Playing in paradise: Our bridge holiday in Fiji

Our bridge holiday to the InterContinental Fiji in September made me feel that I was either  IN paradise for a week, or at least on the set of "South Pacific", or “Death In Paradise” (sans the death!)

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There were nine players, Ann Roberts, Marg Lockyer, and Val Curry from Brisbane, Carol Borella from Deniliquin, Jo Prime from Geelong, Marg Cole and Mary Raftery from the Kiama area, and Ann Caulfield from Melbourne, so we played teams every day, after two lessons with me.    

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The (almost) one-on-one set up gave me a good chance to answer extra questions and check what everyone was up to with their bridge.

Ann Roberts, leading player from the club in Brisbane, was a huge help, as she’d grown up in Fiji. She recounted interesting stories of times past (often to the accompaniment of Fijian drummers) when we met for a drink after our lessons and games. 

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The Fijians are the gentlest and most friendly race one could imagine, always smiling, and the service we received was second to none. We were greeted with “Bula” everywhere we went.

So at the end of the week I think everyone would agree that we were feeling better as a result of our stay. 

So, "Vinaka Vakalevu" to you Fiji, and to Fay from Travel Phase for finding this perfect spot for us to play!

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Byron at Byron Holiday

Byron at Byron Holiday

60 keen bridge players enjoyed four days of bridge lessons and games at the five star Byron at Byron Resort.  The only problem - it's over! Everyone seemed to have a great time. Hopefully the bridge programme gave you some new ideas about all three aspects of the game - bidding, play and defence.  The resort offered sensational service, always with a smile. Thank you for coming and making it an unforgettable few days.

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Melbourne Bridge Holiday 2017

We all gathered at the Langham for the 2017 Melbourne bridge holiday… Mardi & Anne had driven across from Mt Gambier, SA, Walter & Hilary were over from Rockingham, WA, and a number of Brisbane regulars came down to enjoy that special Langham atmosphere!  How good it was to be back!

The elegant surroundings were matched only by the wonderful service we received. Gorgeous floral arrangements were everywhere, complimenting the paintings and décor. The food was terrific, from the breakfasts to the dinners.

The day group from Melbourne who joined in played in various clubs in the city. Some knew each other, some didn’t, but it didn’t really matter because we were all there to make the most of our three days. And they certainly know each other now!

The morning lessons covered bidding (three lessons) play (two) and defence (one), and I covered some new topics, ie Five Steps to Overcome Entry Problems (based on a new book by Audrey Grant), and Support Doubles and Redoubles. Also revisited some important areas of bidding, 2/1 Game Force, which I noticed more people were keen to play this time. Way to go!

The results of the games are up on my website, and masterpoints will be given for the place getters. Some “stars” were Jacqui Fardoulys & Yolanda Coroneo, John Burt & Janice Little, and Ronnie Kennedy and Catherine Armstrong.  They placed consistently. Congrats to them, and also to everyone who tried! We can’t all win. 

Our rather glamorous dinner on Saturday night was held in a private room, and we sat around an ornate wood dining table telling various stories and getting to know each other better! Because it was the Moomba Festival in Melbourne we also had fireworks to watch, which every night exploded into the sky above the Yarra.

Too soon it was time to go, but a number of people are planning to meet up for the next bridge holiday in Byron Bay, and then Sydney and finally Fiji!    

  

Escape to Melbourne this March

There’s nowhere quite like Melbourne for taste and elegance – elegant surroundings, gracious people, magnificent food…the list goes on and on.

My bridge holidays always attract a diverse collection of interesting people who come along to enjoy the lovely bridge room, the camaraderie, the lessons and games, and, not to forget, the food and drinks too! 

This year in March we’ll be at The Langham Hotel again. It’s in the terrific position of Southbank, surrounded by shops and restaurants, and is one of the best places to go.

The girls at Travel Phase plan the holiday with me months beforehand, then go the extra mile (!) to make everyone comfortable. We start with a cocktail party to give people a chance to meet others before the bridge starts, and that inevitably breaks the ice. Then there’s a relaxed game for people to find sometimes both their feet and new bridge partners!

Each morning, after a deliciously filling breakfast, I give two bridge lessons, six in total.  This year I’m covering new developments in bidding, designed to make things easier, and also some brand new play lessons with defence thrown too.

Because bridge holidays contain people of vastly different playing backgrounds, I make the lessons multilevel, never too complicated, never too easy. My philosophy is that a topic should be understood at a fundamental level before moving on. We need to understand why we’re doing things, not just to be told to learn a menu of (boring) rules!  And of course, people are there to PLAY bridge, so all lessons offer play before more hands in the afternoon duplicate.

After the game there’s the chance to enjoy a pre-dinner drink and discuss hands, then dinner and either another game or just some laid back non-bridge fun.  It really doesn’t matter how much or how little bridge you play, but most people want to because after all, that’s what they’re there for! 

So, come and try it out for yourself at the Langham in March. There’ll be people from many places, and please don’t feel that you’re too “new” to bridge. It won’t matter, I guarantee you’ll learn heaps and have a ball, and you’ll still be on a high when you get home! 

InterContinental Double Bay Bridge Holiday

People came from all over Australia – Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory. We had about 75 attending this time, which is our biggest holiday yet. I thought the hotel was perfect - not too large, gorgeous décor, excellent food, attractive and comfortable rooms, the bridge area spacious and well lit, and the bar and dining room were very welcoming indeed!

The InterContinental General Manager greeted us at the cocktail party on the Thursday night, and we were also treated to an unexpected, impromptu recital by Maria Woodruff’s delightful violinist granddaughter, Anabelle!  That was really special.

 
 

The lessons were very well attended, and included a day on Two over One Game Force. My new book, which covers this topic, arrived just in time for this session. Another popular topic was the Drury Convention.

GAME RESULTS

Congratulations to the place getters in the green masterpointed duplicates. 
Click on each event for the full results. 

Thursday Night 
N-S
1. Frances Lewin - Peter Lewin 63.0%
2. Jacqui Fardoulys - Yolande Coroneo 60.3%
3. Joan Butts - Peter George 57.8%
E-W
1. Dale McInally - Peter McInally 61.1%
2. Peter Grice - Sue Grice 56.4%
3. Wilma Godfrey - Jennifer Kozman 54.8%

Friday 
N-S
1. Jacqui Fardoulys - Yolande Coroneo 67.3% 
2. Lynnette Pratley - Lee Turner 64.1%
3. Eileen Boocock - Philip Hassall 61.7%
E-W
1. Julie Spernat - Anita Czarny 61.4%
2. Rosemary Hoffmann - Sue Needham 55.8%
3. Lloyd Nixon - Margaret Nixon 54.0%

Friday Night 
N-S
1. Jacqui Fardoulys - Yolande Coroneo 67.2%
2. Joan Butts - Peter George 65.0%
3. Eileen Boocock - Philip Hassall 64.4%
E-W
1. Jennifer Kozman - Sandra Mulcahy 62.8%
2. Dawn Phipps - Victoria Baker 60.0%
3. Peter Grice - Sue Grice 50.0%

Saturday
N-S
1. Christine Hadaway - Donelle Foate 63.6%
2. Susan Whyte - Jan Fennell 62.6%
3. Frances Lewin - Peter Lewin 61.8%
E-W
1. Judy Green - Sally O'Sullivan 63.2%
2. Rosemary Hoffmann - Sue Needham 61.9%
3. Victoria Burke - Dawn Phipps 60.1%

Sunday 
N-S
1. Eileen Boocock - Philip Hassall 64.4%
2. Annette Goudie - Cheryl Rayfield 57.7%
3. Jacqui Fardoulys - Yolande Coroneo 57.3%
E-W
1. Joan Butts - Val Curry 67.4%
2. Pattie Neerhut - Nell Eddy 62.6%
3. Bill Burke - Young Burke 59.3%