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May 31, 2016

Lakshmanan Valliappa

Tactics gotta change

We played just team events in a local sectional.  Before the event, I asked my teammates:

Which event?  The open KO or the 0-2000 one?  i.e. do you want to play a few good teams and leave early or do you want to play a bunch of bad matches and possibly win?

Everyone voted emphatically to play in the open knockout.  The Seattle board has decided to play the open KO with no brackets, so we were playing very strong teams.   You know the old poker saying about looking around you, and if you don't know who the sucker is, it's you?  In this field, we could look at every team, and realize that we were the suckers.

I fully expected to lose the first match.  The first round was a three-way and we ended up winning both our matches, and that's when I thought we might have a chance.  At the end of two-days, this was the scoreboard:

We were team Sieg.  We were lucky of course, winning the semi-final match by just two imps and benefiting from the opponents in all our matches guessing wrong more often than not on high-level contracts.

Each of the pairs in the teams we beat in the knockout would normally own us in club games. But knockouts is different, and bidding our hands to the maximum and keeping them guessing worked out well.  Essentially, by manufacturing swings, we (the weaker team) managed to prevail.  This won't always work, but it's the only chance.

After winning the two-day knockout event, partner and I returned for an open board-a-match (BAM) event and promptly proceeded to gift away the first dozen boards.

Scoring matters, and it is best to take a deep breath before an event and think about how aggressively to compete and when to double to protect one's plus score.

This was our first BAM, and we were playing as if it were matchpoints. A slightly-below par option at matchpoints is disaster in a strong BAM field.  Time and again, we found ourselves too high and doubled on distributional part-score hands.  It took us some time to figure out the change in strategy -- of careful precise bidding and trusting in our defensive skills.  Our afternoon session showed improvement (55%) but the poor (46%) morning score could not be made up and we didn't scratch.

by Lakshmanan V (noreply@blogger.com) at May 31, 2016 05:27 AM

May 30, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Gopher Regional - Lost and Found

Lost found

Results have not yet been posted at ACBL, so nothing to report yet about the Gopher - EXCEPT that it was a truly marvelous tournament!

We do have, however, a report on "the inevitable" that occurs after 7 days of play:  lost and found items.

Our thanks to Sue Jackson for handling lost goodies for us.  Please get in touch with Sue if something here is yours!

Lost and found at the Gopher:
1. large blue and white umbrella
2. silver drink cup
3. black Caribou coffee cup
4. sunglasses in a white case
5. black and white umbrella cover
6. one lens for a pair of eyeglasses (I know a woman lost this Friday night)
7. white and silver button
8. mystery item: small light gray container with 3 black stick inside.
9. duplicate log book--Kathy Zumbach's name inside
Contact Sue Jackson to claim your item or it may become one of next year's door prizes!


by Peg at May 30, 2016 09:21 PM

Paul Gipson

End of the season

The Hunter Cup is the East District's season closer and, with 21 teams, run as a Swiss teams this year.

LotG and I played with two juniors, Liam and Ronan, and our main aim was to finish above Alex and Mike, who were playing with Damien and Matthew, two other juniors.

We won our first match comfortably, despite LotG and I conceding two hearts doubled, with the juniors bidding a good slam and their opponents a bad one. In our second match we faced Gints, the fifth junior at the event, in the wildest set of the day. The biggest decision of the afternoon was:

Your call?

The sixth junior at the event, Glen, was playing with Bob McPaul. I'll let him describe what happened on his table, but probably best done at the bar.

We bid another reasonable game but then our defence made life easier for Gints in a tight game. Overall I thought we'd had the better of it, but we lost by 33-38 IMP when Liam and Ronan bid two slams, one more unfortunate than the other. Gints and his team would go on to take second place.

Another hand that caught people out was this distributional effort:

Without the competition I would probably have just rebid my clubs, but with everyone bidding LotG would appreciate that I was distributional rather than very strong in points. The defence was friendly, with the singleton ace of clubs led followed by a heart switch when West could not signal effectively on the first trick. I could now ruff out the clubs for twelve tricks, despite the 3-1 diamond break.

Unsurprisingly Ronan and Liam competed more effectively and the opponents subsided in four diamonds, making ten tricks. We eventually lost his match due to some overbidding working for our opponents and a bidding misunderstanding that caused me to misplay a play.

We won our fourth match, a quiet affair, when LotG found the killing lead against three no-trump. The fifth match was lost when our opponents divined how to make two difficult games. On a different day we'd have won easily and been in contention.

We won our final match to finish just above average, but it was a case of two missed opportunities. We missed a good slam and Liam didn't find the line to make a tight game (on a hand where I was making two diamonds with a 5-0 trump break). We were rescued by Ronan leading his shorter major (Jx) against a 1NT-3NT auction - dummy went down with the singleton king and Liam cashed seven (!) hearts.

The Hunter Cup was won comfortably by Brian Short, Alan Goodman, Sam Punch, and Stephen Peterkin.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 30, 2016 10:41 AM

May 29, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 - Sunday's Bulletin and Results


Today, May 29th, is the final day of competition for Gopher 2016. We've had an incredibly successful and fun tournament in our new Minnetonka venue; a host of great volunteers, people and players have made it happen.

In his last Daily Bulletin, Mike Cassel does a superb job of reporting on our events - and thanking the many people who worked so tirelessly to make Gopher 2016 happen.

Mike's final report is below.  Thank you, everyone, for one excellent week of bridge at the Gopher!

Download 2016-7May29

by Peg at May 29, 2016 11:42 AM

May 28, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 - Saturday's Bulletin and Results


Only two more days of play! Escape from rainy weather this weekend by competing in the final events of Gopher 2016.

Mike Cassel's penultimate Bulletin is below. Chock full of results, reports on Larry Oakey Day, people highlights and much more!

And - a BIG thank you to Co-Chairs Patti Stuhlman and Sue Jackson for all their hard work getting a BIG turnout - plus all the other very many volunteers, directors and caddies that make our tournament so excellent!

Download 2016-6May28

by Peg at May 28, 2016 12:06 PM

Gopher 2016 - Friday's Bulletin and Results


Three more days to go of Gopher 2016!  We've had a fabulous turnout this year! People are enjoying our beautiful new venue:  the lovely playing areas, plentiful free coffee and tea, plus out of towners camped out in attractive rooms.

Be sure to come and play over the holiday weekend - lots more events and masterpoints to be garnered!

Friday's Bulletin, chock full of results, news and people stories, is below.

Download 2016-5May27

by Peg at May 28, 2016 12:02 PM

May 27, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Larry Oakey Day



Today is Larry Oakey Day at the Gopher Regional.  We are all thrilled to be honoring one of the most special, most giving and most talented players ever to grace the game of bridge in Minnesota.

When asked to say a few words about Larry, here is what your webmaster had to say.

If every day of the year were declared “Larry Oakey Day” – we would still not have enough days to honor this man.

In every way, TGLO “The Great Larry Oakey” is a living legend in Minnesota. Larry’s abilities as a player are enormous.

In 1978, Larry and teammates were 2nd in the tough Men’s B-A-M Teams.  Perennially, Larry has been competitive at all levels, from national to local.  He is recognized as one of the top players ever in our state.

Yet, in addition to being a fabulous player, Larry has “given back” to our game in every way possible. Not only is Larry an able and lightning fast director, he volunteers daily in a myriad of ways.  Also, Larry has partnered players of all levels, including beginners – a gift to so many.

I cannot write about Larry without sharing my own enormous gratitude to him.  My good fortune to have Larry as a number of years as my regular partner, mentor and friend.  Poor Larry; he is so good, he can’t understand how the rest of us can’t come close to playing at his level!

Thank you from all of us, Larry, from the bottom of our hearts!

        Peg Kaplan

by Peg at May 27, 2016 11:50 AM

Eamon Galligan

Ireland Invitational Pairs 2

This afternoon in the Regent Bridge Club at 1400 hours we will have the 2nd episode of the
Ireland Invitational Pairs


All are welcome to visit and spectate. There will be a vugraph presentation down in the bar all day until the end of the event. Regent Bridge Club is at 25 Waterloo Road Dublin 4 .

In this episode we will have 8 of Irelands top pairs taking their seats

Ian Hamilton John Ferguson
Peter Goodman Diarmuid Reddan
Terry Walsh Michael McGloughlin
David Jackson Nick Fitzgibbon
Anna Onishuk Peter Clifford
Cian Holland Dermot Cotter
Wojciech Gorcyzca Marcin Rudzinski
Thomas Hanlon John Carroll

Well Hanlon and Carroll will be the overwhelming favourite yet again but with 4 non-regular partnerships in the field ..the 3 regular partnerships have to be considered for a podium finish.
Anna Peter being the best possibility. While everybody in the field has plenty of bridge accomplishments Nick Fitzgibbon stands head and shoulder above them all. As a winner of the
Cavendish Pairs he is the big man. However removed from his 40 years partnership with Adam Mesbur for today we will see how that goes. Wojech and Marcin have been prominent recently in
Irish events including winning the first event of this Irish Invitational series.
Cian Holland and Dermot Cotter played in the first running of this event in March.
Hamilton and Ferguson ..well I have not seen Ferguson putting on a pair of bridge togs for about 15 years so we will see how that goes. Hamilton still reads the Bridge World religiously every month so he might have a few strokes in his bag. Goodman and Reddan ..not sure if I ever saw them taking part in a matchpoint event but they run matchpoint events in Wales so maybe they starred down there.
Reddan might find Peter Goodman in good form and make a stretch for the podium.
Walsh and McGloughlin are a recent partnership for Senior events and McGloughlin having won the recent Regent Presidents Prize ...probably the top matchpoint event in the country .. 5 weeks of matchpoints. Walsh is always around when there are prizes being given out so maybe there is some podium potential here. Certainly plenty of experience. Hanlon Carroll are the expected winners after getting ambushed in the first event by the two Polish Irish. Well they have been here quite a while and I have never heard them mentioned as "The 2 Poles" ..always Wojech and Marcin.

However playing 8 board matches will give Hanlon Carroll plenty of chances to apply their superior bidding system and skills and come out on top. 8 boards is a lot of chances for bidding misunderstandings and defensive lapses so the non-regular partnerships will run into bad weather.

Meanwhile Declan the Donplayer appears to have cracked the bridge ... Last week he posted 57.5% on www.bridge-now.com over 53 boards and followed up with 53.5% this week over 144 boards.
Not bad for a chap who has never played in a bridge club and has never played with cards in his hands.
Declan is a lad in the local drinking establishment who on seeing a video of some old lads coughing pointed out that Bridge is rife for cheating but you need your partner in on it .. This was 6 months before several of the worlds top players proclaimed their innocence. "Money talks Bullshit walks " piped Declan .. Eamon I have never sat down to play cards without looking for a way to gain advantage on my opponents ..... However he has confessed that on www.bridge-now.com if he has found a way to cheat he does not know it.. Eamon .."Me and computers ..nope that's not going to work..  .. I just love this game of bridge and I cannot get enough of it .. However painting and decorating makes my money and there is drinking and gambling to be done and a few other sins to commit so not much time for bridge .. but what a game it is .. "

I personally pushed Declan McKenna into playing bridge during a few conversations in the smoking area .. He came with one time to Malahide Regional .. After about 30 minutes he spotted Maurice Quinn ... Handful of cards .. Toothy grin and a can of Guinness ... and Declan said ..

"That's me sorted for when I am 70 ... I have 17 years to learn this game ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at May 27, 2016 10:53 AM

May 26, 2016

Bob Mackinnon

Too Many Bids, Mozart

Famously the Austrian Emperor Joseph II commented to Wolfgang Mozart that although he admired his lively opera, The Abduction from the Seraglio, he felt the work contained too many notes. Many bridge players feel similarly that some auctions contain too many bids. Indeed there is a feeling among players that the fewer the number of bids the better. They are willing to jump to conclusions in the interest of withholding information.

Bidding systems are geared towards reaching the most probably profitable conclusion, so players will do the same without a strong interest in the exceptions. Once a reasonable goal is in sight a player may go for it without further ado in the hope that normal conditions apply. Otherwise a player may choose not the most descriptive (honest) bid, rather a bid that has the best chance of steering his partner in the direction of a high-scoring contract. In practice attempts at uncovering exceptional circumstances often prove fruitless and may give rise to enlightened defences. Of course, in a bidding contest uncovering the exception circumstances is the key to winning, and there is no cost involved as the defence is assumed to be perfect regardless.

Mozart replied to Joseph II’s criticism by claiming that the work contained only as many notes as were necessary. If one likes to bid for the beauty of it, as I do, then one tends to lengthen the journey and enjoy the scenery along the way. It is not as costly as some may fear. Here is a recent example.



(1) 16+HCP
(2) 11-13 HCP
(3) Stayman
(4) Spades
(5) Top honours?
(6) 2 of top 3
(7) heart controls?
(8) No A, K, or Q

If we consider the bidding as a process, we can see than opener can set the final contract reasonably at any point after the first response that shows a flat hand with 11-13 HCP. Experience tells us that slam is usually not available on 2 flat hands and a total of at most 31 HCP. It is probable that responder holds more hearts than spades. Rather than ‘give away information’ opener may choose to bid 3NT. With this many points there may be just as many tricks available in NT as in a major suit game. Unlucky here, as 3NT scores a bottom.

Conventional wisdom suggest one should choose to play in a 4-4 major fit rather than in 3NT, so opener goes through the motions and arrives at the common contract. South had no difficulty leading a heart simplifying the play and I quickly claimed 11 tricks. The question then arose as to whether I would have made 12 tricks on a non-heart lead? It was possible (the Q falling doubleton) but was it likely that I would have made 12 tricks if I had not asked in hearts? The question did not arise at other tables as North was on lead against 4. Some declarers held themselves to 10 tricks, so the immediate analysis at the table was a waste of time, as it often is.

Nonetheless there is a trade-off between the cost of information and potential for profit. Once the 4-4 fit was uncovered, opener could simply jump to game opposite the limited response, however, 7 controls are well above average for an 18-point hand. Could this deal produce a magic fit? What were there chances of a pay-off? Yes.













7 controls


4 controls

If the bid of 4 had asked for the total number of controls held by responder, the reply in this case would tell the opening bidder that one control was missing, either the K or the K. Slam is biddable under the normal circumstances of longer clubs opposite than diamonds and South will have to make a ’blind’ lead. The cost of obtaining the information is reduced because the information conveyed is easier to interpret by the opener who holds 7 controls than by the opening leader who may hold no controls. This bias of benefit is one reason why Blackwood is effective.

However, when playing matchpoints in a mixed field one must always ask the question as to whether the plurality of pairs will reach slam on hands containing less than the usually required 33 HCP. Standard bidders have a problem after the start 1 – 1. Opener has a hand too good for 1NT and not good enough for 2NT, so he starts with 1. Responder doesn’t promise much, but he could have a good hand. Should opener choose to describe his hand by bidding 2NT, which will keep 3NT in the picture? Maybe the hearts aren’t quite good enough to justify suppressing the spade fit. Should opener jump raise to 3? That will give responder a problem as he can hardly have much in the minors and his trumps may be poor. He could even pass. Why not take the pressure off partner and just jump to 4?

In fact opener doesn’t want to make a limited descriptive jump bid, eating up space, and handing over the captaincy to the weaker hand with few controls. What he really wants to do is make a non-jump forcing bid and have responder do the describing. The bid that does that is the reverse to 2. In this way the opening bidder maintains control of the auction and may return to spades later in the auction. A reverse is supposedly a shape showing bid, a genuine two-suiter, but it promises only that the second-bid suit is shorter than the first-bid suit. It may be only 3 cards in length (or 2 in the case of a diamond reverse.) Maybe you didn’t realize that. There is nothing a tame partner can do to ruin this plan and even 3NT is not ruled out. The opponents may be deceived into thinking opener holds better hearts, and that may actually help on the opening lead, but it is not the only occasion where a 2/1 bidder has to ‘lie’ to fit a hand to an inappropriate slot.

What is the Truth?

In a recent court case in Canada a male celebrity was acquitted of sexual assault charges on the grounds that the accusers had lied about certain details following the incident, in particular, a love-tweet sent to the accused the morning after the night before. One accuser later explained she had lied about sending the embarrassingly unambiguous message in order to make her truthful statements more believable. That makes sense to me, but the judge ruled on the narrow basis that one should always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

By modern standards the judge was a bit of a stickler. We know that witnesses at the scene of a crime may give conflicting versions of what they saw. Should we assume that some of them are lying? No, it is possible they may be giving an accurate account of what they remember. One witness may state sincerely that he saw spirits hovering over the dead bodies, but the legal authorities are not likely to call him as a witness, are they? That’s not the version they want to hear in a criminal court. On paid-program TV? Absolutely OK. In human terms truth is highly subjective. The measure of truth is not how intensely someone believes it.

After a bridge game players often receive a print out of all the hands along with a computer analysis that tells that are the optimum results available on each hand, given best play by both sides. Some may consider this the Platonic ideal. If you haven’t achieved the double dummy result you (or, more likely, your partner) have done something wrong. Not at all. The hand that appears on the analysis sheet is just one of many possibilities given the bidding and play at any point in the action. Players must choose to make decisions on the basis of which manifestation is most probable given the evidence to date. There are no guarantees that what is most probable on the evidence is the hand printed on the paper.

Hands are rare for which the evidence from the bidding is overwhelming and definitive. Recently on the first deal in a team game my partner opened 1NT (14-16 HCP) and I held the following: Kx Kx AKQJxxxx x. I asked for aces and found partner with 3, so was able to bid 7NT with some confidence without knowing the full details of his distribution. When partner was able to claim on the opening lead, I jokingly suggested we reshuffle the hands as this board was obviously of no interest, but I was wrong. Partner held just 14 HCP, an unusual mix of 3 aces and 2 jacks along with Tx. At the other table where their NT range was 15-17 HCP, the opening bid was 1, ‘natural’, and the first response was 1, which saved space. The lack of evidence for a fit put a damper on the auction, which in the confusion ended with a desperate jump to 6NT. I felt sorry for them, at least to the degree that one might fell sorry for opponents whom you are doing everything in your power to crush.

The System is Rigged, Folks!

As it is impossible to construct a completely accurate description of the hands given the crudity of the instruments available, the objective of the bidder is to determine the feasibility of achieving certain favourable goals, the most common of which are 3NT or 4 of a major. Bidding systems are geared to uncovering major suit fits and the number of HCPs available. Other details are largely ignored. So we commonly encounter an auction that proceeds as follows: 1NT – 2; 2 – 2NT; 3NT – Pass. The players know they have no 4-4 major fit and enough HCP between to expect to make 9 tricks most of the time. Of course, 9 tricks are not assured and the defenders may run off 5 quick tricks on the opening lead, but usually they don’t. That state of affairs is acceptable. It is better than acceptable if all pairs are using the same bidding system with the same definitions and restrictions, as the occasional cost of being wrong will be reduced. In this way, the search for the truth gets replaced by a quick tour through a land of hypothetical fantasy. The number of tricks one can take gets replaced by the number of HCP at one’s disposal. Because the bids are controllable where the facts are not, the flexible bidding structure is given more consideration than the solid reality that gives rise to the bids. Making 7NT on 30 HCP may be labelled lucky instead of obvious.

Bidders are divided roughly into 2 groups: those who struggle to tell the truth at all times and those who count on others to tell the truth so they don’t have to. Much of expert advice is aimed at informing the non-expert when to adjust his bid selection to overcome the restrictions set by the system designer, for example, when to avoid opening 1NT with a flat hand and 15-17 HCP even if that is what is stated on the front of the convention card. Based on an overall evaluation of the hand he holds, the expert seeks out the bid that comes closest to matching his perception of the quality of the hand and its potential for taking tricks in various contracts. Our opponents in the aforementioned team game would have done much better if the opening bidder had upgraded to 1NT on the basis of holding 6 controls with a mediocre club suit within a 4=4=2=3 shape. The bid of 1 was a misrepresentation of convenience in a 5-card major system, a ‘lie’ to make opening bids of 1 or 1 more credible. I see the bidder as a naïve victim of his system. To label 1 as being ‘natural’ is illusory, because playing the hand with clubs as trumps is one of the conclusions the bidder most strongly hopes to avoid.

It used to be said that bridge was like war, but today it mostly resembles politics.

by Bob Mackinnon at May 26, 2016 01:33 PM

Peg Kaplan

Pay It Forward - Remembering Donna Heinsbroek


Two years ago, Donna Heinsbroek competed at the Gopher Regional. Aiming to earn both Life Master status and win her mini-McKenney category (which she did by leaps and bounds), she came to Minnesota, did well and made friends.

Donna & Kathy Beckman at Gopher 2014

Donna's quest had a special urgency.  She was battling Stage IV cancer. And on May 5th, Donna's battled ended.

Those of us who met Donna had wonderful memories of this delightful and amazing woman. Her husband, Hans Heinsbroek, in Donna's obituary, made this request. No flowers at her funeral; no donations. But - could each of us "Pay It Forward" - however we would choose.

Our bridge community is an incredible one; people connected all over the world through our love of the greatest mind game ever. 

So we ask of all our Minnesota players, attendees at the Gopher - and - anyone else who wishes to join in.... Please "Pay It Forward" for Donna.  And, when you do, please send Peg Kaplan an email at mrmollo@aol.com detailing what your "Pay It Forward" choice was.  I shall collect all your kind acts and send them to Hans.

Donna's courageous story is below.  Thank you, all!

Download Donna Heinsbroek

by Peg at May 26, 2016 01:30 PM

Gopher 2016 - Thursday's Bulletin and Results


Lots of events to report in Thursday's Bulletin - plus people news and other ACBL information.

Enjoy - and - enjoy Thursday's schedule of events!

Download 2016-4May26

by Peg at May 26, 2016 12:10 PM

May 25, 2016

Linda Lee

Where is that imp? The Canadian Women’s Team Trials

There were only three teams entered in the Canadian Women’s Team Championship. It would probably worth discussing why there were only three teams but that is for another time.

After playing some matches one team was eliminated and the two remaining teams played an eight segment final, each segment being 15 boards.

The two remaining teams were

Eaton: Joan Eaton, Karen Cumpstone, Katie Thorpe, Sandra Blank, Lesley Thomson, Ina Demme

Summers: Sylvia Summers, Barbara Saltsman, Pamela Nisbet, Brenda Bryant, Hazel Wolpert, Linda Wynston.

At the start of the eighth and last segment the score was 207 for the Eaton team and 205 for the Summers team.

I would normally say that the first two boards were uneventful as only one imp changed hand but in this match in this match an imp was an imp! 

The third board brought a 10 imp swing to the Summers team but on the next three boards Eaton whittled away at that and by board 23 the score was tied… 216 to 216. 

Here are the East West hands





In the Open Room Pamela Nesbit was West for the Summers team and Hazel Wolpert was East. Do you want to be in 6 East-West as Nesbit-Wolpert were (no doubt played from the East hand)? There are probably twelve tricks there but you will have to survive a heart lead.

Not a bad contract and one which made on a trump lead (the  Q was onside) so a heart guess was not required.

In the Closed Room Katie Thorpe sitting West pretty much insisted on a spade contract and played in the spade game.

At the start of board 25 of the Summers team led by 16 imps 216 to 232.

On Board 25 Wolpert had this lead problem






All Pass

There is something to be said for a spade lead, nobody bid spades and the 1095 is not a bad holding to lead from (lets call this a passive lead). You could lead a heart (not my choice into the heart bidder). If you do you will have to decide which one to lead. Perhaps the advantage of a top heart is that North may well only have a couple of hearts and if she has say the 10x or Jx a high heart may work out better. Still not my choice.

I probably would not lead a club finding that a bit too passive. What about a diamond from QJ7 that could be the one?

We can argue the merits of each lead (and Ray and I did) but if you found a diamond you are a winner, not just of this hand but of the whole event.

Before we look at the whole hand lets see what happened at the other table. This was the auction in the Closed Room.

All Pass

At this table Summers patterned out and bid both her suits. Once Summers made that bid North-South was in a big hole. Bryant probed with 2  which gave Thorpe who held






the chance to double for a diamond lead. North-South took what they thought was their only chance for game and bid 5♣. But as it turns out a diamond lead beats both games, 3NT and 5♣.

The whole deal


Do you look Bryant’s 3  bid? Was she being “too scientific”? You decide.

Still after this board Summers had a 6 imp lead. 

Summers arrived at Board 27 still up by 6. Four boards to go, I will tell you that the last three boards were pushes so Eaton had to win at least 7 imps on Board 27 to win the event.

On Board 27 both South’s arrived in 1NT on the same auction (East-West passing throughout). South opened with 1 and the auction continued 1  by North and 1NT by South.

And as it turned out it would be the lead that would decide the winner of the Canadian Women’s Team Championship. What would you have led?

All Pass




Remember that 1 imp we were trying to find. You will find it and more on this hand if you lead the right card. In fact you are 50-50. Either major suit lead will defeat the contract two tricks and either minor suit lead will lead to ten tricks for declarer.


To win the match Eaton needed 7 imps or more. This board 1NT making 4 for 180 and 1NT down 2 for minus 100 produced exactly that number.

Congratulations to the Eaton team and my condolences to Summers. 

by linda at May 25, 2016 08:04 PM

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 - Wednesday's Bulletin and Results


Wednesday's Gopher Bulletin is posted below. Congratulations to all our winners - and - good luck to everyone as they compete in Wednesday's fine selection of events!

Download 2016-3May25online

by Peg at May 25, 2016 11:43 AM

May 24, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 - Tuesday's Bulletin and Results


Day #1 at our beautiful new venue, the Sheraton West in Minnetonka, was a big success! With an excellent turnout, lovely playing quarters and plentiful free treats, the first two sessions of bridge were super.

Tuesday features 3 sessions of bridge:  10AM - 2:15PM - 7:15PM.  

We look forward to seeing more and more bridge players throughout the week, and plenty of fun competition!

Mike Cassel's Tuesday Bulletin is below - along with a nice feature about Minnesota's newest Grand Life Master:  John Koch.

Download 2016-2May24online

by Peg at May 24, 2016 12:29 PM

May 23, 2016

Paul Gipson


The final Home International matches of the season were in the Teltscher Trophy for the Senior Camrose.

It provided to be an anticlimax as the strong England team of Sally Brock, Barry Myers, Robert Sheehan, Nicola Smith, Norman Selway, and Chris Dixon got into the lead on Friday evening and just ran away with the event over the weekend, winning with two matches to play.

Republic of Ireland102.383
Northern Ireland80.785

Second place went to the Patron's team, who achieved that position with one imp to spare as they beat Ireland in the final round.

The performance of the Scotland team was disappointing, especially given that all three pairs are going to the European Team Championships in Budapest next month.

For the first time there was video recording of the event, or at least the vugraph tables - you can see the results here, but it is fair to say that a lot was learned including that quality is largely dependent on the hotel's wifi infrastructure.

Overall the hands were not particularly exciting over the weekend, but this was the one being discussed by most:

I think this is an important hand for partnerships to discuss. What does double really show here? Which hands would you expect partner to remove the double?

And, most importantly, what call do you make here?

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 23, 2016 05:50 PM

Lakshmanan Valliappa

Cunning with a bad Trump split

I flew into London today (Sunday) morning, and since I have whole-day meetings for the next few days, I knew that I needed to get over my jet lag by being out-and-about on Sunday.

The Acol Bridge Club puts out quite a nice lunch spread on Sundays -- the bridge is managed by former restauranteur Noorul Malik and partners are guaranteed.  Insisting on playing 2/1 in the land of Acol usually ensures a decent partner (how many bad bridge players will bother to learn a second bidding convention?)

I walked along the Thames from my hotel to Westminster and took the Jubilee Line to North London:

There were the usual questions one gets ...  Really, you play strong no-trumps? How long are you in London? Will you come back later this week? What is it with Donald Trump anyway?

I tried my best to answer the questions, trying tactfully to point out that the approval rating for Donald Trump is no crazier than the approval rating for "Brexit" -- the numbers are very similar and the type of person supporting Trump in the US is the same type of person who'd be supporting Brexit in the UK.

I don't know if it's a weakness of Acol, but our opponents were dying over themselves to rescue their partners whenever they held a singleton in their partner's suit (maybe it's bad memories of playing 4-1 fits?).  The rescues never ended well.  I'm surprised the practice was so widespread. Even my partner would occasionally forget that we were playing 2/1 and rescue me ... She was, however, good at reading spot cards so our defense was tight. We finished with 59%, good for fourth place.

As with the bridge bidding, there were subtle differences in the language between the USA and the UK. Slightly different connotations for the same words.  For example, after I brought home this 4H contract for 27/30 masterpoints, the opponents said that I had played the hand "cunningly."  Turns out that this was not a slur -- they were being very appreciative of my skill.

The hand itself would probably be an average board in a strong field (click Next to see the play), but few declarers could change course and handle the 4-1 trump split:

In fact, looking at the hand, now, after the King of diamond lead, I can make 5H!  Can you see how? Leave a comment if you figure it out.

The bridge game ended at 4, and with a couple of hours to kill, I wandered around the National Gallery.  A few of the paintings that caught my eye today:

The Grand Canal of Venice is often painted, but this is the first time I'm seeing it with a regatta. The colors add drama to the scene and in person, the boats shimmer with energy.

This is the standard pyramid shape of many portraits (including the Mona Lisa), but the hat adds a second geometric interest to the composition. Your eye is drawn to a diagonal formed by her right elbow and left shoulder. I'm surprised more painters don't do this.

The scene here is supposed to be of an angel coming to Joseph in a dream, pointing to Mary, and saying that she will bear a child while still a virgin.  In person, though, Joseph's slumber is quite comatose and the angel's arm is in the same position it would be if she had slapped him into that coma. Meanwhile, Mary looks on with a wry smile. Is the painter an atheist having fun?

Walking out of the gallery and back to the hotel, I got to capture the framing afforded by the half-open gate and the rainy evening sky of Big Ben:

And that is how I bridged over jet lag.  Tomorrow, I'll know if I've been successful.

by Lakshmanan V (noreply@blogger.com) at May 23, 2016 01:52 AM

May 21, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Minneapolis Grand Slam Season End Party



For many decades, The Minneapolis Grand Slam Club has been "the" place to play for Twin City experts and aspiring competitors. Steve Garner, Howie Weinstein, Joe Grue, Jim Hall, Eddie Kantar - and many other elite players honed their games at the MGSC.



May 20th was the last night for the 2015-2016 MGSC season. A good crowd turned out, first for a fine buffet dinner - followed by a year end MGSC meeting, awards presentation and - of course! - an evening of bridge.




President Dave Neiman did an excellent job leading our meeting. Congratulations to all event winners - and thanks both to those who contributed to the fun last evening celebration plus director Tony Ames, board members, treat providers and others who make the Club so fun.



The MGSC party is a great kick-off event for Monday's upcoming Gopher Regional. In fact, Mike Cassel introduced us to a visitor at the party who traveled all the way from China!  Wayne Chu will be playing with Mike at the Gopher!

Here we are, doing what we all love:  great food, great company and an Individual to top it all off! Kudos to Mark Krusemeyer for nabbing the win!



Roger Anderson's socks!  He rocks!

More non-sock photos below.....




by Peg at May 21, 2016 05:32 PM

May 20, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

Releasing Steam at the Table

Bridge players of all ilks suffer frustrations at the table (and away from it as well). Over the years, I have heard a multitude of famous quotes (some funny and some categorized in a feistier milieu). With apologies to the celebrated “Bartlett’s Quotations,” I’d like to share those that came to me immediately and for obvious reasons, in some cases anonymity seems appropriate:
After a questionable move by a dear friend of Norman’s and mine (now a deceased Hall of Famer), his frustrated opponent blurted out a nasty criticism, inferring how bad his action was (but it must have worked))! Calmly (but quick as a flash) our friend lunged for an overflowing ash tray — dumping it upon his accuser’s head, adding … “and I’m sloppy too!” (Guess that falls into the category of retaliatory Zero Tolerance)!!
Another one (on the more raunchy side) was when a celebrated world class player (with a sarcastic streak) turned to his beautiful partner and said: “You play bridge like you f___! ” True story with lots of witnesses. (And no doubt .. an exaggeration!)
Bobby just piped in with one I hadn’t heard before: Long, long ago, a well known personality with a great sense of humor (though none too shy) received an awful result from what appeared to be some female hillbilly. Frustrated and enraged, he piped up with something to the effect .. “I can’t believe I just got done in by some ‘fu….in’ pig-farmer’s wife!”
On a more personal note: When I arrived in Montreal in 1967, Norman (playing in a six session event with a client and good friend) sheepishly apologized as he qualified for the finals and I found myself dateless for the Mixed Pair.. Edgar charmingly came to the rescue, overcoming Norman’s vain protests. And .. I can still hear Edgar’s chanting to me when we sat down: “If you can only count one suit, count trump.” It worked. We won easily (by half a point)!!!!
I have several more but I have a time issue as I am on my way out with Bobby to my weekly Friday addiction (no clues or hints needed), but will share more with you later. I am certain you have a few of your own which I hope you will add to my list. Perhaps, I should retitle this blog “Can You Top This”?

by Judy Kay-Wolff at May 20, 2016 07:50 PM

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 - Minnetonka Sheraton!



Many of the Gopher organizers live in fear that some of our competitors aren't aware of the site for Gopher Regional 2016.  So - please share with everyone you know that the tournament will not be at the Bloomington site we've had for years.  Instead, we are going to be able to play in a fabulous new, modern venue, just east of Ridgedale Shopping Center in Minnetonka.  The Sheraton West.

Bulletin editor Mike Cassel has prepared the Monday, May 23rd Bulletin; it's posted below.  Lots of data about the tournament, schedule, places to eat and much more.

We want to see you prior to game time, 2:15PM on Monday, the 23rd, at the Sheraton West, in Minnetonka!  Do not go to Bloomington; inquire if you're not sure where the hotel is!

See you soon!

Download 2016-1May23

by Peg at May 20, 2016 06:16 PM

Everything is PRIME at The Gopher!




Our morning games start at 10:00 AM, giving everyone in the metro area plenty of time to get to the playing site after the morning rush hour.  The afternoon session starts at 2:15 PM and ends as the evening rush hour abates, giving players lots of time to go out for a nice dinner and still get home well before dark.



The three full 4 session KO’s at the 2016 Gopher regional will have 2 session per day.  The sessions will be Monday/Tuesday afternoon and evening, Wednesday/Thursday afternoon and evening, and Friday afternoon and evening and Saturday morning and afternoon.  No more three sessions a day for the first knockout.



All of the pair and Swiss team events feature masterpoint averaging.  This means that while you may have gone over a significant masterpoint milestone, your strata will be determined by the average masterpoints your partnership or team has.  The one exception to this in in the Gold Rush event where no one individual may have over 750 lifetime masterpoints.

by Peg at May 20, 2016 01:00 PM

May 19, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 Bulletins - and More



Gopher Regional 2016 begins this Monday at 2:15 - evening session at 7:15! We're looking forward to playing at our lovely new location in Minnetonka; the Sheraton Minneapolis West, by Ridgedale.

Mike Cassel, our Bulletin editor, already has Monday's Bulletin in place.  Indeed; you can read it below!

Looking for information about where to eat?  The 2016 schedule?  Maps to find the tournament hotel and dining locations?  All that and more is here!

We'll see you soon on May 23rd!

Download 2016-1May23





by Peg at May 19, 2016 12:05 PM

Eamon Galligan

IBU Trials Final ... The Final 20 boards

Back on January 31 2016 the IBU trials had been turned upside down. The underdogs known as Team O'Brien had doggedly hung on for 60 boards and on boards 61-80 on Sunday morning they suddenly opened up a 52 imp lead.
So what if anything could Team Moran do ... Well they started with a team talk from Hugh McGann out the front of the Regent Bridge Club

We lead well We defend well We bid well and we just hope the boards contain the IMPS..

And so it began

We setup the vugraph and retired down to the Regent Bar and the big screen and we also had
a few laptops

We started watching the Closed Room where Ranald and BJ as North South battled John Carroll and Tommy Garvey ..

Board 19 was a quiet 2S down 1 by EW looking like a gain for Moran as up to 10 tricks were available for NS in a no trump contract ..

Board 20 came on the screen and showed North South declaring 3H with Garvey Carroll taking a cut at it... so 3HX by BJ OBrien

From the off to us kibitzers it looked like 3 simple clubs a diamond and a HEART for down 1 ...
However Carroll and Garvey had other ideas and a clu and two diamond plays later the gallant BJ had a plausible play for 10 tricks ... However like all good players he guaranteed his contract and made 3H for 730...
This looked like about 15 imps out for Team Moran and a deficit of 67 imps ..

At this stage Declan Byrne the Regent Club Manager approached and glanced at the score and indicated we can make better use of our time. He wanted to know about setting up vugraph and some
Pairs Scorer stuff .. so off we went to his private kitchen where the Regent Club computer and other tools reside. For the next 40 minutes we did some computer bridge techy stuff and there was little sound from the battlefront..

When I emerged from Declans Den ... the BJ Milne room was starting board 5....A light 1S opening by McGann caught Wojech with a strong NT without a spade stop so he was confined to DOUBLE and Ruzinski holding a 2452 8 count bid 2H and there they played.
With no opening in this room Garvey Carroll sailed into the cold (as cards lie) 3NT and it was 6 imps for Moran

Board 6 saw a flat 4S

Onto Board 7 Both played in 3NT

Milne chose an attacking spade lead and that sort of was a comfortable 9th trick for Carroll ..
In the other room Hanlon found a safer Diamond lead and Wojech had to sniff out a 9th trick.
He tried for 3-3 HEARTS eventually and down he went .. 12 imps

The gap was 32 imps but the 15 on board 20 still loomed so call it 47 imps

Board 8 and 6C contract flashed on the screen as the Hanlon result in other room
O;Brien Milne stopped off in 5C
Hanlon McGann with slightly better methods were able to indicate DIAMONDS on the way
and Hanlon bid the 6C ... No problems in the play .. ruff out some diamonds ...

11 imps to Moran ... and now its 191 played 170 and the gap is closing but 3HX is still in the bag for Team O'Brien

Board 9

Hanlon sent over 4H in the North for 420 ..
Garvey Carroll found an unfavourable  5D sacrifice doubled off 1 to gain another 6 imps
These guys wear IRON trousers ... 191 plays 176 ...

Meanwhile Rory Boland sitting beside me is looking ahead and analysing the future boards as the mainly pro O'Brien audience look on ... He thinks a small imp win is possible despite the 3H heavy loss looming on board 20

Onto Board 10 Wojech Marcin drop 200 for off 2 vulnerable in 2S

Meanwhile in the other room Carroll also declares 2S and gets the H10 lead
Anyway Carroll got home in 2S for 6 imps and the score was O'Brien 191 Moran 183

 And so we moved to Board 11

Team Moran  declared 4H in one room and were defeated by 1 trick whereas Team O'Brien  stayed lower and played in 3H and were allowed make that contract for another 6 imps
Some respite for Team O'Brien who opened up a 14 imp lead with Board 20 still to score.
197 plays 183

Onto board 12 and the excitement continued

Hanlon McGann as is their style bid a game and hoped someone might allow it make.
Not today boys so down 1 in 4S. Not a good result when you are on the chase and down 1 normally slows down chasers
However Carroll and Garvey attempted the double fit 5D as East West and the defenders failed to find the club ruffs and 5DX came home for 550 and 10 much needed imps
The score .. 197 O'Brien 193 Moran

 And we go to 13 where both sides get to declare 3NT ... Hanlon is quickest and gets a spade lead as opposed to a killing Heart Lead ... Hanlon makes 10 tricks for 630 and the screw is turning ..
Garvey pings out a HEART and that's down 1 and another 12 imps
7 boards to go and the scoreboard amazingly shows Moran 205 O'Brien 197 but more is required to cover board 20
Boards 14 15 16 17 were quiet flat boards played in mostly the same contracts

So we are at board 18 with the score 205 plays 197

O'Brien Milne tried or got pushed to 4C in the Open Room and despite the defense not collecting all their tricks it was 4C down 2 and plus 100 .. In the Closed Room Wojech attempted 2D as a contract on the 4-3 fit. This also went down 1 and the tunnel was open and one could see light and it was not
an oncoming O'Brien train .. Moran 211 O'Brien 197

Board 19 finally came on the screen ...

 Carroll and Garvey stole away in a 2S contract with less than their share of the high cards.
It looked like a NT partcore for North South making about 9 tricks so should be 2 imps to Moran
However Rory Boland in the spectators vugraph room had been touting 3NT by Hanlon McGann since around board 10 when the imps started flowing back ..
He reckoned .. McGann upgrades to a 14-16 and Hanlon drives to game
How right he was

Moran 219 O'Brien 197 and it was onto board 20 with a 22 imp lead

So Congratulations to the Moran team on a terrific comeback. However maybe they need to examine some of the previous 80 boards to find out why they were in the hole

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at May 19, 2016 10:44 AM

May 18, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Love Bridge? You're Gonna LOVE the Gopher!




If you enjoy match point scoring and strategy or just prefer playing against a lot of different folks during a session the MN Gopher regional pair games are for you.  A two-session regionally rated, gold point paying pair game will be held every day from Monday through Saturday.  While the Monday event will be afternoon and evening, the rest will all be morning and afternoon.  The stratified open event will be held in conjunction with a stratified Gold Rush two-session event.  This combination proved popular in 2015 with the best attended pair games in years at the Gopher regional.  The evening pair games will be part of side game series.  Play in two or more sessions during the same series and section tops win gold points!



Bring your 4, 5 or 6 person team to the 2016 MN Gopher regional.  Even if you lost in the first round of each of the three full 4 session KO’s, you could still have your team play in 18 sessions during the 7 day regional.  In addition to the three KO’s, there are 6 2-session Swiss teams and 6 one session evening Swiss events.  Also, this year the prestigious Jim Hall Knockout that begins our tournament will start Monday afternoon, continue Monday evening and finish up with sessions on Tuesday afternoon and evening.  You will not have to play more than two sessions a day anymore.  Enter this event and get your name engraved on the perpetual trophy for winning the top bracket.  Remember, you may play up if your teams does not have enough masterpoints to qualify for the top bracket.

by Peg at May 18, 2016 10:36 PM

Paul Gipson

Teltscher Trophy this weekend

This weekend sees the final event of the Home International Series, the Teltscher Trophy. Like the Junior Camrose, it is being held at the Holiday Inn in Edinburgh (next to the zoo), but the atmosphere will be very different as most of the players are grandparents rather than juniors.

The five nations playing are Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. They are joined by the Patron's team, headed by Bernard Teltscher, and they will play a double round-robin of 14 board matches. Presumably they play less bridge than the juniors as they get tired more easily.

One match from each round will be broadcast on Bridge Base Online (schedule). There is no Vugraph room at the venue, because no-one ever turns up, but visitors will be welcome to watch in the Open room. Play starts at 7.30pm on Friday, and then at 10am on Saturday and Sunday. I'll be there all weekend as the official scorer.

You can follow the event, including live scoring, at camrosebridge.com. We may even have video coverage, depending on whether the equipment arrives in time and testing is successful.

Update: video testing was successful

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 18, 2016 10:13 AM

May 17, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Hot Time in the Summertime!


Enjoy the beauty of Minneapolis in the summertime by day.  At night - 6:30PM - enjoy fabulous Friday night games at the Twin City Bridge Center!

Steve Gaynor has all the details below!

Download Summer Nights on Friday

by Peg at May 17, 2016 11:49 PM

Eamon Galligan

Two hands in Malahide last night (underdeclaring)

Hand 12 above was declared in 3N and 4NT many times . Now 12 declarers out of 30 managed less then 12 tricks. I don't get this at all as there seems to be 5 diamonds and 5 spades and 2 other tricks depending on the lead. All declarers in the room sat in West. So club or heart lead means 12 tricks.

Board 12 mainly declared in 3NT or 4N and 11 times out of 29 the declarer made 11 or less tricks.
Declarers were always West and there seems to be 12 tricks available via 5D and 5S and 2 other tricks. So I don't understand how these declarers shrank the available tricks. Clearly something is wrong. I was drawn to this hand while examining some pairs results and seeing them score badly despite their opps making sub-optimal number of tricks ..

Seems hard to make less than 12 tricks

On Hand 18 we come to a lesson I learned from Denis Dillon (RIP) one time in a Teams match.
I was declaring a 4H contract and it seemed fairly safe to make 10 tricks but I felt its a good chance
for overtricks .. So I left a spade lead run to my QUEEN ...
So Denis pipes up as he wins the King ..."Eamon I would not have done that now .. a bad thing might happen .. " ..
And two spade ruffs later and Eamon was gone down in the cold 4H ...
Now Denis was not unethical in any way .. He held singleton Heart Ace and was getting in by force
Its not like he was telling partner take your ruff and get back over to me in a side suit ..
The only problem was my greedy declarer play ..

Anyway last night I heard some mumblings around the room about some people letting a trick run to their queen and then berating themselves as they lost a ruff with a possible 12 tricks on top ..

Some were even in 6H and blew it on trick 1 ..
Others were in 4H and only missed an overtrick ..

About 12 declarers out of 29 managed to condense the tricks to 11 or less ..
Meanwhile we have one of our Rivervalley Club superstars ...Shane Maxwell who to be fair has never played bridge with real cards in his hands. Shane has played various games of cards since he was about 6 years of age. However one night he had a few too many beers and challenged me about DON and Bridge in the local beer place. So I taught him DON for 10 minutes and Bridge for 15 minutes ..starting about about 1150pm ... By 1am he was at home logged on to some website and playing Bridge ..

Fast forward about 1.5 years and yesterday we found Shane with time to spare during his college course and it became clear he was having a few games of bridge  to pass the time ..

So Shane declared 3NT and managed to gather in 6 tricks .. The opposition took the first 4 heart tricks and Shane had the Heart 8 as a winner. However he somehow erred and failed to gather in the
5 diamonds 1 heart 2 spades and a club ....making 9 tricks
Shane ended up with 6 tricks

I spotted all this after playing the hand myself in 3NT and making the 9 tricks ..
So I asked Shane on social media about the hand ..
" I misrepresented my hand and I learned a lesson " ...
Now this is a poker term .. misrepresented .... but Shane failed to gather in the 9 top tricks ..
I will have to teach him a little more

However he is playing on

And this is a fine site to play bridge for free .. It gives you a percentage after each hand and it gives you a weekly ranking ..
Declan McKenna will be watching over his shoulder for Shanes rating this week ..

So if you want a free place to practice and compare yourself with the legendary BJ O'Brien a multiple
National champion or else with online learners Declan and Shane ...off you go and signup for free.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at May 17, 2016 07:48 AM

May 15, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

It’s Time We Got It Right!!!

Regarding the verdict of the now much-talked-about late Friday night 2016 USBC Appeal, many knowledgeable bridge experts have questioned not only how the Committee was selected but also by whom and in search of a better solution for handling the process. I am by no means challenging or criticizing those organizers or appeals people involved recently in Denver .. just looking ahead to make the proceedings better (which should be our common goal) and not last minute scrounging at night to gather a worthy committee as the emerging situation dictated.

However, the selection process for such a serious event (unlike an NABC where a plethora of experts are still in attendance late in the tournament) has many flaws. Perhaps arrangements should be made beforehand — having on hand honorable and willing impartial experts who have been knocked out to remain on the site to be available if needed. I understand this all costs additional money, but with unimaginable thousands constantly being shelled out by sponsors and the unfathomable money ACBL has been gouging from its members recently, someone or some thing should be able to come up with money to solve this perplexing Appeals problem. Consider the huge ACBL intake from such new practices of charging an extra two bucks per person for a ridiculous local club Stac game (simply a club duplicate) focusing on meaningless master points? Add it up .. it’s a bundle. And what about raising the NABC fees for a six man team even though only four can play at a time? Perhaps some of the extra lucre floating around can be put to good use by helping to provide for a few impartial experts to stand by if needed? What could possibly be more momentous than improving our appeals process — especially involving worldwide representation???

It appears that the venue for this far-reaching legendary decision, per force, was relegated to a telephone conference call (less than an ideal method of debating the issue) as opposed to a ‘live’ meeting and playing a major role, in this case, to determine who battles it out in the FINALS to earn the privilege of representing Zone 2 in the upcoming world championship in Poland.

‘Transparency’ seems to be the recent bridge topic of the day! Thus, impeccable knowledge of the game (coupled with total impartiality) should be the major determining focus involving WHO makes the appointment and WHOM is selected. I think the bridge public who is presently on top of the current issue as we speak, is entitled to some answers.

by Judy Kay-Wolff at May 15, 2016 07:44 PM

Peg Kaplan

Looking for Lessons


Though it's been some time since Joe Grue has lived in Minnesota, most of us will always think of Joe as "one of ours."  And no - Joe is not looking for lessons!  He's currently competing on Team Fleisher in the finals of the 2016 USBF Open Championship.  The winner of this grueling 120 board match will represent the United States in international competition.  And, you can still watch the final 60 boards on Sunday, starting 11AM, central time.

But, there are other Minnesotans who have not yet learned to play bridge - yet are yearning to do so!  Your webmaster recently received an email from some potential students in the Detroit Lakes area.  They'd like to be able to take lessons, yet are unsure how to go about finding a teacher, group or classes.

If you might know of someone who could help them, please email Peg at mrmollo@aol.com.  I will forward your helpful information!

In the meantime, if you want lessons from the masters - watch Team Fleisher and Team Diamond tomorrow!

by Peg at May 15, 2016 02:55 AM

May 13, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Save The Date!




The #LIVIN Foundation is a movement to Get Busy #LIVIN!
We are raising awareness about mental health and depression in order to prevent suicide.


by Peg at May 13, 2016 06:55 PM

May 11, 2016

Lakshmanan Valliappa

Undiscussed bids in the slam zone

Playing with an occasional partner in a strong club game, we have already had a couple of misunderstandings. In spite of that, we are doing well (we'd finish with 54%).

As East, I picked up:

South dealt and passed and the bidding goes:
(1) 20-21
(2) transfer to hearts

What's your rebid holding my cards?

I decided to pattern out, and bid 4C.  Partner, unsure what this was (cue-bid self-agreeing hearts?) kept the bidding open with 4H and that's how we ended up in 6H for this result:

I should have kept it simple.  Knowing that we were going to slam anyway, I should have simply bid 5NT over 3H.  Partner could bid 6H with 3 of them, bid 6NT with his actual holding.  If partner decides to scramble to 6C or 6D, I can pass 6C or correct 6D to 6NT.

4C, undiscussed, was simply too risky.

p.s. Thanks to John Goold for putting his Bridge Blogging Tools on the cloud. The hand diagrams in this post were formatted using his tools.

by Lakshmanan V (noreply@blogger.com) at May 11, 2016 08:26 PM

Linda Lee

What is an Opening Bid?

A long time ago when I was in high school I learned to play bridge and my main partner was the boy next door, Mark Cosman.  Mark who I have seen rarely recently told me a few years ago his son now plays bridge. I hope he still does.

Mark and I learned to play bridge using Charles Goren’s Point Count Bidding. It does seem kind of quaint now. We played for hours with some other fellows from the neighborhood. In those days bridge clubs were definitely populated by young males.

An opening bid had at least 13 high card points. High card points being counted as today. Distribution points were counted for short suits, 1,2 and 3 for doubleton, singleton and void (when considering suit contracts.)

Over the years I learned to open lighter hands .. because there is an advantage to opening the bidding. But we still taught students that you needed at least 13 points, high cards and distribution together. Instead of counting shortness students in recent years were generally taught to count length points for suits longer than four cards. The results were similar.

So now I come to the US team trials and see this hand. In second chair with everyone not vulnerable both Moss and Meckstroth opened this hand 1. Would you?



Pluses: You have two and a half quick tricks. Aces are worth more than four points. You are not 4-3-3-3. You have good diamond spots. And all your high cards are in your longer suits

Minuses: You don’t have a long suit. You don’t have much distribution. You only have 10 high card points … okay maybe 11 is you want to count AQ as seven or six and a half. 

I was thinking about whether there is a difference in choosing to open this hand in first chair or second chair. I can’t come up with a reason why it would make a difference.

Anyways both Meckstroth and Moss opened it 1 . In checking the other tables playing in the team trials there were some that opened and quite a few that didn’t.

Opening the bidding is obviously an advantage but as the required  values go down, the spread (the most and least opener can have)  becomes greater which is a disadvantage.

 Most players change the values required to open by seat opening lighter hands in third chair. In third chair there are many other considerations too .. desired opening lead being one.

Fourth chair? Partner is a passed hand (and passing for some pairs seems to show bird poo). So I think most players would probably not reduce opening bid requirements much.


How likely are you to make this game? First there is a chance of a heart ruff if hearts are 4-1. This is not inconsiderable because if hearts are 4-1 there is a good chance that the long heart hand can get the lead (whoever has the spade ace) and give partner a ruff. You also have to pick up spades for one loser. Sometimes you can’t and sometimes you have to guess (for example, is the spade jack doubleton offside or third onside?) Definitely a good game vulnerable but not quite so clear not vulnerable.

What happens next? At the Meckwell table the pair got to four spades after Rodwell responded 1  and Meckstroth showed a minimum balanced hand with three card spade support. With everything friendly the game was a make.

In the other room a curious thing happened South also opened 1  (which just shows how old fashioned I am) but this time West, Weinstein, doubled on the balanced 14 count. Grue passed awaiting developments and now it was up to East Levin. With a four count and five good diamonds he decided to tough it out. When Moss also passed he found himself playing 1  doubled on the 4-1. With the good diamond spots and things breaking North-South can make six tricks in diamonds for one down.

As I sit and look at the deal now I wonder if I would have passed 1  doubled on Grue’s hand? I guess he can defend most things but there was just that danger that the East might have a diamond stack. What do you think?

With the spade AJx onside and no bad distribution 4S was made… sometimes bridge is an easy game. 11 imps to the Nickell team who at the end of the segment had narrowed Fleisher’s lead to just 6 imps (103-109) at the halfway mark of the match.

by linda at May 11, 2016 07:52 PM

May 09, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Jim Hall KO & More - Gopher 2016


Gopher Co-Chairs Patti Stuhlman and Sue Jackson want all our competitors to be aware of changes in scheduling and venue. 

Our new location for 2016 is:
Sheraton Minneapolis West
12201 Ridgedale Drive (1/4 mile south of 394 between 494 and Hwy 169)
Minnetonka MN  55305
And, the Jim Hall Knock-Out, the Charity Open and the Gold Rush Pairs, our first events, start Monday, May 23 at 2:15PM.
Patti and Sue look forward to seeing everyone in Minnetonka soon!


by Peg at May 09, 2016 05:36 PM

May 07, 2016

Paul Gipson

Some problems from Stratford-upon-Avon

Generally the hands seemed quite exciting at the Spring Fours, but perhaps it was just all the imps that were flying about that created this impression.

This was from our first match:

Do you bid at this point?

Whether you bid or not, you will not be surprised to hear that East's next call is six hearts. This comes back to you, so what is your next call?

Later in the same match:

Your one no-trump bid was non-forcing and wide-ranging (5 HCP to a bad 12 HCP). What is your choice now?

Then a problem that you might not have faced from our second round match, especially if you would not open the North hand:

Partner's two clubs response could be made on a variety of game-forcing hands, including all those with primary spade support which a typical 5-card major pair would use the Jacoby 2NT. I think you can assume partner has spades, so how high do you want to bid?

And then a lead problem:

The four hearts cue bid was the lowest available to show spade support, as four clubs would have set clubs and four diamonds would have been key card for clubs.

Your lead?

PS I have upgraded the blog to use secure http which means that the hand diagrams may not work on some old posts. I think I've fixed all this years', but previous years might take a little time.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 07, 2016 07:33 PM

An explosive finish

For the third time in four years we played the Piper team in the Gold Cup, this time in the third round of the competition. We were a team of six (Mike, Arend, Brian, Alan, Alex, and I) against their four (Douglas, Malcolm, Jake, and Sheila) over six sets of eight boards.

We sat out the first set, watching some amazing cricket from South Africa instead, and after the score-up we were four imps down.

We came in and things did not start well. We doubled Douglas' three no-trump bid when they only had a combined 22-count, only to find that it was unbeatable when his club holding of AQ8 opposite J9 was worth three clubs tricks by force (I held K10 under him). The second board could have been poor too, but the defence slipped a trick on our sacrifice and we won five imps instead of losing more.

Then the boards went flat: a 30-point slam was flat, we gained a part-score swing and Mike & Arend bid a cold 21-point game missed at our table. We gained 5 imps on the set to lead by one.

The third set was even quieter, as we gained another three imps. I was a little concerned about two part-score hands where Sheila and Jake had successfully stayed low, but Brian and Alan made more tricks on one of them and took a penalty on another for small gains. So at half-time we had a massive lead of 4 imps.

We sat out the fourth set as the others piled on the imps to increase our lead by 2.

Then the fireworks started. Firstly I failed to unblock my QJ9 of trumps and got endplayed in a game contract: in my defence it wasn't as clear as it is in all the books, as this could have been the setting trick.

Then Alex and I bid these hands to five spades:

Alex didn't know what my key-card was (and so we could have been missing the top two diamonds) and so we were happy to stay out of this slam, but it's probably better that you might think. SuitPlay says it is 49% to make four spade tricks and with no opposition bidding there is not much else that you need. We thought it would be worse than this and felt a little hard done by when Sheila and Jake bid it, but it's really a good slam and it would be excellent if you changed the nine of spades to the ten.

Then I had to decide how to show a distribution hand in competition:

My three spades bid must give a fairly good idea of my hand given that Alex had not shown preference to spades. As it happened Alex had 10x in both majors, but he felt that his only honour card, the king of clubs, was not well positioned and we missed game. I don't know what happened at the other table but we gained 7 imps. You need to use dummy's entry to play spades, not hearts, to make the contract.

Alex and I then missed an excellent slam when Douglas' ultra-weak Michaels Cue Bid let them bounce the auction as we struggled to get our values across. We took +800 from five diamonds but lost 12 imps when they had a free run in the other room.

Then we missed another excellent slam bid by Sheila and Jake. Alex held a good hand with seven spades to the AKQ, but I had a void and little interest in slam once he had not opened with a strong two clubs.

On the final board of the set Alex found the line to make four hearts despite the 5-0 trump break, earning us a game swing but the set was lost 23-51 imps meaning that we'd going to the final eight boards down by 22.

The final set started with a bang:

Although I knew precisely what Alex had shown, my visualisation of his honour cards included an extra king so I was pretty confident when I bid the grand slam. Sheila led a heart and I didn't think it would be away from the king on this auction, so I won the ace. This mean that I needed to test the spades before cashing clubs, in case they were 5-1 onside, and this proved a necessary play as this was indeed how the spades were. Then I played for a simple show-up squeeze on Jake (East) to make this very poor slam and gain 13 imps.

On the second hand, we pushed Sheila and Jake to three spades but they made four. With no competition and perhaps slightly more sophisticated methods, Alan and Brian bid the excellent 23-point game.

Then Alex and I were back on the slam trail:

This is a good slam even on a heart lead, since the odds on making four spade tricks is high. When Sheila led her singleton jack of spades it was easy enough. They didn't bid this in the other room so we gained another 13 imps.

The fourth board of the set featured the third slam, as Sheila and Jake bid efficiently to six hearts. Alan and Brian matched them.

The fifth board was another slam. We bid to six clubs that needed trumps not 4-0, or hearts 3-3, or a spade finesse, or a squeeze; so that was down one. There was a winning line, but only Deep Finesse would ever take it. It proved to be a flat board when they were in six no-trump at the other table, a significantly worse slam as the club position was irrelevant to it.

Two boards later and a light overcall from Alex caused declarer to go down two in a makable game, indeed Alan made two overtricks. Then, on the final board, I took a poor decision to relay a hand rather than bid naturally and we missed a slam when a key card and trump queen were missing but catchable. Douglas and Malcolm bid the wrong slam but I wasn't told how they made it.

Eight slams in the last sixteen boards meant an explosive end to the match that was so quiet for so long.

The final set ended 46-13 and a win by 11 imps. Last time we played Piper we lost a similar lead in the final set so we knew how they felt, but obviously pleased to come through this time. The draw for the fourth round will be made at the end of the month.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 07, 2016 07:31 PM

A tricky night

Most people were complaining about the hands by the evening's end of the fifth round of the club's teams championship. There were lots of bad breaks and it didn't seem to matter how high you bid, it would always end down one. Or more.

The strangest hand was when I held seven spades and 7024 distribution in second seat. I saw my RHO, Dorothy, pulling out a bid and so was getting ready to jump to four spades. But I decided to pass smoothly as she put down the one spade card. As her next call was three diamonds, confirming at least five spades, it looked like a good time to keep quiet and we eventually beat their game contract by three tricks. Jean and Dorothy had bid the hand well, but selected a trump suit with a 5-0 break. Our team mate, who shall remain nameless, won the board for us by passing a forcing bid and only going down one, to win 3 IMP.

I was a little concerned about our score as our opponents generally kept low. So although we'd beat the hand, I expected Ros and Janet to get higher. As it happened I was right about this, but the good news was that they tended to make their contracts.

Overall tricky hands are going to play to our strengths and it was no surprise when we won comfortably, winning nine matches and tying the tenth, to lead the field by 22 VP. The second strongest team was 10 VP clear of third.

I thought this was the toughest hand to find a decent line on:

I'm not a fan of LotG's three clubs, but the final contract is reasonable. Jean led the queen of hearts. How do you play the hand from North? West will follow with the five of hearts playing standard carding.

We now lead the event with two rounds to go. But we still need to win at least once more to guarantee ourselves the title.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 07, 2016 07:30 PM

You might have missed this ...

In a time of unresolved cheating scandals and with the excitement of the Vanderbilt Trophy currently being held in Reno, you might have missed that LotG and I won the Berwick club teams championship, the Scott Cup, last night.

The Scott Cup, donated by the owner of the hotel where the club met forty years ago, is played over seven evenings with the best four positions to count. Our three wins and the second place last night mean that we cannot be overtaken with one evening remaining. We actually have to thank Louis and his team for this, as they took the evening's victory with our main rivals finishing third.

Our team mates are Janet and Ros, who've produced a series of good cards throughout the event. Last night was no exception as the cards ran in their direction, leaving LotG and I to defend most of the time. In the final round our opponents said, "you've not had the cards tonight", whereupon I held a two-point hand and on the final board my highest card was a 7, although I did have three of them!

Janet and Ros did well to bid slam on this board:

This was almost enough to flatten the board, but Reg and Jean did even better by bidding the slam and putting me on lead. With no attractive lead I found the one to concede the overtrick! I was pleased to see that it only cost an imp.

Just an importantly Janet made game on the following board as we found a way to beat it, gaining a crucial game swing against our only rivals and it proved to be the board that decided second and third place on the night.

LotG had an interesting decision to make on the following hand. I'll probably blog more about this hand later in the week, but in the meantime perhaps you can consider your options:

Like almost any bridge event, I think we've won because the team has made fewer mistakes than the others. Although Janet and Ros have not always been that confident when returning to score, they've always got the important hands right and I believe we are worthy winners.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 07, 2016 07:29 PM

Your flexible friend?

As I reported in my last post, I thought LotG had an interesting decision to make on the following hand playing teams:

The first decision to make is whether this hand is worth game. I think this is the easiest decision to address: you may only have 16 points opposite a minimum of 6 points, but it is a very powerful 16 points. There is good six-card suit, a fitting honour with partner's spades, and minor suit aces to provide control.

So we intend to finish up in game, how do we get there? First of all, three hearts is not a forcing bid so it is not the answer. Three hearts is a competitive bid, denying values to bid game directly while showing a desire to play the hand rather than defend.

The options for moving forward are complicated by the games that might be playable: both majors and no-trump as still in the picture. One commenter suggested four diamonds, which I think shows support for both majors initially rather than a cue bid agreeing spades, on the 'game before slam' principle. Firstly I wondered what partner will bid with five spades and a doubleton heart, but he should always favour hearts since four diamonds must promise a six-card heart suit: this is because partner should support directly with three hearts rather than make a negative double.

So four diamonds is a viable option, although it gives up on no-trump or, unlikely, a penalty.

A direct four hearts is too committal for me. Partner is passing whatever he holds and the heart suit is not sufficiently robust.

The most flexible option is to double, showing extras values and a desire to compete with no obvious bid to make. The top Italians are always making doubles like this, just showing extra values with no clear action and no real suggestion of penalty. It is similar to a game-try double or a maximal double.

If partner bids hearts, then you can comfortably raise; if he bids spades, you can rebid four hearts and imply 2-6 in the majors, because if you didn't have spade tolerance you would have bid four hearts directly; if partner bids three no-trump, then you'll pass without too much pain; and if partner passes for penalty, then you have the control-rich hand that will take a lot of tricks.

So I think double is the most attractive call, closely followed by four diamonds.

Of course we are playing five-card majors and a strongish no-trump, like most of the world. But a lot of British players will be playing Acol, four-card major, and a weak no-trump and they would like to double with a strong no-trump. I think the same arguments work in this context too, but I imagine some will prefer four diamonds to get across their heart length.

In summary, there are a lot of competitive auctions where you can use a double to show extra values in context and allow yourself to compete more effectively or, as in this case, to find the best game.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 07, 2016 07:29 PM


I'm not running a team in the current edition of the BBO InterCity League, but Alex and I were asked to sub for the City of Manchester team last night and we helped them to a good win.

To be honest we didn't do that much and it was our Irish opponents' desire to bid at any opportunity that was more responsible for the imps coming in. But we all struggled on this hand:

Sitting West I had a fairly comfortable three spades bid over the pre-empt. Alex now showed a good raise with a four hearts cue bid and I had to make a decision. With my three key cards, it was almost certain that Alex would pass four spades and if he had a heart void, was my hand that good?

Eventually I decided to be aggressive and rolled out key card 4NT. Alex responded with six diamonds, an impossible bid in our system. A six hearts response would have shown an odd number of key cards with a heart void, so I presumed that he had one key card, a heart void, and was offering six diamonds as an alternative contract.

As it happened I was correct in this guess, but now there was the question of the best contract. Concerned that Alex might only hold Jxx in spades with very good diamonds, I passed. In a sense I was right, as six diamonds was one of the making slams and six spades was not. In reality, you needed to see all four hands to make the slam so we went down one.

We were rescued by Peter's decision to overcall four hearts in the other room and the Irish pair ended up in a worse slam and we gained 9 IMP.

Our opponent got a little too high for comfort on this board, but played his way out nicely through a bad trump break - press Next to see the play:

Unfortunately for declarer this excellent effort lost 12 IMP, as the contract at the other table was three spades redoubled, making an overtrick. Such is life!

We won the match by 43-21 IMP.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 07, 2016 07:28 PM

A victory lap

Last night was the final evening of the Scott Cup, the club teams' championship which runs over seven evenings with your best four results to count. We had already won the trophy, so we had a relaxed evening but three teams were vying for the second place prize.

Ros, along with our primary reserve Diana, were on a Danube cruise somewhere near Regensburg, so Janet played with Anne, one of her pupils from last year. Anne's only been a member of the club for this season but her club average is 50% which is very high for a beginner, but this would be more of a test.

LotG was put in a positive mood by our first board:

I think this is the first time that Smolen has come up over a two no-trump opener and LotG was pleased to remember it! Only two other tables bid to the heart game, with five in three no-trump, and two missing game somehow.

I wrapped up eleven tricks when the defence never switched to spades but this was sufficient for a game swing when Janet and Anne beat three no-trump by two tricks.

I'm not really sure how they did this, but it proved to be the standard for the evening. We'd make game, they'd beat game. When we had a bidding misunderstanding and got to a silly slam, they beat the normal game contract to keep our loss to two imps.

I thought LotG played this hand nicely (press Next for the lead):

Naturally Janet and Anne beat three no-trump on the same lead to give us another game swing.

At the end of the evening we'd got the equivalent of seven games swings in with just one game swing away. This was sufficient for 131/200 VP and joint first, although we'd have won the split tie if the club did this.

Subsequently I've calculated the cross imping for the evening and, unsurprisingly, Janet and Anne were the stars. They were easily the best East-West pair with +44 IMP, LotG and I contributing +27 IMP. As our team was +62 IMP overall, we'd both done okay.

This result meant that we'd won the trophy with the best possible score with four wins over the seven evenings, even though we did miss one night. Second place went to Brian, George, Jean, and Penny: they did not star last night, but neither did either of the teams who were threatening them.

Interestingly we were the only team to win more than one night, which does suggest a levelling out of the teams at the club.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 07, 2016 07:28 PM

How low can you go?

It was the first night of the Bowman Trophy, the district men's teams. Mike, Miro, Arend, and I are defending champions but I am playing with Jun this year with the other three rotating over the two evenings.

We had a topsy-turvy card but Mike was keen to focus on their slam hand:

I don't recall their auction but they reached six spades played by Mike. This was worth a slam swing when our opponent just bid four spades directly over my one no-trump opening. But this was not the exciting facet of the deal.

What do you think East led?

Not unreasonably East led the two of spades. Mike played the three from dummy and won with the four in hand. He said it was only the second time in his bridge career that he'd won the opening trick with a four!

On the following hand I had one of those 3NT or double decisions:

Your choice?

We currently lie in second position, eleven imps behind the leaders, so we'll be back next week to rectify this situation.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 07, 2016 07:27 PM

Caught my eye

I think it is fair to say that the general standard of play at the Lady Milne Trophy was not very high, but a couple of hands caught my eye.

England played Scotland in the first match and the difference between the teams at the end of the event was not much more than the 20-0VP win that Scotland achieved. I think England's debutants were a little nervous and Scotland's greater experienced prevailed, although England did well to recover and win all their subsequent matches.

Fiona Brown, England's most experienced player, found a great defence early in the match:

As you can see if you click through the play of the hand, Fiona found the only defence to beat the contract. Unfortunately her partner did not find the best continuation and the game still got home.

At the other table Sam Punch led a spade and neither her partner, Paula Leslie, nor declarer was tested on this lead. As often happened over the weekend, it went down in the book as a flat board and could easily get missed in a pair's analysis of their performance. The hand was played ten times and four hearts made on every occasion, even when played by West when a diamond lead looks the most obvious but a trump was chosen.

Fast forward to Sunday and a well bid hand by the Scottish pair of Symons and Kane.

I was commentating on this hand and started well by saying it was nearly impossible to bid this slam, as I expected the East hand to rebid no-trump and West to lack the tools to investigate. What I had missed was that Helen Kane could show an invitational hand with clubs, which made it a lot easier.

I was very critical of North's double of three clubs, but it does raise alternative lines on a spade lead. For a start, it looks like North should have all the major honours but not the king of diamonds.

But a heart lead was very revealing and Helen Kane played the hand very competently to earn a slam swing. The slam was bid and made by most, only England and Northern Ireland missing it.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 07, 2016 07:26 PM

No clubs, partner?

We did not star in the second week of the district Men's teams. We got some things wrong at both tables and the opponents did some strange, but successful, things. I guess most teams would say the same.

The Women's teams played the same hands and as I took a team home we discussed one of the hands:

What is your call?

In a sense this is a hand that gives you an idea about the standard of a player.

I passed, as I'd expect most expert players to do. Double is best reserved for takeout, hands with values in the other suits that expect to make a 5-level contract if partner does not pass, because these hand are more common than a penalty double. The other reason to pass is that partner will be short in clubs and ready to double and you can convert that into penalty.

In the car, Diana was chastising herself for passing and so was pleased to hear it was the expert call. However her partner ruined this by saying that she'd have passed as the double was obviously penalty when she had a void in clubs. This is poor logic, as partner does not know what you hold when they double - it's the best way to let the opponents play in their 12-card club fit when you have a slam on.

My partner let me down by forgetting to double in the pass out seat, so we took a poor looking +150 on the hand. But at the table my hand could not resist doubling and paid the penalty when his expert partner expected more and jumped to slam. So we gained 12 IMP, meaning partner's pass only cost two imps.

On the next hand we were also defending five clubs:

I really wanted to double but partnership discipline set in, I'd shown my hand with two no-trump and partner had not doubled, so it was not my place to do so.

The lead of the king normally asks for count, but with a singleton in dummy it is normal to play suit preference. So do you play the two of diamonds to ask for a heart, the nine of diamonds to ask for a spade, or a middle diamond to ask for neither, showing no preference?

Your choice?

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 07, 2016 07:24 PM

May 06, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

There’s Good News Tonight!

Those of you old timers like myself may remember the above greeting attributed to the celebrated World War II radio commentator, Gabriel Heatter, who always tried to open his programs with the uplifting words captioned above.

Such is the email sent by District 17 President Jerry Ranney:

Date: May 5, 2016 6:09 PM
Subject: Las Vegas Regional Schedule Change
To: ****
Cc: ****

Las Vegas Unit Board Members,

As a result of the concerns the Las Vegas unit has raised about not having a Thursday/Friday Knock Out, District 17’s Executive Committee has approved the addition of a Thursday/Friday KO to the approved, previously-published 2016 Las Vegas regional schedule. The change to the schedule has also been cleared with Matt Koltnow, the tournament DIC, and with Robert Hartman, ACBL CEO. We sincerely hope that this will have the positive effect on tournament attendance that the Las Vegas unit predicts.

We hope that this year’s Las Vegas regional is a huge success, and look forward to working with the Las Vegas unit board following this year’s event to develop and approve a schedule for next year’s regional tournament. We want to work together to hopefully build attendance back to levels that were common in the early years of this decade.

Jerry Ranney
District 17 President

On behalf of the members of Unit 373 and our surrounding community, we are grateful to Mr. Ranney who has attempted to restore peace and tranquillity to both the Unit and District. Many issues still must be resolved… but at least this is a beginning. Unit 373 will do everything within its power to pass around the news of the concession regarding the hard-fought addition of one more KO at the Regional on Thursday/Friday, June 9th and 10th.

by Judy Kay-Wolff at May 06, 2016 04:53 PM

Peg Kaplan

Gopher Regional 2016 - Playing Up




Many players aspiring to compete with the best often are frustrated they cannot match up in Knockout’s with the top players.  That will NOT be a problem at the 2016 MN Gopher regional!  

Since we rarely fill the top bracket in our KO’s, teams are not only allowed but encouraged to ‘play up’.  Just mention that to the director selling the entry that you wish to play up to the top bracket and you will be accommodated.

Once the top bracket is full (16 teams), teams wishing to 'play up' will be placed in the next highest bracket based on the KO master point formula. 

We normally have 9-12 teams that qualify for the top bracket based on their team master points, so there is room for several teams to 'play up' and compete with the most experienced players at our tournament.  Go get 'em, Tigers!

by Peg at May 06, 2016 01:27 PM

Jannes van 't Oever


Hi all,

At work I found a tiny corner where I get my daily shot of streams of consciousness. What? Yes, the tiny corner is dusty and mouldy no one likes to visit: passwords and password policies. We used to create somewhat short (technical) passwords, choosing one word and then replacing the odd consonant or vowel with a number and sprinkle it with a special character or two.  Our new policy is longer (thus stronger) passwords loosely based upon regular words concatenated with dashes or underscores.

I have to say, a moment of free association every day feels surprisingly liberating. Here are a few examples:

  • enterprise-voluptuous-hummingbird
  • reflection-seismology-apologetic
  • deduction-magnify-gastronomy

Readable, transportable and much, much stronger than, say: “Diff1CulT?”

Anyway, let’s talk bridge. René and I participated again in the 2nd Division Pairs competition (every year two weekends in April) and these are our statistics: Above average in 7 out of 8 sessions. Win 2 out of 8 sessions. Average: 54.74%. Yes, we ended up first with a fair margin to the runners-up. Next year: First Division. Booya!


West kicks off with the 7. Losing two tricks in and three in I may not, -500 loses to their +420 in 4

Let’s asses our assets. The opponents have nine together and have been raised. I’d say West is 4-6-1-2. My only way of getting rid of a loser is to have West give me a ruff ‘n sluff. So let’s prepare a little ground work.

Silkily smooth I ask for the Ace in dummy and follow up with a small . East jumps in with the Ace to switch back to . I win, draw two rounds of trumps ending in dummy, ruff a and exit with the Jack of . Fingers crossed.

West doesn’t look too happy after cashing Ace and King of and there it comes: the ruff ‘n sluff. Down two. 

East Dealer
– Vul

Of course West could have led initially. Of course East shouldn’t have risen. But .. to keep fighting for -300 while staring in the ugly face of demise, needing two errors in defence and it happens to work out: fist pump yeah.


by Jannes van 't Oever at May 06, 2016 01:08 PM

May 04, 2016

Paul Gipson

A good run

Mike, Chris, Alex, and I had a good run in the EBU Schapiro Spring Foursomes held in Stratford-upon-Avon over the bank holiday weekend.

As amateurs in a sea of professional teams our expectations were limited and all our hotel and travels plans are based on losing before the semifinals on Tuesday. This was the first time in a while that disruption to these plans was threatened and we were very disappointed to lose on Monday just before the quarter-finals. The fact that the Irish Open Team, off to Budapest for the Europeans next month, beat us and then got to the final, was little compensation for losing to them by just 7 imps. This equalled Alex and my best performance in the event, except we were a lot closer to making it to Monday evening this time. 

A good run, but we all wanted to go further.

It had not started well on Friday evening. 55 teams meant that some would be playing in a triad over the first two rounds, with the winners keeping both their lives and the other two losing one. The rest played 32-board head-to-heads.

We were in a head-to-head and played Borealis, a Danish/Norwegian/English combination, and in a wild match lost by 98-100 imps, far too many in a 32-board match.

This meant that we were one defeat from being eliminated from the main event and were very much at the mercy of the draw. There were practically no easy matches and you'd prefer to avoid the #10 and #18 seeds who'd also lost. We had to play Miller, an unseeded team who'd were the holders of the Punch Bowl which showed that they could play. Luckily things went our way and we built on two good sets to win 99-29 imps.

In round 3 we faced Black (Junior). Andrew Black, co-founder of Betfair, had his own team but was also sponsoring a junior team - four good Swedish juniors and the top English pair of Freddie Illingworth and Shivam Shah. I'm not surprised that they were seeded above us and Alex and I had a relatively poor match.

In the first set we bid our 5-3 major suit fit aggressively to game, only for a double to tell us that trumps would break 5-0. Not the last time this would happen in the weekend. This contributed to a 4 imps deficit after eight boards that expanded to 18 imps down at the half when we bid a slam needing too much and took an unprofitable sacrifice. Things would have been worse if we hadn't missed a good slam that went down on a ruff!

The match turned in the third set when the Rimstedt brothers bid an excellent slam that proved too difficult for most to make on bad breaks. We'd settled in game and this meant that we went into the final set with a 1 imp lead. Alex and I had a soft card with little upside, but Mike and Chris got a large unexpected penalty and we tied the set, winning the match by a single imp (61-60) and still in the event!

I think we've lost in the fourth round to Sally Brock in the last two years, so it was comforting to play an unseeded team, Lehto, as Sally sat at an adjoining table! 

Of course it was not an easy match and it was tied at the half. We took a small lead into the final set, but won going away by 64-38 imps.

Round 5 was not going to be as easy as we faced the #13 seed, Andrew Black himself and his professional team. We started well, always important in such matches, gaining an 18 imp lead due to a defensive error from one of their pairs and playing one game the other way around, the killing lead being far more obvious to the hand holding the KQJ.

We gave 4 imps back in the second set, mainly due to Black bidding a poor slam but then finding the only line to make it. Given our luck on slams to date, we couldn't complain. Like most sponsored teams, the professionals are put in to 'close the match' in the final two sets and this was the case here. But we were the ones who liked the line up as we won the third set by 32-2 imps. This meant a good lead for the final eight boards and we gave 8 imps back for a satisfying 83-47 imps win.

In Round 6 we played Moran, the Irish Open team going to the Europeans and Olympiad this year. After a detailed examination of our system cards, they decided Mike and Chris would play Mark Moran and we'd face Hanlon and McGann for the first eight.

We jumped out to a 26 imp lead with solid play at both tables, but the big swing was a slam hand. Alex and I bid to 6NT on a misfitting hand with lots of points, but 7NT was reasonable needing a couple of breaks or a squeeze. But neither good happened and twelve tricks were the limit, although 6NT was probably better than the club grand slam in a 5-1 fit (AQJxx opposite singleton K).

In the second set we gave back 16 imps, mainly on the lead to a game contract. We'd chosen to play Hanlon/McGann as Mike and Chris took on Garvey/Carroll and they took two of the three double imp swings.

It was our choice again in set 3 and we kept the line ups the same. This time we gained 5 imps on the quietest set of the event, mainly due to Alex and I bidding a thin game.

They switched the line ups around in the final set and imps just dribbled away from us as we fell to defeat by 59-66 imps. Mike and Chris were particularly disappointed by their performance in these eight boards, which just shows how easy it is to forget the good performance you put in at the start of the match. I'm not a big fan of using cross imps but this was a small high-class field so it has some relevance: Mike and Chris were -10 cross imps over the entire match while Alex and I were +4; objectively very little difference between us.

As always the Spring Fours remains a great event to play in. Even those who are eliminated early get the toughest plate event of the year to play in.

The event was won by the Allfrey team (Alexander Allfrey, David Bakhshi, Mike Bell, Tony Forrester, David Gold & Andrew Robson) who defeated Moran comfortably in the final. They also lost a live in the triad over the first two rounds, so played under pressure for the entire weekend. Congratulations to them, especially to Gold and Bell who won for the first time.

So how did the other Scottish teams fare?

Smith (#29) was the star of the first two rounds, beating last year's winners Hinden in a four-board play-off after tying their 32-board match. They lost to Black in round 3, beat an unseeded team in round 4 before losing to the under-seeded Seale team in round 5. An excellent run for them.

Rees (#18) surprisingly lost their first head-to-head and then got an unlucky draw in round 3, losing to Rosen (#16). They finished third in their Punch Bowl group, with two qualifying, and finished 8th in the Swiss.

Silverstone (#20) lost to Black by one imp in their triad, a result that dramatically affects the draw. They won their next two matches comfortably before running into the Mossop juggernaut in round 5. They lost too late to enter the Punch Bowl and finished 7th in the Swiss.

Kane (#30) lost both their head to head matches to dive straight into the Punch Bowl on Saturday afternoon. However they won their group, winning 5 of 6 matches, to make the quarter-finals. Here they beat a recent England Camrose team (Fegarty) by 7 imps before losing the semifinal comfortably. A good recovery by the team after a slow start.

van de l'Isle (#45) lost both matches in their triad comfortably and then had the joy of facing Geir Helgemo's team. Unsurprisingly they did not win this and dropped into the Punch Bowl. They failed to qualify for the knockout stages. Barnes (#48) followed a very similar path.

I'll try to pull together some hands and problems over the next couple of days.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at May 04, 2016 09:21 AM

May 03, 2016

Lakshmanan Valliappa

Sticking to a plan

Playing matchpoints, West has opened 1S over which partner (North) overcalled 2D.  They land up in 4S and partner leads the Ace of diamonds and I see:

Dealer: W
Vul: None


♠ AKxx
♥ xxxx
♦ x
♣ xxxx
♠ x
♥ Axxxx
♦ Jxxxx
♣ xx

 1S - 2D - 4S
HTML Bridge Hand Layout Creator

With a singleton on the board and declarer having a singleton, I pretty much have to show suit preference.  So I played the Jack of diamonds to tell partner about my heart honor.

Partner duly switched to the ten of hearts and I won with the Ace.  Now what?

Partner needs a club through, I thought, and led a club.  This was horribly wrong.  Can you see why?

The answer is in the card that partner led -- he led the 10 of hearts.  That denies KQJ of hearts.  Declarer must have those 3 hearts.  So, the ten must be a singleton!  I needed to give partner a ruff.

by Lakshmanan V (noreply@blogger.com) at May 03, 2016 11:20 PM

Eamon Galligan

Ireland Open Team battle to Spring 4s final

The Ireland Open Team backboned  by Mark Moran and Rory Boland sneaked past a powerful Bulgarian squad in Round 7 ....I guess the quarter finals ...

6 once defeated Teams done battle there ..for 3 semi final spots

The undefeated Sinclair Team took a break as per the rules

The Gidman and  Alfrey teams joined Moran and Sinclair in the semi finals this morning

Alfrey being the original number 1 seeds and Moran the 9th seeds out of a starting field of 55 teams

So they had 14 direct matches and 9 triangles ... reducing the field to 32 teams ..

Its double knockout so you got to lose twice to be gone so they ended up with

6 once defeated teams and 1 undefeated. The once defeated 6 all took part in 3 quarter finals

and then there were FOUR ...

Undefeated Sinclair picked the Moran Team and got beaten by 10 imps over 32 boards

Alfrey the number 1 seeded OUTED Gidman and currently we have

Moran versus Alfrey for the CUP

All results and bulletins can be found at


Look for Spring Foursomes

The Final is currently LIVE on Bridge Base Online

I just spotted a couple of Irish lads declaring a 3-2 HEART fit doubled and vulnerable.
They paid out 15 imps for that one

Then they followed up with a trick reducing lead against a doomed 3NT .. the old 4th highest works wonders ... and they paid 13 imps for that one

And finally on Board 8 it looks like Robson has them in his grippers again .. but it won't be as much to pay this time ..probably ....might even gain as a soft lead left them drop a loser ..

However score after 7 boards is ..Moran 11 Alfrey 39 ...

Eamon Galligan

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at May 03, 2016 04:28 PM

May 02, 2016

Eamon Galligan

Team Moran in Round 7 of Spring 4s on vugraph now

Team Moran are currently on vugraph. Monday May 02 430pm playing in Round 7 of Spring 4s.

I went to the funeral of Malahide and Regent bridge player Maurice Quinn on Saturday. It was only in late February he made his way over to his computer and played 10 hands of bridge-now while I played same program on my laptop behind him ..A full blog on Maurice later

I still plan to write my blog on the final 20 boards of the IBU trials but I have to play the 20 boards
first ... They were exciting and the chase was on with Moran trialing by 52 and losing about 15 imps on the early board 20

Eamon Galligan

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at May 02, 2016 03:37 PM

April 30, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

The Upcoming Las Vegas Regional Crisis

Word has reached my ears that The Las Vegas Bridge Unit has been rattled by countless complaints received regarding the Schedule of the June Regional Tournament being held June 6-12 at Bally’s. Evidently, the schedule was planned by a small cadre of individuals including Liz Hamilton and approved by the District without even the courtesy of a review and approval by the Unit Board which is hosting the event.

There are lots of events for I/N players which is a ‘plus,’ but there are no new two-day Knockout events starting after Wednesday. Also, there are no flighted pair games .. just stratified events eliminating any pairs wishing to play Mid Chart Conventions in pair games.

The Unit Board requested that the District simply allow the addition of two new Knockout events at the end of the week. They were profoundly refused! The Host Unit is responsible for the success or failure of the Regional. This heavy-handed approach by the District defies explanation.

Time is very much of the essence. Contact our District Director, Bonnie Bagley to weigh in on this issue:


by Judy Kay-Wolff at April 30, 2016 06:38 PM

April 28, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

Exciting Unit 373 Progress with our “Newbies”

The 299er Silver Point Sectional was held on April 6 and 7th, 2016

  9:30 Pairs 13 Tables Jane Rubin spoke on Etiquette, Ethics & Rules
  2:00 Pairs 11 Tables Bruce Rubin gave lesson on Opening Leads
  10:00 Swiss 12 Teams Angie Clark spoke on Swiss Teams
      Eric Bell spoke on At the Table with the Director


  • Flyers on Unit and ACBL websites as well as District 17 Scorecard
  • Flyers handed out to each I/N at the February Sectional
  • Emails sent to all I/Ns with flyer
  • Presentations made at several clubs and flyers distributed
  • Personal calls to over 160 I/Ns telling them about:
        The I/N tournament
        The Unit website
        The Regional at Bally’s in June
  • Marketing for Clubs:
        Flyers out for Henderson games and Supervised LV Bridge World game.
        Announced Spring Mountain Swiss Team night and I/N lessons and games

Thank You to:

  • The Unit 373 Board for approving this tournament.
  • Bob LaFleur for securing the sanction and giving opening remarks.
  • Ed Matulis for finding free site, hauling the tables and supplies, and doing partnerships
  • The YMCA for giving us the space for free
  • Bert & Judy Kulic for proofing and posting the flyer and providing a list of all 299ers
  • Kitty Cooper for running a free ad in the District 17 Scorecard
  • Jane Rubin and Bob Woodward for directing for free
  • Eric Bell for providing the computer, printer and giving a lesson, and totally supporting
  • Bruce Rubin for giving a lesson
  • Liz Hamilton for promoting it at Atria Seville and donating books as prizes
  • Peg Cundiff for supporting it and sending many players from her Sun City games
  • Bridge World for distributing flyers at their club and Karen Kimes for promoting on Sun.
  • Gordon Fast and Judi Weissinger for their ideas and support
  • Faith Frank for being our guaranteed partner
  • All players who talked with and encouraged the 299ers to participate in this event.
  • And All the 299ers who played and supported the tournament.

We had 5 players join the ACBL! Fun was had by all.

…and a huge show of appreciation to our Tournament Chairman, Angie Clark, for making it all possible!!!!!

And… here are the total results:

  Entry Fees
    9:30 Pairs    $520.00 – 1 free play $510.00
  2:00 Pairs    $440.00 – 2 free plays $420.00  
  TOTAL RECEIPTS + $930.00  
  Swiss Teams $0.00  
  Directors $0.00  
  ACBL Sanction Fees (36 tables @
$2.01 per player
  Board Duplication (2 sets) $30.00  
  Food Expense  
    2 breakfasts/2 lunches (60 people each day) $488.91  
  Miscellaneous Expenses (white board, plates, cups, coffee, name tags, etc) $98.79  
  TOTAL COSTS – $690.06  
  NET PROFIT + $239.94

by Judy Kay-Wolff at April 28, 2016 12:10 AM

April 26, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 - May Board of Directors Meeting Agenda

What is on the agenda for Unit 178's BOD meeting this coming May 7th?

Please see below!

Download AgendaMay7th

by Peg at April 26, 2016 09:27 PM

Paul Gipson

Schapiro Spring Foursomes 2016

The Spring Fours remains the toughest weekend tournament of the year in the UK, starting this coming Friday night and finishing on Tuesday evening, a double-elimination event based on 32-board matches.

It is an expensive event to play, although cheap accommodation is available, but any pair with international aspirations should try to be there. With so few opportunities in the UK to play against the best pairs that you need to take every possible chance. But the event is open to all, so even those without international hopes should try and play at least once, and really you need to play a few times and eventually it gets easier.

Two years ago there was one of the best entry lists with 55 teams, helped by Lavazza coming over and a number of teams gearing up for the European Team Championships. Unfortunately no Italians this time, but the 55 teams is five more than last year helped by an influx from Norway. Andrew Black is also sponsoring a combined Swedish/English junior team - 2016 entry list.

Representation from Scotland is down a little from last year but still a good showing. Unfortunately it's a bad time of the year for the junior players, with exams looming large, but if I were an SBU selector then I might be a little disappointed that only four of the twelve pairs going to the Europeans are playing - this is the best training weekend they are going to get!
  • (#29) Smith - Roy Bennett & Harry Smith, David Liggat & Liz McGowan.
  • (#45) Van-de-l'Isle - Anthony Bates & Troy Van-de-l'Isle, Robert Clow & Tim McKay.
  • (#27) Gipson - Mike Ash, Christopher Chambers, Alex Gipson, and Paul Gipson.
  • (#30) Kane - Sandy Duncan & Danny Kane, Helen Kane & Anne Symons.
  • (#20) Silverstone - Derek Diamond, Cliff Gillis, Gerald Haase, John Matheson, John Murdoch, and Victor Silverstone.
  • (#18) Rees - Stephen Peterkin & Derek Sanders, Samantha Punch & Tim Rees.
  • (#48) Barnes - David Barnes, Nigel Guthrie, Barry Wennell & Beth Wennell.
Information and results will be available on the EBU website. I expect the seeding and draw will be available on Tuesday, but whoever you play it looks like it will be a great weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Update: seeding added. The top 32 teams are seeded according to EBU Gold Points and educated guesses for non-English players. The remaining teams are randomly placed.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at April 26, 2016 01:30 PM

April 24, 2016

Peg Kaplan



What comes after John Koch earning his final few points to go over 10,000 - and become a Grand Life Master?


Thanks to Terry Beckman for sharing photos from St. Cloud's April 18th party honoring John for becoming a GLM!




by Peg at April 24, 2016 12:28 PM

April 23, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Unit 103 - April BOD Minutes

Koch (2)
John Koch "Over the Top" Player!

Elaine Mulcahy, Board Secretary, shared Unit 103's Board minutes from their April meeting, held in Rochester during their recent sectional.  They are posted below.

Special thanks to Sue Jackson and Patti Stuhlman for finding a fine replacement site for the upcoming Gopher Regional.  Their rapid and well researched response "saved the day"!

We also appreciated commentary that Elaine included when she emailed her minutes:

I am a fairly new player and after reading the Blog, I get excited about this terrific game called "Bridge"! I am super excited for the achievements of our very own MN bridge players.  Actually, my mind cannot comprehend how one can accumulate 10,000 points!  It is sooooo over the top in my mind!  Great job to all these winners!

Elaine, it is rather amazing how a player - John Koch to be specific - can do so very well. Especially when John has been a practicing attorney so many years!

We are so glad that Elaine enjoys MNBridge!  We hope it continues to be a useful resource for bridge players throughout Minnesota, and beyond!

Download April 2, 2016. Unit 103 Board Minutes

by Peg at April 23, 2016 12:53 PM

April 21, 2016

Eamon Galligan

The Slow and the Stopped

As a bridge tournament director one of my duties is to keep the game moving. Sometimes one can pick up the 3 boards before the slow players realize they have only played 2 of the 3 boards. In this case one keeps going and nobody is any the wiser except me. Some players will call me and request an average if they are behind. Some  players who are caught slow just accept it and take an average.

However I have 3 examples

1. I approached a player last month who had been half of North South at say table A4 in a 3 sections competiton and indicated to her that it was great that her table had finally completed the boards.

She was very happy to point out to me that all the slow players in the room were in her section and they were all moving as East West and she had to play against them all. No mention of 20 seconds pause before every card played by her side.... Nope it was all the fault of the moving pairs who were dreadfully slow in her view.

2. One night I spotted a slow declarer starting to play a 4S contract and the table was already slow.

I asked them to speed up and went over to the computer which had www.bridge-now.com on the screen. I managed to bid and play 3 full hands while this lady (a different lady than Item 1) played the 13 tricks or made a claim
So 3 hands played in the 4 minutes ..Does not often happen due to internet lags in that club as the computer is connected to the net by an extender thing. However it shows the speed of play.

3. Last month another pair indicated with anger "WERE NOT SLOW .." I pointed out they had travelled through tables 6 7 and 8 all who were in the last 3 tables finishing each round .. so they
were not fast. 28 tables in play and no gain made on time. So must be slow.

4. Everytime I indicate a slow table they look around to check how next door tables are doing ..
"They  are still playing .." they pipe up ... I say .. Yeah that's true they are on 2nd board of the next round .. or they are on last 3 cards of the equivalent board to the one you are playing ..

5. Its never the slow players fault .. some of them are just permanently in 1st gear .. always travelling up hill

6. In another club where I direct there are two slow players .. Fergal and Tommy ... Now these two
lads just think slow and then when the thinking is done the fingers slowly pick out the calculated card and place it slowly on the table ...Then they repeat all the same for the next 12 tricks

7. Then we have the 1.5 minute dummy putter downer... This man or woman will place each card down in dummy individually and give each card a little pat as it goes on the table.. and maybe look for a little encouragement from partner for a large honor card.

8. And we have not got near a POST MORTEM yet ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at April 21, 2016 05:03 PM

Jimmy the Donplayer converts to Bridge

Last weekend I went to Belfast to broadcast the Lady Milne Trophy on Bridgebase Online. All good and most people had a good time. Scotland had a better time and pretty much dominated the event posting an 87% score.... over the full event

In 2001 when the Coen Trophy was limited to above intermediate level my team managed to post
148 VPS out 150 in a single session of 30 boards and 6 matches of 5 boards.

However these Scots posted 87% over 160 boards and 5 long matches of 32 boards.

So I returned from the Lady Milne on Monday and recalled that I had promised to run a DON competition in my local pub that same night. DON is a game often referred to as poor mans bridge as it was often played by tradesmen whereas bridge was played in the big houses.

Anyway only 4 pairs showed up and we ran like a Two table Howell and all played 6 hands against the other pairs. So we got that over by about 1125pm. Eamon did not win.

1st place was Jimmy Donplayer and Liam Carrick.
So I was thinking ...great I can go home and have a good sleep.

Next thing Jimmy pipes up ... " Eamon give us a quick run through that bridge stuff ....and we will give it a spin for a while"

So Galligan deals out 4 hands and gets the lads to put them face up and quickly explain about winning the first 6 tricks to reach the book and thus bidding starts at 1 level but that means you need 7 tricks. They got that.
Then I explained .. bonus's kick in at 9 tricks for NT 10 tricks for Hearts Spades and 11 tricks for Clubs Diamonds. I have not told them about Small Slam and Big Slam yet.

I did a second hand face up with me explaining the bidding but they picked up the cards and declared the hand. They know the cardplay and what a trick is from DON..

Then Jimmy Donplayer says ... "This is an interesting game .. You could not play this and be drinking at the same time as you would lose count of the suits .. "

Then he says .. Can we play a few hands without showing them on the table ..

So first hand went 1H 2D 2N and Jimmy says "What did you say about a bonus for 9 tricks ..
and I explained and he said ... ok 3NT so ..

Then I made my lead and told Jimmy put his hand on the table ... Jimmy said " but Eamon we are not teaching anymore ..we are keeping our cards held up "

This is where I had to explain the dummy hand ........

Anyway Liam made 10 tricks for plus 1 in 3NT and 430 as Nil all on board 1
Next hand they played 3NT again and Jimmy declared for 9 tricks with a struggle..
I wrote down 600 ...

Then Jimmy piped up ..how does this scoring work .... and I said ... I will look after the scoring for
tonight and Jimmy says .." How will we know you are being honest "

The next 6 hands were part scores and undertricks and then it was time to go home.

Result .. Jimmy 1030 .... Eamon 780 ..

We were playing Chicago ... Nil All on hand 1  Dealer Vul on hand 2 and 3 .. Game all on hand 4

And Jimmy ..goes " What a game !! ... DON is like SNAP  compared to this bridge "
We will give it a spin again soon .. "

Then it took 20 minutes to get down the normal 7 minute walk home as Jimmy questioned me on
various bridge stuff and how it works in the club and scoring and stuff ...

I went in the next night and Jimmy comes over ...Eamon whats this T on that paper you gave me last night. ... I explained T = 10 ..

Meanwhile during that game Declan the Donplayer from previous articles was finally having his first game of bridge with real cards in his hands. For the last 18 months or so he has played only online on the computer. Lurking with intent  in the background was Shane the barman who I also taught bridge but he also has never played with real cards as he only plays on www.Bridge-Now.com

Seamus Costello delivers beginner lessons in my local community centre and Declan Donplayer called in there once or twice and indicated ...these people are learning what a trick is and what a trump is ... I already know those things.

Eamon Galligan

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at April 21, 2016 11:06 AM

April 20, 2016

Peg Kaplan

John Koch - Grand Life Master!

John koch

Bridge players are competitive beings.  We not only love to do well and win when we can - we love to earn masterpoints!  And - along with masterpoints, we can rise in ACBL rankings.  From Rookie, with a maximum of 5 masterpoints, on to levels such as Regional Master, Life Master, along with different Life Master rankings (Bronze, Silver, Gold and so forth) - we love to go higher and higher.

Eventually, the highest rank available is achieved by a very few:  Grand Life Master.  What must a player do to earn this title?  The ACBL explains:

It requires 10,000 Masterpoints and one victory in a North American Bridge Championship with no upper Masterpoint restriction or an Open Team Trials (includes CNTC) or its equivalent or a Women’s Team Trials (includes CWTC) or its equivalent or any of the following WBF events: Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup, Rosenblum Cup, McConnell Cup, Open Pairs, Women’s Pairs, Olympiad, Women’s Team Olympiad, WBF Senior Pairs event, WBF World Swiss Teams, WBF World Mixed Teams, and WBF Senior Teams.

How tough is it to achieve this?  To start, only .40% of ACBL members ever earn 10,000 points or more. So - already, we are at a very lofty bar. Add in the requirement of a non-restricted NABC Championship, Team Trial or certain World Bridge Federation events, and you cut the class to only .20% of the ACBL.

Now, we are most proud to announce that this elite ACBL class has a new member:  John Koch.

If you play bridge in Minnesota, the odds are high that you know John Koch. John serves on Unit 103's Board of Directors. He competes at various levels of play  - most of the time, quite successfully!  And, many of us have enjoyed John's superb writing and bridge analysis in his "Koch Korner" columns.  In "real life," John is a successful attorney, great husband and dad.

Many of us, including your MN Bridge webmaster, have been fortunate to either partner John or reap the rewards of having him as a teammate.  John is unfailingly competitive, insightful, pleasant, friendly and highly ethical at the table. 

I will stop, however, with my own accolades about John.  I could go on and on; John deserves so much praise!

Instead, allow me to share John's own words about his path to Grand Life Master.  But before I present his story below, one more caveat.  John is too humble!  Believe me, someone who knows....  John is someone who never disappoints, as a partner or a teammate - or a friend.

Congratulations, John Koch!  We salute you as Minnesota's second Grand Life Master - and as only one of seven in District 14!  Very well done!

And - heeeeeeeeere's John! 


  Download John Koch - Grand Life Master

by Peg at April 20, 2016 10:59 PM

Unit 178 - Board of Director Minutes - March 2016

Our thanks to Unit 178's hard working board members for all their efforts!  Details of their most recent board meeting below!

Download MarchMeetingMinutes

by Peg at April 20, 2016 02:22 AM

April 18, 2016

Paul Gipson


Scotland has won the 2016 Lady Milne Trophy. Congratulations to Paula Leslie, Sam Punch, Helen Kane, Anne Symons, Liz McGowan, Michele Gladstone, and their long-suffering NPC Alan Goodman.

Sam, Paula, Michele, Liz, Alan, Anne, and Helen

They won every match comfortably and the trophy was theirs before the final one, so I'm sure Alan had a fairly easy weekend.

Northern Ireland31.89

As in previous years England only had one of its top six players in the team, the result of pairs trials, professionalism, and, I guess, the fact that the Lady Milne does not really provide any real competition. So it was no surprise that Scotland breezed through the event.

Most of the team are off to Budapest in June for the European Team Championships where they will face much stronger competition. In truth they will have to raise their game considerably as no-one really impressed over the weekend, the cross imping a reflection of the standard of the opposition rather than their strong play.

But before the hard work starts again, they will be celebrating in Belfast and I'll publish any photographs I get from the team, if appropriate. Of course, as I was commentating on most of the matches so they might not send me anything!

Congratulations to them all.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at April 18, 2016 08:01 AM