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
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
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.
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.
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?
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
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”
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.
by Harry Flashman
The ultimate DSLR?
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
Now playing in Chiang
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: A3 S:
H: A103 H: 6
D: 9765 D: AQJ
C: KQ72 C: J8654
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
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: