The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
I have written about health
insurance before, which is really “sickness” insurance when you think about
it, and is a necessary expense if you want the best treatment if you do fall
However, you don’t have to wait until you fall ill to see what ailments you
might fall prey to - you can actually do some predictions, which cost
nothing. Begin with a good knowledge of your parents’ health profile as that
is important from your future health’s point of view. We are discovering
every day that heredity plays a very important part of your health profile.
Heredity is one of the ‘clues’ to your health in the future, and what you
can do to enjoy a long, lively and healthy one. With the increasing research
into genetics, we are able to map out our likely futures and can predict
such ailments as diabetes, epilepsy and other neurological problems like
Huntington’s Chorea and Alzheimer’s Disease, some cancers such as breast,
ovarian, lower bowel, prostate, skin and testicular, heart attacks, blood
pressure problems, certain blood diseases like Sickle Cell anemia and so the
list goes on.
However, you do not need to have multi-million baht examinations done on
your DNA to see where you are headed, all you need to do is to start asking
the older family members about your inheritance. Not the money - your
genetic inheritance in the health stakes.
Have you ever wondered why the questionnaire for life insurance asks whether
any close member of your family has ever suffered from diabetes, epilepsy
and other ailments and then also asks you to write down how old your parents
or brothers and sisters were when they died, and what they died from? The
insurance company is not being friendly. What they, the insurance companies,
are doing, is finding out the relative likelihood (or ‘risk’) of your
succumbing early to an easily identifiable disease. This does not need a
postgraduate Masters degree in rocket science. It needs a cursory
application of family history.
If either of your parents had diabetes, your elder brother has diabetes,
your younger brother has diabetes and your cousin has diabetes, what are the
odds on your getting (or already having) diabetes? Again this is not rocket
science. The answer is pretty damn high! And yet, I see families like this,
where the individual members are totally surprised and amazed when they fall
ill, go to hospital, and diabetes is diagnosed.
It does not really take very much time over a family lunch to begin to
enquire about one’s forebears. After five minutes it will be obvious if
there is some kind of common medical thread running through your family.
That thread may not necessarily be life threatening, but could be something
like arthritis for example.
Look at it this way - your future is being displayed by your family’s past.
This could be considered frightening, when your father, his brother and your
grandfather all died very early from heart attacks (as is my family
history). Or, this could be considered as life saving, if it pushes you
towards looking at you own cardiac health and overcoming an apparently
disastrous medical history (as I have done).
This is an advantage that you get provided you are not an orphan. You know
what to look for before it becomes a problem. Going back to the family with
diabetes, what should the younger members do? Well, if it were me, I would
be having my blood sugar checked at least once a year from the age of 20.
Any time I had reason to visit the doctor in between, I would also ask to
have the level checked. We are talking about a very inexpensive test that
could literally save you millions of baht in the future, as well as giving
you a better quality of life, and a longer one.
Ask around the dinner table today and plan to check your medical future
tomorrow. It’s called a ‘Check-up’!
Heart to Heart
Is there nothing that can be done about the Thai habit of never being on
time? For anything! I am sure my Thai wife will be late for her own
funeral. I have tried putting all the clocks in the house 10 minutes
forward, but it still doesn’t work. We have arguments about it and she
says, “Nobody will die because we are late, so stop getting angry.” I
have tried to say it is the height of rudeness to people we intend to
meet, but none of that works either. Tell me, Hillary, what does work?
Dear “Time Flies”,
Why is there so much knocking of Pattaya in the media overseas? They
seem to make out that Thailand is just one big sex tour venue. Sure
there are service girls, but if you ask me, they do a good job for
Thailand’s balance of trade figures. For someone based in Thailand like
you, what do you feel about this?
A perennial question, my Perplexed Petal, and one that still amazes me.
London, Amsterdam, Mumbai, Berlin, The Philippines, Sydney, New York and
just about every city this side of Salt Lake has its red light district.
So why the finger pointing at Thailand? Probably because Thailand offers
better value for money? In that case, it is probably jealousy-driven.
There is also much more for the tourists to Thailand to do than just the
bar areas, and this can be seen by the increasing number of families
recently, especially from Russia and India. Chiang Mai has also changed
with many more up-market hotels like the Shangri-La for example, and
Pattaya has three new hotels for the 2010 season, including the
well-known Holiday Inn and the luxurious Centara Grand. If Thailand is
such a bad place, would major hotel chains be building here? As I said,
I think it is jealousy!
Are you related to the “Abby” agony aunt in the American newspapers? She
seems to have been going even longer than you have, or is being an agony
aunt the secret to long life?
Dear Agony Alfie,
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne
Phillips, and is not the same one all the time as Dear Abby was founded
by her mother, Pauline Phillips. I am not American, so we’re not related
and Dear Hillary was founded by Hillary. My mother is not called
Hillary, or Pauline or Jeanne. Anyway, Dear Abby is always sugary sweet.
Dear Hillary is not.
Over the past weeks I have seen, at long last, some farang men who were
not complaining about being ripped off by their Thai wives. For the
doubters out there - yes, there are very many others who share in the
wonderful experience of being married to a Thai woman. Dare I give
advice? It is really just the same as for any other prospective long
term union irrespective of nationality - the hard part is not the
nationality, it is just “man” and “woman” that is so different. Yes,
there are many differences in culture to overcome and the rules are not
quite the same, but in the end it all boils down to a man and a woman
getting to know and understand each other. That doesn’t happen after a
couple of sweaty nights either! A good Thai woman with some education
and a sensible and flexible farang man who can listen and try to
understand can match just perfectly - after all only the fool and his
money that are soon parted, but parting with a little here and there
occasionally to help the family is expected and is not so bad, is it?
I’ve had 16 years experience with the same woman. It is possible to have
a great relationship with a Thai woman.
Happy in the service
Dear Happy in the service,
You have made more than a couple of observations that should be looked
at carefully, Petal. It is possible, as you have proved, to have a good
meaningful relationship with a Thai woman. As you write, “That doesn’t
happen after a couple of sweaty nights either!” How true, those are what
I call ‘meaningless’ relationships, but if this is the basis for a long
term relationship, it must fail. The female becomes very disenchanted
and eventually takes whatever she can out of the union. And that is
credit cards, PIN numbers and any property she has managed to get into
her name, usually houses, condos and motorcycles. The example of “a fool
and his money are soon parted,” is so correct.
You also stated “A good Thai woman with some education,” and generally
you won’t find one of those sitting on a bar stool saying “Come in, sexy
man.” Those farangs who pick their mate from the beer bars are just
setting themselves up for a fall. The education you need to look for is
of the formal kind, not the school of hard knocks. No matter how tugging
at the heart strings are the tales of husbands killed on motorcycles and
children left with their grandmothers. The farang does need to be
flexible, as you noted, and assisting the family is the nature of the
culture, but as you say, it’s not too bad, is it.
by Harry Flashman
is coming and the goose is getting fat” goes the old Christmas
carol, and indeed the jolly fat fellow in the red outfit should
be squeezing himself down the chimney in a few weeks.
Unfortunately, the entire Santa concept is only available for a
couple of weeks in December, and only for the first few years of
your children’s lives. One day, son or daughter will inform you
that there really isn’t a Santa Claus and the magic moment is
over forever, so it is important to get some good shots for the
There are some good ‘commercial’ Santas around so you can plan
ahead, because ‘planning’ is the answer for all good, memorable
evocative Christmas photographs.
This is much the same as all ‘event’ photography such as
weddings, for example - you get one chance and that’s it. With
Santa and your child, with another 150 children waiting in line,
you can’t very well say, “Can we just try that shot again, and
try to look a little happier, Santa.”
Planning for photography means you have to think about the shots
you want first. Before you even get there, but let’s plan this
It will be an indoors shot, so we may have to look at bringing
an off-camera flash (if you have one). If you haven’t, then look
at bringing a tripod and using a wide aperture (also known as a
‘fast’ lens) so that the shutter speed isn’t impossibly slow. At
last resort, look to setting the camera on around 400 ASA. I do
not suggest higher ASA because digital cameras tend to get too
much “noise” as the ASA goes up, even though it makes the
exposure more simple.
You also want to be close to Santa’s chair, so the shot of child
and Santa fills the frame. If you cannot get close enough, then
consider a zoom lens, but remember that the majority of zoom
lenses do not allow for wide apertures (such as f2.8).
You also have to think about the fact that Santa has a red suit,
so if you want to see your child in the shot, make him or her
wear light colored clothes, so there is a strong separation
between the two figures.
So far, in our planning, it has required a trip to the venue to
see how well lit or otherwise, a wardrobe choice for the young
star of the show and a look through all the camera gear to make
sure you have it ready to go. Of course that also means
recharging the batteries, especially if you are going to use
flash. Remember that flash photography eats batteries!
The big “S” day approaches and time for you and your child to
line up for the big event. Take some shots of someone else’s
child to just check on your lighting and exposure values and
adjust accordingly. Get as close as you can, so that the final
photo is just Santa and child.
When it is your pride and joy’s turn to sit on Santa’s knee
resist calling out and saying “smile” as it is much better to
record the interaction between the child and Santa. It is that
intangible emotion that you want to catch, not the posed shot of
child and Santa staring down the lens. It is important to keep
that in your mind as you are shooting. Take a look at the
illustration this week. This is an oil painting by Todd
Krasovetz and demonstrates everything I have mentioned - the
light-colored child’s outfit contrasting against Santa’s outfit,
and the whole scene is the interaction between the child and the
adult Santa. The painter can produce anything he wants, but
chose to paint the picture that you can produce yourself in the
camera with just a little planning.
Remember to also get some shots around the Xmas tree as your
child unwraps his or her presents. Since the child’s
concentration will be totally on the present, you can get quite
close and record the happy facial expressions.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
A man’s home is his castle, part 1
This proverb has been around
for centuries; however, if you believe Jimi Hendrix then, “Castles made of sand
fall into the sea eventually”.
In the US at the moment, share prices are on the up with the Dow Jones 30 going
through 10,000 which is where it was in 1999. However, unemployment is also on
the rise. Company closure is almost 25% up on what it was last year. Even more
worrying though is the report by The Associated Press, “The number of
households caught up in the foreclosure crisis rose more than 5 percent from
summer to fall as a federal effort to assist struggling borrowers was
overwhelmed by a flood of defaults among people who lost their jobs. The
foreclosure crisis affected nearly 938,000 properties in the July-September
quarter, compared with about 890,000 in the prior three months, according to a
report released recently by RealtyTrac Inc. That puts foreclosure-related
filings on a pace to hit about 2.5 million this year, up from more than 2.3
million last year.” The report went on, “Unemployment is the main reason
homeowners are falling into trouble. (And) the unemployment rate - now at a
26-year high of 9.8% - isn’t expected to peak until next year.”
Natalie Holt of Mortgage Strategy recently observed that the number of prime
borrowers who are at least three-month in arrears with payments continues to
rise, and as Moody’s warns that this will only get worse.
As Bob Bauman has pointed out, the US government is financing 9 out 10 new US
mortgages. People say this is impossible, but even the Wall Street Journal has
reported that the trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance has stated, “Over
the past year, the government has intervened heavily at essentially every stage
of the home buying process. In fact, more than 80% of the new residential
mortgage loans made this year benefited from some form of government support.”
It does seem unbelievable but it must be remembered that the American government
has to come to the rescue of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last year and
basically now owns both of these companies along with their combined USD5.4
trillion in loans. As if this is not dire enough, in an attempt to keep mortgage
rates as low as possible, the Federal Reserve has made it well known that it
wants to buy almost USD1.5 trillion in debt issued or which has been guaranteed
by the US governments mortgage bodies and another USD300 billion in Treasuries,
which are the things that set the benchmark for home lending. As if this is not
all, the government is offering USD8,000 in tax credits for first time home
Things do not stop here. Bud Conrad of Casey Research has come up with even more
staggering statistics. The pick of this lot has to be the Federal Home Loan Bank
which is a “government sponsored entity” (GSE) and is made up of twelve regional
Federal Home Loan Banks all of which are individual companies in their own
right. This sounds very good but in fact, even though they are ‘sponsored’ by
the government, they do not get any legal guarantees from it. What they do is
sell debt securities to the public in order to provide money to its member banks
which then turn this into mortgage credit for home buyers. Now, get this, there
are 8,100 member banks, thrift and credit unions as well as insurance companies
which provide the mortgages via the banks. They do not lend directly to the end
The banks then collateralize these advances from the mortgages they get. These
guys have over USD1.1 trillion of assets and liabilities but only have less than
USD50 billion of total capital. This means they are leveraged at about 25:1.
This might seem bad enough but over the last six months they have had to write
off USD200 billion of bad debt. Given the above, it is not difficult to work out
that if just five percent of the loans they have given had to be written off
then the FHLB would have no capital left. If only ten percent defaulted then
this would be twice what they are actually worth. This is just either
breathtakingly stupid or arrogance beyond belief.
Things in Merrie Olde England are no better. People in arrears of at least 90
days on UK mortgage-backed securities have doubled, going from 0.9% in Q2 2008
to 1.8% in Q2 this year.
The Moody’s report picks outs loans originated from the government-backed
Northern Rock and Bank of Scotland as particularly poor performing, which is of
even greater concern.
The dearth of the re-mortgage market, together with the rise in unemployment,
means that prime borrowers are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their
Prior to the economic downturn borrowers have refinanced their way out of
arrears problems or sold their property. Now we have an almost ‘perfect storm’
situation, whereby “increasing unemployment and a lack of financing options has
led to a dead-end scenario for borrowers, as they are forced to revert to the
lender’s SVR, which in most cases compounds the situation and may cause a
To be continued…
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
A November feast,
and more to come
Seated in Buddy’s internet
café (the best one in town, opposite Central, Kad Suan Kaew) I couldn’t help
but overhear the guy at the next computer. Apart from wondering why such a
well run shop does not ban the use of mobile phones, I was also bemused by
the conversation. “No, don’t come up, there’s absolutely nothing to do in
Chiang Mai. You’ll be bored after a day.” Charitably I decided that the
speaker was trying to put his girl or boyfriend off so that he could have
the place to himself. Either that or he was so uninterested in life that
nowhere on earth would satisfy him.
I was reminded of this more recently when at an AUA concert, given by the
excellent Kuala Lumpur Guitar Ensemble. I sat next to a charming American
who – it transpired- was researching and writing yet another travel guide to
S.E. Asia and China. Interestingly, this was to be for a niche market and
aimed at women aged 30 and over travelling solo.
Now the point of these two observations is to note the difference between
the dullard and the person who had, in a short time, found so many things to
do and write about in Chiang Mai that she was worried about having to leave
for Chiang Rai, Laos and further legs of her journey. The real point is that
there is often too much to do in the city, and events often clash or overlap
and sadly get under publicised. Apart from the established municipal museums
and galleries such as the CMU, there are countless art and photographic
exhibitions such as the recent Songs of Memory at the indispensable Suri
Wong Bookshop. There are occasional plays, including the recent sell out
shows of The Odd Couple and the annual EU Film Festival and the excellent
screenings at CMU (Saturdays) and Alliance Francaise (Fridays) and two
cinema complexes with the odd good movie on release. Plus, of course, the
music scene which is one of the joys of the city, ranging from the regular
jazz performances at numerous restaurants and bars to 80 concerts a year at
Payap University and many more elsewhere. And all this is just in the city.
For the more energetic the surrounds hold adventure and magnificent scenery
within easy access.
Admittedly some things are not easy to find out enough information about but
the expanded CM Mail listings and many in other publications and the City
Now website are a help and a keen pair of eyes will find notices all over
town of exhibitions and events (the AUA Library board is useful). There are
also many ‘clubs’ and other groups and a useful area of information is the
Expats Club and its publication and the other freebie In Focus 4 You, both
of which can be found in numerous outlets throughout the city. The problem
is sometimes a clash of interests, such as the recent choice between the
Tango Concert at the AUA and the Songs of the Mountains at Payap, both on
the 25th November.
In fact, November contained an embarrassment of riches. Apart from the EU
Film Festival, music was dominant and my special favourites were wonderfully
contrasted. A tour of the Dutch group, Biggles Big Band, landed at the
Mercure Hotel at Chuang Puak on November 12 and was a justified sell out
with a generous buffet and a sizzling performance from this brilliant
ensemble. This was super big band entertainment with an excellent singer who
had enough talent to follow the Sinatra route without stumbling. More such
events at the Mercure please.
The other ‘big’ event was some ten days later at the Kad Theatre, as part of
the Mekong –Japan Exchange Year. Called The Japanese Music Night it was one
of the increasingly successful concerts given by the ever improving Chiang
Mai Youth Philharmonic Band and Symphony Orchestra. This was re-formed in
2007 and, after a slightly shaky start, is attracting bigger audiences and
becoming confident in both performance and programming, under the guidance
of conductor Chaipruck Mekara.
The programme was cleverly constructed and began with a rousing piece from
Japan which suited the Band’s enthusiasm and skill. The star of the evening
was Atsuko Seta who ended the first half with vivacious performances of two
solo works for piano from Japan and then delighted the audience later with a
lively rendition of the popular piano concerto in A. Minor by Grieg. I am
told that Ms. Seta, who now lives in Chiang Mai, will be playing with
Bennett Lerner in a concert early next year.
There were too many other events in November to detail, but they included
three piano recitals at AUA, a visiting Russian guitarist and the Malaysian
ensemble and Alessio Monti also all at AUA. It seems that December will also
be a busy month, perhaps inevitably with some Christmas orientated concerts.
There is one on December 5th at the St Luce Chapel and at the same venue on
the 11th the Philharmonic Orchestra will be in concert with the Payap Choir
for a Christmas Concert. And on Wednesday 9th December the Santi School will
be hosting a Christmas ‘singalong’ beginning at 6.30 p.m. You can find out
more on 053 224 344. Looking even further ahead there are to be several
performances of electronic music during late January and early February and
Bennett Lerner will end his ambitious Faure Festival later that month. More
details of these and other shows in the Mail later. If you are planning an
event please let the editorial department know with as much information as
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
Although promised, Julie and Julia
didn’t show up here last week; I’m disappointed – I was really looking
forward to seeing Meryl Streep’s apparently legendary performance. And I
have heard from some of you, voicing your displeasure and dismay. We had
seen previews at Airport Plaza and everything, and its arrival seemed so
Now playing in Chiang Mai
Disney’s A Christmas Carol: US, Animation/ Drama/ Family/ Fantasy
– Brilliant! Don’t miss it if you at all like animation. Not the warm,
comforting film you might expect from Disney, it is instead a dark and grim
tale, and a faithful recreation of the Charles Dickens classic – one of
literature’s most haunting morality tales. Mixed or average reviews,
but I can’t recommend it highly enough. Shown in 3D, which in this case is
a marvel, and only at Airport Plaza. (Surcharge.)
It is, in fact, so faithful to the original text that it is a bit difficult
to follow at times, since the vocabulary and the grammar are as used by
Dickens; even the London accents used are those of the book.
The film for the most part is leisurely presented and takes its time; some
of the long passages of silence are truly scary. The film in general has a
spooky stillness about it, broken up now and again by passages of action to
please the kiddies and the backers.
But talking about kiddies, it is so frightening, horrifying, and just plain
scary at times that I question whether kids under 10 should be taken. Be
It’s a remarkable piece of acting for Carrey. I also have to mention the
brilliant use of music, which I thought was exceptionally apt and expressive
throughout, and which rises to a marvelously rousing crescendo during the
Ninja Assassin: US/ Germany, Action/ Crime/ Thriller – A blood-soaked
combination of physical stunts and digital trickery, with Korean pop star
Rain, who here is only a mild drizzle. Not recommended, unless you’re
easily delighted by ultraviolence for its own sake. Otherwise, this thinly
plotted movie with low-grade thrills about a young ninja’s revenge against
his cruel trainers will disappoint. The shadowy action is too often
incomprehensible, except in the general sense that heads, limbs, and torsos
are being severed in massive numbers. The fight sequences feature buckets
of blood and a slew of slow-motion acrobatics. Ten minutes after you leave
the movie, all the battles will have blended in your memory into a ceaseless
muddle of sliced-off appendages, jets of blood splashing artfully on walls,
gurgling screams, and flashing swords. Rated R in the US for strong bloody
stylized violence throughout, and language. 18+ in Thailand. Mixed or
The Twilight Saga: New Moon: US, Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance – It’s a
phenomenon, all right: in the US it had the biggest opening weekend of
2009, an astounding $142.8 million, the third highest-grossing opening ever
behind only The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 3. Industry
tracker, Box Office Mojo, further reports that on its opening day, New
Moon shattered the records for US opening day and midnight showings,
thanks to the rush of its fervent fan base. “The distributor’s exit polling
in the US indicated that 80 percent of the audience was female and 50
percent was under 21 years old, which means the sequel brought in more
female and younger viewers than the first Twilight.”
It was similarly a huge hit internationally. There’s no doubt about it, the
film is brilliantly calculated to appeal to its target audience, virgins
dreaming of safe love. So if you’re a teenaged girl with raging hormones,
you’ll love it! As you will the next in the series, Twilight
Saga: Eclipse, which completed shooting a month ago and is scheduled for
June 30 of next year, or just seven months from now.
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.
Scheduled for December 3
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s
Assistant: US, Action/ Comedy/ Fantasy/ Horror – A young boy meets a
mysterious man at a freak show who turns out to be a Vampire. Eventually
the boy is forced to leave his normal life and go on the road with the
Cirque Du Freak to become a Vampire himself. A mix of scares and
laughs, based on the 12-volume book series. Mixed or average reviews.
Couples Retreat: US, Comedy – A comedy centered around four couples who
settle into a tropical-island resort for a vacation. One of the couples is
there to work on their marriage, and the others fail to realize that
participation in the resort’s therapy sessions is not optional. Generally
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: By Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden
If you do not know the name, you do not know the plant!
Some years ago I went to Chiang Dao to
buy medicinal plants. I asked the sellers to write down the “Thai names”.
Since I have Tem Smitinand’s eminent book “Thai Plant Names”, I was
confident I could find the corresponding scientific names. Soon I realised
none of the Chiang Dao names were in the book. A Thai botanist laughed at my
surprise and explained “These are village names – wait with identification
until you see the flowers”. Southerners, northerners, hill tribes and even
people of adjacent villages can hardly discuss gardening with each other,
since they use different plant names. Smitinand lists 13 Thai names for the
indigenous shrub Polyalthia suberosa, but only four names for the
exotic potato (Solanum tuberosum). Since many villagers have never
travelled further than 2-3 km in their lives, nor read any books, local
names have been preserved. Also, one Thai name can be applied to very
different species. One example is “sala”, which refers to the Indian Sal
tree (Shorea robusta) under which Buddha was born. Since “sala” also
refers to the Cannonball Tree (Couroupita guianensis), that South
American tree is erroneously depicted on Thai temple murals and is grown in
temple gardens. The two “salas” do not look like each other at all, they
just share names. “Pak chi lao” may refer to Dill (Anethum graveolens).
However, North American Dog Fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) is sold
at the Kamthieng market as “pak chi lao”. It may have a dill-like
appearance, but contains liver-damaging pyrrolizidines, and belongs to a
completely different plant family. If you search for a specific plant, you
need to identify it yourself, because the Thai name you use may mean
something else to the seller. A good book will provide the scientific name,
which only refers to one species. Thai and English vernacular names are as
many as the stars, but by using the scientific name (its international
name), you obtain correct information, ensuring that you have the correct
growing information, are cooking the right plant and are using the correct
herbs for medicine
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
You are West and you hear this bidding (South deals, EW vulnerable)
South West North
This is your hand:
What do you lead? Some players might
try the “safe” lead of the diamond jack. You, of course, think about the
bidding first, before leading anything. 1N by South indicates 15-17 points.
2C (Stayman) shows that North has at least one four card major. 2S by South
shows four spades (and denies four hearts). 2N by North shows his four card
suit was hearts and indicates 8 or 9 points—inviting to 3N. South accepts
the invitation, so should have 16 or 17 points. Thus, NS are marginal for
making game, with about 25 points in total. You have 3 points, so your
partner must have about 12 points. Since your partner has the points, you
want to find his suit, rather than trying to set up yours.
But what is your partner’s suit? North has four hearts and South has two or
three. Since you have only two hearts, your partner must have at least four,
maybe five. So, you lead the queen of hearts.
The full deal is:
S: 863 S:
H: Q6 H:
D: J10765 D: 4
C: 952 C: A74
Your partner overtakes your lead and
forces out the ace of hearts. Now, when he gets in with the ace of clubs, he
takes the rest of his heart tricks. The contract goes down one—and your
partner is delighted with your play!
Now watch what happens if you lead the “safe” diamond jack. Declarer wins in
hand and then forces out the ace of clubs. Your partner gets in and leads
hearts, but it is too late. Declarer takes the ace of hearts, to add to his
three club tricks and four diamond tricks (by finessing you for the marked
ten), and the ace of spades, to make the contract. If necessary, or if
declarer is feeling really lucky, he can also take the spade finesse. On
today’s hand this gives him an overtrick. Your partner snarls at you!
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: