The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
Just in case you doubted the value of check-ups
Some very real case histories
this week. And each one with a happy ending.
A dear old friend decided to take advantage of the cut-price check-ups the
hospital was offering. Being in his 80’s and a very active 80’s, I might
add, he decided to have an exercise stress test in his list of items to be
checked. This was an ‘extra’ item, as his blood tests were all in the normal
range. Weight, blood pressure and EKG were also in the normal range. He felt
fine in himself.
He thought he did pretty well on the treadmill until he found that they had
to stop the test prematurely, as his heart muscle was showing early signs of
distress. The heart muscle was starving for oxygenated blood.
The next step was to go to a coronary angiogram. This is where the doctor
can introduce a very small cardiac catheter via the artery in the groin into
the coronary arteries surrounding, and feeding, the heart. While looking at
the imaging screen, the doctor can squirt some radio-opaque dye into the
coronary vessels and directly see if there are any blockages to the passage
of the dye. He had one major blockage. About a 90 percent blockage. He was a
heart attack waiting to happen.
The correction of these kinds of blockages is to insert a metal tube (called
a stent, which looks like the spring inside a retractable biro pen) into the
blocked artery, done under radiological vision. Generally, a small balloon
is inserted first to dilate the blocked area and then the stent is put into
place. More dye is injected to make sure the blockage has been cleared and
the catheter is withdrawn. A cautionary few hours in hospital for
observation is next, and provided there is no leakage at the injection site,
the patient is discharged. No longer a walking time bomb!
The next case was very similar, but this was a younger man who was obviously
overweight, but he played golf three times a week and had no apparent
problems. He enjoyed his golf, and the beers at the 19th hole. Just like his
overweight golfing mates.
This chap’s blood tests were not so good, and his diabetic tendency was now
more than just a tendency. Despite the fact that he was not having chest
pains, he decided to have the 64-Slice CT of the coronary arteries carried
out. This is a special non-invasive radiological test and can show blockages
in the coronary arteries.
The 64-Slice CT showed the likelihood of three blockages. This chap was a
sure-fire candidate for a heart attack. From there it was off to the cardiac
catheter lab and the angiogram confirmed the CT. Three stents later he could
return to the golf course, but with urgent recommendations to get his weight
down and get his blood sugar and cholesterol under control. If he does all
that, he will have many rounds of good golf in the future. But he does need
to look after himself a little better.
The third case history was a senior citizen who noticed she was having
memory problems. At her age, approaching 70, this was just put down as
having ‘senior moments’, but the problem was becoming noticeable to others.
The hospital has a screening package to evaluate this type of problem which
includes an MRI, bloods and psychological testing. These tests showed that
there was a significant problem, but also that the vitamin B12 level was too
low. As people get older, the absorption of B12 can become impaired, and in
turn affects cerebral function. Within days of receiving injections of B12
she was feeling better and functioning better. When the B12 is finally
topped up to where it should be, that improvement will be maintained.
Another happy ending.
And finally, one chap had the whole gamut of tests done, and everything was
normal. “That was a waste of money,” he said. I disagree. How much money is
a clean bill of health worth?
Care for Dogs:
By Ana Gracey, Care for Dogs
Emily is looking for a family
Emily is a lovely female puppy looking for a new home. She is
friendly and outgoing and loves to play. She has had all her shots
and is well looked after. If you think you can provide Emily with a
loving and caring home please contact Care for Dogs, English (08 47
52 52 55) Thai (08 69 13 87 01) or e-mail: [email protected] carefordogs.org
to make an appointment to visit the shelter & meet Emily or any of
the many other dogs waiting for you. www.carefordogs.org.
Heart to Heart
I married my Thai fiancée after a year of engagement. She is a
professional lady and we have always done everything in a proper
fashion. My wife is 15 years younger than me and this gives us a
problem. When we go out, many foreigners assume that my wife must be, or
have been, a bar girl even though she in no way acts like one. She has
no tattoos or wears sexy dresses or even smokes. I realize that as high
as 85 percent of all Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and
“sex tourists”, but this is not so for other 15 percent of
Thai-foreigner marriages. Please tell your readers that not all
Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and “sex tourists”, and
stop making false assumptions.
Now you’ve got all that off your chest, do you feel a little better,
Petal? However, I think you have made a few false assumptions yourself
too. Where did you get that figure of 85 percent of Thai-foreigner
marriages are between bar girls and what you call “sex tourists”? Let me
assure you that “sex tourists” do not come to Thailand to get married.
That is why they are sex tourists - they want the fun in bed without the
fun filling out forms at the local Ampur office. Honestly, James, 85
percent of Thai foreigner marriages are between people such as yourself
and your wife. The foreigners who “look down” on you are the foreigners
who are not in the marriage market, just the bar meat market. Ignore
them, my Petal.
I must tell you about a ceremony I attended at Wat Doi Noi a few weeks
ago (which is the wat housing Khru Bah Noi, the young monk who is making
diesel fuel from recycled ingredients which I have told you about
before). It was where in 48 hours they picked cotton, weaved it and dyed
it to make into new robes for the abbot and the monks.
I took two English ladies with me and attended a ceremony where a wooden
boat was built along with two giant figures who are known as the ‘ever
hungry ghosts’. People put the names of loved ones who are deceased,
along with some food into the boat and then Khru Bah Noi began chanting
while the boat and ghosts were set alight. An amazing thing then
happened, as the flames were consuming the boat and ghosts, a really
strong wind howled around Wat Doi Noi, bringing branches of trees down.
All this as Khru Bah Noi was chanting to the rhythm of a big drum and
the boat and ghosts were burning. Then when they had burnt and the
chanting stopped it became very still, it was like magic. It had to be
seen to be believed. I hope your readers might appreciate a little of
the ‘other side’ of living in Thailand.
So nice to hear from you again, with more exploits of Khru Bah Noi. I am
sorry I had to edit your letter, but I think the message has remained.
So often my readers call for help because they really have not found out
what life in Thailand really can give. You have found it, and obviously
enjoy it. It really can be “amazing Thailand” if you look.
Unfortunately, the experiences you have had are not readily found in
beer bars! All the best for 2010.
Advice needed urgently, Hillary my Petal! There I was at a new bar and
met this vision of loveliness. She speaks very little English but seems
like a very genuine person. She comes from Buriram, and that’s about all
I managed to find out after about four hours and several “lady drinks”.
The biggest problem was only that she doesn’t speak much English, but we
got by OK. By the end of the night I was pretty drunk and lent her 5000
baht. What should I do? Should I keep going, or should I give up now
before I get in too deep?
You’ve got the telescope to the blind eye. Haven’t you! After four hours
of lady drinks you give this “vision of loveliness” 5,000 baht. How were
you communicating with your vision? It wasn’t English, according to you,
so I presume it must have been in Braille. Or was it just in
mathematics? You certainly did come down in the last shower. That is
5,000 baht you will never see again. But look at it this way - there is
a very grateful buffalo up there in Buriram, thinking about you. And by
the way, I am not your Petal, Petal!
Sorry to go back to the Vitamin V subject again, but while previous
letters have all been full of taking it till it drops off, kind of
riding the horse till it can’t go no further, has anyone done any study
on just how much can you take? This is a serious subject, so a serious
Hillary give a serious answer? Just who do you think I am, Petal. This
is a column for the lovelorn, not a kiss and tell in the pharmacy.
Happy New Year everyone,
by Harry Flashman
A little technical this week, but once you have mastered the
technique, DOF is totally under your control. What is DOF? Quite
simply, it is Depth Of Field, and mastery of DOF really is the
second rule of photography in my opinion. The first rule is to
walk several meters closer to the subject!
The term DOF refers to an optical one and depends solely on the
lens being used and the aperture selected. Altering the shutter
speed, does not change the Depth of Field in any way at all.
Depth of Field really refers to the zone of “sharpness” (or
being in acceptable focus) from foreground items to background
items in any photograph. This is different from what the eye
sees, as the eye can instantly focus on near and far objects,
giving the impression that everything in your field of vision is
in sharp focus. The camera, however, gives you a slice of the
The first concept to remember is “1/3rd forwards and 2/3rds
back.” Again this is a law of optical physics, but means that
the DOF, from foreground to background in your photograph can be
measured, and from the sharpest focus point in the photo,
extends towards you by one third and extends away backwards from
the focus point by two thirds.
For those of you with SLR’s, especially the older manual focus
SLR’s, you will even find a series of marks on the focussing
ring of the lens to indicate the Depth of Field that is possible
with that lens.
You see, for each focal length of lens, the DOF possible is
altered by the Aperture. The rule here is simple - the higher
the Aperture number, the greater the DOF and the lower the
Aperture number, the shorter the DOF. In simple terms, for any
given lens, you get greater front to back sharpness with f22 and
you get very short front to back sharpness at f4.
For example, using a 24 mm focal length lens focussed on an
object 2 meters away - if you select f22, the DOF runs from just
over 0.5 meter to 5 meters (4.5 meters total), but if you select
f11 it only runs from 1 m to 4 m (3 m total) and if you choose
f5.6 the Depth of Field is only from 1.5 m to 3 m (1.5 m total).
On the other hand, using a longer 135 mm focal length lens
focussed at the same point 2 meters away, you get the following
Depths of Field - at f22 it runs from 1.9 m to 2.2 m (0.3 m) and
at f5.6 it is 1.95 m to 2.1 m (a total of 0.15 m).
Analysis of all these initially confusing numbers gives you now
complete mastery of DOF in any of your photographs. Simply put
another way - the higher the Aperture number (aim for f22), the
greater the DOF; the smaller the Aperture number (aim for f4)
the smaller the DOF; plus the longer the lens (135 mm and up),
the shorter the DOF, the shorter the lens (35 mm and smaller),
the longer the DOF (just remember the ‘opposites’ - the longer
Now to apply this formula - when shooting a landscape for
example, where you want great detail from the foreground, right
the way through to the mountains five kilometers away, then use
a short lens (24 mm is ideal) set at f22 and focussed on a point
about 2 km away.
On the other hand, when shooting a portrait where you only want
to have the eyes and mouth in sharp focus you would use a longer
lens (and here the 135 is ideal) and a smaller Aperture number
of around f5.6 to f4 and focus directly on the eyes to give that
ultra short Depth of Field required.
Master it this weekend, and just remember that these optical
laws hold good for all cameras, be they film or digital.
Take great pictures in 2010.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
“Expect the Unexpected”
10 tips to keep your money safe in 2010
Everyone has had a tough time
in the last two years except, of course, the “H1N1 for me - pay me my bonus now”
We have seen unprecedented changes at a global level - global stock market
falling sharply and strong bounce backs from the lows, along with the demise and
restructuring of major US and European banks. There have been street and airport
protests in Thailand, along with even more changes of Government… and so it
All of this craziness affects you personally - but what can we do about it? As
2010 approaches, the team at MBMG has formulated 10 tips for financial stability
in uncertain times.
unexpected - your world has changed
1) Build up you cash
The so-called ‘new normal’ doesn’t feel very normal at all. What used to be
safe before is no indicator of the future. With unemployment rising throughout
the world, many of us who thought that our jobs were safe should prepare for a
change, just in case. Be aware of your employment rights, and factor that into
your financial planning. If you are only entitled to one month’s notice and/or
severance from your current employer, be smart and start now to build your cash
reserves just in case.
2) Understand the industry in which you work
Many industries now face a different paradigm - more than ever before
employees should try to understand what has changed for the sector that they
work in, and the company that they work for. Working in a declining (the polite
word is ‘sunset’) industry will not get better by copying the ostrich and
sticking your head in the sand. Those who re-train now, and go looking for new
opportunities, will move themselves to the front of new growth industries such
as energy re-cycling, clean technology, alternative energy (bio gas, biomass
3) How safe is your bank?
For a long time people trusted banks - all banks! But look at what has
happened to them all around the world - more than 200 have gone broke since
mid-2008. Now the banks don’t even trust each other and won’t lend to each
other. That is why small businesses are still finding it so hard to borrow money
at reasonable rates, why governments are still looking at further stimulus
packages for economies next year.
So in 2010, why not look again at the bank that holds your money - how safe is
it? How well run is it? How well protected legally is it? Thailand is more
fortunate than most countries. The banking sector, generally, is in better shape
than many other places. International banks in Thailand include the likes of
HSBC and Standard Chartered, arguably the biggest and best run foreign banks in
the world. But beyond that...take care.
4) Choose financial and banking products carefully
Picking the right banking partner is only part of the challenge. You also
need to choose the right financial and banking products. As many Singaporean
bank clients discovered when holding structured bank deposits promoted by a
number of Singaporean banks and underwritten by Lehman Brothers, many investors
were wiped out when Lehman Brothers failed. Our advice - most investors should
avoid nearly all structured products and investments. This is particularly so
where the security of your capital is predicated on the survival of a particular
bank or other institution where there is often no, or inadequate, investor
5) Make sure that you have enough credit
Right now ‘free cash’ is king. Avoid borrowing unless you really have to.
But if you know you will need to borrow make sure you do it early. Let’s face
it... when you really need the money, the banks won’t lend it to you. So join
the counterintuitive movement and secure credit lines when you don’t need them.
That way if the time comes and you need something to back you up in a hurry, you
don’t have to go and beg when you are at your most disadvantaged. Borrowers
should also explore the options available from the alternative banking sector.
Also, don’t rely on debt unless you have to, as debt will get more difficult to
service if either asset values fall next year or interest rates start to rise.
6) Interest rates that are ‘too good to be true’ generally are
Be sure that your returns on cash are obtained without compromising security
or liquidity. Certain money funds invest in short dated bills and bonds from
major governments, but pay higher deposit rates than bank deposits. Be very
careful here...investors should look at alternative deposits.
7) Diversify and watch your investment portfolio!
In an uncertain environment diversification is accepted to be the best
answer - we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Stock Exchange of Thailand Index
(SET) below 300 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (DJIA) below 5000
or gold above $2000 per ounce. The best way to capture opportunities and avoid
risk is not to pick individual stocks, but to diversify across investment asset
8) Look for opportunities
The Chinese word for “crisis” (we are told again and again) consists of the
characters for “danger” and “opportunity.” Sir John Templeton, international
investor and mutual fund pioneer said, “When the markets in the various asset
classes are at their lowest, the opportunities are greatest.” The trick is to be
ready and poised for opportunities.
9) Be aware of currencies
This volatility will extend to currency markets too - the baht may well
strengthen longer term against the main western currencies but there could well
be periods of volatility and weakness - trying to exploit these movements is a
challenge and opportunity for everyone.
10) Be ‘truly aware’ and open minded
All too often our decisions are shaped by our experiences of the past.
Normally, this is not bad advice. But this is the ‘New Normal’. It’s time to try
to see and accept things as they truly are, not try to fit them into an old and
redundant paradigm and expect trends of the past to be a precursor of the
future. Stay sharp, be agile in your thinking and prepared to accept change for
what it truly is...change.
A new paradigm and a new year... time for a new mind set! Wishing all of you a
Happy & Prosperous New Year.
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
Discovering the City
A museum at the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre
Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center,
or the Three Kings Building, houses a must-see museum..
I bought an historical map
of Chiang Mai recently and there was a fascinating caption to it, which I
think is worth repeating. Just a few days later I discovered the museum at
what we think of as the Three King’s building, known more correctly as
Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre. The two came neatly together and I
was able to find out more about the rich background to the Chiang Mai we
know today and which has its origins some 700 years ago.
The print caption reads as follows: After annexing the different communities
in Yonok to the Ping River Basin area to form the Lanna Kingdom, Phaya
Mangrai established Chiang Mai as the capital. He invited Phaya Ruang of
Sukhothai and Phaya Ngam Muang of Phayao to join with him in choosing the
site for the city and in the city planning.
The layout was based on ancient military and astrological beliefs. Work
began at 04.45 hours on Thursday, the 8th day of the waxing moon of the
Visakha month in the year of the monkey or 12 April, 1839 B.E. (1296 A.D.).
90,000 workers began by digging the city moat which was 9 wah wide (1 wah
equals 2 metres), commencing at Chaeng Sri Phum in the northeastern corner.
It then proceeded east to form a rectangular shape 900 by 1,000 wah. The
city and market were established at the same time. Work took 4 months to
complete. Phaya Mangrai then organised a celebration which lasted for three
days and three nights. The three friends gave the new city the name “
Nophaburi Sri Nakhon Ping Chiang Mai”.
So there we have the ancient Lanna city ruled independently for several
hundred years created in a matter of months and now known as the ‘rose of
the north’. It is the second largest city in the Kingdom but only a 40th the
size of the capital. Plenty of guide books will take you through the
complicated and often bloody history between 1296 and 2010, but if you are
looking for a really pleasant and informative short hand introduction to
that lengthy period then look no further than the beautifully set museum in
the rooms of the Cultural Centre.
This is not a dry or dusty place but a series of clearly laid out
exhibitions in the heart of this colonial style building at Prapokklao Road,
T. Sriphum, right in the heart of the old city and just a matter of minutes
walk from Thapae Gate. It is open every day (except Mondays) from 8.30 until
5 p.m. and admission is just 90 baht, You can take part in a guided tour
with members of a group of enthusiastic and charming guides or you can
wander at your leisure and follow the history through 15 rooms spread over
two floors. There’s a coffee bar in house so you can easily have a break
during the visit.
My advice would be to go twice: first as a casual visitor and then again a
while later as part of a tour where you can ask questions.
The remit of this museum is simple: it is designed to help visitors,
resident farangs and locals to discover the identity of the City we perhaps
take a little for granted. Their brief is to illustrate through classic and
modern photographs, videos, audio histories, models, drawings, artifacts and
so on, the life, custom and the culture of Chiang Mai. This is achieved
mainly through permanent exhibits plus a few temporary displays and a
library and occasional cultural activities.
I’ve enjoyed concerts and other events in the stunning courtyard of this
handsome building but until very recently was not aware of the museum
inside. The rooms are divided into a variety of ‘topics’, such a Two Rivers
Civilisation, External Relations, Life in the City, Buddhism and Life on the
Hill. Within a couple of hours you too can be a mini authority on the past,
present and hopeful future of this fine city. I doubt whether you will spend
90 baht more enjoyably or more profitably anywhere with these ancient walls.
Further details on www. chiangmaicity museum.org or by phone on 05321 7793.
Or simply head for the Three Kings Monument and enjoy a morning or afternoon
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
I just saw Avatar once again –
in 2D in Cinema 6 at Airport Plaza, and I am struck again by what a superb
work of popular moviemaking it is! It is very well plotted, and I
particularly noted this time how efficient the script was, usually
establishing character and motivations in just a few short lines.
Everything, including the screen composition, works together to keep very
clear what’s happening, and what the basic situation is.
And it all wraps up as a grand
adventure, with many of the mythic elements that have been working on
audiences since the time of Homer. Don’t miss it. See it either in 2D in
Chiang Mai, or 3D IMAX in Bangkok.
Now playing in Chiang
Avatar: US, Action/ Adventure/
Sci-Fi/ Thriller – From writer/director James Cameron, a major achievement
and a technological breakthrough. The story involves a band of humans
pitted in battle against a distant planet’s indigenous population. It’s a
film of universal appeal that just about everyone who ever goes to the
movies will need to see. In English and Na’vi dialogue, with English and
Thai subtitles as needed in the 2D version; plus there’s a Thai-dubbed
version. Vista version is 2D and Thai-dubbed only. In 3D only in Cinema 3
at Airport Plaza. Reviews: Universal acclaim. The film delivers on all
counts. Not to be missed.
Sherlock Holmes: US/ UK/
Australia, Action/ Crime/ Thriller – A new take on the Holmes canon. I’d
say, once you get over the shock of seeing Sherlock played as an action
figure, it isn’t all that bad. A bit of the old Holmes shows through.
Robert Downey Jr. plays Holmes and Jude Law his stalwart partner Watson.
Mixed or average reviews.
October Sonata: Thai, Drama/
Romance – Set against a backdrop of the October 1973 democracy
demonstrations and the student uprising of 1976. Sangchan is a girl working
in a factory who falls in love with a young student named Rawee, a leader of
student activists whom she meets on October 8th of 1970 at the cremation of
the famous Thai film star Mitr Chaibancha. Rawee then goes to study abroad,
but keeps a promise to come back to see Sangchan in two years on October
8th, and on that date each following year. But in October 1973, Rawee fails
to show after being rounded up for his involvement in the October 14
uprising. They meet again on the same October date in 1974 and 1975, but In
1976 Rawee flees into the jungle with other political activists and their
love story ends abruptly. A well-done recreation of the turbulent period of
the 1970s. It’s been called an uneven film, but with a nuanced
understanding of how historical events can profoundly damage people who
simply live through them. Airport Plaza only.
The Treasure Hunter / Ci Ling:
Taiwan, Romance/ Sci-Fi – A story about time-traveling lovers who end up in
Genghis Khan’s Mongolia to search for an ancient treasure. In a role that
is tailored to showcase to the maximum the aura of ‘coolness’ attributed to
Korean pop-star-turned-actor Jay Chou, it shows instead what a poor actor he
really is, according to the devastating reviews this movie has received,
such as, “An immensely dreary affair.” Thai dubbed only, with no English
Did You Hear About the Morgans?:
US, Comedy/ Drama/ Romance – Starring Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam
Elliott, Mary Steenburgen. Grant and Parker play an estranged New York
couple who have the great misfortune to witness a murder. Becoming the
immediate targets of a hit man, they’re whisked into the witness protection
program and sent to Wyoming, a place populated by rodeo cowboys and bears.
Nothing much happens for the next 90 minutes. Generally unfavorable
reviews, such as “Painful to watch.”
The Storm Warriors: Hong Kong,
Action/ Fantasy – A martial arts film by the twins Oxide Pang Chun and Danny
Pang. It’s the first Chinese film to extensively use bluescreen, and do
they make the most of it! In this sequel, the heroes of the first film,
Wind and Cloud, find themselves up against a ruthless Japanese warlord
intent on invading China. Style is truly great; substance is questionable.
Unfortunately, in a Thai-dubbed version only, no English subtitles. But I
loved the visuals, and the fantasy.
32 Tan-Wah: Thai, Comedy/
Romance – Yet another Thai “rom/com” with precious little information
available about it. This one takes place on the 32nd of December.
Scheduled for January
Bodyguards and Assassins: China,
Action/ Drama/ History – A group of martial artists attempt to protect Dr.
Sun Yat-sen, popularly referred to as the Father of Modern China, from an
assassination attempt at the beginning of the 20th century.
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s
Assistant: US, Action/ Fantasy/ Horror – A young boy meets a mysterious
man at a freak show who turns out to be a vampire. Mixed or average
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: By Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden
Many popular orchids are
hybrids, i.e. they are the results of man-made crossings between different
species, like crossing tigers and lions. Hybridization teaches the gardener
a lot about genetics and plant physiology, and infinite numbers of
interesting colours, patterns and shapes can be produced. At some point,
hybridization becomes more art than biology. We forget that orchids are
living beings, and that the flower serves thepurrpose of reproduction, not
that of art. Some gardeners therefore consider these man-made hybrids
grotesque. Such gardeners admire flowers where every blotch, every hair and
every scent has a function vital for reproduction, a result of evolution,
rather than a gardener’s quest for bright colours. Such original “forest
orchids” are sometimes for sale along Thai roadsides. These orchids are
often stolen from national parks,this desire contributes to their
extermination. Instead of theft from national parks, established companies,
which are certified to trade in forest orchids and multiply orchids via
micropropagation. This technique stimulates cells isolated from orchids to
form new orchid plants. Deforestation is, of course, the greatest threat to
People who have seen forest orchids growing on concrete, pine bark and
plastic nets may wonder why so many forest orchids are endangered? The
answer is that pollination, germination and establishment demand a very
special environment, while an already established orchid often can be moved
around easily. Keeping forest orchids in gardens after their natural forests
are gone is not preservation, as inevitable mutations will change the plants
to become genetically different from the originals, and eventually incapable
of survival without a gardener’s hand. However, forest orchids kept in
gardens can stimulate an admiration for nature, and an understanding for the
necessity of preserving large tracts of woodlands undisturbed by man.
Ignorance of plants with inconspicuous flowers, and admiration solely of
radiant orchid hybrids, may eventually lead to the idea that man is better
than nature or the creator. [email protected]
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
Imagine that you are sitting North, you deal and hold the hand below.
North-South are vulnerable. What would you bid?
This hand comes from board 21 of the
Bridge Club of Chiang Mai pairs game on Dec 23rd.
Total high card points are also 21, not quite enough to open the strong
artificial 2C bid in most systems. On the other hand, you have ten tricks in
hand—seven diamonds and the three outside aces. You might in principle lose
a trick to the guarded jack of diamonds, but with only six diamonds out
between the other three hands this possibility seems sufficiently improbable
to ignore at this stage. Even if there is a guarded jack out there, it may
be finesse-able. With ten quick tricks and so many high card points, every
system that I am aware of allows this to be opened 2C. Your partner has
eleven high card points, so will certainly give you a positive response,
whatever that is in the system you play. All you need to know now is whether
your partner has three tricks, in any suit, to cover the only three losing
cards in your hand. You can start by asking for aces by bidding 4N.
Obviously this is a formality, since you already know you have all the aces,
but it allows you then to ask for kings by bidding 5N. Your partner replies
that he has two kings. Now, you can count at least twelve tricks, your ten
plus partner’s two kings. You are playing duplicate for match points, so
making the extra points from a no trump contract versus a suit contract may
be critical. Now what do you bid?
The answer appears to be a choice between a guaranteed 6N-you know that you
have twelve top tricks—or a slightly more risky 7N, thinking that your
partner’s positive response to your opening 2C bid must surely include at
least one useful queen to give you that thirteenth trick. So what did you
choose, 6N, 7N or ?? The full deal is shown below:
J832 S: K1094
106 H: 73
J9 D: 73
J7653 C: Q10942
As you can see, you have fifteen tricks
available, seven diamonds, six hearts, the ace and king of clubs and the ace
of spades, so a grand slam is a lay down. The strange aspect is what
happened at the table. Of the six tables, there were four contracts of six
diamonds, not even the lay down six no trump, and one contract of three no
trump. The actual bidding on this wonderful hand seemed strangely timid!
Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes new
players. For information on the Club go to the web site at
www.bridgeclubchiangmai.com. If you have bridge questions, or to send me
your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected]