Vol. VIII No. 46 - Tuesday
November 17 - November 23, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


Columns
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The Doctor's Consultation

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Money Matters

Life in Chiang Mai

Let's Go To The Movies

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?

Bridge in Paradise

The Doctor's Consultation:  by Dr. Iain Corness

The Feast of the Fallover

One of the greatest problems with getting older is what I call the ‘felloffas’ and the ‘fellovers’. Unfortunately, as we get older, our ability to bounce becomes much less. Any fall is likely to be a fracture, and one of the most serious is fracture of the hip. In fact, my radiologist son has stated that anyone over 80 who has a fall has a fractured neck of femur until proved otherwise.
The problem is, that despite all the advances in surgical techniques, anybody with a fractured neck of the femur (the thigh bone where it fits into the hip joint), will end up with a prosthetic ball and socket joint. Even with minimally invasive surgery, it is still a major operation, and as such has “risks” and a prolonged post-operative phase, complete with rehabilitation and training on how to walk again.
The reason that the elderly have this problem is through the bone becoming less dense, and therefore more brittle. This condition is called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, which causes the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break.
There are many people who are ‘at risk’ of osteoporosis, including:
Post-menopausal women and not taking estrogen.
A personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking.
Post-menopausal woman who are tall (over 1.7 meters) or very thin.
Males with clinical conditions associated with bone loss.
Anyone taking medications that are known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids such as Prednisone, various anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin and certain barbiturates, or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs.
People with type 1 (formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent) diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or a family history of osteoporosis.
People with thyroid conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or parathyroid condition, such as hyperparathyroidism.
Those who have experienced a fracture after only mild trauma.
People with X-Ray evidence of vertebral fracture or other signs of osteoporosis.
That list above seems to cover just about everyone, so how can you find out whether you have already experienced calcium loss and osteoporosis? This can be demonstrated very simply by Bone Density Scanning.
Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy X-Ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of X-Ray technology that is used to measure bone density loss. DEXA is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).
The procedure involves wearing a gown in place of your normal outer clothing, and lying on a clinical examination table that has an arm over you to receive the X-Rays generated under the table. The arm moves with a whirring noise, just to let you know that something is happening. The technicians will also position your legs, so that they can get the best X-Ray exposure of the lumbar spine and hips. The whole procedure takes around 10 minutes and then it is just a case of waiting for a few minutes for the results.
So what can you do to attempt to prevent osteoporosis? According to one researcher’s findings and published in the Medical Journal of Australia, lifestyle approaches, such as increasing calcium intake and weight-bearing exercise, as well as avoidance of excess alcohol and tobacco use, are recommended, even though the evidence for anti-fracture efficacy of each, or a combination of these approaches, is lacking. Vitamin D deficiency is common in elderly people who are housebound or institutionalized, and vitamin D replacement should be considered in these individuals. Hip protectors should be considered in elderly people at risk of falls, but adherence to wearing these is very limited.
However, if the result shows that you already do have osteoporosis, and are therefore “at risk”, what then? Well, there are treatments that are available, and most of them are expensive. It is not a simple matter of drinking two bottles of high calcium milk, I am afraid. Calcium metabolism is very complex, and getting it from the belly to the bones is not easy.
For post-menopausal women, consider estrogen as a preventive. For everyone, exercise should be continued as it helps build up bone mass. And if you want to know if you are at risk, consider a DEXA scan.

 

Heart to Heart  with Hillary

Dear Hillary,
Every week I read about these guys who moan about the bar girls in Thailand. There are books all about how they all get ripped off by these beautiful women. But the same guys who are complaining wouldn’t be able to get any sort of a woman in their own countries. Just look at the fat drunken fools, what sort of catch are they? They take somebody who looks like a film star from the bar, and imagine that the same lovely young film star is just as happy as they are, being dragged around the place - not by Brad Pitt but by a drunken pensioner! What sort of trade-off is that? All these beer soaks are the same. The savvy bar girl comes up and say “I lub you too mut!” and they believe them. Savvy bar girl then works out his PIN number and helps clean out his bank account as their reward for having to put up with him. They deserve all they get.
The Observer

Dear Observer,
Does your nom de plume mean you work for the famous newspaper in England, my Petal? Are you offering me a job if I get the right answer? Ah well, a girl can only dream. When you say “They deserve all they get,” who are you referring to - her for cleaning him out, or him for imagining that a film star is interested in him? Putting aside the complaints for the time being, the association between bar girls and pensioners is really a win-win situation. He gets company in his twilight years, and she gets a bag of money. The only real problem is the pensioner’s self delusions, and that is not something I can change, and judging by the number of books available on the subject, the written word doesn’t work either, or maybe they can’t read.


Dear Hillary,
We’ve just had Loy Krathong and the situation between the police and revellers was ludicrous. Here were all the kom loy sellers being hotly pursued by half a dozen police, but as soon as the police had swept the area, the kom loys were back again. The same for the fireworks. I know the dangers of fire and every year people get injured from fireworks, but these are nothing compared to the 600 deaths over Songkran. Is Thailand following the UK in becoming a ‘nanny’ state?
Jim

Dear Jim,
You are quite correct in assuming that kom loys and fireworks are dangerous, but in reality not as dangerous as Songkran. However, what you have been witnessing at the Loy Krathong festival is the eternal struggle for supremacy between the Health and Safety lobby and the fun-loving nature of the Thai people. If you are a betting man, put your money on the fun lobby!



Criminals caught with kom loy

Dear Hillary,
Most of the letters you seem to get are from men who are whining about what has happened to them with girls from in the bar scene. Has the simple fact escaped them that there is another side to living in Thailand? Surely they must see that there is a big difference between that side and the other side? If they stopped to look past the end of their noses they would see that there are some truly wonderful girls out there. I have been married to my Thai wife for ten years now and we have a partnership and mutual trust. This works very well and I have never felt at any time that I am being ripped off. Adjustments have to be made (by both the people) but that is normal in any marriage. My wife came from a respectable family and had a good job before she settled down to be a wife and mother to our two lovely girls. Why don’t some of these men who write in with complaints spend more time to look for the “good” girls?
Happily Married

Dear Happily Married,
I thank you for your letter, as it is easy for the casual reader to think that there is nothing but disaster in any relationship with a Thai lady. You are correct, people with problems do tend to write in to a problems column, rather than those who do not. It is always good to show that there is another side to the coin. Unfortunately, the ‘professional’ ladies are the ones that the newcomers meet, who are then swept off their feet in the rush to the gold shop, the motorcycle dealers and the real estate agents. These men would not go looking for their life’s partner in a bar in their own country, so why do they do so here? Laziness and easy availability is the answer. Congratulations again on writing in and 10 years of marital (not ‘martial’) bliss.


Camera Class:  by Harry Flashman

The ultimate DSLR?

When digital SLRs first came on the market, the average megapixel (mp) count was generally less than 5 mp, and the results were just ‘average’ in my opinion at the time. Film cameras could provide a photograph with much more detail.
However, in this world of electronics, it was not long before the DSLRs were offering over 12 mp, and even the small compacts were edging up towards 10 mp. Now we have the 24.4 mp offering from Nikon. The D3X.
Nikon was my camera system of choice in the good old days of good old film, but it is interesting to compare the progress of the Nikon digitals at the professional end of the scale over the past decade.
D1        1999        2.6 mp
D1X     2001         5.3 mp
D1H     2001        2.7 mp
D2H     2003        4.1 mp
D2X     2004        12.2 mp
D3        2007       12.1 mp
D3X     2008        24.5 mp
The X series denoted high resolution designed for landscapes and fashion, while the H series were for high speed sports photography.
This new D3X is a sister camera to the D3, which is now a couple of years old, and Nikon was remiss, I believe, in not calling the D3 the D3H, because that is where the D3 is, relative to the D3X.
The D3 is a faster camera, providing more frames per second and capable of performing at much higher ISO levels than the D3X, but only has 12.1 mp as opposed to the 24.4 mp of the D3X. Keeping in mind the capabilities needed vis-à-vis sports photography and landscape photography puts these two cameras, not as being against each other, but as complementary cameras, in my opinion.
When you read the reviews, almost every photographer immediately begins to compare the two, and with the D3X at USD 8,000 being almost twice the price of the D3, and basically looking the same, the end result is the decision that the D3X is overpriced. For example, the Good Gear Guide reviewed the Nikon D3x and wrote, “At twice the megapixel count of the earlier D3, the Nikon D3x is suitable for immensely detailed landscape and nature photography. However, there are not enough additional features to justify a price almost twice that of the Nikon D3.” However, I suggest that the reviewers are comparing apples and oranges. Both are fruit, and that’s where the comparison ends.
Remember that professional photographers (and this is certainly a pro shooter’s camera) do not use the same camera for sports and landscapes. These are almost at opposite ends of the scale. The sports/action photographer needs a fast camera which is hand-held for 99 percent of its work. The landscape photographer needs a camera that returns as much detail per frame as possible, and that camera will spend 99 percent of its life on a tripod. In fact, you will find that most pro photographers belong to one camp or the other.
That being the case, the reviewers should be looking at how well the D3X performs against the more usual professional cameras used in landscape photography, and that is the medium format, or even large format cameras. And this is where the D3X is actually cheaper than the others.
With the highest megapixel count, this new Nikon is challenging the sharpness and detail produced by the medium format cameras, but with the ease of an admittedly rather large but still easily portable SLR camera.
The Nikon D3x has everything you could want in an all-weather, all-conditions digital camera. A magnesium frame body with rubber and plastic outer coating is resistant to shocks and drops, and all the buttons are large and embossed enough to be pressed while wearing gloves. At 1220g it is slightly lighter than the D3, but its dimensions are similar.
The final word from photographer Dave Black who wrote, “D3X is not for everyone, but make close examination of your business. If this 24.5 mp camera can set you apart from your competitors by raising the quality bar higher than others are willing to go, then perhaps the D3X is the camera for you.”
To which I add - if you are a landscape photographer.


Money Matters:  Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.

Light at the end of the Tunnel? Part 2

So why has there been such a good rally over the last six months? Well, to an old cynic like me, as stated last week, things have been portrayed to be a lot better than they really are, so why shouldn’t Joe Public believe what they are being told and try and get some of the money back that they lost over the last two years. Also, with the banks offering three parts of diddlysquat in interest rates then there is not really much of an alternative if people want to try and earn money via savings.
The bad news though is that this is not a real rally, only a government funded one and when the money runs out then things will dive again. Nouriel Roubini, the renowned US economist who foresaw what was coming a few years ago, has already said, “We are planting the seeds of the next crisis.” He carried on, “There is a wall of liquidity chasing assets.” This cannot last.
Roubini went on to say that the consumer is too “debt burdened” to take over from government spending. He further stated that, “The crisis is not over. I think that there is a growing gap between what is the asset price and the real economy. I see an economy where the consumers are shopped out, debt burdened, they have to cut back on consumption and save more. The financial system is damaged…and for the corporate sector I don’t see a lot of capital spending because there is a glut of capacity.”
Roubini is another who thinks there are problems for US property and also believes that there will be another fall in US house prices. Property prices have dropped 13% over the last twelve months and more than a few economists believe this could spread to the commercial market as well which would not exactly do the banks any favors.
Another person, apart from me, who is not exactly positive about forthcoming events is Michael Geoghegan, the CEO of HSBC. In an interview with the Financial Times, he said, “Is this a V recovery or a W? It is the latter. We have to be very careful we don’t grow the balance sheet so far before the recovery has come only to write it back into the impairment line later on. I’m cautious about growing too fast.” In the interview he then stated, “I’m not as convinced we’re through the worst as others are. The reality is that profits will be quite reduced.”
The only thing I would ask people is to be aware of what is going on and make sure that all the investments are liquid and can be converted into cash immediately if necessary.
However, if people do not want a rollercoaster ride then simple diversification is the answer. Nothing does well all the time and, similarly, nothing does badly all the time. For those who are living in fear of a falling US dollar (not likely in the near future but, without doubt, will happen by the end of next year if not before), or rising inflation (not an immediate problem but is definitely round the corner) then gold is the refuge that many people take.
However, all that glitters is not necessarily gold. Silver sparkles as well. One small word of warning though. If gold remains as a bull market then the price should keep going up. If, however, the price does not continue upwards then it will be a sign the bull market has finished. This is extremely unlikely but a good investor should be aware of all possibilities. The probability though is that gold will continue on its upward hike, if for no other reason than people will run to it due to mass inflation in the near future.
The legendary Jim Rogers believes that gold will go through USD2,500 which will beat the inflation adjusted mark of USD2,300. However, he is also diversifying. He likes agricultural commodities because the demand for better quality food is on the rise in India and China. But he is another who thinks the US dollar is in for a hard time, “I am horribly pessimistic about the dollar. I am not selling it yet. I think there may be a rally. I don’t think it will be sustainable if there is one.”
Light at the end of the tunnel? We haven’t even got to the tunnel yet!

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

‘Burma: VJ’…coming to a screen near you

Riap roi: dressing the part

An Australian friend invited me to watch one of the recent transmissions on Network 7 of an important documentary, Burma: VJ. It has already been shown in a variety of countries, mainly on T.V., but also I guess as part of seminars and discussions. If you see it advertised anywhere, I urge you to watch it. Sub-titled, ‘Reporting from a closed country’, it is a vivid and compelling portrait of life under harsh military rule.
Most of it was filmed clandestinely (much by a man called ‘Joshua’, who is now in exile) using hand held video cameras, sometimes hidden in bags and baskets or under clothing. The material was then smuggled out to either Denmark or Oslo in Norway – the centre of the production and beamed back via satellite to Burma. Director Anders Ostergaard has compiled the material into a gripping documentary covering the period just before and, importantly, during the Saffron Revolution and ending with the devastating arrival of Cyclone Nargis.
The most poignant aspect of the 90 minute movie is the ultimate failure of the Monks’ revolt. Their brave actions brought hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets in their support: people who had previously been afraid to even show their faces, let alone protest. For one heady ‘moment’, people dared to hope that the generals and the army might allow their voices to be heard.
The protest was the direct result of the doubling of fuel and energy prices, an action which placed an impossible burden on already impoverished workers. For a day or two the military seemed not to respond, but when the junta finally realised the significance and international attention this was attracting they acted with appalling brutality. Their use of force was predictable. They know no other way to respond.
There are 400,000 monks in Burma, only ten or so per cent less than there are soldiers. For a day or two those watching also dared to hope that the army, or rather the oppressed foot soldiers, might join in the actions. They are underpaid and underfed and this could have been a real turning point. The images on the film slowly reveal those hopes as misplaced optimism. The monks were beaten and arrested, some never to be seen again.
The pictures record the soldiers, the secret police and the hired bully boys and informers dealing with the revolution in the only way they know how. A curfew was imposed and meetings of more than five people banned. All dissent was eventually quashed.
Burma: VJ’s on the spot images are sometimes tough to watch, not least because the peaceful and dignified actions of the monks (many of whom were stripped of their robes) are met with such violence. Much worse –we later learned - happened off camera in the prisons and torture chambers.
It is a pity that this documentary did not feature in the recent EU Film Festival. It surely would have qualified since it was sponsored by various European T.V. stations. Let’s hope that a DVD release of the film soon follows and that it gets shown more widely on the ‘box’. Combined with the book I have mentioned a couple of times in this column, Living Silence in Burma (Silkworm publications) it has brought the situation in Burma into even sharper perspective. They and other news and publications show us a little of what it must be like trying to survive under an inhuman regime.
Riap Roi
Pick up any guide or commentary on life in Thailand and you will surely find something along the following lines: ‘riap roi’ (to be well groomed and well mannered). Thais have more respect for someone who is clean and appropriately dressed and acts politely. And surely that is true. This does not mean that people have to be swishing around in designer clothes or expensive gear, but rather that clothes should be washed and pressed and suit the occasion. Look at any school child in their blue and white uniform and you will see what I mean.
Why then, I ask myself, and now you dear reader, do so many farangs feel that they are exempted from that simple code of behaviour? Chiang Mai is a city (and a rather traditional even conservative one in many respects) not a beach town. Some of the ludicrous shorts, really suited more to swimming in, or baggy, creased and dirty have no place here: nor do the singlets which pass as ‘appropriate’ cover for the upper regions!
This shows a lack of manners, a lack of respect for other people, especially Thais who tend to dress modestly. This was brought home to me very forcibly at the recent reception for the opening of the EUFF, where the invitation had requested ‘lounge suit’. Agreed many people don’t even have a lounge suit with them in this rather hot country, but I’ll bet that most men could run to a pair of normal trousers and a clean shirt and most women to a conventional dress. And no one, surely, needed to be carrying their pack back to the party. The Thai guests and the staff certainly showed up many of the farangs there. The various Consuls and other V.I.P.s and many other guests helped give the event a sense of occasion. What a pity that others seemed to think that khaki shorts and a crumpled shirt were the order of the day. I know I am being stuffy here: rather prissy. But just for once might we not all have shared in the occasion as asked by our hosts? I know that it was a subject touched upon by quite a few guests at this enjoyable annual event.


Let's Go To The Movies:  by Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Chiang Mai
2012:
US/ Canada, Action/ Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Director Roland Emmerich has given movie watchers several apocalyptic films (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow), but they were only warm-ups to the big one, the real end of the world.  I guess you’d have to call it a special effects film with a lot of action.  It stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor (pronounced “chew-it-tell edge-oh-for”), and Amanda Peet.  The film is based on the proposition that the world will end on December 21, 2012, in line with predictions contained in the Long Count calendar of the Mayan peoples, whose calendar systems are acknowledged to be immense in scope and complexity.  This doomsday notion has been popularized over the last few years by a number of television programs on The History Channel and The Discovery Channel which give credence to the predictions.  Some of the programs summoned as proof the writings of John Major Jenkins (I’ve encouraged you to read his treatise, Maya Cosmogenesis 2012: The True Meaning of the Maya Calendar End-Date).
But Jenkins has disowned the programs, saying they seriously misrepresent his scholarship.  He says of The History Channel program, “It’s 45 minutes of unabashed doomsday hype and the worst kind of inane sensationalism. … It’s error-riddled and a flagrant attempt at fear-mongering.”  So much for the intellectual underpinnings of the film.
The whole thing is a sham, as if anyone cares.  Basically it’s just an excuse to see things get blown up.  You have to wonder a bit about what bugs director Emmerich, because he seems to take particularly gleeful aim at the US (what other director has destroyed the White House in his films not once but now twice?) and Catholicism (he goes out of his way to detail the collapse of St. Peter’s and Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue), while no other religion is seen to suffer a scratch.
A Thai-dubbed version is available at both locations.
Vanquisher / Suay ... Samurai:
Thai, Action/ Thriller – After completing a covert mission in southern Thailand, CIA agent Genja finds herself forced to fight off rival operatives who’ve been ordered to take her out at all costs.  She survives and after two years of lying low, re-emerges in Bangkok to face her old foes and foil a bomb plot.  It’s a full-on action movie, with the main characters all female, which is unusual for a Thai film.  What it really is about: Cleavage-baring female swordfighters, clad in cat suits.  That’s all you need to know.
Bangkok Traffic Love Story / Rodfaifah-Maha-Na-Ther:
Thai, Romance/ Comedy – A cute-looking film about a 30 year old single woman who is forced to give up her car and ride the Bangkok public transportation system, where she falls for a maintenance engineer of the BTS system.  It’s a romantic comedy shrewdly crafted to give single girls everything they want in a movie.  One of the top Thai films of the year, and at the top of the chart for the past four weeks.  At Airport Plaza only.
Scheduled for November 19
The Twilight Saga: New Moon:
US, Drama/ Fantasy/ Horror/ Romance/ Thriller – The second installment of Stephenie Meyers phenomenally successful Twilight series, the romance between mortal and vampire soars ever higher as Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) delves deeper into the mysteries of the supernatural world she yearns to become part of, only to find herself in greater peril than ever before.
Here in the current chapter, this supernatural tale of star-crossed lovers continues as the Cullen family flees Forks in order to protect Bella, and the heartbroken high-school senior discovers that vampires aren’t the only creatures in town.  Realizing that Bella will never be safe as long as he’s around, Edward (Robert Pattinson) makes the difficult decision to leave his beloved behind shortly after her 18th birthday.  Reeling from her loss, Bella heads towards self-destruction after being comforted by Edward’s image during a moment of mortal peril.
But as heavy-hearted as Bella may be, her old friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) distracts her from her sorrows.  And when Bella encounters a former adversary with a sizable grudge, she’s rescued from harm at the last second by pack of enormous, ferocious wolves, all friends of Jacob and all played by muscle-men of Native-American heritage (like Taylor Lautner).
Bella learns the secrets of Jacob’s tribe while looking forward to a reunion with Edward that may have deadly consequences.  All very complicated, isn’t it, and we have many more installments to come in the series.  But another battle is going on in this film, as a new teen-girls’ heartthrob threatens to displace Robert Pattinson as the persona to squeal over.  And that person is Taylor Lautner, who is quickly becoming the new swoon-object for teenagers of all ages.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s also a wolf, and therefore nearly always naked, or rather always nearly naked.


HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: By Eric Danell

Leaves and mushrooms

Like any newcomer to Chiang Mai, I was overwhelmed by impressions of its plant life when I first arrived. Being a biologist and an obsessive gardener, I was thrilled to see the teak tree (Tectona grandis). Its famous honey-yellow wood breathes luxury, so it is a surprise for many visitors to find that a teak tree is actually quite unattractive! Most Chiang Mai gardeners would not select this tree for their back gardens, it is the choice of large landowners.
Since the teak tree is characterised by its large leaves, many tourists often conclude that the thatched roofs made of large dried leaves, widely seen around Chiang Mai, must be made of teak leaves. They are not! In fact, there is another, more common, tree here, which has large leaves too. This is the Dipterocarpus tuberculatus (phluang or tueng in Thai). It is the most common tree in Chiang Mai province, and once formed vast lowland forests together with teak. The leaves of this tree are insect and fire resistant and may last as thatching for as long as two years while the teak leaf is brittle and quickly eaten by insects. The teak leaf has decurrent, or clasping, leaf margins, while the D. tuberculatus has a heart shaped leaf. Unlike teak, D. tuberculatus has round fruits with two wings, making it a wonderful helicopter toy for children.
D. tuberculatus is the traditional local source of leaves, resin and timber. Although its’ timber is not as beautiful or as insect resistant as teak, it is still a beautiful tree. The sound from raindrops hitting the large leaves carries far, which is why I can often hear the rain coming and seek shelter in time. Unlike the teak, all Dipterocarpus form a symbiotic relationship with mushrooms. Some of these mushrooms are edible. To my great joy I found chanterelles (Cantharellus sp., hed kamin in Thai) under a stand of Dipterocarpus within walking distance from Dokmai Garden. This yellow mushroom is the gourmet’s choice, commonly found in September. It can be fried with cream and served with toast and a glass of shiraz wine, a pleasure for a gardener.
Dokmai Garden, www. dokmaigarden.co.th


Bridge in Paradise : by Neil Robinson

This was board 3 from the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai pairs game on Nov 4th (hand directions rotated 180 deg, for convenience in viewing the hands). East-West were vulnerable and North dealt.  

                      S: 986

                      H: Q98

                      D: K832

                      C: A93        

S: A3                                  S: Q752

H: A103                             H: 6

D: 9765                              D: AQJ

C: KQ72                             C: J8654

                      S: KJ104

                      H: KJ7542

                      D: 104

                      C: 10              

Most tables ended up in two or three hearts by South, making nine tricks. My table was an exception—I had the South hand and played it in two hearts, but good defence by Phil Watts and Mark Barber-Riley gave me no chance of an overtrick. West led the ace of spades, followed by the three. I took East’s queen with my king and led a heart to try and pull trumps. West went up with the ace immediately and switched to a diamond. East’s jack won and he led another spade, trumped by West. The ace of diamonds completed the defence’s five tricks (ace of spades, ace of hearts, spade ruff and two high diamonds).
But, EW can do better. Can you see their best contract? It is 3N. Assume you get a heart lead. Declarer ducks until the third round. Declarer then forces out the ace of clubs (and breathes a sigh of relief when North wins the trick and has no more hearts to return). North’s best lead at this point is a spade. However, declarer wins the ace and successfully finesses the diamonds. EW make the aces of hearts and spades, three high diamonds and four clubs for nine tricks and the contract. Only Ruth Willmon and Bernard Garwood managed to find this optimum contract—well done for excellent bidding!
Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes new players. For information on the Club go to the web site at www.bridgeclubchiangmai .com. If you have bridge questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected]



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