The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
Travel insurance? Who needs it?
Many people have a somewhat
cavalier attitude to insurance and I’m just as guilty! A few months ago I
did mention medical insurance in this column and it was amazing the response
that this brought. When people began to see just how much they were
financially “at risk” by not having insurance, the better brokers were
inundated. Let’s see what the response to this week’s column will be when I
look at travel insurance. By the way, this is not travel insurance to cover
your lost baggage, but to cover medical emergencies.
Unfortunately many people travel under the misconception that the travel
insurance they took out with the travel agent is going to cover them for all
eventualities. Sadly it is not. The following is a true story, taken from
one of my medical journals from Australia. A gentleman with a leaking heart
valve, which was under investigation and examination by a cardiologist, has
to make a business trip to America. He takes out travel insurance from the
travel agent, but says nothing about the on-going cardiologist’s review. Two
days after getting to San Francisco he gets very short of breath and is
admitted to hospital. The insurance company was contacted which then gets a
report from the American hospital, and a report from the patient’s usual
doctor in Australia.
The history of the cardiac condition now comes to light, and the insurance
company state (justifiably) that if they had known of this situation, they
would not have accepted the man as a reasonable risk and would have refused
cover. Meanwhile, the man deteriorates rapidly and has to have an emergency
heart valve replacement. All was not plain sailing and he ended up having 42
days in intensive care. Total cost came to USD 576,500, for which the
businessman was totally liable. To raise the sum of over half a million
dollars he had to liquidate his company and sell his house at “fire sale”
Like another horror story? A young woman is going to the UK for a working
holiday. Like many people, she has asthma, but it is reasonably well
controlled. Since she was flying directly to the UK and there is a
reciprocal medical agreement between the UK and Australia, she decides she
“logically” doesn’t need travel insurance. Six hours into the flight she
gets an acute attack of asthma and has to be off-loaded in Singapore.
Complications occur and she ends up being in Singapore for six weeks and
then has to be medically evacuated back to Australia with a doctor and nurse
escort team. Her stay in Singapore and the medivac came to AUD 390,000 and
her parents have to sell their farm to raise the money.
So you can see, just because you are covered at the other end of your flight
doesn’t mean to say you are not “at risk”. The moral of these two tales is
simple - take out good travel (medical) insurance and make sure you declare
any pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies are in the business of
“risk” assessment. Forgetting to declare your medical history is not thought
of as being an acceptable risk. This omission could prove deleterious to
both your health and your wealth.
But there are even more snags for the overseas travelers, and one is
personal transport. Those big bikes for hire at the side of the road just
look so tempting for the average young adventurer and the hiring process is
so simple. Leave your passport as security and ride away.
Ignoring the stupidity of leaving your passport with anyone, do you have a
license to ride a big bike in your own country, for example? And is that
license valid in Thailand? I have seen the same young chap who hired from
the side of the road brought into the hospital by ambulance with broken
legs. The intrepid rider then finds out that his travel insurance has
refused to accept the claim as he did not have a license issued from
anywhere to ride a 1,000 cc motorcycle.
Think about ensuring you have appropriate travel insurance before your next
Heart to Heart
This one’s a bit different from the usual letters you get. I’m quite
happy in my relationships, but I wonder just why Thai people seem to
have no civic pride. In major tourist cities like Chiang Mai and
Pattaya, the buildings are dirty, with peeling paint and mold growing on
the outside of them. Compared to Greece or even Spain, the local
buildings look downright uninviting. A coat of paint every year would
brighten up your tourist resort cities no end. Do you agree with me, or
don’t you see how run-down the place looks, like all the other people I
Dear Civic Pride,
I do agree with you, Petal. An annual painting spree would be very
beneficial, and I believe it would be a very worthwhile project for the
city fathers. Now, who knows someone’s uncle with a paint shop?
Is it usual to get ripped off in the bars round here? I have gone to
spend a night with some mates at a bar and find that when the bill comes
it is more than all three of us reckon it should be. By the end of the
night, it’s just too difficult to go adding up all the bar chits, but
we’re all sure there’s drinks in there that we didn’t order, maybe even
a few lady drinks that have been slipped in as well. Does this happen
regularly? How do we stop it?
The Three Lads
Dear Three Lads,
I’m not going to say that it doesn’t happen, The Three Lads, but at the
better bars they will get you to sign for your drinks, and the lady
drinks. But if you are all legless after a night out, then you are
making yourselves targets ready to be fleeced. Why don’t you make one of
you the ‘accountant’ for the evening, counting all the beers and the
lady drinks. I think you might be surprised at just how much three lads
can consume in one evening.
I am a professional man, working here, and OK, I have found a “good”
woman I would like to take out, she’s from the glasses shop, not the
bar. I believe it is going to be more difficult, but I’m up for it. So
how do I go about it? It better work. I want guarantees. I don’t want
What sort of wimps are the hallowed halls of academia sending out into
the world these days? I presume you have actually been into the glasses
shop and spoken to this woman upon whom you have designs? Sure it is
going to be “more difficult” as you say, but all you do, my panting
little Petal, is go in and start talking to her and ask her out. It’s
not difficult and it isn’t rocket science either. I can’t give you any
guarantees, but she will either say yes, or she will say no thanks.
That’s a one in two chance of success. Or if you are a pessimist, that’s
a 50 percent chance of failure. But just give it a go, there’s a good
chap, it’s not the end of the world if she says no. Is it?.
I was told many years ago that you shouldn’t let your wife’s family come
to stay with you, even just for a few days, as it always ends up for
weeks or months. I thought I was lucky because it never happened to me.
Relatives might stay one or two nights, but that was it. Recently things
have changed a lot now with her brother and her cousin and her mother
all staying in the house with us. They all stay in the one room which I
think is a bit unhealthy, and they’ve been here for three months and
there’s no sign of them leaving. They are quiet and do help around the
house and garden, but this wasn’t what I really expected. I asked my
wife about it but she just says it’s OK and they’ll be going soon after
the brother and cousin have got jobs and mother is just having a
holiday. Well I wish I could have three month holidays. What’s the next
move, Hillary? Enough’s enough, surely. I have a close family in the UK,
but they wouldn’t come and stay forever.
Horace the House Husband
Dear Horace the House Husband,
You are now starting to see a little of what Thai society is all about,
my Petal. Family reigns supreme, and it is usual for them all to sleep
in the same room. It’s not unhealthy. It is Thai. When you got married,
you joined a Thai family, much more than your wife joining your UK
family. After all, you married a Thai lady and chose to live in
Thailand. You would have to expect that Thai culture will be dominant.
You can try voicing your reluctance to have them there, but be prepared
for difficulties. This is your wife’s immediate family. You can always
try to find them jobs - in a far away city. Lots of luck!
by Harry Flashman
I was reminded about helicopters this week when I overheard a
young lady saying accusingly to her male partner, “You not
butterfly, you helicopter!” To which the quick-witted young man
replied, “And you international airport!”
From the outset, I have to admit that I have no head for
heights. Dizzy when standing on a chair is close to my aerial
abilities, but in the life of the pro shooter, you sometimes
have to face your greatest fears to get the shot that the art
director wants. If you don’t do it, some other photographer
will, and you have lost a client - forever!
The brief was simple. I had to shoot a vacant allotment where a
hotel and resort was (hopefully) going to be built. The client
had the ground and an architect’s model of the proposed resort.
My job was to end up with an aerial shot showing the hotel in
position, relative to all the other buildings, as if it had been
there for some years. Just another example of why you should not
believe everything you see.
Technically, shots like these are very difficult, as you have so
many factors which have to be taken into consideration, lighting
being just one of them. It is a situation that requires a
notebook and pen, just as much as a camera.
Working on the principle that we would need some nice warm
lighting and good shadow definition, it was decided we would do
the aerial shot at 3 p.m. and a helicopter (with doors removed)
was booked for 3 p.m. for one hour. Helicopters are not cheap to
hire, and since the photographer is paying, I took the one hour
With all camera gear on board we reviewed the site from the air.
I had to decide from what height we needed to do the shooting,
and 600 feet seemed the best. We then circled the vacant
allotment until the best viewpoint was reached, as we also had
to show the beach and some Pacific Ocean, to show the locality
of the proposed resort. At the same time we noted the focal
length of the lens I would use and did a couple of test
Polaroids to settle on the exposure details. The camera, by the
way, was a Hasselblad as we had to shoot in medium format, which
with its removable backs allowed for Polaroid test exposures.
Then came the first of the problems. It was a windy day and the
pilot could not hold the position to allow me to shoot from
inside the helicopter and I was going to have to go outside of
my little cocoon of safety to get the shot.
This meant wearing a harness with a rope attached and getting
out of the helicopter and standing on the landing struts while
leaning into the wind and don’t drop the camera! For someone
dizzy at one meter above ground level, this was a fearsome task.
And did mean I had to trust the photographer’s assistant
In around 10 minutes of being buffeted outside the helicopter, I
had shot several rolls of film and I was pulled back in and we
headed for the airport.
After processing the transparencies, the next part of the job
was to shoot the architect’s model in the studio. This meant
replicating the lighting direction and the warmth of the light.
It also meant shooting from a height in the studio that was the
equivalent of 600 feet in the helicopter. This was done by
reading the architect’s plans and working out 600 feet relative
to the height of the proposed building and then using that
formula with the height of the architect’s model. There is
several hours involved in just doing that and then more hours in
setting up the lights and the camera position.
The following day we began shooting Polaroids, looking at the
relativity to the helicopter shots. These were the days long
before Photoshop and everything had to be in the correct scale
before we would send background and resort model shots to the
Only after everything was right did we shoot the transparencies
of the architect’s model. In total three days of intense
shooting. I earned my money with that shoot.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
Oh, for a crystal ball
Some people say this column is
too negative. I say it is realistic. All I look for when discussing finances is
for common sense to be applied. Therefore, let’s look at the state of things at
the moment and see how things may pan out in the near future.
As I write this, the demand for high risk assets has returned with people buying
left, right and centre as they think low valuations are over and done with. At
the moment, if there is a small downturn then it will probably sucker in yet
more buyers who think they may miss out on what Martin Gray of Miton Asset
Management calls, “This risk-will-be-rewarded rally”.
Unfortunately though, it is a bubble sponsored by governments and central banks.
However, as Martin also says, “Reality may have to be faced later in the year,
as deflation takes a grip and unemployment continues to rise,” even though it
will probably do this at a slower rate than we have at the moment.
The western world has enjoyed over twenty years of falling inflation, falling
bond yields and falling interest rates and as the availability of credit
increased and the cost of servicing debt decreased, consumers and governments
went on a spending binge. The debt bubble has not burst or lessened in the last
eighteen months; it has just been taken from the private sector (banks) and
Most of the economic growth seen so far in this recovery is on the supply side;
the result of government spending and cash injections which have built inventory
levels from incredibly low levels.
The de-coupling threat has come around again after falling flat on its face
towards the end of last year. The recent rally in a lot of the commodity prices
has set this off and there is now an awful amount of money being invested into
emerging markets. The problems will come when restocking slows down later on in
the year. Therefore, unless Western demand can pick itself up from the floor,
the sudden faith in this asset category is very likely to unwind again.
Without doubt, higher inflation will come but the expectations for 2010 do seem
to be way over the top given the huge shocks given to the financial system.
Although it is true that the bounce in the price of oil may keep the number a
wee bit higher in the short term, the fact is that with unemployment still on
the rise and household debt not getting any less there will be little demand for
goods or services. This, if anything, should make prices go down.
The West is still in a deflationary mode for the moment but, as implied above,
the central banks will have to react accordingly as deflation could well be
worse than inflation. Where the problem lies is the fact that there is little
room for error and if people get it wrong then the present situation will look
like a walk in the park to what will come if they get it wrong.
Many analysts have stated that governments have been quick to tackle the banking
crisis by providing cash as and when it has been needed. They have also come to
the rescue of many companies by either providing money directly or nationalizing
them. This was the easy part. The real problem is going to be what will happen
when this money runs out.
With the incurred budget deficits we have now (they have only been more in
wartime), the only way they can be re-paid is via higher taxation and cutting
benefit programmes for many years to come. What does not make this any easier is
that this comes at a time when the people of the Western world are getting close
to retiring just when the pension funds are struggling for survival and the
household balance sheets have not been weaker for decades. As Martin Gray says,
“Demand could remain sickly for a lot longer than is being priced into many
Concerns over the lack of demand also apply to the rally in stock prices as it
appears that much of the recent recovery in earnings is the result of
cost-cutting rather than a rise in growth through increased demand for goods.
The reality is that we are just putting off the inevitable. The debt we have
built up over the years has to be confronted and dealt with. The real question
is what will happen when the quantitative easing is withdrawn.
Without doubt, this rally is being driven because of the liquidity being poured
into the markets. It has nothing to do with fundamentals. This is proven by the
fact that bonds, equities and gold are all going up at the same time.
However, I believe the former two will both suffer over the next year or so at
least as the supply in both will increase dramatically. This is because a lot of
companies have a present line of credit that will be called in for renewal over
the next twelve months. The lending houses (banks) will not give the same terms
as before due to their margins having expanded. There is also the unspoken
problem of banks being required to reduce their balance sheets.
The only way to solve this lack of finance is for the companies to either issue
bonds or shares/stocks. Markets are not the place to be at the moment. The
danger is to invest in them just before the next downturn which, when it comes,
will be massive.
Another fund manager at Miton, Nick Greenwood, heard a good analogy the other
day, it “likened the financial system to two baths, one in the East and one in
the West. In both regions, the authorities have turned the liquidity taps fully
on. In the West, the plug is absent despite the vast sums being injected in,
even GBP175 billion of quantitative easing is small beer relative to the
shrinkage needed in bloated balance sheets. Therefore, the bath is far from
overflowing as the cash is draining into bank vaults and not escaping into the
markets. Conversely in the Far East, the Chinese have their own taps just as
firmly on full flow; however, as the local sector is not afflicted by the
excesses of the bubble in that local banks are sound, the plug is firmly in and
the water is flooding everywhere.”
What this means is that these actions by the Chinese government are driving the
short term direction of the markets. The problem for fund managers is that it is
almost impossible to predict what the next actions of Beijing will be.
Management of the global economy represents an enormous experiment and the
conclusion cannot be forecast with any degree of confidence. Life will remain
far from relaxing for the foreseeable future. The solution? Diversify,
diversify, diversify and have no loyalty to any one asset.
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
Chiang Mai’s ‘Pride’
Ask a Chiang Mai resident –
Thai or farang – about this city’s ‘gay scene’ and the initial response
might be a puzzled frown, giving way to a half smile. The sort of look
perfected by a salesperson at one of those places where the ambience
suggests, oh so discreetly, that should you have to ask the price you can’t
The truth is that there is no closely defined scene here. Chiang Mai is a
city where the gay scene blurs the edges, seeping through all aspects of
life. And the ‘locals’ are rather proud of that.
Discounting the rather tawdry bars in the Night Bazaar area, there is no
cluster of activity. But go to a concert, a play, one of the many charity
events such as the 200 Club or the upcoming Garden Party at City Life or a
special event at one of the premier restaurants such as Moxie Restaurant at
D2 or The House and it will inevitably be – well – rather gay.
It is no accident that one of the recently opened bars is called Metro.
Short not for the Paris subway but for metrosexual, an all embracing notion
epitomized by the likes of David Beckham. I get the sense here, more than
anywhere in Thailand and plenty of other countries, that this is a convivial
city in which to be ‘out’, whether as a student or a farang who has made it
A good example might be area around the busy Huay Kaew Road, with its
shopping mall and cinemas, schools, hotels, coffee bars and so on. Start at
the bottom end and you will find the recently opened Lavender Lanna Hotel,
which has a cabaret, a go-go bar, an all night diner and, now, a roof
Carry on up the road and there’s Soho Bar (also with an American owner) with
its sparky waiters and a mainly gay clientele, boosted by visitors from the
near-by hotels who find the mood sympatico. About 300 yards further on and
you’ll find the discreet P.J.s, a charming guest house catering for gay
Make a detour across the road to find two gay -owned restaurants, Krit’s and
West, which have as mixed a bag of customers as any eatery could wish for.
Next door is another example, the stylish La Vie en Rose, and directly
facing them a large condotel.
Nestling behind this building is a Thai shop-house offering massage for men
by men. BBeez has been there for five years and is just one of over a dozen
such places in the city offering this service. Oddly there is only one gay
sauna in town, House of Male, but this long established venue is popular
with both Thais and visitors and is just a ten minute walk away from any of
these other venues.
These, and others, are dotted throughout the city and have grown Topsy-like
over the years. Some are explicitly gay, others just orientated that way.
This applies to the many designer shops such as Nomad (at Ginger’s) or those
on Nimmenhaeminda Road and to many of the restaurants, which collectively
offer the best choice of food in all Thailand. The best and most important
thing about this ‘non existent scene’ is that it assimilates gay culture,
rather than flaunts it. Chiang Mai with its population of 200,000 is not big
enough to be unwieldy, nor so small as to be insignificant. It may not boast
Bangkok’s millions, but is much more pleasant and manageable.
Take the long and winding road 700 kms. north west of the capital and you’ll
find our lady -like conurbation aptly titled ‘The Rose of the North’. It
happens to be the Kingdom’s second largest city yet only a fortieth the size
of the biggest.
Supposedly it is home to some 20,000 farangs, though it seems more. Perhaps
that’s because many of them settle here and find companions. Ask why and the
reply is usually simple, ‘I couldn’t live anywhere else in Thailand. Life’s
so easy here’. There will often be a caustic remark about other more blatant
towns, but that is another matter.
Nong, a 30 year old local, put it to me equally simply from the Thai
perspective: ‘The people here are nicer. We live together without problems,
gay or straight it is not a worry, because no one can see a difference and
if so, no one cares’.
It is surely no accident that lady boys or katoeys also gravitate to Chiang
Mai, where they find employment more easily than in other towns. A few
gawking tourists may snigger, but for the rest of the population it is
hardly an issue.
This laid back atmosphere may seem a little casual for those used to the
more raunchy aspects of Thailand’s gay life. There are only a handful of
shows for example: the stylish New My Way and the Circle Bar, plus the more
earthy Free Guys (that’s a misnomer here as anywhere else!). They are all
‘less in your face’ than the lady bars around Loh Kroh Road for example.
Recently they have been joined by the Power Boys cabaret and Adam’s Apple
show. The latter is situated directly opposite The Lotus Hotel and its
popular Garden Bar. Once again they are part of a mainstream soi, crammed
with eating places, condos and conventional shops, all contributing to the
overall casual tone. The latest attraction to open is the Playhouse
Entertainment complex on the site of the old Simon Cabaret at Changpueak
Road and although they stress ‘sequins and dance’ it is also advertised as
suitable for ‘the family’.
This diversity may sound daunting to a holiday maker and so it would be in
bigger environment. But the centre of Chiang Mai, as opposed to the urban
and country sprawl, is easy to get around. The lack of extreme concentration
is hardly an issue.
And compensation comes in the form of the metrosexual tone, which accounts
for the overall harmony, the conjoining or blurring of sexuality. This is
true of younger Thais in general, at least in the more sophisticated areas.
In Chiang Mai the huge student population (there are numerous colleges and
five universities including the biggest, CMU) helps create this sense of
There is no gay disco in town for example. But wander in to Mandalay and
you’ll be forgiven for mistaking it for just that. The same goes for the
many karaoke bars and, at the other end of the scale, for the elegant wine
bar The Glass Onion, off the smart Nimmenhaeminda Road. It is just another
intriguing aspect of the city. Chiang Mai, like a true friend, takes a
little time to get to know. But like a true friend it does not question
one’s behavior. Of course, some less friendly people DO question the
behavior of others, but my credo is ‘judge not’ and I wish it were theirs
too and that tolerance was their by-word.
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
Now playing in Chiang
The Twilight Saga: New Moon: US, Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance – It’s a
phenomenon for sure, but it’s not for me; I’m sorry to report I was bored.
It’s for teenaged girls with raging hormones who want romance, not sex –
very safe romance, with the vague threat of danger. Of the three main
characters, I really dislike two. Both Bella, played by Kristen Stewart,
and Edward, played by Robert Pattinson, I find boring, unappetizing,
profoundly uninteresting characters, and actors. Also, there’s sloppy
speech work done by both – they cannot be understood most of the time,
partly because they don’t bother to enunciate, partly because the sound
technicians are messing up on the job. The dialogue is particularly
unintelligible at the very important (in the film’s terms) Red Shirt rally
in Italy. (Yes, there’s a Red Shirt rally!)
I think Bella and/or Kristen Stewart is a black hole, sucking the life out
of whatever scene she’s in. I don’t for the life of me see why the two male
leads find her so desirable. She’s everything you hate about a teenage girl
moping over unrequited love.
However, maybe it’s just me. The Variety reviewer enthused: “Kristen
Stewart is the heart and soul of the film – she gives both weight and depth
to dialogue (‘You’re just warm. You’re like your own sun’) that would sound
like typical chick-lit blather in the mouth of a less engaging actress, and
she makes Bella’s psychological wounds seem like the real deal.” And here’s
another: “Kristen Stewart brings such raw vulnerability to the screen that
she makes moping attractive.” Some people think there’s a lack of sparkle
in the relationships; some people think the relationships are deeply-felt,
simmering, and meaningful. So I have to be careful with what I say, and not
give full rein to my negative feelings, because great numbers of people
think quite differently than I, and it’s really just a matter of taste.
The third of the three main characters, on the other hand, is terrific! In
my opinion, you understand. This of course is the actor Taylor Lautner, a
young man who has a lot of American Indian blood in him. He plays a member
of the Quileute (pronounced KWIL-ee-ewt) tribe, and in the course of the
film Bella uncovers frightening secrets about him and his tribe.
The Quileute tribe is an actual tribe living in western Washington State.
Legends hold that a supernatural transformer fashioned the Quileute from
wolves. The tribe’s ancestry reaches back to the Ice Age. Quileute were
stubborn fighters when attacked, and if they won a battle, the losers were
taken as slaves. This also happened during the first few encounters with
the white man; the first time, in 1775, a Spanish ship got lost and
accidentally landed on their territory. The Quileute simply took them all
as slaves, which is a nice switch from the usual scenario!
In the story, some members of the Quileute tribe are capable of
shape-shifting into wolves, becoming spirit wolves, which are similar to
werewolves. They are natural enemies of vampires. Therefore, Jacob is an
enemy of Edward. That of course leads to endless complications, because
Bella falls in love with them both.
At any rate, despite what I or anyone else may feel, this film may be
critics-proof. It’s very well calculated to appeal to its target audience,
virgins dreaming of safe love. Exciting and thrilling, but not particularly
threatening. It will undoubtedly be a hit.
So bottom line: if you’re a teenaged girl with raging hormones, you’ll love
it! As you will the next in the series, Twilight Saga: Eclipse,
directed by yet a third director, David Slade, which completed shooting
three weeks ago.
Mixed or average reviews. The Vista version is Thai-dubbed only, both
languages at Airport Plaza.
2012: US/ Canada, Action/ Drama/ Thriller – The end of the world, as
only Director Roland Emmerich can show it. Very well done disaster movie to
end all disaster movies. Mixed or average reviews. A Thai-dubbed version
is available at both locations.
Julie & Julia: US, Biography/ Comedy/ Drama/ Romance – Meryl
Streep gives a charismatic performance as Julia Child, and Amy Adams is
Julie Powell in this adaptation of two bestselling memoirs. Generally
Disney’s A Christmas Carol: US, Animation/ Drama/ Family/ Fantasy –
Starring Jim Carrey, this animated adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic
– one of literature’s most haunting morality tales – uses the motion capture
technology previously seen in The Polar Express. Mixed or average
Ninja Assassin: US/ Germany, Action/ Drama/ Thriller – Features a
warfare innovation – the slicing of bodies in half by whizzing five-pointed
stars. A blood-soaked combination of physical stunts and digital trickery,
with Korean pop star Rain, who here is only a mild drizzle. Rated R in the
US for strong bloody stylized violence throughout, and language.
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
This was board 4 from the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai pairs game on Nov 11th.
It poses a bidding challenge for EW. Both sides were vulnerable and West
dealt. Imagine you are East. The bidding starts as shown. So, what do you
S: 82 S: AKJ95
H: A10862 H: 75
D: KJ1097 D: AQ84
C: 6 C: AJ
West North East South
P P 1S 3C
3D P ?
Your partner is a passed hand, but is
willing to mention a new suit vulnerable at the three level, so must have
something good. With your diamond holding, there surely should be no diamond
losers. You have 19 high card points, excellent spades and the ace of clubs.
Your partner must have some values outside diamonds to justify bidding at
all, since he certainly does not have more than one of the top three
diamonds. So what do you bid now?
What did you decide? There were all sorts of contracts at the table. With
all the points in your hand, you cannot stop short of game, but which game?
With your club stopper, three no trumps is a possibility (hoping your
partner’s points are in hearts to provide a stopper there). At the table,
Penny Ellis and Rado Nordtveit took this route and made all thirteen tricks,
for a top. Five diamonds is probably a safer choice. Dennis Hudson and
Martin Bagnall bid this and made an overtrick. Four spades is a riskier
contract, since there are only seven trumps between the two hands. Phil
Watts and Mark Barber-Riley chose this and took all thirteen tricks, with
the spades splitting three-three and the queen onside. However the best
bidding came from Kob Cavin and Toom Vijaykadga, who got to six diamonds,
which is the optimum contract. Now you just have to make it, but that is a
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: