be simple jottings like,
Back-lit, Frame 1, f5.6 @ 1/30th; Frame 2, f5.6 @ 1/60th; Frame
3, f5.6 @ 1/125th. When you go through the finished photos you
will be able to see the results of 2 complete stops of exposure
difference. Sometime I will also jot down the exposure indicated
by the (inbuilt) exposure meter. Until you are completely
familiar with your camera, the little notebook will stand you in
good stead, for years if necessary.
You should never stop experimenting either. Some days you will
amaze yourself at what you can get away with! I mean
photographically! For example, I tend to take a large number of
photographs at night, generally indoors but in low light
conditions. I set the flash on f5.6 and generally set the
shutter speed on 1/30th, but to bring the background up a little
more I will set the shutter speed to 1/15th. This is in ‘camera
shake’ territory, but the majority are fine. Now I have found
that I can fire off a couple of frames, right down to ╝ second
and still get away with it. OK, I will lean on a wall, or hold
the camera firmly against the wall, but the end results are
looking good. In theory it won’t work, but it does for at least
75 percent of the time. Try it yourself and see the difference.
And that is on a camera without anti-shake technology.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
Money - How Much is it Worth?
History has taught us a couple
things about the French:
1. They are not very good at fighting (General Patton said, “I’d rather have a
German division in front of me than a French one behind me”).
2. They are very good at making their currency almost worthless - which perhaps
explains why, of all nations, they remain most enamoured with gold.
Next came the Germans. As the Kaiser had run off to Holland, the citizens of the
Weimar Republic had to try and cope with the ridiculous reparations imposed by
the Treaty of Versailles by themselves. This led into one of the worst periods
for hyperinflation in recorded history. It was so bad that it almost makes
Robert Mugabe look fiscally competent (almost). The only way that Germany could
repay the Allies was by having the printing presses on the go 24/7. The debt was
so massive that it could never be repaid - sounds kind of familiar to today.
As stated above, during this time, there was not inflation but hyperinflation.
People were having to use wheelbarrows to haul around enough money just to buy a
loaf of bread. If you want a good idea of hyperinflation then see below for the
Mark v US Dollar exchange rate (admittedly the Mark was called different things
during this period):
April 1919: 12 marks
November 1921: 263 marks
January 1923: 17,000 marks
August 1923: 4.621 million marks
October 1923: 25.26 billion marks
December 1923: 4.2 trillion marks
In recent times, fiat failures have become more common. So as not to send the
reader to sleep, I will not go into details with other currency failures but
there are many examples and here is a quick list:
1932 - Argentina had the eighth largest economy in the world before its currency
1992 - Finland, Italy, and Norway had currency shocks that spread through
1994 - Mexico went through the infamous “Tequila Hangover,” which sent the peso
tumbling and spread economic hardships throughout Latin America.
1997 - Thailand’s baht fell through the floor and the effects spread to
Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and South Korea.
1998 - Russia’s ruble was not the currency you wanted your investments
denominated in, after its devaluation brought on economic recession.
Not so long ago, it was the turn of the Turkish lira and now we have Zimbabwe,
which was once considered the breadbasket of Africa and was one of the
wealthiest countries on the continent. Now Mugabe’s attempts at price controls,
combined with hyperinflation, have the nation unable to supply the most basic
essentials such as bread and clean water.
Given the above, you would have thought we would have learned the lessons of
history. Er, no.
Now let us look at what the USA has done with paper money. Colonial notes were
first issued in Massachusetts in 1690. Basically, these could be used to buy
most commodities. Other New World colonies soon joined in and, surprise,
surprise, there was soon too much money in the system.
The next time the Americans tried paper money was after the start of the
American War of Independence. Paper money was needed to finance the war and they
called it the Continental. This soon became worthless and paper money was not
used in America again until just before the First World War with the foundation
of the Federal Reserve and the introduction of the Greenback. Theoretically, the
new US dollar was backed by the Gold Standard until 1971. In reality, when this
did not suit the US government, they just made the ownership of gold illegal -
as per Roosevelt in 1933.
Despite all this, the US dollar held up well and it was not until good old
Richard Nixon kicked the Gold Standard into touch did it begin to suffer. In the
1970s, America had to endure some of the worst inflation in its history.
Forty years on and the USA has managed to steer itself to the precipice as it is
copying what every other major fiat currency has done in the past. American is
fighting two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is patrolling the seas off Somalia
and keeping its eye over the rest of the world. Financing all of this is, to say
the least, inflationary. According to Addison Wiggin, in his book The Empire of
Debt, America’s currency could suffer “an apocalyptic future”.
It can be argued that America has a similar debt to what the Weimar Republic had
(more of this in later issues). Whilst it is true that the reasons for the debt
are totally dissimilar, it is highly likely that the USA will not be able to pay
back what it owes unless is decides to print even more money which would then
make the US dollar worthless. It is already printing too many dollars. Any
further increase would be disastrous.
Since 1913, the US dollar has lost 92% of its original value. Following its
revaluation in 1934, it fell by another 41%. It is only the fact that Asian
central banks and others hold it still to be of some worth that the dollar has
any value at all. When, and I repeat, when they decide to take their money back
then America could be in real trouble - just look what happened to all the
previous fiat currencies.
Above all, remember that America now has so much additional currency in
circulation and significantly less gold. The value of the US dollar with gold
backing it, in relation to the money in circulation, is now 39,000 times less
than in 1971. Maybe a USD100,000 cup of Starbucks? Is it beyond the realms of
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
I’ll Never Forget What’s ‘is Name’
A couple of weeks ago I took
a very early morning call. I don’t think I was even asleep, though it soon
sounded like my worst nightmare. An excited voice said, ‘Are you doing
Michael Jackson?’ ‘No’, I replied, ‘he’s not my…’ (was I really going to say
scene?). My reply was interrupted by a breathless, ‘Or Farrah Fawcett?’
I judged dimly that Phil, the Guardian’s obituaries editor, was unlikely to
be in Hillside 4 reception and that this was Yarnold’s idea of humour.
Memories of genuine calls surfaced, those which followed the death of
someone famous and ended with the words – very politely uttered – ‘Do you
think you could let us have, say, 900 to a thousand words by….?’.
Those were the days when, in semi retirement from the BBC, I wrote regularly
for that illustrious newspaper, supplying notices on movie people: actors,
directors, writers and, less often, producers, cinematographers, even
composers and sundry others. Since the editorial staff worked late, they
also came in late and those calls were normally in the afternoon or early
evening with an eight o’clock deadline. Often they came when I was out, or
planning to be, and nothing would persuade the caller to wait another day.
Since moving to Chiang Mai a few years ago, I have been spared those frantic
calls if only because of the time difference, though I still file obits –
these days always in advance of a death. This is now almost essential except
for unpleasant surprises, which might I guess be a fair definition of a
sudden demise. The standard rule is the more famous the person, the more
urgent the obit, and they appear on the website immediately.
Of course, I don’t know whether I’ll live to see those advance pieces in
print. Nor, come to think of it, this article. None of us knows what the
next five minutes actually holds, let alone five years. There is a wonderful
vignette in Proust, wherein a wealthy, contentedly leisured Parisian busies
himself through the morning then leaves his apartment by taxi for an
enjoyable lunch with a friend. He leaves the restaurant, hails another taxi
to return home and never reaches his destination. A salutary warning that
the future is a combination of optimism and complacency.
Writing obits tends to be the province of older journalists or specialists.
It sort of comes with the territory of being in what we call ‘late middle
age’, but is in fact that period of life before accumulated knowledge turns
to senile ramblings. Naturally, anyone can paste and paper an obit. Simply
collect together enough information from the internet, (for movies the
International Movie Data Base), along with biographies or, again for cinema,
the collected essays of Ephraim Katz or David Thomson and one soon has the
basis of a tribute.
There is, however, no substitute for first hand knowledge. Perhaps having
known the person and certainly their work, often for decades. Recalling,
say, when Paul Newman finally got his best actor Oscar for The Color of
Money, having been denied it half a dozen times because of his left wing
views and his refusal to live in Hollywood, rather than his beloved
Connecticut and New York. Hollywood has always despised non- conformity.
My obituary on Newman did him modest credit in being one of the Guardian’s
longest, (approaching 4000 words). He deserved it, as did Ingmar Bergman in
a similarly lengthy piece. The latter article was not universally popular,
when it suggested that this giant of the cinema was ‘the second greatest
Scandinavian director’, (after the Dane, Carl Th. Dreyer). A few Swedes took
umbrage at this, but as you gather, I survived.
They confused – as many people do – opinion with bias. The latter is the
result of prejudice, the former hopefully stems from knowledge and
experience. Those critics shared the partisanship of those who admire –
unreservedly – actors of the female gender, (N.B. The Guardian does not
allow a distinction, thus Marilyn Monroe and Penelope Cruz are actors along
with Sean Connery and Brad Pitt).
Admirers of the great ladies of the British screen can be dangerous. They
know every film and every detail and no mistake or assumed slur is
tolerated. So, as always, accuracy is vital, along with carefully judged
opinions. That is why I hated the urgent calls, the overnights. I happened
to be back in the U.K. when Ishmail Merchant died in hospital. Could I do
1,200 words, (in two hours), on that distinguished producer: Howard’s End,
Maurice and the rest?
I declined and the resident film critic was pressed into service. Two days
later, the letters column contained corrections and adverse comment. The
poor guy had simply not had enough time and had even ended up with that
pathetic euphemism, beloved by the Times and the Daily Telegraph, ‘He never
married’. Hardly surprising, I thought, since he had lived with his partner
and director, James Ivory, for some 40 years! A day or two later, I was
asked to supply an obit for Ivory, which happily remains on file.
It is better to have time on one’s hands. The Bergman piece took three
weeks, yielding a fee which worked out at less than the minimum wage, since
I decided to re-view some of his 60 films, read or re-read biographies and
his own writings and so on. Clint Eastwood kept me similarly busy, with a
major update recently, since he has, in his seventies, directed his best
films and given fine performances and, nudging 80, shows no signs of slowing
He shares something else with the Swede besides a long and prolific career
and that is a large number of children, from a variety of liaisons and
marriages. Getting the film titles and similar facts right, was easier than
keeping track of the offspring.
Not that accuracy is all that matters. The ‘best’ of the hundred plus obits
I’ve filed have been written about people I’ve greatly admired. The
black-listed director Abraham Polonsky and the actor Deborah Kerr. The
French directors, Maurice Pialat and Robert Bresson, the latter being – in
my opinion – the greatest film maker in the history of that art. Writing
about people of that stature is more than a record of a working life, it can
be a considered tribute, even a thank you, and takes the edge off saying
P.S. Just a note to remind you of the forthcoming concert at the Kad
Theatre, on the fifth floor of Central. It’s on Saturday July 11, at 7.30
and if the recent one by the same huge orchestra and wind band is anything
to go by it will be a great evening’s music. Featured are a movement from
Rachmaninoff’s wonderful 2nd piano concerto and a harp concerto by Handel,
among other works. Tickets from Kad Suan Kaew or at the door, starting at
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
Now playing in Chiang
Nymph / Nangmai:
Thai, Mystery/ Romance – A slow-paced, minimalist offering with supernatural
overtones from one of Thailand’s most interesting directors, Pen-ek
Ratanaruang, who gave us the excellent Ploy in 2007. This is his
seventh feature, and it premiered last month in the Un Certain Regard
competition at the Cannes Film Festival – to decidedly mixed reviews. I
found it intriguing, and beautifully executed.
It revolves around a relationship in trouble – the marriage of May and Nop
which seems to have nothing left but inertia to hold it together. The two
barely speak to one another, and May has been involved in an affair with her
boss for months. Signs of physical affection are still more rare. Despite
the emotional distance between them, May decides to accompany Nop on a
photography trip into a deep forest where some time before two young men
were mysteriously struck dead while attempted to rape a woman. Nobody had
ever been able to sort out what happened, but Nop can’t help but feel a
certain attraction to a tree near where the incident occurred. Then one
night he simply disappears. For aficionados of Thai art films, who will
Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: US, Animation/ Action/ Comedy/ Romance
– If you enjoyed the previous two installments, you should like this one as
well, because it’s more of the same, but with even better animation. With
the voices of Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, and John Leguizamo. Excellent for
kids and families. Mixed or average reviews.
Wongkamlao: Thai, Comedy – Popular comedian turned director Mum
Jokmok both directs and stars in this romantic comedy.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi –Shia
LaBeouf again joins with the Autobots« against their sworn enemies, the
Decepticons« in this battle of the toys. It’s super-intense, and bigger and
longer than the original. High noise level, smashing images, a loud and
relentless score, everyone yelling their lines at high speed – if this is
your idea of fun, go. Me, I just have to throw up my hands in surrender and
disbelief! What’s the use of fighting such a force of nature? It seems to
come from director Michael Bay’s childhood fantasies about playing with toys
and blowing stuff up. And fantasizing about the hot-looking Megan Fox.
It’s really unapologetic about delivering these fantasies. Bigger battles.
Massive explosions. Megan Fox. I’m absolutely amazed that there is any
coherence at all to the thing. Generally negative reviews.
Up: US (Disney/Pixar), Animation/ Family – Everyone’s current favorite,
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. Also
starring Christopher Plummer, and a speech-assisted dog.
As with the best children’s stories and movies, Up contains subject
matter some might say is perhaps too old for the intended viewer: it exposes
deep and sensitive issues like death, loss, abandonment, fear, isolation,
loneliness, betrayal, and greed, knowing that little kids can grasp (and
stomach) a lot more depth than we’d guess. This is another masterful work
of art from Pixar – an exciting, hilarious, and heartfelt adventure,
impeccably crafted and told with wit and depth. Reviews: Universal
And Up has a cartoon playing before it, called Partly Cloudy,
a 6-minute Pixar study of cartoon genius. Not too much has been made of
this very funny short, but for my money it is pure brilliance.
Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins: US/ UK, Action/ Sci-Fi – 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. But
without Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mixed or average reviews.
Scheduled for July 9
The Secret of Moonacre: Hungary/ UK, Adventure/ Family/
Fantasy – A pleasingly old-fashioned fairy tale, fashioned from the
relatively little-known children’s novel “The Little White Horse” by English
author Elizabeth Goudge, and it’s probably just perfect if you happen to be
an 11-year-old girl. The film is a shrewd mix of live action and exotic CGI
by the Hungarian director and animator Gabor Csupo, who gave us Bridge to
Terabithia in 2007.
The plot springs from a large, dusty, leather-bound fairytale book about a
strange land far, far away. The book is a relic the 13-year-old Maria
Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards) has inherited from her dead and
dissolute father. The orphan is dispatched to live with her brooding uncle
(Ioan Gruffudd) in a shabby Gothic pile cursed by an ancient feud over a
handful of pearls. His nemesis, Tim Curry, stews in the woods near by.
Maria has the magic to settle their dispute – whether she will or not is
another matter. The film’s magic realism is frightfully English.
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
This hand, played at six hearts by Morten Andersen in the Danish First
League, was reported by Svend Northrup. It looks like the defence are bound
to take a spade trick, since they have the queen, jack and ten between the
two hands, as well as the ace of diamonds. There is only one entry to dummy,
the king of spades, so it does not look possible to do anything with the
queen and jack of clubs. However Andersen, sitting South, made the slam. Can
you see how he did it? His nickname is “duck” and this may give you a clue.
There was no opposition bidding and West led the jack of spades.
S: J107 S: Q5
H: 32 H:
D: J97 D:
C: 106543 C: K97
South, living up to his
nickname, ducked the jack of spades opening lead! Reasonably enough, West
continued spades. South won in hand with the ace and drew trumps in three
rounds, throwing two diamonds from board. He cashed the ace of clubs and led
the nine of spades to dummy’s king. Dummy’s queen of clubs was next, covered
by the king and ruffed in hand. Then South led over to dummy’s carefully
preserved eight of spades. Now the diamond five in hand was thrown on
dummy’s good jack of clubs. Twelve tricks (seven hearts, three spades and
two clubs) and slam made!
Did you work out how to do it? And if you had been sitting West, would you
have defeated the contract by switching to a diamond switch at trick two? I
don’t think I would.
Chiang Mai now has an official bridge club—the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai. We
welcome new players. For information on the Club go to the web site at
www.bridgewebs .com/chiangmai/home.html or contact Chris Hedges at:
[email protected] .co.uk. If you have bridge questions, or to send me
your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected]