ALMANAC FOR DEFENDERS
Maybe it’s because the nights are so dark and so long this time of year, but many neighborhoods are festooned with so many Christmas and holiday lights they can be seen from outer space. It is a delight and a spirit-lifter for sure. Much needed in the depth of darkness.
BUT!! For the real show in December, we need to look UP. The night sky is where the extravaganza is taking place. First (and too bad for those missed it) was the only Supermoon of 2017 back on Dec. 3. The moon appeared to be 14% bigger than usual. And bright? Wow!
Don’t be discouraged if it got past us, though because wait! There’s more! On Dec. 13-14, the night sky will be filled with more than one hundred meteors zooming by per hour. Fantastic show. Grab a cuppa egg nog and enjoy.
Then on Dec. 16, we have a show provided by the asteroid Phaethon, which will be the closest in 43 years. Imagine, an asteroid so huge it has its own name! Don’t worry though, because it’s still 27 times further away than the moon.
Finally, and may I say, thank goodness, on Dec. 21, we have the shortest day and longest night of the year. What a relief! The days will start getting longer. To celebrate, just before dawn the Ursid Meteor shower will make its appearance. The sky will be filled with brilliance. Watch it and celebrate the return of daylight.
AND!! Speaking of brilliance… our last issue of the year is chock-full of the most brilliant lights in bridge.
DAVID BIRD is our first star. We love his hands this month because he stresses our basics. Also he shows us how to take advantage of a declarer when he falters, how to unblock to help Pard, and the importance of counting Pard’s points. As a bonus, he helps us with our psychic skills.
BEN NORTON is a shooting star also with his hands. He answers some Burning Questions. Is third hand high good advice? What is a “discovery play”? How can we best visualize the hands? Are there ways to fool the declarer? Read, practice and learn.
PAUL BOWYER has a lovely set of surprise hands as a holiday treat to us. We won’t give them away, but you’ll find the usual delight that this witty Brit shares with us.
I have two little warm-up hands, centered around two different types of signals we give and receive.
MATTHIAS HUBERSCHWILLER rounds out this edition with two quizzes, on choosing which suit to lead.
Once we’ve finished this issue, our star will shine a little more brightly, too. And don’t forget to look at that sky. It’s free entertainment.
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