The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
Go to bed with a good cook!
Sorry about the headline, I
meant to write “Go to bed with a good book!” however there is good
scientific evidence that the “good cook” advice is actually good for your
mental health. Being married to the good cook can actually stave off
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
As we get older, and we are all living longer (especially those who read and
follow the advice in this column), we become more likely to suffer from
aging of the brain and a decrease in cerebral function. A severe drop in
cerebral function may be just called Dementia or one particular variant is
called Alzheimer’s Disease.
Now we have known for some time that if you don’t use your muscles, they
waste away. By not using your hands for physical work, the skin on your
hands gets thin. However, we also know that if you use your muscles again,
the muscle tissue builds up and becomes strong once more. If you use your
hands again, the skin builds up and becomes thicker. The message is that all
is not lost! Recovery is possible.
However, we were always told that the one organ of the body that could not
reverse the wasting process was the Central Nervous System. Once it started
to fail, that was it. Dementia was just around the corner.
That view has recently been challenged and the results are comforting, to
say the least. Experiments have been carried out that showed that by
inducing stress in an animal resulted in chemicals being released. This on
its own was nothing new, but what was new was the fact that some of these
chemicals produced a difference in the brain’s anatomy! The idea that the
brain could not change was incorrect! It could be ‘short-circuited’
resulting in a new wiring pathway.
What was even more exciting was that if the animal was restored to its own
‘safe’ and non-threatening environment, then the brain reverted to its pre-stressed
anatomy! It was possible to ‘re-wire’ the brain.
In turn this has led to much research into the effects of stress and its
reversal, and then on to Alzheimer’s Disease (if I have remembered to spell
it correctly)! And if it were possible for its reversal too!
Returning to the research, we have shown that stress can physically damage
nerve cells used in storing memory. We have also found that mindless
watching of the goggle-box also produces a decline in brain function. In
fact the numbers are more worrying than that. It has now been found that
people with no stimulating leisure activities, and who are couch potatoes
instead, are nearly four times more likely to develop dementia compared to
those people who have leisure stimuli and do not waste hours in front of the
Taking that a step further, and turning the scientific data around to be
useful, it has been found that in being the converse to the couch potato,
intellectually stimulating leisure activities had a ‘protective’ effect for
the brain and its capabilities. What is more, they have also found that if
you are doing a job you enjoy, then this was again protective, but a dull
job with no stimulus or challenge was another way to head downhill.
This does not mean that we all have to take up chess tomorrow, because in
place of intellectually stimulating hobbies, it has been found that even
physical exercise itself stops memory loss and stimulates growth of nerve
And so to the “good cook”. Another protective factor appears to be marriage!
Those who have never married have twice as high an incidence of dementia
than those who are married. So there you are, rather than say that your wife
is driving you insane, it appears that she is driving you towards sanity
So the secret towards staving off dementia and Al whatsisname’s disease is
to have a job you enjoy, get some exercise, watch a very limited amount of
TV and settle down with that good cook (sorry again, that should have read
“a good book”).
Care for Dogs:
By Ana Gracey
Care for Dogs dog of the week
Introducing Frodo. This beautiful blonde is a healthy sterilised
female of 1-2 years old with a silky golden coat and characterful
face. She is a gentle loving dog with lots to give to her forever
family. She would be a wonderful addition to any home - why not come
down to the shelter and meet her TODAY? 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
Vivian or any of the many other dogs waiting for you. www.carefordogs.org.
Heart to Heart
It’s nice to read about a lady farang being ‘taken to the cleaners’
instead of the usual suckers in this ‘land of smiles’ where money talks
really loudly and losers (like myself) can’t even afford to take a baht
bus ride (farang price; which is a bit ironic because I guestimate that
many Thais in Chiang Mai are a lot better off than a farang on a pension)
to where they want to go, and have no choice other than to walk to their
destination or stay put.
Having said that, I do think that bar girls and sex workers in Thailand
are badly ripped off by greasy old sex tourists. If a pot-bellied, bald
60 year old male wants to sleep with a beautiful 20 year old girl (and
younger), he should pay accordingly; at least 5,000 baht a night and not
the derisory 25 euros (1,000 baht) he is now getting away with. The Thai
authorities should step in and safeguard these girls’ interests. That
same greasy old sex tourist would be paying a heck of a lot more for
similar services in Europe.
Yours, a sad old walker (that is ‘walker’)
Dear Sad Old Walker,
Are we reading from the same hymnbook, my Petal? “Lady farang being
taken to the cleaners”? I know I’m getting woolly-headed in my old age,
but I don’t remember that letter.
Now to the second part of your letter, where you are suggesting that 60
year old overweight bald male tourists should be subject to a 500
percent escalation in dormitory fees - I don’t quite understand this at
all. Firstly, there are no “sex workers” here and you can verify this by
asking any policeman. Secondly, it is against the law - you can check
the statutes on this fact. So you see, the “Thai authorities” (the
police) are already safeguarding the interests of those girls who work
in the bars, so you can stop worrying. Incidentally, this is a type of
discrimination you are proposing. What about 60 year old tourists that
still have hair, or who are not overweight? Will they be made to pay
your new schedule of fees too? Your “new order” needs refining, Petal.
By the way, I’m sorry you have to walk everywhere, but I’m sure the
exercise is good for you.
I’d like to add my bit to the letter from the chap calling himself “Your
fan from the USA”. You’ve got a lot of fans out here in the sandbox too,
but there’s no bubbly allowed out here, French or otherwise, and I’m
sure a bottle of distilled water from the cooling tower wouldn’t do much
for you. We read you on line every week, and yours is the first column
we read. All the best for 2010.
Gary from the Sandbox
Dear Gary from the Sandbox,
Well, isn’t that just the nitty-gritty of it all out there in the sandy
country. Such privations! No bubbles! I certainly couldn’t live there,
my Petal, even though the bottles of bubbly were not too thick on the
ground in Thailand in 2009 either, I can tell you. We all had to tighten
our belts, even me. Keep reading, and I’ll think of you each week. (I
tell such terrible lies some days!)
Have you ever tried crossing the road here in Thailand? You take your
life in your hands as nobody slows or makes any effort at avoiding you.
Three times this week I have had to jump out of the way of those
dreadful public taxi buses and I feel this can do the image of Thailand
no good at all. What do you think, Hillary?
Dear Pedestrian Paul,
Have I tried crossing the road? What a ridiculous question! Of course
I’ve tried crossing the road. That does not mean to say that I have
always been successful though. Honestly, you men do amaze me at times! I
agree that the sight of people like you jumping ineptly out of the way
of rampant taxi buses will do our image no good at all. Perhaps you
could try ballet lessons? However, if you find that crossing the road is
totally impossible, then just take the arm of one of our old folk, and
then using them as a shield, force your way through the belching buses.
Why are there so many lady-boys in Thailand? Everywhere you go there
seems to be a lady-boy these days. Every bar has at least one, they are
soliciting on the sidewalks and there are complete shows made up of
them. Now I have one in the office next door. When will it stop? What’s
the answer Hillary, as I am sure you will know what to do.
Katoeys R Us
Dear Katoeys R Us,
Hillary will know what to do about what, my Petal? About the soliciting
lady-boys at the side of the road? My advice is to have nothing to do
with solicitors who work on the sidewalks, use only qualified solicitors
that work in legal offices. Either way you are going to be out of pocket
(I was going to say ‘screwed’ - naughty me), but at least with the ones
in the law offices you can complain to the Law Society.
by Harry Flashman
Sun-lighting or electronic-lightning?
was given a very interesting DVD the other day. Produced by the
Nikon people, it was a video on how to manipulate the available
light to produce the best possible photographs.
Being a Nikon produced video lesson, there was a very strong
message to use Nikon equipment, and I will admit to using Nikon
myself until I was seduced by the ease and simplicity of the
The video began with using available light (the sun), but then
showed that in many instances to make the photograph record all
the details, it may be necessary to use additional flash(es) to
get rid of shadows which are too deep. The flash units being
touted were from the Nikon Speedlight series, and the final shot
of a gnarled old fisherman on the docks beside a fishing boat at
sunset took eighteen (yes, 18) flash units selectively lighting
the foreground with the fisherman, the middle ground, the
background, the fishing boat and then the boat captain.
The result was sensational, and having been previously involved
in marathons required in producing such a shot, I could
appreciate the vision of the photographer and his skill in
balancing all the light sources. However, 18 Speedlites at
around 20,000 baht each comes to around 360,000 baht. Now you
can see why pro photographers charge such high fees. For the
photograph itself 1,000 baht. For knowing how to do it 99,000
baht! By the way, most pros don’t own such equipment, but lease
it for the shoot, with the leasing costs naturally being passed
on to the client.
Today I want to mention a very common lighting problem, and how
to get around it without 18 flash heads. This is where the
background light is very much more bright than the lighting for
the foreground. This will always occur when taking photographs
indoors in the daytime, particularly if there are large picture
windows lighting the interior of the house. Ever tried taking
shots of the interior of a room at noon? The garden, through the
window, comes out perfectly, while the interior of the room
comes out so dark you are lucky to distinguish anything. The
other time this happens is when you are photographing ‘contre
jour’, that is when the camera is facing to sun, so the
subject’s face is in shadow.
In both these situations, the camera’s electronic brain selects
aperture and shutter speed settings to allow the bright source
to be ‘tamed’, but this unfortunately makes everything in the
shadow end of the photograph even darker.
The simplest way around this is to lessen the difference in
light levels between the background and the subject in the
foreground. There are many ways of doing this. Here are a few.
In the room situation, increase the lighting in the interior of
the room by turning on as many lights as you can. Now decrease
the lighting coming in from the windows by drawing the curtains!
This is best if the curtains are made of gauzy material. They
still let light through, but not in the same intensity. Set the
exposure details from the room itself and shoot away.
Now the contre jour problem. This is where you can use the photo
technique called ‘Fill-Flash’. This is done by using your
camera’s flash to remove the deep shadows caused by the sun
being behind the subject. The secret is not to have the flash
overpowering the sun, but just enough to almost balance the
light intensities between sun and flash, but sun must be the
greater to ‘back light’ the subject.
Without getting too technical, if the aperture for the
background is f11, then select f8 in the flash. With digital
cameras it is even easier to strike the right balance. Just
review each shot as you take them. If the flash is producing the
‘rabbit in the headlights’ appearance, then progressively wind
down the strength of the flash until the face is lit, and the
background is still recognizable.
Finally, you can always just zoom in until the face almost fills
the viewfinder and the camera will give you the correct settings
without any flash at all.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
Is China helping or hindering? Part 2
The global economy is not
exactly strong at the moment. The West has an over-supply of debt and the East
has too much production. The crisis has been hidden by almost zero interest
rates and governments printing money which has done no good for their country’s
balance sheets. Even as the West cuts its spending, the East is not creating as
much as it would have hoped for. Worse, it is adding more production to boot.
If we just look at China, we can see it has too many people with not enough
money and too few with too much. The immediate future will govern what happens
to it for decades to come. Is the economy beyond help? No, definitely not but it
is difficult to read. Just look at the views of two of the world’s greatest
1. Jim Rogers - He is very bullish on China and believes that, “China is going
to be the most important country in the 21st century.”
2. Jim Chanos - He is very bearish on China and believes that, “China is Dubai
times one thousand, if not a million.”
Now if two such eminent gurus have such diametrically opposed views what chance
do the rest of us have? If you just looked at basic facts as shown by China then
you would have to think Rogers was right. The population is massive and they are
so competitive in everything they do. The numbers speak for themselves. America
has nine cities where the population is over one million people. The UK has
three. China has 160. The Chinese government plans to build twenty more cities
that will each cater for more than 20 million people EACH. This would then mean
China has to oversee the biggest migration the world has ever seen. China’s GDP
went up with double digit growth each and every year.
Given all the above, how can Rogers be wrong? The production and manufacturing
plants worked 24/7 and the West bought almost everything China threw at it. The
Chinese were so happy with this situation they even lent the West money with
which to buy more of its products. It seemed like Utopia as China produced
exactly what the West wanted at an incredibly low price. Apart from borrowing
money from China to keep this going, the greedy consumers in the West mortgaged
their own properties to continue financing the dream.
This is where Chanos comes in. When things started to go wrong in America and
the rest of the Western world, the Chinese boat started to rock as well. In less
than a year, the Shanghai CSI 300 fell by nearly sixty-six percent. Vital
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) dried up as companies and investment funds found
out the money was needed more at home. Suddenly China was hit with what we had
suffered in the West. How could all this be sustained? How would they cope with
all the overcapacity? What would happen to the export market on which the
Chinese economy is so reliant?
People who support the Rogers argument come back with such facts as retail
spending is up sixteen percent year on year and industrial production is up by
almost the same as well. Even more impressive is the fact that housing startups
increased, for the second year running, by over fifty percent in 2009. Also,
they point out that domestic consumption is on the rise with over 900,000 cars
being sold each month. Exactly the same is said for household appliances and
personal items such as mobile phones. Finally, the Rogers followers point to the
USD2.3 trillion that China has in foreign reserves all over the world.
Things look good yes? Er, no. China has more problems that it likes to admit.
Hundreds of millions of the population live on less than five US dollars a day.
It is an environmental disaster in the making with people already suffering
illnesses caused by excess pollution. Then there is what happened in Hunan where
the local government ripped down nearly four kilometres of a perfectly good
modern flyover - so they could build it again and take advantage of central
government handouts. My personal favourite is the brand new city of Ordos in
Inner Mongolia. It is standing completely empty.
The author of China’s water crisis, Ma Jun, reckons that two thirds of China’s
six hundred cities are facing water shortages of various degrees of severity. To
solve this, Ma reckons China needs another 40 billion cubic meters of water each
year to keep the urban areas supplied properly. It is impossible to work out how
much more is needed for rural citizens.
So, who is right and who is wrong? Well, both Rogers and Chandos have good
arguments to support their ideas. China’s problems are not small but neither is
their desire to be THE nation in the 21st century. As with everywhere else
people will make a lot of money and lose a lot as well. It is the nature of
things and this applies to China as well.
I make no apology for re-stating that I believe the markets are still sticking
their heads in the sand about what has happened since the credit crisis began.
The recent surge in the world’s indices since the lows of March 2009 are due to
governments printing money, not because things are getting better naturally. We
need to be careful about China’s investment bubble but this should not be too
much of a problem if we know what is going on. The much bigger problem is the
banking cover up in Europe - more of which later. Once this has been done then
we can start afresh.
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
DVD of the Week:
By Mark Whitman
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Tom Ripley plays the
classical piano at a fashionable party and is liked by the host, Mr.
Greenleaf (the real villain of the piece) and paid to bring back his wayward
son, Dickie, from the ‘playgrounds’ of Europe. Tom’s chance mission allows
him entry to a world of opportunity – with deadly consequences.
This second treatment of Patricia Highsmith’s classic (see also the earlier
Plein Soleil with Alain Delon) stars Matt Damon as the eponymous anti-hero.
The sparkling adaptation is by Anthony Minghella, who also directs, adroitly
fusing the themes of crime and sexual tension with a scathing critique of
American class (i.e. money) consciousness, integral to the 1958 setting.
Minghella, whose films could be stilted, even a little dull, seems magically
at ease with his material and the flawless credits reflect his and Sydney
Pollack’s stylish production input. Sadly, both the director and producer
have both died since this film’s great success.
The movie lapses into mild imbroglio during the denouement (a not uncommon
fate of intricately plotted novels, especially thrillers) but is impeccably
crafted – note the complex soundtrack – and the wonderful cast.
Jude Law as Tom’s first victim, Dickie, is jittery, shallow, subtly
androgynous and lithely camp, offering the perfect foil to the initially
unprepossessing Tom, who emerges into frame on the beach in nerdy spectacles,
yellow swimming trunks and black shoes – a pale a-sexual contrast to the sun-lizard
Tom progresses from hesitant gawk to elegant doppelganger with insouciant
charm in a believable tribute to the aphrodisiac powers of poverty blended
with ruthless ambition. From the wings emerges Philip Seymour Hoffman, as
another bludgeoned victim, the egregious Freddy, stealing scenes with
impudent ease from this brilliant ensemble cast, even the talented Cate
Several decades on from publication, Tom’s opportunistic bi-sexuality is
allowed full rein so that Minghella can steer the drama at full throttle
allowing Tom first to be propelled by chance until fully entrenched in the
vacuous life-style he covets. Once given the opportunity he is willing and
eager to scramble up the pole made greasy with the blood of others.
Another Highsmith novel in the ‘series’ is called Ripley’s Game and the noun
aptly suggests Tom’s attitude to life as a deadly competition of chance and
skill which here leads to multiple murder and a fall from grace. A fall from
which he will- Astaire style – pick himself up, dust himself down and start
all over again. Redemption is not for the likes of the wickedly talented Mr.
All in all a glamorous, sexy movie full of twists and turns, boasting great
locations and a fine sense of period. Anyone who enjoys intelligent, fast
moving and witty entertainment (not to mention Matt Damon singing My Funny
Valentine to Jude Law) will enjoy this stylish thriller.
(Plein Soleil and The Talented Mr. Ripley are available from DVD Movies and
Music, 289 Suthep Road - just across the road from CMU Arts Centre. Tel: 053
808 084 Open from 9a.m. until midnight every day).
Note: This is the first of a new series of articles devoted to classic and
new movies as a temporary replacement for the Life in Chiang Mai column as I
shall be travelling in Thailand from mid February and to the U.K. in March.
Normal service after Song Kran. Next week Lorna’s Silence (2009), directed
by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne.
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
The Academy Awards will
be shown live on TrueVisions TV here in Chiang Mai on Monday, March 8, at 8
am Thai time, on the E! channel (53). The actual show itself starts at 8:30
am. Arrivals show begins 6 am. But the show is only
available with the Platinum package! Very bad news!
Watch this space for news of an Oscar-replay party on the evening of March 8
at the RatiLanna Riverside Spa Resort, for the benefit of a good cause.
Now playing in Chiang Mai
From Paris with Love: US/ UK/ New Zealand,
Crime/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Horror – Starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys
Meyers. A low-ranking intelligence operative working in the office of the
U.S. Ambassador in France takes on more than he bargained for when he
partners with a wisecracking, fast-shooting, high-ranking U.S. agent who’s
been sent to Paris to stop a terrorist attack. Rated R in the US for strong
bloody violence throughout, drug content, pervasive language, and brief
sexuality. Mixed or average reviews.
My Valentine: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – A girl who
hates Valentine’s Day meets three young men, each determined to make her his
Valentine. Slightly less than the usual Thai rom/com, a mixture of cute
young Thais and older TV comedians.
The September Issue: US, Documentary – I found
this a very entertaining documentary. It chronicles Vogue editor-in-chief
Anna Wintour’s preparations for the 2007 fall-fashion issue. That issue of
Vogue weighed nearly five pounds, and was the single largest issue of a
magazine ever published. With wide-ranging access to the magazine’s
offices, the film, directed and produced by R.J. Cutler, tells the story of
the legendary Vogue editor and her team creating the issue and ruling the
world of fashion. Generally favorable reviews.
Avatar: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi – Nine
Oscar nominations. Now the highest grossing film in the world ever,
bypassing the director’s own Titanic. It’s a very good film and a truly
major technological breakthrough. It’s exciting and beautiful, and has
received near-universal rave reviews from critics and fans. At Airport
Plaza it’s in English and Na’vi dialogue, with English and Thai subtitles as
needed in the 2D version, but unaccountably no English subtitles for Na’vi
in the 3D version. The Vista version is 2D and Thai-dubbed only. Reviews:
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: US, Animation/
Family – Quirky humor, likeable characters, and solid slapstick. Generally
Tai Hong / Die a Violent Death: Thai, Horror/
Thriller – Now the top Thai film at the boxoffice. This omnibus film
consists of four short shocking stories of death and horror, exploiting four
real news stories, including one tasteless recounting of last year’s deadly
blaze at Bangkok’s Santika pub, which is truly shocking – but shock at the
incredible insensitivity once again shown by Thai filmmakers toward
traumatic Thai events.
Directed by Poj Arnon (Bangkok Love Story) and three young
directors. The final story, by Poj, is a fairly enjoyable horror
The Spy Next Door: US, Action/ Comedy/ Family –
Jackie Chan fans may be running to see this, but most reviewers think it’s a
sad little movie entirely designed to set up Chan’s stunt sequences as he
fights with pots, pans, and ladders. Reviewers say it’s flat and witless,
and give it generally unfavorable reviews.
Scheduled for February 11
The Wolfman: UK/ US, Horror/ Thriller – Starring
Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving; directed by
Joe Johnston. I think the trailers look exciting! And stylish! Intended
as Universal Studio’s $85 million remake of its classic 1941 Lon Chaney
monster movie. Many behind-the-scenes shenanigans in this troubled movie
involving crew changes, long delays, reshoots, and re-edits. Rated R in the
US for bloody horror violence and gore.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief:
Canada/ US, Fantasy/ Comedy – The Mount Olympus gods are not happy: Zeus’
lightning bolt has been stolen, and high school student Percy Jackson is the
prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy’s
mother. As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he
and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true
lightning thief, save Percy’s mom, and unravel a mystery. Wow! Logan
Lerman is Percy, and others in the cast are Catherine Keener, Pierce Brosnan,
Sean Bean, and Uma Thurman. Directed by Chris Columbus. Based on a
best-selling children’s novel by Rick Riordan.
Confucius / Kong Zi: China, Biography/ Drama –
Set in 6th Century BC, this is the life story of the Chinese thinker and
philosopher, from his days as a court official through battles and political
intrigues, to his old age as a disillusioned sage. Directed by Mei Hu. Some recent
controversy over the film’s Hollywood-way of pumping up the romantic and
action-related angles of the man, even casting an action hero (Chow Yun-Fat)
as the man himself, and portraying him as romantically attracted to a
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: By Eric Danell, Dok mai Garden
On Bombax ceiba
Red kapok ((Ngiu) is a large tree related to Cotton (Fai) and Hibiscus (Chaba).
At the end of January this spectacular tree is completely bare, looking like
a tall steel construction, with its silvery limbs arranged in a geometrical
manner. The intensive red blossoms have made it a desirably ornamental
throughout the tropics. It was mentioned as a characteristic of the Chiang
Mai valley by the early botanical explorer Hosséus, who spent time here in
1904-1906. Modern floras of ornamental tropical trees usually claim it is a
member of the moist lowlands, but all of us in Chiang Mai could expand the
text with “highly adapted to dry conditions”.
The flowers are rich in nectar, which is why many animals kick them down in
the night during pollination frenzies. Local Thais collect the flowers in
the morning, and dry the stamens which are used to add flavour and colour to
Lanna soups such as kaeng som. The dried stamens look like reddish brown
fibers, and bags of them are sold at the Lanna markets all year round. The
fruits contain silky fibers which can be used as a stuffing material in
A gardener who wants this intensive blossom in late January, could plant
this tree in an area far from cars, houses and roads, as the limbs are
brittle and the roots may push up even concrete. It is best admired from a
distance, making a splendid landmark for your garden. The large flowers
decorate the ground, which is why it should not be grown near a pond or
pool. Since this is a local tree, it is well adapted to the local monsoon
climate and no specific care is needed. A dry period is necessary for
intensive blossom on naked branches; the gardener has to find a spot for the
tree where he can allow dry grass. Some longhorn beetles tend to chew the
limbs of young trees, even kill them, so attention is needed in the tree’s
early years, up to the age of three. [email protected]
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
If you bid, even if you do not get the contract, sometimes
it pushes the opposition too high and sometimes it helps formulate an
accurate defence. Sometimes, on the other hand, it helps the opposition
avoid an unmakeable contract. This is definitely not what you want! Here is
a tricky deal to bid for NS. It was board 9 from the Bridge Club of Chiang
Mai pairs game on January 24th. East-West were vulnerable and North dealt.
Plan how you would bid the NS hands.
S: AQ942 S: K7653
H: Q65 H: J82
D: 42 D: Q8
C: J63 C: Q52
Standard American bidding would
probably go as below:
North East South West
1N P 3D P
3N P P ?
Three diamonds by South
shows a six card diamond suit and is invitational. North, with a very flat
hand and help in diamonds, likely would bid 3N. Now what is West to do? With
a void West will be uneasy about no trumps, but knowing that nine tricks are
much easier to take than eleven tricks for a game in diamonds, he may well
eventually pass. Half the tables ended up in 3N, going down as the opponents
rattled off the first five tricks in spades. So how else can NS bid the
hands? At the table where John Bucher and I were playing EW against Mike
Williams and David Read, David (sitting South) bid a 2S response to 1N, as
minor suit stayman, asking partner to bid a four card minor if he had one.
This allowed my partner to double to show a spade suit. North bid his club
suit. I raised my partner’s spades and South now bid 4D to end the auction,
North East South West
1N P 2S Dbl
3C 3S 4D All pass
Unfortunately, our bidding had done a
good job of warning NS to stay out of no trumps! Four diamonds made an
overtrick for a good result for Mike and David (and a poor result for us).
The only pair to actually find and bid the diamond game was Cheron Gelber
and new arrival Steve Wilkinson—well done.
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]