♠♥♦♣ Planet Bridge

bridge blogs from the planet

August 20, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2018 News!


The Minnesota Gopher Regional has a new location in Bloomington
near the Mall of America and Airport!
Crowne Plaza AIRE
3 Appletree Square (I-494 and 34th Ave)
Room Rate:  $95 Sgl/Dbl 
$125 Suite
For reservations call 952-854-9000 ask for the MN Gopher Regional Bridge Tournament rates
Team Games, Pair Games, Gold Rush, Intermediate/Newcomer Games every day!
Join the fun at the MN Gopher Regional!

by Peg at August 20, 2017 09:02 PM

Eamon Galligan

Bray Bridge Congress Sept 01 2017 ..Go there to play bridge

Greystones and Bray were my first 2 places of residence when I was very young.
Sunbeam Cottage Greystones  beside the railway and near the beach.

Bray Congress 2017
Friday 1st September to Sunday 3rd September
Royal Marine Hotel, Bray

This event will not be possible without our sponsor Revive Active!
Please visit the Revive Active! site for a brief 20 second survey to retrieve your discount code.

Last year, our Congress sold out, so get your entries in to
Anne Daly 086 2596889 or

Friday 1st September
7.30pm Mixed Pairs
7.30pm Gala Pairs
7.30pm Intermediate B Pairs
7.30pm Novice Pairs

Saturday 2nd September
1pm Congress Swiss Pairs (2 sessions)
1pm Intermediate A Pairs (2 sessions)

Sunday 3rd September
11am Congress Swiss Teams (2 sessions)
11am Intermediate Teams (2 sessions)
Currently I am playing the Bermuda Bowl hands. I make tourneys for Jack from the BBO records.
If anyone wants them send email to eamongalligan@eircom.net

 That's after 9 boards of Match 1 of round robin. Levin and Weinstein are beating me so far.
However I am beating Fiona Brown and Sally Brock so I would have good chance in Womens event.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at August 20, 2017 12:05 PM

August 19, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 - Board June Minutes and August Agenda

Unit 178 Board - working hard for great bridge in the Minneapolis area!  

June minutes and August agenda below.

Download June24minutes

Download Unit 178.August 26 Agenda

by Peg at August 19, 2017 12:19 AM

August 17, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Fifty Years of Bridge - and Friendship


Pretty much most of us play bridge because of the game itself. Fascinating, intriguing, never-able-to-be-mastered, confounding ... All that and more is why we play.

Yet, the game itself is not the only reason we keep on returning - year after year - decade after decade!

It's the friendships and the partnerships that we develop.  And sometimes - for half a century!

Bill Voedisch tells his own personal tale of partnership and bridge. Thanks so much, Bill!


“Bridge with Denny” …  A 50-Year Partnership


I played my first hand of bridge with Denny Cerkvenik in the summer of 1967.  We were newly hired computer programmers at Cargill in Mpls, and it started with just a casual lunchtime game with Denny and I paired against two other programmers.  Although we had all played the game for a few years, we knew one thing; there must be way more to bridge than the game we were playing.

Our first duplicate game

Denny and I played our first duplicate game in the fall of ‘67 in the Minneapolis Industrial League.  I recall two teams from Honeywell, one featuring Stoop Chamberlain.  By 1968 two partnerships were forming; Denny began playing with college friend Arnie Ullevig as I formed a partnership with Kurt Dahl of Cargill.  But we would also mix the partnerships up, and starting in ’68, Denny and I would occasionally try the Bridge Studio on Nicollet in Mpls.

We formed a team … Denny and Arnie, Kurt and I … for the first Swiss event ever played in Minnesota, held at the Calhoun Beach Hotel as I recall, in the fall of 1968.  We were ecstatic to finish 5-3 in this open event, holding about 10 total master points among us.  I remember the chaos of the event, perhaps only a person or two in the room who knew how to organize the thing, trying to explain IMP scoring to the uninformed mob.  In talking to Ron DeHarpporte and Larry Oakey this past year, both confirmed they were there. 

The early players 

Some of the players and pairs of the day:  Dorothy Kanter and Hugh McLean, David Clarren and Newt Dochman, Morrie Freier and Ethyl Dayboch, Essie Mersky with Larry Oakey or Arlene Hill, Jack Rhatigan with two Mike’s ... Myers or Hoffman, Beulah Schockett and Margarite Grue, Irv and Roz Steinfeldt, the “Rangers” (Dave Lehman and Dick Melson, Howie Weinstein and Steve Garner), Dave Nicklasson with Jim Leary or Chuck Stegeman, C. Milton Shefchek and Dorene King, Jon Voedisch and Terry Beckman, John Larson and Gary Krook, Ron and Joyce DeHarpporte, and Jim Hall who paired with many top players..  You knew John Larson was in the room if you pulled Braille cards out of the board.           

In the early 70’s we added Roger Heimke and Jim Sundlin as Dahl moved out of state.  We hired Howie Weinstein to teach us the Montreal Relay system.  We all adopted that system allowing us to interchange pairings.  As a team we were known as “the Polish Army,” a tag given to us by Oakey.  While Denny and Arnie dabbled in Precision, Denny and I stuck to “Standard Howie.”  We would travel to a few local tournaments and one National, Chicago in ’72, which is an insane story on its own. 

Along the way we earned enough points for Life Master, Denny in ’78, me in ’80.  In those days our gold points often came playing against the top players, who we would beat occasionally.  Over time Arnie moved West, Roger moved South and Sundlin sort of vanished.  Denny and I continued to play but in the early ‘80’s I pulled away from the game and played very little as Denny continued to play with others.  My occasional games were with Denny.

Sometime in the ‘90’s he said I needed to get serious and start playing more, and we did.  I am grateful to this day for his prodding.

Neither of us has ever been a frequent player.  Family and other priorities were a factor for both of us. We don’t travel to tournaments or go to Nationals unless we are there representing District 14 in the NAP or GNT, something we have been proud to do seven times.  Our biggest wins were five District Championships in those “grass roots” events.  Alas, our best finishes at the national finals were 6th in the NAP and 5-8 in the GNT. 

If you get a chance to play with Denny, count yourself fortunate.  An excellent and steady player, his decorum at the table is exceptional.  Never critical of partner or opponent, and hands are discussed away from the table.  Sometimes his golf shirts are so loud they blind me, but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

So thank you Denny, for a half century of modest success yet total enjoyment at the bridge table.

Bill Voedisch

Marine, MN

by Peg at August 17, 2017 11:07 PM

August 15, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Upcoming Schedule and North American Pairs


Diane Henson does a marvelous job with an "Upcoming Events" schedule for Minnesota. Please see below for the wide variety of bridge activities that are available in the coming months.

Of particular importance is qualifying for North American Pairs. The NAP is held at every Spring NABC. In 2018, this will be Philadelphia; a fine site for a nationals.

NAP presents a super opportunity to compete at the national level, in your own flight against your peers.  You receive a subsidized trip in addition to the opportunity to win a national title!

Please note that there are still many dates available for games, and in different locations. But - the qualifying period ends at the end of August!  If you want to play and have not yet qualified, you need to do so soon!

This is a great event and loads of fun!

Of course, many other excellent bridge events coming up, too. Avail yourself of as many as possible!


                                Newsletter for Minnesota Bridge Players


MN Sectional, D14 Regional and NABC tournaments with links:

  • August 29-Sep 3 Fargo Roughrider Regional Fargo Regional Flyer
  • Sept 8-10 Paul Bunyan Sectional at Black Bear Casino Paul Bunyan Sectional
  • September 16 - Rochester Non-Life Master Sectional Rochester NLM Sectional
  • Oct. 7-8 NAP District Final at Edina Senor Center.  Make plans now to play in the district finals for a chance to represent district 14 in the NAP national event in Philidelphia in March and get money to help pay for your travel expenses.D14 NAP final
  • Nov 2-4 MN State Autumn Harvest Sectional.  New location this year at the Hotel Metro St. Paul ( formerly Holiday Inn 3M) and new days (Thursday through Saturday)  MN State Autumn Harvest Sectional
  • NABC in San Diego - Nov 23-Dec 3

Other Events

NAP (North American Pairs) Only 2 more weeks to qualify.  Qualifying sessions, (extra point games), at local clubs start June 1 and go through the end of August.    The NAP District Final will be Oct. 7-8 at the Edina Senior Center. District 14 NAP flyer

Pre-registration - you can pre-register at any time by email to either sjackson@smumn.edu or diane.henson@gmail.com.

Scheduled Club NAP Qualifying games.  Please check with clubs for additional NAP games.

Bridge Center of St. Paul- August 22, 28 and 30 at 10am, Aug. 20 at 5:30, Aug 30 at 6:30

Twin City Bridge Center  August 15 at 11am (open and C level) 16, 18, 21, 24, 29, 30 at 11am, Aug 26 at 1pm and Aug 28 at 7 pm.

Plymouth at Edina Sr. Center - Aug 15 & 29 at 6:30, Aug 31 at 7pm.

Metro Bridge Club in Maple Grove- August 31 at noon

Rochester- Aug. 16,18, 21, 25, 28 at 12:30 

New:  Fall Defensive Workshop- Sept 24th and Oct. 1st at the Edina Senior Center - taught by John Koch and Tony Ames.  $100 for both sessions.  See attached flyer at the bottom of the email for more information or call Judy Nassar at 952-474-3653.

GNT qualifying games will start September 1st; please check for games at your local club.

 Links and information are also available at www.mnbridge.com  or www.ACBL.org

Diane Henson

by Peg at August 15, 2017 10:05 PM

Minnesotans in the Spingold!

In the olden days, excellent teams making it out of the first day of the Spingold was the proverbial piece of cake.

But; that was then.  This is now.  

In 2017's world, even the best of the best don't have a guarantee of getting to Day #2 of a major team event.

Three Minnesotans proved that their team had the Right Stuff to make it to the Round of 64.





Keith Connolly, along with teammates Pamela Nisbet, John Laufer, and Dennis Ryan, earned the right to play the tough Jacek Pszczola "Pepsi" team.




Mike Cassel also made it through to the round of 64, with teammates Howard Kahlenberg, Andy Kaufman and Donna Morgen. Mike & Company also had to face a star studded Mahaffey team on Day 2.

While Keith and Mike's teams did not survive to Day #3 - believe me, some pretty impressive teams failed to survive more than one day.





In yet another match, Duluth resident, junior Ben Kristensen played with partner and teammates Kevin Rosenberg, Adam Kaplan and Christian Jolly, the original 93 seed.  And they faced one of the top teams in the world:  Monaco.




At the end of the day? It turned out that it was Monaco who got the tough draw; the Jolly team moved on and Monaco was on the sidelines!

Jolly, too, did not survive to the Round of 32. Yet, beating such a world class team was a huge accomplishment and a great thrill for all these young players.

Congratulations to all these Minnesotan players who did us proud in Toronto!


(And my apologies as Webmaster for tardiness in posting.  Having the Nebraska Regional following the Summer NABC so rapidly presents its own challenges!)


by Peg at August 15, 2017 12:00 AM

August 11, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

Great Misconception:       “ Bridge is Just Another Card Game! ”

HARDLY!!! I know my serious followers will agree!

Bobby has always heralded the numerous areas of our lives, outlooks and achievements (logic, reasoning, predicability, etc.) which have strengthened our thinking trends! I wanted to share with you the following tribute to the many assets of bridge learning with those who do not read Bobby’s daily Internet Column Aces on Bridge which appears on the same bridgeblogging.com site as mine (courtesy of Master Point Press).

The following was his thinking and reflections upon the learning process.

…. While some people feel that card playing is, at best a waste of time, in truth and at least as far as bridge is concerned, becomes a tremendous exercise in psychology; it delves deep into what adversaries (whether it be cards, business or even love) are thinking and so (in old times during wartime) hastened the building of walls, moats, mined areas and barbed wire fences as well as developing whatever amounted to counter espionage during those time periods.

I believe what he is alluding to is .. one must consider the many possibilities in bidding, declaring and defending! Bridge is an all-consuming game if we want to succeed!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at August 11, 2017 01:53 AM

August 09, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Bridge-Now ratings to August0217.. Dublin Summer Congress

Here are the ratings calculated from http://bridge-now.com up to August 02 2017.
A 2% decay is included for anyone missing a week. Also it takes several weeks of play to build up
a rating from the 1500 points starting point. The formula includes a small adjustment for number of boards played and also bases improvements on current rating. Thus a 1400 player scoring 65% on 70 boards will increase more than a 1900 player scoring same 65% on same amount of boards.
So the image above has the top 130 players or so of 1800 who have played sometime this year.
About 750 folk play 20+ boards each week.
The Great Mullall has dropped out of the rating list due to lack of dedication to the cause.
Declan the Donplayer remains with plenty of work to do on 1444
Shane the Unblocker is further back on 1333.
Great Mullall is on 1676 and decaying at 2% per week.
The magical BJ O'Brien suffered a 49% week and missed a week also to decay his rating somewhat but he will return to the upper echelons shortly no doubt.
BJ won the bumper prize in the recent Dublin Summer Congress Home Instead sponsored Bridge Congress Pairs. Nobody was ever going to defeat the star pair of Adam Mesbur and Michael McGloughlin. Thus I term 2nd place as the bumper prize.
Links to all Dublin Summer Congress events are at
and this link sends you to Diarmuid Reddans Bridgewebs for some results.
Some world bridge championship starts shortly in Lyon France. 
I will watch out for Australia Open Team as I made them some hands for bidding practice.
The Mark Moran led Irish Open Team will also participate in the Transnationals.

Meanwhile the well known bridge teacher Thomas MacCormac is on tour in Omaha. 
Look on Facebook for "Great American Bridge Tour" and you will find information about the gang Thomas travels with. 


by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at August 09, 2017 04:37 PM

August 05, 2017

Paul Gipson

EBU Summer Meeting

For the first time in a few years Alex and I will not be playing in the EBU Summer Meeting, mainly because I never returned from Toronto and am currently touring eastern Canada.

All the information about the event and the latest results can be found on the EBU Summer Meeting Hub.

The pairs event started yesterday and the best placed Scottish Junior, Jun Nakamaru-Pinder playing with Paul Barton, is in 20th place overnight. There seems to be fewer entries from north of the border, I expect a result of people attending Montecatini, Toronto, and Orebro (Chairman's Cup) instead. Time and money are major factors for non-professional players. Perhaps more will venture south for the teams next weekend.

I also wish to say good luck to my friend Robin Barker, who is the Director in Charge of the event for the first time I believe. Like most top directors, Robin has a quiet authority and is well respected by the top players and can handle those who don't fully understand the laws but feel that they are losing out.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at August 05, 2017 12:18 PM

July 31, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

Congratulations to The Winning DIAMOND 2017 Spingold Team

It was an exhilarating well-played, grueling week-long national Championship that was contested to the bitter end! The popular victors were Captain John Diamond and longtime partner, Brian Platnick with world renowned Norwegian celebrities Boye Brogeland and Espen Lindqvist. You might enjoy getting your hands on a copy of “The Lone Wolff” and checking out page 259. The chapter is entitled “What’s to Become of America’s Talented Youth.” You will see some familiar names that Bobby spotted back in 1991. A true bridge Clairvoyant!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at July 31, 2017 07:26 PM

Paul Gipson

Playing with a winner, Roth ups and downs

I've been a little remiss in my reporting as eating, playing, and socializing have taken priority.

The big news was that the Paske team won the Mixed BAM on Thursday.

Marusa, Sarah, Tom, and Alex were fourth in qualifying and then completed a hard-fought win by just over half a board: an incredible result for players who rarely play BAM.

This left David and Mike needing to win the Spingold to catch up with the national title earned by their better halves. They too had a great week, narrowly losing the semifinal to Lavazza by 10 imps.

On Friday we played with Sarah and Christophe Grosser in the Roth Open Swiss. Naturally she never stopped smiling. We lost our first match but played better after that to qualify for the second day with a match to spare.

On Saturday we did not play well in the afternoon and needed a good evening to qualify. It was disappointing to see Verhees and van Prooijen sit down at our table in the evening and our small win was not much use to either team. We improved but fell a tantalising 1.7VP short of making the final day.

On the final day we played with Alan and Rick in the last A/X Swiss. None of us impressed but had an excellent meal afterwards.

Toronto is a great venue for the Nationals: the venue, hotel, organisation, and food options have all been excellent and a model of how to run an event. We'll be back.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 31, 2017 03:07 AM

July 30, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Thomas Hanlon exits Spingold in wooden box

Early this morning Irish time a battered and bruised Thomas Hanlon was placed in a wooden box after being exited from the Spingold. Poor chap did not even make the finish line.
However his team provided great entertainment and went 3 matches deeper than expected of an original 17th seed.
Early on we noted a lad signing off in 4S and 2 rounds of bidding later same lad on the same board launches into 7S. Something went wrong with the bridge algorithm.
I did not watch all of the match but reports indicated that most of the 6 members of the Mittelman team produced some howlers ...
Here is a screen grab of the 3rd stanza where Team Diamond was nailing down the coffin lid.

All hands and records can be found on BBO vugraph project.

Meanwhile out in Westmanstown the elderly gentlemen destroyed their field in the Rory Egan Congress Pairs. Well done to Adam Mesbur and Michael McGloughlin.
A near 70% first session set them up for a good dinner and a second session of 62% was enough
to gather in the shillings. The legendary BJ O'Brien was in a distant 2nd place with his partner David Jackson keeping the stats.
Meanwhile another Irish player Thomas MacCormac is these days attending many US Nationals.
This is a great game to be attending. More Irish should go to a US National.
If interested talk to Thomas as he would know all relevant details and issues to sort out.
Sometimes a lesser player needs a waiver to enter the big USA events and stuff like that.

Today the Kieran McGarry Memorial Teams event take place in Westmanstown.
I recall seeing Kieran and Rory Egan on Prime Time marching into the Red Cow to confront
an alleged scammer back in the days when scams were only beginning. Kieran also was heavily involved in the physical end of recent Dublin Summer Congresses in CityWest.
Those tables and all the other equipment don't put themselves out or put themselves away.
Kieran was also a very capable player at times. Kieran won 3 Wednesdays in a row in the Regent back in the day and at that time even one victory in the Regent Wednesday night game for a non-international was an achievement.

All results and running scores at

My understanding is that Rory Egan leads the group that organises this Dublin Summer Congress.
In the Congress Teams its hard to look behind the Mesbur Fitzgibbon powered BJ team or the Goodman team both of which are pretty power packed.

One also notes the presence in the Pairs and Teams field of the well known bridge teacher Peter Pigot junior. One understands he runs some good bridge seminars. I presume he has a website somewhere.

Just to be clear ..Hanlon reaching the semi-final of the Spingold is a massive performance.
Especially given he was not in a team of all professionals.
Thomas partnered Leslie Amoils from Toronto and this is not the same as when operating in his 30 year partnership with Hugh McGann or if partnering another bridge peer.
The problem is to be counted as a winner of any major event a player has to play 50% of the boards.

The 30th anniversary of the Hanlon McGann marriage must be coming up shortly.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 30, 2017 02:41 PM

July 29, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Thomas Hanlon arrives in Spingold semi final

Early this morning Irish time ... like at about 430am the Mittelman NPC team qualified for the Spingold semi-final in a nail biting finish to their Spingold quarter final.

Having started out with 3 double digit losses on Boards 1-3 many hours before and thus trialing by about 34 imps to 0 Team Mittelman got the train rolling and trundled along into a 6 imps after 54 boards of 60. Board 25 (55) saw Zia take the low road in 3S and making 12 tricks ... 5 imps to Hanlon and a lead of 11 imps. Board 26(56) saw Hanlons team mates make 2NT+1 and Hanlon was allowed declare 2C... Hanlon played well to guide home 9 tricks and another 6 imps in a double part score swing leaving Hanlon ahead by 15.

Board 27 looked like an action hand

1H from Zia and Hanlon found 2H michaels and after long thought Les Amoils left him play there.
Hanlon played like BJ O'Brien and steered this home for another 2 imps ..
Now leading by 18 imps ... the end of the tunnel was in sight and some much needed sleep for myself ,,Michael O'Kane and I understand Rory Boland was watching on the big screen down in Carrick. This was past 4am Ireland time ..

Board 28 landed on the screen ...
We expected Hanlon in Heat 4 at the moment to steer this hand safely into the 6NT port.
However the bidding took unusual turns ..

2C 2D
2N 3D
3N 4D
4H 4N
5S 6H

And they were in the wrong slam ...
What went wrong ...
Did 3NT throw Amoils
Did Hanlon think 4D was retransfer
Why did Hanlon answer 4NT in HEARTS Keycard
Did Hanlon think he had told his 2 card HEARTS story with 3NT

Anyway 6H had to go 1 down and the lead shrank to 4 imps with 2 boards to go.
Board 29 was a push in 2S ...Still 4 imps ahead ..

And the final board of this fascinating battle hit the table in both rooms. At this stage I was logged in twice on the web based BBO and the old client ..Upmark in the West seat put the DOUBLE on 4S by our team mates .. This was booked for 2 off and 300...and the Diamond 9 was tracked.
Meanwhile in our room Amoils passed as dealer and Zia Jansma arrived in 4S unmolested ...
This was booked for down 2 .....same D9 was tracked ...

Neck and neck ...it looked like a 1 imp loss for Hanlon ...

However both Wests contributed the Queen and the Diamond RUFFS were GONE ...
plus 100 for Upmark and plus 50 for Hanlon ...
2 imps swing ...

Hanlon and Mittelman NPC survive to fight in the Spingold semi finals ...

Now eventhough the Spingold is one of the 3 Main Annual ACBL events ...many of the teams feature a lesser player who hires 4 or 5 stronger players to help him win one of these prestigious events.
These lesser bridge players are generally very high performers in their workplaces and businesses but have not spent the time to reach expert in bridge. However they allow bridge professionals a living.
I guess its like an investment in Bridge but otherwise playing bridge all over the world would be too expensive for many bridge proffessionals.
All of these lesser players have a great interest in bridge and are very capable players but just not the extra piece that the proffessionals have. Thus many professionals in these client partnerships seem to do what looks like bad plays but usually these "bad plays" can be connected to a carding error or bidding error by the client. Real small things to the ordinary bridge player throw a professional off much easier. It might be the play of a 7 instead of a 6.
Also the lack of long hours of partnership practice are lost to the professional so his or her regular partnership agreements are gone.
Thus a del Monte or a Hanlon might look to have done something stupid as they are not playing with their regular partners of 20 plus years. Hanlon might have presumed he had told his story with 3NT and thus Amoils must have 6 card hearts to insist on HEARTS..
Now Les Amoils in a damn good player and has played for South Africa in Bermuda Bowl I think ..
He seems to be Hanlons partner at the moment for North American Bridge events.
Del monte partners Bercuson who I had not come across before but that's due to my lack of attendance of NABCs since the last time in 2007 in San Francisco.

Anyway well done to the Mittelman team ...so far ... The Diamond team is a ferocious opponent though.

When I was in San Francisco I was out on a smoke break outside the Marriot and I was George Mittelman in a group of bridge players. They were approached by a beggar guy and as George searched for a small note ...he dropped a 10 dollar bill and quick as a flash the beggar guy bent down and made off with it ....gleefully thanking Mittelman as he moved quickly away ...
Mittelmans bridge friends clapped him on the back and indicated ... Thanks Mitt ..you paid for all of us or something like that. November 2007 that was...

I have been asked why is Mittelman NPC ... The answer is I don't know ..
Maybe its just cos he is from Toronto ..
Mittelman used to partner a young Fred Gitelman ... they were known as THE MEN.

NO OFFENCE is intended to any Hanlons or others mentioned in this article.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 29, 2017 02:16 PM

July 28, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Thomas Hanlon v Nickell

Early this morning ...as early as 440am myself and Michael O'Kane from Northern Ireland witnessed a treat of bridge. Our man Hanlon plus 5 took on the bridge juggernaut that is number 1 seed Nickell who featured Meckstroth Rodwell Levin and Weinstein... arguably the greatest foursome ever assembled at bridge.

Stanza 1 Mittelman got our to an early lead of about 40 imps ...57 plays 16
Stanza 2 Mittelman added to that lead to build I think a 90-17 lead but lost some late imps to lead by 47 at the half ..
Stanza 3 .. Nickell powered back with a 53-5 set to lead by 1

Stanza 4 is above  ..

You can find it here

Some great bridge in there .. Really worth a look ..

Now maybe some will say Team Hanlon played in luck .. but you need an awful lot of luck to defeat
a power packed team of bridge legends.

Also bridge at the table is not as straight forward as replaying a vugraph later.

Its like the tennis ... Wimbledon looks serene ...two lads batting a ball over a net ...
However that ball travels at something past 100 mph but TV gives no indication.

Sometimes in Fitzwilliam when I am bridge directing I see ordinary decent tennis players playing and I am shocked at the speed of the ball.
Yesterday I stopped for a look ... Some lad Barry from Ireland was playing a Storrie guy from England. This was not Wimbledon ..

1 chair umpire
2 end of court umpires ...one of who doubled as scoreboard operator.

The Irish lad served and added a shout to send the ball on its way.
The end of court umpire had to mind himself as that ball came hard and fast.
The umpire has nowhere to go ..he is up against the boundary wire.
No ball boys here or soft towels between games.
Nobody picking up the balls ...the players themselves did that.

It went 15-0 30-0 40-0 and game Barry who leads 5-3 ..
Then it was 5-4
and by the time I got upstairs to move the boards ..it was all over .. 6-4 to Barry and 2-1 win.

Now the Wimbledon lads probably are hitting 30% faster than last night ...
It is something like trying to catch a golf ball hit by a driver.

Meanwhile on the next court a large crowd was watching in the gallery between the courts.
My guess is Simon Carr son of legendary Dublin GAA captain was playing ..
I did not venture down there as it was a little far from the bridge room.

Sometimes the bridge is played in a room that opens out into the stand and I can watch more easily but last night there was a meeting in progress until near 11pm so I could not access the stand.

Still the lad called Sam Barry was picking up tennis balls 12 inches away from me as this non-tennis player had a look. I saw Phil Collins in the Aviva I think ... he was about a quarter mile away in a wheelchair.

I was also watching the early stages of the above vugraph as well and moving the boards in the bridge room.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 28, 2017 10:34 AM

July 27, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Hanlon+5 make Spingold last 16

Last night or early this morning Irish time Irelands apparently finest bridge player reached the last 16 of the Spingold Vase. The Spingold is arguably one of the strongest events of the bridge calendar.
This year 102 teams hit the dance floor and at least 90 of those teams would win or go very close in the Holmes Wilson.
The multi championship winning Monaco team with Helness and Helgemo and Christy Martens on board got ambushed before the main event even took off. Seeded 14 they ran into a JOLLY team seeded 93rd. However JOLLY was kind of decent featuring 4 of the best American juniors including some Rosenberg prodigy. So it was goodbye Team Monaco probably the heaviest funded bridge team in the world.
Anyway back to Hanlon .... and a bid I found disagreeable.

Anyway this match was on vugraph and myself and Declan the Donplayer were nearing the end of our few late pints in the local speak easy. Declan having learned the bridge and got the bug always keeps a passing eye on my laptop just in case some transfers or other might appear.
I had pointed out to Declan about Hanlon up top being the best player in Ireland and I headed off to the loo. On my return for the final board of the set Declan greeted me .."Eamon are you sure this is the best bridge player in Ireland" .. I said "Oh yeah " .. Declan the Donplayer replied .." Well if I painted like he is bidding on this hand then I would not get many decorating gigs"
I had a look and I said ... "That's not too good .. Passing 4DX seems normal.
"Yes " says The Donplayer ...and he might even turn vulnerable by the end of the hand ..
"Eamon how does that vulnerable work anyway ?? Is it like the power play in cricket ? "

Anyway there goes Hanlon bidding 5 Clubs and going down for a flat board ..
The Donplayer who has only twice attended a bridge club recommends PASSING..

Partner is a passed as dealer hand and we have a 13 count. Well 15 but if our Diamond Queen is not eaten up then even more reason for passing as we get some uncounted TRUMP tricks.
However no doubt yer man will ask some of his expert buddies and they will all pat him on the back for lulling the other team into a false sense of security. However it beats me .. One down is normally good bridge.

Mind you one also notes the loss of 23 imps for not bidding on ...both doubled in other room but its 2 missed games and some imps could have been saved. Several ways to save some imps on boards 26 and 27 for Hanlon table.

However TONIGHT from 5pm we might get the chance to watch again .. 5pm 7pm and later midnight and 2am approx.

"Eamon I am from Sherriff Street .. I got baptised 9 times ..3 times as a girl .."

Anyway later on in the small hours Irish time when the pub was long closed Team Mittelman backboned by Thomas Hanlon won the final 2 sessions and qualified for the last 16.

I expect Nickel versus Mittelman to be on vugraph this evening but depends on the voting for the matches. Also if not on vugraph at the start then it depends on the players as North American vugraph folk put on the closest matches for sessions 2 3 4 ..

Anyway no matter who is on vugraph ... www.bridgebase.com and make an account and watch some great live bridge with 96 of the best players in the world in action ...including Westmeaths own Thomas Hanlon.

Hanlon is on the bottom right team .. Mittelman NPC. Seeded 17 and they will play the Number 1 seed Nickell in the next round. Last year we had the Irish juniors play Nickell in a similar event called the Vanderbilt. The Irish juniors failed to get over the line but they stayed to the end and were still running on after the last board .. However it was in the next field.

https://bridgewinners.com/     plenty of information on this and many other events on the site to the left.

Now its time to bring the dog for my 10000 steps

Might get to see a little Irish Open Tennis tonight in Fitzwilliam .. I direct the bridge in Fitzwilliam most Thursday nights and normally the bridge room opens up to the GODS seats in the stand.
Last year I saw Tommy Carrs son Simon play a match.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 27, 2017 03:39 PM

Paul Gipson

Old friends

We've had a quiet couple of days.

One of the large playing areas

On Tuesday we played with Iain and Sarah in a one-day Swiss. In the first round we played Sam Dinkin, also a Spingold casualty. Sam is always pushing the boundaries of the systems chart, playing a system that is legal according to the chart but probably against the intention of the regulators: of course it is their fault that they can't express their intentions accurately.

Sam also mentioned that we could not play our Mid-Chart system in this event. He said he didn't care in this first match but we should probably change after it. So we reverted to a system that we played about 15 years ago for the remaining matches.

Sam's team all play his unusual system and this tends to generate lots of imps. So it was some surprise that we lost 2-3 imps, a low scoring affair.

At the end of the day we finished above average but just missed the overalls. Bob McKinnon's team finished well up in the final standings.

Today we played in the Daylight Swiss with Judi and Sharon from Buffalo. We first met them at the Chicago Nationals in 2006, playing with them there and once or twice since. We had a lot of fun but most of the bridge was forgettable and we never threatened the middle of the table.

Tomorrow we'll probably look around the town and kibitz the Spingold.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 27, 2017 01:46 AM

July 25, 2017

Paul Gipson

Not meant to be

Our match against the #24 SILVER team did not start well.

On the first board they bid a 50% slam against us to win 11 imps. Then they bid a grand slam on the second board and Alex's normal lead did not remove the vital entry from dummy: a very different auction in the other room meant that the normal lead was a killer and we lost, a little randomly, 20 imps.

This was most of the 22-56 deficit after the first set.

We came back in the second set when Paul and Graham bid a good slam as our opponents played in an asking bid, for 17 imps. So at halftime it was 77-92 imps.  We had a good third set where the biggest swing was caused by your choice of opening bid with:

Game all, first in hand?

Suffice to say that Paul's choice worked out better than Joey's and we gained 14 imps.

So with 15 boards to go we were now leading by 125-119 imps.

They played a couple of hands better in the final set and judged a couple more successfully. The biggest swing was caused by a rebid decision after you open one spade, partner responds with a game forcing two diamonds and you have a nice 6-4 in the majors. They rebid three spades, as it was a nice suit, and then got my natural heart lead to pick up their second suit to make the spade game. We rebid two hearts, which looked very normal to me, and so a heart was never led and the game went down. The mildly random swing you need to go in your favour when playing a high seeded team.

In the end we lost by 138-153 imps.

It was a very friendly match and both teams played well. The luck was probably fairly spread, unfortunately. Thanks to our teammates Sarah, Paul, and Graham for making it such a close contest.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 25, 2017 02:15 PM

July 24, 2017

Paul Gipson

Spingold starts today

While Alex and I have been adjusting to jetlag and playing unimportant events, Paul and Graham have been storming through the Life Master Pairs. They eventually finished in a very creditable 15th place, an impressive performance.

On Saturday we played with Sarah and Marusa in a bracket KO. Both pairs could've done better as we experienced the KO bit of the event.

Yesterday we played with Iain and Gene in the Daylight Swiss. Three huge wins and three small defeats meant we were +99 imps but barely above average on the 30VP scale, but we just finished in the overalls (6th).

Today we play in the Spingold. Us, Iain and Gene, and Peter Hodgson's team were all in the 65-80 bracket of seeds and then drawn randomly. Iain is #65 and theoretically the easiest route to tomorrow (when they would face #1 Nickell). Peter is #66. We are #79 and face #28 Stansby over 60 boards.

As I always say, there are no easy matches and the seeding only has a small affect on your chances of reaching the second day. Our opponents are well seeded but I think we stand a good chance of winning.

Good luck to everyone today.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 24, 2017 12:40 PM

July 21, 2017

Paul Gipson


I'm in Toronto for the Summer Nationals. We played here a few years ago and loved the city and it's even better now that I can fly here direct.

Alex and I only arrived today so most of our friends are already at the table playing in the Life Master Pairs. They've all given themselves a chance of making the cut after their first session.

We will be playing in the Spingold on Monday with Sarah Bell, Graham Osborne, and Paul Barden. Before that we'll look for some teammates over the weekend to warm up and get used to playing in North America again.

The size of this event always amazes me. This is just one room of I/N (intermediate/newcomers) playing at 10am.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 21, 2017 09:34 PM

Sally Sparrow

Announcing the 2017 ABTA Book of the Year Award

The ABTA convention Awards banquet is a wrap for another year. It was a particularly exciting one for me, as a Master Point Press book won this year’s ABTA Book of the Year award for best Beginner/intermediate book. 

First, check out the amazing decorations for the night, all planned and executed by Barbara Seagram. Her team transformed the pub at the Strathcona Hotel into a bridge-themed fancy dining room. The food was amazing and the staff incredible. Here are some photos of the decor:

By far the best part of the evening for me was when we were able to surprise author Bill Treble with the news that he’d won this year’s ABTA Book of the Year award for his book, Defending at Bridge: A first course. He had driven to Toronto from Winnipeg, just arriving this afternoon, to play in the NABC. With some help from his wife Sue, we had convinced him to come a day early and to attend the banquet and meet some of the teachers. He and Sue are teachers themselves. His friend Michael Leighton, also a bridge teacher, had driven up with him, and Sue had to stay behind in Winnipeg to run the games Bill was missing.

When the award was announced, the look on Bill’s face was priceless. I was sitting right beside him, so of course I took a photo.


He was happy to accept his plaque and though mostly speechless, he thanked the committee, Sue and Mike.

The event was followed by great food and a wonderful panel of teachers and experts, moderated by John Rayner, and including Haig Tchamitch, Andy Stark, Barbara Seagram and Bob Morris. A wonderful end to a special night. 

Here’s the cover of the winning book, look for it in bookstores!

by Sally Sparrow at July 21, 2017 03:44 AM

July 20, 2017

Sally Sparrow

ABTA Master Point Press Teacher of the Year award 2017

This year’s American Bridge Teachers’ Association Convention is happening right now in Toronto, Ontario,  my home town. Over 100 teachers (I think the actual number is 107) are here, the largest turnout in a few years! It was a very hot day yesterday, not usual for us, but today has brought cooler weather, thank goodness!

I had the pleasure this morning of attending the presentation of the 2017 ABTA Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by Master Point Press. Here’s my photo gallery of the events as they unfolded.


Joyce Penn introduced each of the nine finalists for this year’s award: 

Robert Barrington, New York, NY
Joann Glasson, Pennington, NJ
Bruce Greenspan, Bonita Springs, FL
Josee Hammill, Toronto, Canada
Henry Meguid, Durham, NC
Jim Ricker, Knoxville, TN
Kathy Rolfe, Lake Winnebago, MO
Enid Roitman, Toronto, Canada
Grant Robinson, Dublin, CA

Each nominee had provided a short video clip, so we got to see their teaching in action! Then… the big announcement. This year’s winner is Enid Roitman from Toronto! We’re so happy to see a Canadian teacher recognized this year, and one from Toronto at that!

Enid Roitman wins the 2017 ABTA Master Point Press Teacher of the Year Award!

Enid was overjoyed and happily thanked her fellow nominees, the committee and sponsors, particularly Barbara Seagram, Josee Hammill and other local Toronto bridge teachers.

Congratulations to Enid and all this year’s nominees.

Now I’m off to the Awards Banquet, so more to come from Toronto later.


by Sally Sparrow at July 20, 2017 10:03 PM

David Smith

My favorite city

Toronto is one of my favorite places. It's weather friendly in the summer, the people are insanely nice, the place offers lots to do, and they have a great transportation system. Have I missed anything? Oh yes, the US dollar matches up well against the Canadian dollar so it's not too expensive for a world-class city.

Toronto is the venue for the 2017 Summer North American Bridge Championship and I'll be there from July 20 through July 31. (See here for more information.)

I'm playing in the Truscott USPC Senior Swiss Teams (Monday and Tuesday) and the Freeman Mixed Board-a-match Teams (Wednesday and Thursday). My partner is Sandy McCay.

I'll be sight-seeing the first Saturday and Sunday. After that, we'll see. Wish me luck.

Photo taken from the ACBL web site.

by Memphis MOJO (noreply@blogger.com) at July 20, 2017 08:29 PM

Judy Kay-Wolff

Changing times — An egregious underbid!

No doubt, the world has fallen from grace. It is obvious from the downtrodden state of the universal economy with skyrocketing pricing everywhere, homeless people .. and even more frightening .. the threat of terrorism .. any time/any place.

There are many venues in life that contribute to fear, danger, disappointment, doom and gloom, sadness and serious concern .. but absolutely minuscule in relation to the above.

Moving on to a much lighter subject (sometimes) .. no one can argue that the scene is soooo different when we old timers were captivated and intrigued when introduced to a challenging game and fascinating enterprise known simply as ‘bridge.’ It opened an intriguing horizon. How little we knew about the unexpected realms of frustration, disappointment, aggravation, glumness and doom and gloom, until the light began to shine. Few are born ‘naturals.’ Most of us struggled at a first. No one ever said it was a ‘piece of cake’! We worked hard until we reached the point where we derived pleasure and satisfaction of recognizing improvement!

For me, that is all history. I will be forever grateful for my exposure to the game and treasure my memories of over fifty years of making treasured friends, attending countless NABCs and World Championships and traversing the globe, seeing many of the wonders of the world with Norman and Bobby. I am one lucky girl!!!

Life in Vegas is good and I am more than content with local duplicates and tournaments. Best of all .. NO airplanes (direct or indirect flights), mandatory security checks, mail or newspaper temporary holds, packing and unpacking et al. Old age is not as bad as one would suspect!

The above interlude was triggered after reading the problems being faced (and reportedly well-handled by the tons of capable volunteers) for the upcoming Toronto Nationals. Believe me, these events don’t just happen on their own. I was active in Philadelphia for forty years and can testify it is an all-consuming job (and more)! I feel for them and hope they will be rewarded by tremendous success! Aces all the way!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at July 20, 2017 02:04 AM

July 18, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Aquatennial Sectional Results


Five days of pair games at the Aquatennial Sectional resulted in loads of fun - and masterpoints for some!  


Brian Crossley's photo should appear here!

Sorry I missed you, Brian!

At the top of the masterpoint winners list, a name that more than occasionally is there appears yet again.  Congratulations to Terry Beckman for earning 32.57 points - less than half a point ahead of Barry Purrington, who also went over 32 points for the week, with 32.07. Robert Schacter and Brian Crossley were close behind these two, with 31.51 and 30.19 respectively. The full list of event finishes is here.




Our thanks to Tony Ames for fine directing, and Teri and Chip Blu for their TCBC hospitality (that black streak behind Tony is Teri, btw!)

And - of course - we thank all the players who competed throughout the week!




One of our competitors wanted her photo to appear on the front page of the Pioneer Press. That task was not within my power - but - here is her smiling face at MN Bridge!

Lots more shots below!





28 31
30 33
35 39
39 42
46 50

53 - Copy
53 - Copy
53 - Copy
53 - Copy
53 - Copy
53 - Copy



by Peg at July 18, 2017 01:00 AM

July 17, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Pat Burrows - Diamond Life Master!



Sue Greenberg contacted MN Bridge with the exciting news that Pat Burrows went over 5,000 masterpoints, thus achieving the rank of Diamond Life Master!




Friends celebrated this fine achievement with a party and - the "traveling diamond".  Carol Cummings was the previous most recent player to have it - and - it gets passed on to the next competitor who achieves the status.

Pat is a great friend, mentor, teacher - and - (of course!) player extraordinaire.

Well done, Pat!


by Peg at July 17, 2017 04:39 PM

July 15, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Paul Bunyan Tournament - Sept 8-10


Though we're still in the midst of summer - fall is not far away!  And - with September comes the Paul Bunyan Sectional.

Here's the schedule and details. If you don't live in the area, enjoy a beautiful ride to a great tournament!

by Peg at July 15, 2017 01:53 AM

July 13, 2017

Linda Lee

Interview: Paul Thurston

Interviewed by Linda Lee

I have admired Canadian bridge internationalist Paul Thurston and his sound advice about bidding ever since I attended a lecture he gave at an Ottawa tournament. He was talking about “reverses” – an area of bridge bidding that I had never got right. Paul’s ideas and methods were perfect for me and they formed the core of that part of my bidding notes for years.

When I got a chance to read his new 2/1 book I was impressed with his new ideas and methods for bidding. And I was pleased to have an opportunity to ask him a few questions.

Does this book stand alone or do you expect that the reader has already read your original 2/1 book or is at least familiar with the 2/1 system?

I do believe the new book can almost stand alone but a familiarity with 2/1 methods (as written about in the first book and elsewhere) will certainly be helpful as a basis for possible change and an understanding of how the total system can work for a partnership – it’s not an attempt to do piecemeal changes or additions/subtractions but to end with a unified whole. Can the reader do some tinkering? For sure but not to the fundamental structures.

For example, 1 -2 needs to be kept as a 100% game force and the 2 bidder should deliver a decent diamond suit.

Removing ambiguity right at the outset is what 2/1 does best – we all know bidding will always be a lot of guesswork but a solid foundation can help.

Who should read this book? Is it for low intermediates and above or do you expect more bridge experience as a starting point?

I do think this new book has something to offer for players and partnerships of all levels of experience and expertise, if only to serve as a comparison to what you might be using instead. These methods have been tried and tested at the table and proven to work very well and are not all that difficult to assimilate once certain basic philosophies are grasped.

At a recent regional, I opened 2NT with Ax KJ Kx AKJ10xxx (a slight upgrade in HCP due to the source of tricks and all suits stopped) and nothing bad happened! The auction was simplified and the normal 3NT was reached but the opponents were aghast at the end of play when they saw my hand. “Why wouldn’t you open 1x?” they asked. “Because I’m a firm believer in the systemic adoption of the Extended Notrump Family – to make life easier for partner” was my answer and the more they thought about, the more they agreed.

Note that I wasn’t claiming perfection for this approach, just hoping that the opening would simplify matters, help partner and get us to a decent contract – and that’s the entire crux of the methods advocated in this book as well as in 25 Steps.

You seem to put a lot of emphasis on hand evaluation. Do you think intermediate players are prone to overvalue their hand?

Of course hand evaluation is a critical component of judgment and merely counting HCP isn’t the end-all and be-all of hand evaluation but it is a perfectly practical place to start. All the many “Rules” (Rule of 20, Rule of 22, and so on) and alternative evaluation methods (Losing Trick Count, ZAR points, K-R points, etc. aren’t wrong, they’re just unnecessary baggage without necessarily conferring any useful benefits to their users – put the pocket calculators away, hone your evaluation judgment and enjoy the game more – without sacrificing accuracy.

When I read your book I think that while I have been loafing around bidding has got a lot more sophisticated for intermediates. For example, I like your structure over one of a major but I wonder, what is the right time in one’s bridge career to adopt some of these ideas? Is this something the partnership should consider together?

The text expands on methods that will work for partnerships partially by decluttering the possible systems at work. For example, there’s no great need to totally change the system of responding to 1M simply because an opponent intervenes with a takeout double – all this business of Jordan (aka Dormer) 2NT, transfer responses, preemptive new suit bids and so on – brings an extra memory load and doesn’t really seem to offer any real or potential benefits, so why do it?

You wrote the first 2 /1 book some time ago. Have your general thoughts about 2/1 changed even for beginners? Is there something you would like to change in the first book?

25 Steps has stood on its own merits for over a decade now but there are things in it that I wouldn’t favor today (even though there’s nothing unplayable about the original approach). Most notable: I really believe the XYZ structure has far more to offer than either version (Game Forcing or Game Invitational) of New Minor Force.

New ideas in bidding come along all the time but some very, very good ideas aren’t all that new at all. For example, Two-Way Stayman as presented in the new book has been in use by small pockets of enthusiasts for a long time but it’s never really become mainstream. Why not? Not because of a lack of proven effectiveness but I do think a lot of teachers, authors and theorists have missed the boat by not advancing these methods to their students, a lack I hope I’ve at least partially remedied.

Perhaps one of your more controversial suggestions here is the idea of using two-way Stayman over a strong notrump. I think the approach is great and allows a lot of flexibility. This structure might be a big change for some readers. Any advice on how to make this change easier?

I do believe the traditional Stayman/Transfer approach has been inculcated in so many largely because of inertia: It’s a good idea to do this because we’ve always done this so let’s keep doing it! And because it’s relatively easy to teach and learn, even though the effectiveness of said learning and teaching is open to question.

For example, teachers of Standard American conducted this auction during a recent match:

1NT 2
2 3
3 3NT

The meaning in Standard Jacoby Transfer language:

2 = I have 5+ spades

2 = Ok, I’m doing as I’m told

3 = 4+ diamonds and a game force

3 = an “advance cuebid” saying a heart control and a diamond fit.

Sometimes a spade fit but that’s unusual.

3NT = Ok


Except their hands didn’t conform at all to the bidding in this simple sequence:

Q x K J x x x
A J x x x x
K x x Q x x x x
A J x Q x

Too high, and the wrong strain, because responder didn’t have a game-forcing hand in the first place.

Our simple two-way Stayman sequence:

1NT 2 
2 2


2 = was game invitational Stayman

2 = 4+ cards, possibly 4 spades

2 = 5 cards, game invitational

Pass = no game looks good so let’s quit while we can

And this showcases the main feature of two-way Stayman that I firmly believe 2/1 enthusiasts who give it a try will really love: the 2 response to 1NT announces, “we’re in a game invitational sequence” while 2 says, “we’re going to game, let’s explore” . In this respect it’s philosophically aligned with the forcing 1NT response (usually no more than game-invitational) to 1 or 1 and the 2/1 response that says, “we are 100% committed to game – somewhere.”

I have always liked bid ’em ups and you are less likely to argue with your partner about the practice auction afterwards when the book already provides the answer. Besides using the examples in the book, do you have any suggestions about the best way to practice with your partner?

There are several very good websites where you can find Bid ‘Em Up deals, some with scoring attached – get your Google on and have some fun! If you do decide to give two-way Stayman a try, Bid ‘Em Ups are a great way to practice these or any other new or old methods.

What are the possible pitfalls of changing to your methods?

One thing to be careful about: adding or changing bits of pieces of your existing bidding approach without an eye to how you’ll affect the whole structure can be dangerous – give changes a lot of pre-adoption thought.

This is especially true in the area of Reverses and nowhere more so than in the case of Reverses after a 2/1 response.

A pair I know recently changed to 2/1 methods but decided that since a 2/1 already set up a game force, they didn’t need to be concerned about having “extra” values when rebidding after a 2/1 response.

And then along came this deal:

Q 5 A J 8
A Q J 5 9 2
K J 6 4 A 7 5
7 5 3 A Q 10 6 3


1 2
2 2NT

After the 2, opener didn’t want to raise clubs with such paltry support and couldn’t stomach 2NT without a spade stopper so he decided to show his good hearts since “we’re going to game anyway”. Except when the 3NT raise came back to Responder he still wasn’t sure whether or not Opener had extras for his reverse so he made one more try and, wouldn’t you just know it – with a spade lead through the Qx and a mildly unfriendly lie, nine tricks was the limit.


My recommended 2/1 Auction:

1 2
2 3
3 3NT

2 sets up a game force and Opener prefers not to raise clubs or rebid 2NT for the same reasons as the other Opener but chooses instead a default rebid of 2 without necessarily promising (or denying) extra length in diamonds. Responder raises diamonds and Opener shows his hearts for notrump purposes even though he might also be on a slam hunt for diamonds.

3NT = I have something good in spades and maybe we want to play there.

Pass = sounds good!

If you are attending the Toronto NABC, come and meet Paul Thurston, signing his new book at the Baron Barclay table at 6:30pm Sunday, July 23rd.

You can visit ebooksbridge.com to see Paul Thurston’s ebooks and more.

by linda at July 13, 2017 02:32 PM

Eamon Galligan

An Irish U26 attempts 3NT and gets doubled..

/Earlier this week I mentioned the minus 2200 I suffered and the whispering death across the table quietly mouthing DONKEY.. Well today I log in to check on the broken Irish U26 squad.
I knew they were playing the Netherlands and I knew a good trimming was coming ..

However on board 13 shown above .. the Irish North South figured 3NT was going to be a good contract so they bid it. Meanwhile the Dutch E/W were also figuring 3NT was a good place to play so they doubled it.

 2 East West pairs did attempt 3NT but only managed 8 tricks ...

Our brave Irish lad made THREE ......

Em tricks for MINUS 1700...

Now there could be an explanation ....maybe it was state of the match ...after all they were 40 imps behind at this stage ...so maybe trying for a swing ..

One time in Irish Camrose Trials back in 2005 ..playing against the exempted team .. the heavies ...too good to play in the qualifiers .... My solid partner opened 1H and I held like a 2H response with 3 card hearts and 7 points ...
The exempted opposition regarded us disdainfully and bid 3NT ..which I chose to double..given my partner never opened with less than 13 hcp. and I had 7.
The more adjusted opponent tried to extract themselves into a 4 minor contract with his 55 via a redouble  but the partner was all out for blood attended by his two kibitzers ...one Mary Finn and one Fionnula who sometimes plays with the incredible BJ O'Brien.
The opponent managed to make THREE .....em TRICKS ...so that was 3400 ...6 off redoubled ..

I let them off the redouble to save embarrassment and breaking of the scoring system.
Reality is I forgot so only entered 1700 on the sheet ...was minus 170 in 2H+2 in the other room.

So 3400 or 1700 or 2200 need to be in the IN column ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 13, 2017 10:04 AM

July 12, 2017

Eamon Galligan

The Irish U26 strike back eventually

Having watched the 20th place Estonia dominate Ireland U26 this morning I departed my computer as they got ready to tackle Greece ..another 20th place team. Unfortunately Ireland got dominated again by this seemingly equal opponent. 18.5 VPs to 1.5 VPs.

So Ireland moved on to face a tougher team TURKEY.

Ireland got out to a 44 imp lead on first 10 boards.

Board 1 was 5DX which is cold versus 1NT making 9 .... 9 imps
Board 2 .. Turkey were a trick short in 6S v 4S both making 11 .. 12 imps
Board 4 .. Turkey declared 2NT on a 28 count holding while Ireland made the 4H game ..

So taking a tennis analogy looks like 3 severe unforced errors

Then board 8 sees the Turks tackle Irelands 4-3 fit 2S 16 count partscore and only get it
one off ... Ireland did have a 9 card Club fit they could have tried but guess they got tipped off
in the bidding that Clubs were breaking badly.
Ireland make the 24 count 4H contract that many other tables seem to be getting home in.
However it is no gimmee. Although I guess there are only 3 trump losers on a good view.

So after 10 boards its Ireland 44 Turkey 8 and not much bad weather approaching

Lets go back live and see how last 4 boards go

Board 11 and 13 were flat

Board 12 saw Ireland lose 6 imps for gaining 200 for 2 off ...and losing the 4H game of 420.
One would think doubling 4C might be a good option if you are not chancing 4H.
Its plus 2 imps instead of 6 out ....8 imps swing

The final board is 14 ... one presumes Ireland will take this match with a victory

Danger lurks here ...one might bid a slam and go down on a weak club play.

17 VPs to 3 at the moment but various good and bad possibilities on board 14

1. Miss game
2. Bid slam
3. Make slam
4. Go down in slam

And we wait ....quick check on vugraph ..it is hardly on there

The long wait is over ...They probably forgot to enter score in bridgemate ..
No swing ...

17 VPS for IRELAND under 26 ... Glad I could bring good news ..

As before

http://www.eurobridge.org/ and go to Microsite for all information and results 

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 12, 2017 03:26 PM

Watching the European Youth Teams hurts

This morning I was up early to put out the bins as its not good to miss the bins. So I put out 2 bins full of rubbish. So I was happy that was the end of the rubbish.

Decided to play Wbridge5 16 hands daily FREE tourney while waiting for Junior Bridge to start.
I play this somedays with the target of finishing ahead of the best player in Malahide. Most days I finish ahead but I always want to put 10% on him ...just so he knows ..

Today I managed about 9% win ...

Then the bridge started .. playing 20th and 21st today the lad says

Well the 20th place team is currently leading Ireland U26 by 70 imps after 8 boards ..
That's like when I used to come up against Pat Walshe Rory Boland  Adam Mesbur and Nick Fitzgibbon all on same team in Regent Leagues. Maybe Nick was not playing that night ..It might have been Hanlon. Galligan Delaney Karel Anna got chewed up and spat out.

But this is our Great New Bridge hopes getting chewed up by Estonia ..

Board 2 was a 20 count facing a 6 count and our lads play in 3H+1 ..
They only have a 4-3 fit so 3NT is normal

Board 3 is a 3NT where there seems to be no play except wide open .. 3-3 diamonds and a heart finesse plus 3-3 break giving 4 Hearts 4 diamonds and spade ace ...There is no other line but our lad
finds a DOWN 2 line ..

Board 4 . 16 hcp opposite 10 hcp ... our lad is the only outlier .. the only lad to declare 1NT
The other 25 tables all declare 3NT ... as do all the grandpas and grandmas in bridge clubs across the country.... that's any bridge club ...even the one in the far west of Galway ..that always wins the Simultaneous Pairs ..

Board 5 .. and its not getting any better .. our lads choose to defend 2DX despite having a 4-4 spade fit ...4S is no gimmee so would forgive declaring a spade part score ...but minus 180 in 2D is not going to please teamies .. At least it did not cost much as Teamies lost 620 in 4S.

Board 6 ... if left alone North South might do the transfer to clubs and superaccept into 3NT but that's hardly going to be left alone as East West have a large diamond fit so will be competing in diamonds or might even find a 4-4 heart fit for some part score
Our lads paid out on 3NT in one room and 5 clubs probably a sac in the other room

6 boards gone and the score is 55-1 and growing ...this Irish team are broken ..

Board 7 .. brings some peace and fresh air ...we only lose 3 imps for down in 3NT in both rooms.

Board 8 .. Minus 760 ... and the opps have a 5-5 spade fit ... 1NT redoubled ...the excitement continues ... "We are playing the 20th place team resounds in my brain ..

Board 9 .. and Estonis are not finished yet .. .they have no choice but to smack 5 clubs
and when the fire is put out ...that's minus 800 ....83-1 after 9 ...

Board 10 brings a double part score swing .. some other tables even bid game in spades ...
It kind of makes on good lies in the cards .. lose 7 more imps .. so score is 90-1

Board 11 our lads begin the comeback ... 4 imps in the bag ... 5 plays 90 ..

Board 12 ... our lads make 3NT in Open Room ... Maybe the Estonians will go in 6 or 7 clubs going down ...We will see ... This match is still in play at board 12 ....

We will have a quick look at our other 2 teams ...

The Under 21s are battling in a 17 team event and its not going well. However this is a much less experienced squad than the aforementioned Under 26 squad. The U21s are here for experience.
The U26 had reasonable hopes of making the top half. However we need to be very aware that European U26s is a high level of bridge.. much higher than Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer.

Our 3rd team are the Under 16s and again its an experience thing here too.
Ireland and Scotland are the whipping boys or "girls" in our case here.
We got our victory against Scotland ...and a 28-39 loss to the Netherlands could almost be counted as a win as Netherlands never send out bad teams in any bridge event.

So congratulations to all Irish participants as these are tough events to go to and find out some more work is required to even be competitive.
Its like Cavan GAA team going out last Saturday against Tipperary ... Half Time arrives and Cavan lads are leading 0-12 to 0-6 ... and Northern Sound commentators are gushing in their praise of these great Cavan lads .. Some lad making his debut called Caoimhin O'Reilly is getting great praise ... he scored 2 points I think is the first half ....Nobody noted the Tipperary lad hitting the crossbar just before half time... Those Cavan lads must have gone in the dressing room and listened to Northern Sound. I brought the dog for a walk as I counted my winnings ...
Came back with 7 minutes left to find ....Tipperary 2-13 ... Cavan 0-13 ... These great players had managed to score 1 point in 30 minutes of play ... while Tipperary banged in 2-7 ...
Meanwhile Northern Sound commentators were long gone ...they were over commentating on Monaghan putting 3-23 past Wexford ...

The Cavan lads thought it was over at half time ... Someone forgot to tell the opponents ..
Once you start going backwards ..things speed up ..

So with trepidation one will return to the Estonian Ireland U26 bridge match

Yes the 6 clubs forcast came through ...and Ireland banged in 28 imps to finish on a high.
However the damage was done earlier ...and the result remained 20-0 loss.
90 imps plays 29 ... I think one starts getting points at around 55 imps or lower.

The Irish Under 26 did well to gain some traction in the last few boards.
28 imps is a nice collection but no use in this match except to recover some confidence.

So its Greece next for our recovering heroes ...

All information and boards and results can be found at the above link by going to the Microsite.

Play of several matches can be watched live on Bridge Base Online ..
One is unlikely to see any Irish teams as normally they show leading teams playing other
leading teams ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 12, 2017 10:14 AM

July 11, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Aquatennial Sectional!



Tomorrow is the day that summer's highlight, the Aquatennial Sectional - begins!

The schedule is here.  The fun is at the Twin City Bridge Center at 60th and Nicollet!

See you there!

by Peg at July 11, 2017 04:22 PM

Tom Holzer - 1946 - 2017


My duty to report sad news in our bridge community again. We have lost a long time player, great guy and excellent bridge player:  Tom Holzer.

Tom's visitation and funeral service information can be found in this beautiful obituary. Our deepest condolences to Tom's family and to all his friends.

by Peg at July 11, 2017 03:14 PM

July 04, 2017

Bob Mackinnon

Madame Nora’s Invisible Hand

James was happy to partner various older ladies who were willing to pay the table fees in return for a pleasant, sometimes rewarding, session. One of James’ frequent partners was Madame Nora Fanshaw, then long retired, one of those worthy Canadian performers who dot the musical landscapes in Northern climes: too emotional for the Germans, not hare-brained enough for the Italians, too intelligent for Americans, not intellectual enough for the French, so just right for London, one would think, ‘dependable, unassuming, and can sing comprehensibly in English.’ Her story went something like this:

‘I had hopes for the Metropolitan when Eddie Johnson took over in 1935, and we were invited to come to New York, but the war intervened, and I lost my chance. I had hesitated because Tauber wanted me for one of his productions, but he ran out of money before it was staged. During the War I stayed in the countryside on my late husband’s estate, learned bridge, and bore my dear daughter. One must never regret giving life to others, but by the time the War ended my operatic career was beyond recovery. Foolishly I had kept myself out of the picture, so I was condemned to oratorios in the Midlands.’

That was the story she told, but there were other versions, many including scandalous details. On the night of which we write, it was James and Nora’s good fortune to score 56.4 % which was sufficient to top the field East-West. Here was one board played on defence against the Reverend Reginald Forsythe, a pessimistic Presbyterian.

All Pass

Nora led the ♠7. James won his ♠K and pondered the significance of this lead. He could read it as a singleton. Thus their holdings in the majors were marked as being 6-6. There was a good possibility that the division of sides was 7-7-6-6 with Madame having the winning high cards otherwise given to the partnership. She might later be called upon to make a critical decision. It was matchpoints, not IMPs, so James thoughts were focused on how to protect his partner from a tough decision. That objective might best be served if he returned a heart, just in case she had a problem when a heart was led towards the dummy where the diamond tricks lay. An immediate heart might give declarer problems in communication, and without full knowledge of the distribution he might even be tempted later in a matchpoint context to take a losing club finesse himself rather than play safely for 9 tricks. Given the uncertainty of the situation he decided that to protect his partner from a later decision was the top priority, so he immediately returned the 7.

Nora could win the K and return a heart without giving away a trick in the suit with her winning clubs intact. Squirm as he might declarer could manage just 8 tricks. The timing was all wrong. ‘Why?’ he asked himself, ‘do women always give me problems. What have I ever done to deserve this?’ Of course he did not include his dear wife, Margaret, in the general condemnation – it was just his eternal misfortune.

Out of kindness James offered to escort the obviously delighted Madame Nora back to her rooms located in the vicinity of Albert Hall for a celebratory nightcap. Her living room was small, poorly lighted, but richly decorated. Prominently featured was a huge red velvet sofa facing a tapestry of an oriental theme with a dragon that looked out threateningly with smoke coming out of its nostrils. On an end table were framed black-and-white photographs of her in costume with legendary performers of the past.

Madame soon returned with two glasses of wine in her hands. She had changed to something more comfortable, a long, silk dressing gown embroidered with a floral design. It made her look much younger than her sixtysomething years.

‘Je viens celebrer la victorie,’ she trilled in a rich contralto as she handed James a glass of port before sinking softly beside him on the sofa. ‘Do you know that tune?’ she asked after sipping the vintage wine.

‘Yes, I believe it is from Samson and Delilah. My father had a record of that with Caruso, I believe.’

‘Marvelous. Delilah was a favourite role of mine. I sang it with Jobin in Montreal before the war. I wore a black body stocking in the first scene, quite the scandal at the time. Ebe Stignani had the voice, but I had the body and most of all, the temperament. I can only imagine her luring Samson into her tent with the words, ‘come and try my chicken soup’. Ha-ha. Raoul was a bit stiff, having been taught by Jesuits, but we sold out the house on every performance. Montrealers try so hard to be sophisticated, but really they love their hockey more than opera. Caruso was well before my time, but I did sing with the great Chaliapin when I was very young. Shall I tell you a naughty story about Feodor Ivanovich and myself?’

James nodded enthusiastically, realizing there would be no way to stop her short of walking out. The port was delicious.

‘In the days before radio I toured America in The Barber of Seville where I played a very young Berta and Chaliapin played Don Basilio. Although his was a small part, he was the main attraction and he ran the whole show. One night after a performance in Cleveland that went particularly well, he came up to me and suggested, more a command really, that we should rehearse next day. We had little to do together on stage, so I said, ‘I know my part backwards,’ and he said, ‘I assure you that won’t be necessary. I shall call on you shortly before noon.’ Of course the whole company knew what that meant, and they all urged me to keep the master in a good mood for the rest of the tour. I was easily persuaded, for in those days I was up for anything.

‘The next day before noon he appeared at my hotel room in this elaborately decorated dressing gown with the grey hairs on his chest peeking through and a dozen pink roses in his huge fist. By noon he was on top of me naked in bed making beautiful manly sounds.

‘You are as big as a horse,’ I commented over the noise meaning it as a compliment to his prodigious manhood. His English was poor and he misheard what I had said.

‘You tink I was a bit hoarse?’ he replied, stopping what he was doing. ‘I thought so, too. I fear I am getting a cold.’

‘What about me?’ I asked, startled, because every singer fears catching a cold on tour.

‘You? You are always flat.’

‘I’m flat certainly, just the way you like me,’ I replied, ‘flat on my back.’

He roared with laughter, and we instantly became great friends. The tour became a tour of love: the baritone loved the soprano, the soprano loved the conductor, the conductor loved the harpist, the harpist loved the first violin, the first violin loved the tenor, the tenor loved the audience and the audiences loved everybody. Of course, with Chaliapin even his wives knew you could never hope to be his one and only. He was a giant, certainly, but a baby as well, a baby who sucked on vile black cigarettes.‘

James laughed politely, a bit apprehensive about where this might be leading.

‘Indeed? I know you can still buy Chaliapin blend cigarettes in the Burlington Arcade,’ he observed lamely. ‘Well, as it is getting late maybe I should….’

“Yes, you should go as I still have what remains of my reputation to protect, and you must have some pretty young thing wondering what is taking you so long, but first let me ask you a question about one of the hands we played tonight. You will remember when I led a spade and you, dear, dear boy, returned a heart defeating Forsythe and his mousy wife in 3NT. Yes? Well, I must ask you why did you return a heart?’

James remembered his thought process, but he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so he replied evasively, ‘I can’t say actually, except it seemed a good move at the time. I was thinking about a spade, or maybe a club…’

‘Exactly! But you chose a heart. All the time you were thinking, I was saying to myself, without moving my lips, “heart, heart, heart…” and your brain received my brain waves. I do this quite often – I lead a card in a suit I don’t want returned and then I concentrate as hard as I can on the suit I want partner to lead back, and very often that’s the suit he or she returns. Of course, one must be playing with a compatible and sympathetic partner who is ready to receive such a message. It’s the same mental power that makes the Ouija Board work. Think about it, and tell me what you conclude, while I fetch a tiny goodnight glass of port.’

James did not protest. Foolishly he remained seated on the sofa waiting obediently almost against his will for what would come next. He would really prefer a cold lager as he was feeling quite warm facing the snorting dragon. Was it possible, he wondered, that his decisions were being guided subconsciously, like the movements of a planchette on a Ouija Board, by some Invisible Hand?

by Bob Mackinnon at July 04, 2017 03:00 PM

July 02, 2017

Bob Mackinnon

The Art of the Exit

For nearly two weeks in 1968 James had been living in a young man’s paradise: Chicago in the evenings with two lovely princesses, love making at night with the very same, and afternoons to rest while the young women went shopping (what stamina!) all at the expense of billionaire Howard Heinz, the father of Heidi and the sponsor of Betsy. There was one cloud on the horizon: James was supposed to be writing a newspaper feature on international women’s bridge, but he hadn’t yet had the time or the energy to produce even a single line. The idyll came to an abrupt end shortly after lunch at the Savoy Grill, where the girls received many admiring looks from the likes of Jimmy Stewart and Charlie Chaplin, who at 80 years of age still entertained romantic notions.

Howard Heinz and James had had a full lunch while Heidi and Betsy ate a light salad as was their wont. (How do they do it?) Howard rose from the table stating he felt a walk along The Embankment and a cigar would be good for his health. His young companions demurred saying they would best stay in the suite and work on the interview, which, they said, was near completion. Five minutes later Howard was on his way to Cleopatra’s Needle while the three young people were rolling around naked in Heidi’s huge bed.

Five minutes after that Howard was back in the suite, calling out, ‘Yoo-hoo, has anybody seen my cigar case?’

‘Good God! Daddy!’ exclaimed Heidi, who at that moment was on the top of the pile. It was a quick jump, hop, and skip within Olympic qualification time before she reached the bathroom just as Howard was turning the doorknob to her bedroom.

‘James! Princess! What do you think you are doing?’ asked Heinz purely rhetorically.

‘Hello, Sir, my apologies, we were feeling a bid fatigued after lunch, so we thought we would have a little rest, and, well, one thing led to another. ‘

‘I see you are not the English gentleman I thought you were, taking advantage of this young woman’s fragile state of mind. She’s not a party girl, she’s a princess. Your Highness, please gather your clothes and go to the bathroom while I finish this, because what I have to say may not be fit for your ears.’

Betsy did as she was told with as much dignity as her position allowed, but without a modesty one would normally expect.

‘Did I see a tattoo?’ asked Heinz as the bathroom door closed behind a finely decorated posterior.

‘I understand it is a depiction of the Rearing White Stallion, ancient emblem of the House of Saxony.’

‘I revere loyalty in its many guises,’ announced Heinz. ‘Poor Elizabeth, the Russians confiscated everything, but they couldn’t rob her of her sense of identity. That’s obvious. Now, where’s my daughter?’

‘Gone shopping for new shoes in Carnaby Street, I believe,‘ said James gambling this was the most believable lie.

‘That’s ridiculous! She has only two feet, but already she’s got shoes to match shoes. Thank heaven she was spared this…this… debaculousness. I am disappointed in you, Woolwich. Obviously you are a man of the world, but I see you are not even wearing protection. Get dressed while I call the maid to come and clean up this mess before Heidi gets back. I don’t want even a hint any of this to get out, so how much will it cost me to keep your article out of the papers? Here, take this £200, it’s all I have on me.’

‘Sir, no money, you have my word,’ replied James who had yet to produce a word.

‘I don’t trust a man who refuses money. How about £300? That’s my final offer.’

‘That would more than compensate for lost revenue,’ conceded James reluctantly.

‘Here, take this,’ Heinz said retrieving £100 notes from an inside pocket. ‘Now get dressed and get out. I don’t want to see you ever again. Remember I have friends who carry weapons.’

James was thus expelled from his Garden of Eden. £300 was manna from heaven, but James complained, Adam wasn’t sent off all by himself – he got to keep Eve. He eventually told the whole story to his Japanese flatmate and spiritual adviser, Hisashi-san.

‘Is there as lesson in all this, Sensei?’

‘Yes, James-san. What you experienced was Firefly Love (Hotaru-Koi). Geishas sing a song of a love that burns bright throughout one night before dying with the dawn. So sad, so beautiful, but now it is best to move on and look for wife. Man needs family and family needs wife.’

To relieve James’ melancholy, the priest proposed resuming their regular game of duplicate at the Southwark Lawn Bowling and Bridge Club. Before play began, James observed the faces gathered about the tables in the greenish light reflected from the walls of the underground playing area. Were others also experiencing private agonies behind their impassive faces? Of course, it was unlikely that any had just lost 2 lovers in the same afternoon, but might they not be also suffering behind the mask? Perhaps that old dear was hiding grief at the unexpected passing of a beloved canary. Perhaps behind that stern patriarchal façade lurked fear over a pain in the chest that had arisen after a favourite meal of bangers, mash, canned peas, and fried onions. Maybe for a few brief hours, bridge would temporarily dispel all hidden concerns. These weren’t Italians. Emotions wouldn’t be allowed to slop over and affect card play.

Luckily Hisashi got to declare most of the hands, including this one where the art of the exit was on full display.

All Pass

In theory Angus MacGregor was no racist, but he couldn’t help trying a bit harder when playing against former enemies. A dyed-in-the-wool conservative he stretched his normal limits to overcall where today such action would be considered automatic by most players. The way the evening had been progressing, Hisashi thought it best to keep things simple, so he bid game, but then found James with 5 losers looking for a slam in a minor.

John Wilson avoided responsibility for any ensuing disaster by leading his partner’s suit, and Hisashi took the time to form a plan. There is a saying conveying begrudging respect, ‘give a Japanese a lemon and he’ll make lemonade.’ Here declarer was thinking of ways to squeeze the lemon for 11 tricks. From his experience playing against MacGregor he could count on the heart finesse being right, but one more trick was needed.

Hoping for 5 tricks in clubs Hisashi began with the A from dummy and the K from hand, discovering a loser in that suit. Losing a club early would make the defender’s job easier, so he made a strange play, a passive exit of the Q from his hand, won by MacGregor with the K. The Scot considered cashing the J at this point, but that would give up a trick to declarer’s T. As it was obvious that this was what declarer was aiming at, MacGregor, being the stubborn, frugal sort for whom his countrymen are esteemed, exited with the 6 giving nothing away. (In Scotland toilet paper in a gas station lavatory came at a price. It was left to those in need to decide whether it was worth the extra expense. The Scots had learned to bring their own or do without – it was all part of the Scottish economic theory of how to increase goods for the rich by slashing services for the poor. Today’s airline executives wish they could fully implement that same principle.)

With the defender’s communications severed, it was safe for the priest to set up a fourth trick in clubs, ending in dummy in this ending:


Select (you can triple-click it) and over-write this text below the diagram.

MacGregor, stingy to the end, would not give up his J on the play of the winning club, so declarer could discard his losing spade and finesse in hearts to gather 3 heart tricks raising his total to the required 11, making 4 clubs, 3 diamonds, 3 hearts and 1 spade.

Coming first at the local duplicate largely as a consequence of misplays by the opponents doesn’t compensate for losing two firefly lovers on the same day, but it helps immensely in easing the pain. A warm beer at a crowded pub provides further comfort. James had a question on the play of the hand.

‘Hisashi-san, what would have happened if MacGregor had taken his 2 spade tricks? Wouldn’t that prove awkward?’

‘No, James-san, if he cashes 2 spade tricks, no need to lose club as I have a spade trick to compensate. So MacGregor-san gets squeezed no matter what he does. He didn’t follow the advice of Sakamoto Ryoma, “Before entrance, plan exit,” but in the end neither did Sakamoto. He was assassinated in a hotel room with no back exit. That was careless. Believe in actions more than in words, James-san.’

by Bob Mackinnon at July 02, 2017 03:00 PM

June 30, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

On the Sunny Side of the Street

Not everything was doom and gloom last week. Bobby and I just learned that one of our favorite friends and teammates, Jack Hibbs, enjoyed a banner week at the Regional — winning 86.49 MPs (with frequent partner and classy gentleman, Dennis Scholl, close behind with 82.24).

Jack was raised in Northern New York (along the St. Lawrence River), attended University of Arizona, served in the USAF (and is too modest to discuss being awarded The Silver Star)… so forget I mentioned it! He has indeed enjoyed a many-faceted life; after moving to Vegas, became a stockbroker with a major company, worked in the retail computer industry for several years… but since 1999 has devoted his time to enjoying his golden years as a Realtor (when not at the bridge table) and continuing to be a loving husband, proud dad and grand-dad!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at June 30, 2017 07:38 PM

Bob Mackinnon

A Double Dummy Unrestricted Choice

In a darkened bedroom James lay in a double bed looking at the ceiling and wondering what he had done to deserve his current state of bliss. When he was a schoolboy his mother had told him to do his homework, because, ‘in this world you only get what you deserve.’ He hadn’t believed it then and he didn’t believe it now. Millions in the Third World were starving while here he lay well nourished with his left hand on the bare bum of the beautiful brunette on his left and his right hand on the bare bum of an equally beautiful blonde on his right. Homework missed or completed had nothing to do with it.

His first encounter with a beautiful bare bum had been during a school excursion to Warwick Castle. While the other boys were in the Grand Gallery enthusiastically viewing swords and suits of armour, he had wandered past a closed door to a room containing a statue of a reclining nude in the naturalistic style of Lorenzo Bartolini (1777-1850), the original work (and the model herself) having once been in the possession of Napoleon III. Boyhood curiosity drew him near. The buttocks were smooth, but cold and hard to the touch. The buttocks he was now feeling were smooth, warm, and soft.

‘Betsy, are you awake?’ said a voice on his right, muffled by a pillow. ‘I just realized I could have made that damn 3NT if I had led a low club from dummy before cashing the ace.’

The person on the left turned over, put her hand on James’ stomach and replied, ‘Ja, it was obviously the only choice. Your Papa would always go up with the kink.’

‘I just wanted you to know that I know.’

‘OK, so now I know you know and I am wide awake. James is wide awake, too, because for the past 5 minutes he has been kneading my ass like it was a loaf of bread.’

‘Tee-hee, mine, too.’

‘So how about it, James? As we say in Chermany, “if you strike the match, you have to tend the fire.”’

It had begun a week earlier and all James did to deserve his good fortune was to write a letter pretending to be a journalist with an interest in women’s bridge. This led to an invitation to meet Heidi Heinz whose billionaire father was sponsoring a woman’s team in the upcoming 1968 Olympiad. That encounter led to a second invitation to their Savoy suite, this time to dine, and thereafter to complete the interview which actually he hadn’t even begun to write. The other dinner guest was to be the young German Princess Elizabeth von Stollenberg, a prospective member of Heidi’s team of women internationals who were to challenge men’s teams in a series of contests with cash prizes donated by Howard Heinz himself, albeit through one of his charities.

The previous evening he had been met at the door by the great man himself who ushered him into the sitting room where stood his gorgeous daughter, Heidi, and an equally gorgeous brunette. Their images cast in bronze would make superb bookends.

‘James Woolwich, may I introduce Princess Elizabeth von Stollenberg’ said his host inappropriately.

‘Is that with two double – u’s as in “Vow”?’ she said in a slightly German accent, offering her hand.

The woman thus introduced made an unforgettable first impression that blew James’ mind. She wore a sleeveless black dress, was slim and tall, but amply provisioned in the upper stories. Her face conveyed determination – a firm jaw line, glistening white teeth encircled by bright crimson lips. Her winsome smile and the steady, inquisitive gaze emanating from deep blue eyes gave the impression of a woman who not only knew what she wanted, but also, despite her young years, knew exactly where to get it.

‘She’s a descendent of Queen Victoria,’ informed Heidi with pride of possession.

‘I’ve got cousins who resemble Victoria closely, but, thanks to my vater I’ve got nice, long legs. He is tall and handsome – too tall to be a U-boat commander which is what he vanted always to be.’

‘I can see that would be a disappointment, your Highness, but perhaps it was rather lucky for us all he didn’t get his wish,’ commented James dryly.

‘Betsy, remember, call me Betsy. I was born on the wrong side of the Neisse, so you could say today I am Polish, but I vant to be an American champion like Dorothy Hayden and live in San Francisco with the Chinamen.’

‘The Chinese community keep pretty much to themselves,’ commented Heinz in a rare understatement. ‘We’re working on a visa, Princess. It takes time to heal old wounds.’

‘Ja, my father made a foolish mistake. In 1936 he joined the Nazi Party because he thought wrongly it would help him settle a land dispute. He was never political.’

‘Yes, land claims are tricky – it takes a lot of money and influence to get them right,’ noted Heinz. ‘Most Germans were in the same boat. They are a greatly misunderstood people. General John J. Pershing, like me a German-American, had a tank named after him, a great honour; President Eisenhower is Pennsylvanian German, Werner von Braun is pure German, now living in America, Marlene Dietrich, of course, she did great work during the war entertaining our GI’s, the von Trapp singers, a wonderful family and so melodious, …. I could go on.’

Heinz continued speaking superficially on a variety of subjects, the paragraphs arriving like waves pounding an unresisting beach. He didn’t realize that to please an audience, rather than telling them what you think they don’t know but might, it is better to embellish what you think they think they already know, but don’t. The tide peaked during dinner served in the suite by the hotel staff.

‘You know, James, the Germans and the Brits should never have fought each other in the first place. They are blood-related, although a big difference is that German roads are wide and straight while yours are narrow and crooked, so maybe that tells us something. The Krauts are working hard to rebuild their country, but look at the French. They act as if they won the war, but they are quitters who couldn’t even handle the Viet Cong. They’re too lazy to learn English. Ever try to buy an air-mail stamp in Paris? You can’t do business with the French.’

‘Be fair, Daddy,’ interjected Heidi. ‘Every woman I know would like to own at least one dress made in Paris, isn’t that so, Betsy? Your lovely dress, it’s a Chanel, is it not?’

‘Maybe so, I made it myself from a photo in a fashion magazine. This one was easy to do, except it’s a bit tight across the chest. I’ll show you how sometime, although I don’t think I could copy your beautiful dress with all its frills.’

‘You both look smashing,’ interjected James, to whose eyes the tightness across the chest represented the outstanding feature of an otherwise plain dress.

‘You men are so lucky, you look good in anything,’ said Betsy, and she meant it. ‘I vant to go to America and learn expert bridge, but I need a man to teach me.’

‘Come to New York, join my team, and we’ll have lots of men flocking around willing to teach us. We’ll go on tour and play against men’s teams. We’ve already made plans for Boston, St Louis, and Minneapolis,’ offered Heidi.

‘I am serious – only a man will do and he has to be a real man.’

‘Good luck on that one,’ blurted out Heidi, laughingly.

‘Heidi!’ admonished her father severely, ‘you shouldn’t talk about things about which you have no knowledge – it gives the wrong impression.’

That was rich. Based on his recent encounters with Heidi, James concluded that the daughter probably had more qualification in that regard than her father would like to think. On one topic at least Howard spoke with real qualification.

‘When I built Skyreach, everybody wanted a piece of the action: contractors, lawyers, union bosses, criminal organizations, police, politicians, and even judges. We spread it around, all part of the cost, and together we got the job done with no hard feelings. The project was a common cause in which everyone was invested. And what was the result? The people got a great building in the middle of Manhattan that wasn’t there before, and which will remain for their lifetimes and longer, if that matters to them. New Yorkers are the long-term benefactors and it didn’t cost them a dime – taxes get spent regardless. Think of the pyramids, hard work at the time, sure, poorly paid, sure, but a legacy still drawing revenue after thousands of years. We couldn’t afford to build them today, except maybe in a multi-purpose environment.’

James couldn’t help recalling the famous poem by Shelly about the works of Ozymandias, and was about to recite it, but he was saved from this indiscretion by the appearance of the master carver, a short but stout, moustachioed fellow dwarfed by his enormous toque blanche, summoned to gravely serve the roast lamb, during which ceremony the negative thoughts of the vegetarian dissenter were expunged completely from James’ brain as he struggled with the eternal dilemma – ‘rare or well-done?’

After the pudding Howard insisted they play Chicago and drink champagne, so they did in an atmosphere of increasingly good spirits. Unlike the wine the bridge was not of the highest quality. Here is the deal on which later Heidi regretted not making 3NT.

All Pass
(1) Forcing

Heidi was a cautious bidder when playing against her domineering father. The fear of making a mistake acted as an inhibitor of initiative, thus causing mistakes of omission. James bid out his shape forcing a reluctant partner into a normal 3NT on 25 HCP on an 8-7-6-5 distribution of cards. Betsy took in the implications of the bidding and chose to lead the 3, covered by the Q-K-A. The 9 was run to the Q and the T was returned, ducked. The 9 followed, taken with the J. The principle of restricted choice held out the promise that a second spade finesse would succeed, so a losing spade finesse was duly repeated. A return of a spade to dummy was an embarrassment. Declarer had 8 tricks established but she couldn’t play off the spades without squeezing her own hand in the process. Hoping for an endplay, she created a pseudo-squeeze matrix by playing off the spades, discarding 2 clubs from her hand leaving 3 clubs and 2 diamonds in dummy. She cashed the A and followed with a small club to her father’s K. Howard could cash the T, setting the contract with a diamond still to come.

James could see that even this flawed approach would have worked if his partner had ducked the first heart and near the end played a low club off dummy keeping the club position flexible. Heidi hadn’t planned ahead, sometimes an endearing feature on a warm, starlight night in the Caribbean, but not at the bridge table. The spade suit gave a promise of 4 tricks, but, failing that, a club trick needed to be established and better sooner than later. Timing is everything.

On the last hand of the evening Betsy, a raw talent, showed her potential.

All Pass

Howard had the strongly held belief that spades are like money: the pair that owns the most spades owns the hand. With the aggression for which her Prussian ancestors were famous, the Princess went directly to game with 3 queens and the ace in her partner’s presumed suit. James saw no better start than to attack with the ace of his host’s suit followed by the 9. As the club suit was key, Betsy was in no hurry to broach the suit. Instead she began by playing top hearts from the dummy, Howard playing his spades up-the-line, by way of a belated apology for his rash action. On the 2 from dummy he played what he hoped was a deceptive Q, but the princess read this correctly, playing off the AK dropping the J. This resulted in 11 tricks made on a deal where an unopposed 3NT might have been defeated on a diamond lead.

‘You should have finessed on the second round of clubs,’ advised the billionaire, annoyed by the turn of events, ‘Reese would tell you that the play of the queen allows the assumption I didn’t have the jack.’

‘Well, this Reese, whoever he is, is mad,’ asserted the princess. ‘If you have a doubleton club, you only play the queen when you have the jack behind it, so it’s just the opposite.’

‘But how did you know Daddy had a doubleton?’ asked Heidi.

‘Well, with 6-5-1-1, surely your father would have made a Roman jump overcall.’

‘I never heard of it,’ claimed Howard. ‘In America there is no way I can show spades and diamonds after 1, and I am certainly not going to overcall 1.’

With that Heinz took his leave, going off to get fleeced by Reese and his crowd, leaving James to complete his interviews with Heidi and Betsy. Little did James guess how much progress he would make that night, nevertheless, in the coming week even more extensive research would be needed before pen touched paper.

by Bob Mackinnon at June 30, 2017 03:00 PM

Eamon Galligan

Bridge Now ratings up to June 28th... Michael the Gardener places 8th

I did not publish the loast few weeks of Bridge Now ratings as the weekly scores were late coming out. Here are the ratings up to June 28th. I calculated all weeks despite not publishing and anyone is welcome to see the whole file or their own rating.
There are now 1768 players in the list and about 750 of those play each week.

Seems to be a problem with uploading my picture of the ratings ..Will put a better picture

jim me  2292 Patricia A Kelly  1973 John Sawyer for Congress  1891 Courtois Joseph  1834
Karl Cashen  2204 Henry David  1968 michel doyon  1880 Smudge  1831
WBridge5 (Robot)  2130 gilles lacroix  1968 Kailash Gupta  1872 marcello martemucci  1827
pietro serioi 2112 Pierre DELVAULX  1959 Michael Beirne  1871 Paul Hutt  1825
dr. Eddie  2101 Jens Wamsler  1958 bgb37  1870 Mircea Kivu  1824
Marek.C  2094 Noëlle Delahaye-Levesque  1953 Laurence Berchem  1865 yi tat poon  1819
B.J. O'Brien  2090 Allan McDonald  1947 birdy18  1864 MC51  1819
Eamon Galligan  2088 миша ройтман  1936 lederic15  1864 Mieke Kyle  1818
Kerostia 2086 Jeannie Fitzgerald  1936 Caesar  1863 Stephen Kemper  1818
Igor Milevoj  2062 MargyJoy  1936 maxim68  1863 Bill Rasnick  1814
Patrick 27  2053 Jinn  1936 michael carter  1863 michel tourville  1814
Stanley Lin  2051 Yves Costel  1935 Lynn High  1861 pinco pallino  1813
John Horn  2034 George Kissov  1926 Jacques Bakker  1861 Bernard CARPENTIER  1812
zozo  2000 GrantK  1924 Baile an Mhota  1859 steven howard  1810
Terry  1996 Tamara de Grady  1918 Maurice Amar  1854 Catherine Erghman  1809
Paul Johnson 1994 tom gilligan  1905 Sefa Yüksel  1845 impossible d avancer bridge now  1809
Jim Wills  1987 Aldo Real  1899 David Welsh  1845 gerard clergeau  1807
Jan Stavast  1980 Igor Bek  1899 TEABAG1  1840 Art Vandalay  1805
pat cassidy  1978 GUIVARCH Jean François  1898 conor foley  1840 Utile 44  1801
Max de Beer 1974 Paule Amar  1896 UTILE 06  1836 André Van Pelt  1797

Declan the Donplayer and Shane the Unblocker are still battling away but are a long way from getting on the published list. 

This months Bridge World July 2017 arrived today. Some article about folk who fail to display negative inferences that may not be clear to their opponents. 

Also the English Bridge Union website has buckets of bridge stuff to help people do anything related to Bridge...... Teaching Learning Directing and all the other many things ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 30, 2017 11:42 AM

June 29, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

Return of the Zombies

Never before (over a sixty year span) do I recall ever vacating a bridge locale before the planned checkout day. It is a gross understatement to note the world has changed drastically and in many aspects it has been reflected in the bridge atmosphere.

Most people (especially locals like ourselves with post time at 10:00 a.m.) opted for the convenience of staying at the on-site LV hotel as the rates appeared quite fair (and free parking to locals). To ‘old folks’ like ourselves, the thought of commuting for six days was far from ideal.

No specific major complaints about the administrative staff, room service, elevator convenience, etc… but I must recount my own experience.

In recent years, I’ve requested a handicapped room considering our tender ages for bathing facilities and safety access. However, this one was minus a bathtub, so I ventured into the shower which had a bench, curtain and totally level floor and drain. Somehow, unaccustomed as I am to mobile shower heads with attachments, the water came gushing out in torrents… and to quote Samuel Taylor Coleridge… “Water, Water everywhere…”. Luckily no damage or injury… just a scene reminiscent of Lake Tahoe. Fortunately a plethora of towels saved the day!

Excepting Monday, when we met an early demise, we played the next three days on six-man teams… and when sitting out routinely descended from the 18th floor followed by a tiring trek to the playing site rooting for good results. Our teammates were delightful gentlemen and we all got a kick out of beating two celebrated superstar teams in a row. However, in the third event we were in contention but finished 2nd overall in the W/Th KO Finals losing by two IMPS. I found it very frustrating as it involved an opponent’s cue bid purportedly non alertable by the the powers on high and we might have reached a better contract which may or may not have made. The opponents did nothing wrong and even if they had alerted, I would have made the identical bid. As they say… so close and yet so far! Enough belly-aching… coincidentally apropos to my next issue: Dining.

People were complaining vociferously about food price gouging. In fact, I thought someone was joshing when they stated the cost of a banana was four bucks. If so, it should be repeeled! Another negative aspect that was during crucial hours for bridge players, many of the hotel restaurants often had long lines and were enormously understaffed. This applied to both morning and evening.

At the start of the week, after unpacking, getting settled, playing and having an early dinner… we retired to our room, plopped onto the bed, activated our Sleep Apnea Machines and slept twelve straight hours. In a rush to not be late for the morning session, we hustled to the Food Court on the hotel concourse level to grab a quick breakfast. Surprise, surprise… thirty-four bucks for so-so omelettes, a piece of toast each and two cups of coffee! Akin to walking away with egg on one’s face!

We did dine at The Thai Experience three times for dinner as I adored one of their chicken dishes with peanut sauce. Bobby has always enjoyed wine with his evening meal and with so many excellent competitive restaurants in Summerlin, wine and other liquor are reasonably priced. Not so at the hotel. It was $17 the first night for a rather small portion and when we returned the following evening, they were sold out. Bobby agreed to the $21 upgrade which was good but tasted the same. It is not about money, believe me! Restaurants have to do these things to keep their heads above water.

After moving to Vegas, Bobby and I would on occasion visit the local casinos half hour before dinner and play Blackjack where we have held our own. However, quite by chance we learned of an intriguing version called Blackjack Switch and it immediately became our favorite; by coincidence it was offered at The Paris… approximately two blocks away from Bally’s and convenient to reach by an enclosed passageway between the hotels! But (and most shaggy dog stories start with ‘but’)… the area was adorned on both sides by countless stores and a variety of unusual eateries. The dining spots (whether buffets, fast foods or exclusive restaurants drew their clientele without solicitation). Unfortunately you could not walk five steps without being hustled by a specialty store ‘hawker’ who did not understand a negative nod or the words ‘No thank you!’ They did not give up until you outdistanced them.

In closing, let me add the bridge staff did all they could. However, I did have a personal gripe. Bobby was one of several asked to give a thirty-minute lecture between sessions and, as always, he was delighted to accommodate them. I was with him when approached and explained he needed a table and chair, a microphone and a chalkboard. A chalkboard is a no-brainer at a bridge lecture. The mike provided was a hand mike and much harder to use than a free standing one… but what was inexcusable was… no chalkboard or anything similar. Those in charge immediately hustled to remedy the problem but it was being used by another lecturer the floor above. The only alternative was to rent a second one from the hotel for one hundred bucks. Obviously, that was not an option and time was of the essence as well.

Since we have not attended a National in several years, it was marvelous seeing longtime friends and reminiscing about the countless fun times we shared, but I must confess I am still in the process of catching my breath and recovering from my zombie-like state — but well worth every moment of it!!!!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at June 29, 2017 03:24 AM

June 28, 2017

Bob Mackinnon

A Billionaire’s Blind Spot

Atypically on this particular morning in 1968 bright sunshine backlit the bedroom curtains of James Woolwich’s Lambeth flat where the young man lay in bed reading the Sunday papers, smoking a Turkish cigarette and drinking creamy Blue Mountain coffee. He was not alone, for in a far corner quietly sitting on a mat was a man with a shaved head wearing a black robe apparently doing nothing. We say apparently, but the man, James’ flatmate Hisashi-san, a Zen monk on leave in London to learn English, was hard at work trying to sweep from his mind the comments the other man was making concerning newspaper items he had found of interest. The frequent interruptions served as tests of the monk’s powers of mediation, and it was with some pride that the practitioner found that with time it was becoming easier and easier to forget what was being said and to return to a state of perfect indifference.

‘You know, Sensei, these American women are absolutely fabulous; I would like to get to know more of them.’

‘Maybe move to New York, James-san,’ suggested the Master.

‘No need, they are flocking here in droves this spring. Must be a migratory mating instinct of some sort.’

‘Be careful, happy woman stays at home.’

‘Look at this picture. The caption reads, “Miss Heidi Heinz, daughter of American billionaire real estate tycoon, Howard Heinz, arriving at Heathrow to join her father and promote women’s participation in the upcoming World Bridge Olympiad to be held in France where a strong representation from Great Britain is expected.”’

‘Belly interesting,’ acknowledged Sensei, successfully forgetting everything said.

James held up the newspaper for inspection. A photo showed a beautiful twentysomething woman descending the steps of a TWA Boeing 707 with her right hand raised behind her head to keep her broad brimmed hat from flying off her head at the same time revealing a nicely formed body clothed in a clinging white dress.

‘I wouldn’t mind meeting this one, in fact I think I shall.’

With a rare sense of purpose James sprang from his bed, put on his robe, went to his desk, and proceeded to write a letter. Thanks to a friendship with the Atticus columnist for the Sunday Times, James was a sometimes contributor to the social pages in matters of bridge. His contribution might be a caption reading: ‘The Hon. Leslie Townsend with Lady Rowenda Rowley who recently bid and made a grand slam at the Chelsea Bridge Charity Event.’ In his letter he requested an interview with Miss Heinz on the subject of the increasingly important role of women in the realm of international competition. He dropped in the name of Fritzi Gordon who he knew to be out of town.

Surprisingly his letter was answered in short order and he was invited to meet the lady at 8 pm on that same Wednesday in the suite at the Savoy where she and her father were staying.

‘Really, so soon,’ James remarked.

‘Not busy,’ observed Sensei.

James was met at the door by Howard Heinz himself, an after-dinner cigar protruding from between his lips. His hand shake was very firm, a test of some sort. James squeezed back. The great man was stocky of build with blue eyes and a full head of golden hair. James was reminded of Auric Goldfinger. He was best known as the owner of the Manhattan skyscraper known as The Heinz Skyreach whose tapered shape some snide critics likened to a ketchup bottle. This was unfair as they didn’t compare the Kellogg Building to a box of corn flakes. Howard was also known as a sponsor of professional bridge teams featuring himself as a playing member.

‘So you’re the bridge columnist. I expected someone more seasoned.’

‘Actually I appear on mainly on the social pages as my interests are mainly sociological.’

‘Are you a communist? You don’t look like a communist.’

‘Hardly! I’m a capitalist through and through. My South African mining shares are doing quite well, thank you, since the rioting has been stopped.’

‘Just kidding hyperbolically; you know ‘columnist’ and ‘communist’ sound the same and sometimes they are the same. Anyway, come on in. Here’s a tip: to become rich, and I mean really rich like me, you have to utilize other people’s money as well as your own. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Your letter mentioned Fritzi but she’s in Deauville with Martin Hoffman. It’s really great that these days Jews are allowed in everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jews. They’re great bridge players, really great some of them – the best. Oh, here comes my daughter. Isn’t she lovely?’

Indeed she was, much more beautiful than her photo had revealed. She was dressed in a white flowing silk pants suit featuring an unsuppressed floral design. The bright smile was as advertised, her hand, warm and soft. James had to resist the temptation to reach out to touch her long, blonde, luminous tresses that resembled a cascade of gold falling from the sky onto a multi-coloured garden filled with flowers. Her father’s monologue had carried them in to a sitting room decorated in Buckingham Palace style, strangely plush and drab at the same time. In the center was huge bridge table.

‘Isn’t that a beauty? Solid walnut – I had it brought in especially. You know, James, I admire you Brits immensely – Winston Churchill, Max Beaverbrook – they were great wartime leaders and great historians to boot. . I don’t think much of Anthony Eden. He let you down, in my opinion. What’s the point of having overwhelming military superiority if you’re caving in to Egyptians and the like? I plan someday to write the history of the United States myself starting with Andrew Jackson, a great general and a great president. You know, he was the last president to fully pay off the government’s debt and he did it without income tax.’

At that moment there appeared from the interior of the suite a quiet middle-aged man, sharp-eyed, but paunchy with unruly grey-streaked hair and stooped shoulders.

‘Mel, come in here and meet our guest, James Woolcroft. Meet the famous Mel Sanford, the greatest partner a man ever had. He could tell you some stories. We’re going off shortly to play against Reese and Flint at their club. Say, Mel, what say we take on these young kids as a sort of a warm-up rubber. How about it, James, a pound a point to make it interesting?’

Heidi protested.

‘Oh, Daddy, that’s not fair. We’ve never played together before. What if James can’t afford to play for high stakes?’

‘What do you say, James, make you nervous? If you can’t pay, we’ll take it out of my daughter’s clothing allowance.’

‘Sir, I’m sure that won’t be necessary. Even if I were to lose the rubber it would be well worth the price to have played against a world famous pair, such as yourself and Mr Sanford, not to say, to have partnered such a lovely lady as your daughter.’

‘Careful now, we don’t know you, but I can tell you’re trustworthy. Shake hands on it.’

Fortune somehow favours the bold especially those who have nothing to lose. Heidi made 3NT on the first hand after a favourable lead. As dummy James could sit and admire her frowning face at leisure. The next hand gave the opponents an opportunity to tie the rubber with a 3NT contract of their own.

All Pass

The auction began slowly with all four suits bid. Sanford resisted the temptation to jump to 3NT and 3 seemed inadequate. Experience had taught him that if final decisions were to be made it was best to let his employer make them, so he temporized with 2NT, assuring he would play the contract, regardless. Maybe a part score would pay off at rubber bridge by putting pressure on the vulnerable opponents to save the game. As it happened Howard had more than enough to raise to 3NT. Warned against a heart lead into declarer’s hand Heidi led a fourth highest spade through strength. When dummy came down, Sanford saw a possible 11 tricks.

From James’ side the lead of the 4 did not at first glance inspire confidence that the contract could be defeated, but closer inspection gave some hope which lay not in high card points but in distribution and timing. His long holdings in the minors would make establishment of tricks difficult there. It appeared that his partner had 6 hearts but didn’t lead them, hence they had gaps. She could have the A which would help neutralize the dummy. Putting it all together, and adding a reluctance to be left on lead later with his singleton K, James went up with the A and exited the K.

Sanford studied this card for a full minute, then folded his cards, conceding down 1.

‘What are you doing. Mel? Look at all the tricks sitting here.’

‘Good defence, Howard, there was nothing I could do,’ was all that the professional offered in explanation.

The next hand put an unexpected end to their brief rubber.

All Pass

Expecting Howard to be well-supplied in the spade suit for his double, Mel led an informative Q, won by James with the A. A diamond to the K and a low trump to the jack gathered the Q from Mel who led a low spade expecting his partner to win the K and give him a ruff with the 8. It was not to be. James won the J in dummy and led a second heart. Howard could imagine an endplay where he would be trapped into leading a club, so he went up with the A and gave his partner a spade ruff with the high trump. A club was dutifully returned but the defence was limited to 2 clubs and 3 hearts, 2* making 2, game, set, and rubber.

‘Mel, I think my double called for a club lead,’ Howard claimed.

‘Yeah, I had a good sequence, 9-8-7. I’ll make a note of it.’ replied the professional.

‘And don’t we lead queen from king-queen doubleton?’ asked Howard.

‘Yes we do, but I had only queen-deuce. I sure wish I had had the king.’

‘Anyway, Lisa, good raise. Isn’t she wonderful; she’s learning to play like Rixi, maybe even better.’

‘Actually, Howard, it’s no tragedy if you don’t double,’ continued Mel who appeared to have had a few after dinner.

‘Mel, I gotta double.’

Heinz got out his chequebook and wrote down a large sum.

‘Well done, James…W-o-o-l-w-i-c-h… make sure I spelled it right – the oldest trick in the book. I added £10 for a taxi. Don’t stay up late, Princess, I’ll be back soon.’

Closing the door behind them, Heidi turned to James with a smile.

“Don’t believe Daddy, he’ll be out all night.’

‘Well, I guess I had better be going as well.’

‘James, what about our interview?’

‘I don’t think it’s proper for us to stay alone together in a hotel room, even if it’s in the respectable Savoy. Your father indicated as much’


‘Don’t I have a say?’

‘Your father thinks it could be dangerous for you.’

‘Maybe I like danger. And if I need it, the Savoy is known for its security… as well as its discretion. Let’s go into the kitchen and see if we can find some champagne. You drink champagne, don’t you? Do you have any other bad habits? Tell me about them.’

She took his hand and led him to the kitchen area where they found two empty Bollinger bottles in the tiny sink.

‘Oh, damn, Mel has drunk them both. There’s only Daddy’s beer left.’

‘We can order more.’

‘That will take time….can we wait?’

‘Maybe not.’

Heidi came to him and kissed him passionately.

‘I was thinking, I should give back this cheque.’

‘Are you kidding me? Daddy would suspect something for sure.’

‘I see what you mean,’ said James wondering where the bedrooms were located.

by Bob Mackinnon at June 28, 2017 03:00 PM

June 27, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Shane the Unblockers revelation and Declan Donplayer "I love this game"

Last Friday night I ran into Shane Maxwell a guy I taught bridge in 15 minutes one night.
Shane is an acquaintance of Declan the Donplayer. Some day they might even partner up.
Anyway back then when I taught Shane the bridge in 15 minutes some might say I exaggerate.

However it is true. Back then Shane knew everything about everything so there was nothing one could teach him. He already knew from other card games what a trick was. He also knew which side of the card was the good bit , meaning the side with the coloured symbols or faces on it. So 15 minutes later Shane played his first hand of bridge. Defending against 6NT accidently or on purpose Shane after leading Spade 10 from KQJT ... (we experienced players lead KING) ..Shane on his first hand figured TEN knocks out ACE and later I get KQJ for down some.
However the play proceeded and robot cashed many tricks and evertually I start to doubt if Shane will be a bridge player as he pitches JACK QUEEN and finally KING of SPADES ..
Finally I notice 6NT has gone down 1 as SHANES robot partner had won trick 12 with SPADE 9 and cashed a winner. Now 4 years later after playing the odd hand of bridge on his phone from time to time Shane has returned with a vengeance and now being a 26 year old ADULT who earns money every week as an electrician and who now does not know everything about everything and recently has played up to 70 hands per week on www.bridge-now.com .

So recently the odd email has arrived from Shane listing some of his 90% and 100% scores on www.bridge-now.com and pointing out Eamongall placed below him on certain boards.

So we had a conversation about bridge in pieces spread over 2.5 hours in the pub. It might have been an hour in total as Shane talks to other folk about other subjects. Remember he used to know everything about everything.
So late in the night he asked about the YOU HOLD app I had mentioned earlier in the week.
So I took out my phone and we bid a few hands and I suddenly started to realise that something was wrong with Shanes understanding of bridge.

I would have told him back at the start in that one lesson probably something about bidding 3NT to get a bonus and neglected to tell him about 4H 4S 5C 5D also for game bonuses.

Shane had taken note of the fact that if you had about 25-26 points or so that you should bid game to get a bonus.

However as Shane knew everything about everything I never got to point out about the 4H 4S 5C 5D games and stuff around this game bonus.

So the intrepid Shane was playing away thinking 3C 3D 3H 3S and 3NT all produced the game bonus as long as he had about 25 or so high card points ...

"Eamon ..you dunce you never told me .. This is a game changer for me "

I alluded to the fact that Shane knew everything about everything back then so I probably saw no need to tell me about the 4H 4S stc ... So we will see how Shane goes from now on at the bridge.

Now Declan the Donplayer on the other hand had the sense to go on google and find out about Game Bonuses or else he noted that he was getting 170 when the 4H chaps were getting 620 and did something about it.. Not our Shane .. Our Shane rolled along thinking the computer was short changing him.

And he thinks I am the dunce for not telling him ..

Moral of rhe story is .. Even those who know everything about everything don't know about BRIDGE. Shane the 2nd coming will be a serious bridge player.

Never gone to a club yet or played bridge with cards in his hands.

Shane posted a 35% and 39% and 45% in his 3 visible outings to date.

45% is pretty decent for a chap who has never gone to a bridge lesson or bridge club or played with cards in his hand.

To put things in perspective legendary Howth/Regent player Conor O'Hara managed 46% this week which was far below his normal near 60% average .... and I also spot a 1.5 year local novice from Malahide Regional Bridge Club posting regular 36% scores on Bridge Now.

Several local intermediates are posting around the 50% mark and my own Declan the Donplayer posts in the early 50s these days in between drinking gambling fishing and debauchery and minding his kids and aging parents. No time for bridge .. but every time I meet him ..

"Eamon I love this game ..its so intriguing and I am really grateful you distracted me long enough to teach me"
"Eamon we need to do the CUEBIDS and the BLACKWOOD next "
"Eamon I have those transfers sorted now and I have got the STAYMAN working "

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 27, 2017 08:23 AM

June 26, 2017

Bob Mackinnon

James, Women, and Bridge

Our story takes us to London in 1968, a the time when Harold Wilson was pulling down the shutters on the British Empire having realized that the Gnomes of Zurich had got it right all along: it is better to own a bank than to run a meat shoppe. The location is the infamous Hall of Inquiry which served as a place for officially sanctioned torture during the time of the Reformation. It is said that Thomas Cromwell’s father, a blacksmith from Putney, provided inmates with leg irons of exceptional quality: comfortable, cheap, and long-wearing. The location was taken over centuries later by The Southwark Lawn Bowling and Bridge Club. Within the seasick green walls of the cold, damp basement bridge players happily preserved the ancient traditions of accusation, inquisition, and insistence on a strict adherence to articles of faith. In the bright spectrum of first impression those of Abigail Abercrombie, an American tourist of middle age, tended more towards repugnance than delight, unaccustomed as she was to British taste in the interior decoration of public places. It was with some hope of improvement in her prospects that the widow spied a handsome young man in a blue Hardy Amies suit sitting alone at one of the tables.

Let us now introduce ourselves to this tall, lithe young man with a winning smile and an abundance of unruly sandy hair. He is James Woolwich, ‘Wooly’ to his former university chums, a regular player and a favourite of many of the old ladies of the club. A onetime student of philosophy, he was greatly influence by Aristotle, especially the wise man’s observation that nothing dulls the mind so much as regular employment. He decided that occasional studies in a variety of disciplines combined with bridge playing was a good way to develop his mind, in which pursuits he was aided and abetted by a rich uncle who allowed James to occupy his Lambeth flat while the old gentleman, reversing the current trend in immigration, pursued fulfilment in sunny Jamaica seeking something bright, brown, and beautiful….and finding it.

In his cooler, cloudier clime James was having less success with regards to fulfilment. His relationships usually got off to a good start, but petered out once the female component realized he was impervious to improvement. He looked to the Sunday newspapers for enlightenment especially with regard to curious observations such that in Cambodia the recent decrease in the water buffalo population had drastically increased the price of brides, putting them out of reach of many young framers, thereby causing an alarming rise in the rural crime rate. No mention of any bombing. It was his habit of remaining in bed on a Sunday morning drinking Blue Mountain coffee, smoking Turkish cigarettes, while going through the Sunday Times page by page seeking interesting items, un-heedful of the suggestion that it was a good time to finally tidy up (Jane), or to go for an overdue hike in the fresh air of the countryside (Alice), or make a long postponed visit to the BM (Cynthia). The girls just didn’t realize that for James this was the highlight of his week, surpassing all previous, more strenuous activities.

Then one day James went to a free, sparsely attended lecture by a Japanese Zen priest who gave out the promise of a better organized way of life. Much impressed by the monk’s quiet demeanour, James felt someone should ask a question from the floor.

‘What are your views on death, Sensei?’

‘End of cares and hardships. Death is Happy Hour with ancestors, who gather to celebrate many family duties performed… happy time for all.’

After the lecture James found Hisashi-san was staying for a year in a hostel at the end of the Northern Line learning English and perfecting his bridge playing skills. Perfect, thought James, and invited him to come stay in his Lambeth flat free of charge, lessons in English in return for lessons in Zen with a bit of housekeeping tossed in to create a balance. At a low point in that regard he committed to no female distractions for the duration, a promise he was later to regret. Hisashi bowed his appreciation of the offer. His expressionless face hid his extreme delight at the assignment of the cooking duties, for most English had never heard of seaweed and tofu soup and couldn’t even chop onions properly. There was much to learn and much to teach while gaining a regular bridge partner with qualification.

James looked up from his perusal of the yesterday’s game slips to see two women standing at the entrance, one middle aged, one not, wearing matching red outfits that would not be entirely out of place in a parade of Chelsea pensioners. The older woman was of uniform rotundity with a brightness of aspect typical of duplicate players throughout the world, whereas her stunning companion appeared be seen to be aloof and undulatory. Even at a fair distance James could assess the undulations as genuine, and the aloofness merely as a symptom of a short-sighted girl who refused to wear glasses in public – the so-called Myrna Loy look. In the twinkling of an eye James was at their side.

‘Pardon my intrusion, but you are Americans are you not?’

‘Thank God,’ replied the matron, ‘your intrusion is most welcome. I am Abigail Abercrombie from San Francisco this is my niece, Gloria. We have been we have been walking about enjoying the sights, but now my feet are killing me and I would like to sit down for a few hours and exercise the grey cells in a game a bridge. I am a Life Master, but Gloria is a novice. Do you think you could fit us in?’

“I am not the director, Heaven forbid, but I’m sure you’d be most welcome. In fact, a player of your accomplishment might consider playing with someone at your expert level. You see that man standing beside the notice board with his eyes closed – he is very good. Don’t be alarmed, he is not blind – he is probably imagining a tranquil pool with multi-coloured carp as a way of calming his mind for the upcoming contest.’

‘Oooo..I just adore short, bald men, they are so virile.’

‘Errr, well, I must warn you he is a monk on leave here in London learning to speak English.’

‘Better and better still. We learned in Italy that language is no barrier to having a good time. In these modern times everyone understands 5-card majors. But what about Gloria? She needs someone who is not too serious.’

‘Well, I have no game this evening, so I would be happy to fill in.’

‘Would you now? Wonderful. Be gentle, as she’s inexperienced.’

“Oh, Aunt Abbie, I’m no dummy, you know,’ said the niece with a most alluring pout.

James introduced them to Hisashi-san.

‘This is Mrs Abercromie from America. Like you she is a life master many times over, and I was wondering if you might be her partner for this evening. I would then play with her niece, Gloria.’

‘Ah, so’ replied the Master with a deep bow of understanding.

When the monk went to fetch convention cards, Abigail remarked that he looked extremely fit.

‘ Oh, yes, an integral part of his religious practice is to maintain himself at the peak of his mental and physical capabilities,‘ explained James, trying hard not to monitor Gloria’s rhythmic breathing. ‘Sensei has nerves of steel and muscles of iron.’

“I’ll drink to that,’ said Mrs Abercrombie cheerfully.

On the first hand Aunt Abigail reached 3NT. Gloria missed the killing lead, which would have been obvious from James’ hand, and later missed an even-more-obvious compensatory switch, so it appeared that it was going to be a long evening, not that the young man didn’t feel the longer it stretched, the better.

James found he was having difficulty getting his beautiful partner to warm to his attentions. This is often the way with goddesses – like cats they become immune to abject idolization. It was with some sense of satisfaction that James was able to lay before her as a token of his devotion a neat play on the third board of the evening.


Gloria had opened 1 to which James replied with as strong Baron 2NT, one of the foundations of the ACOL system. To the young goddess this signified a weak minor-suit orientated hand, 11-12 HCP, a popular treatment in Oyster Bay, Maine, whence she had emerged. Gloria signed off in 5, a puzzling development, but one fielded to perfection by the Englishman with a confident bid of 6NT. Mrs Abercrombie began the defence with a fourth highest 3 and James could see at a glance that he had missed an easy grand slam in spades, not that the crowd at the Tuesday Evening Charity Pairs would bid it lacking a 9+card fit, but the 12 tricks which were evident in a no trump contract would not suffice even for an average score.

When Americans refer to their country as The Land of the Free, they are speaking metaphorically. Generous as they may be at giving their opinions or even briefly lending their affections, they are unaccustomed to acting charitably at the bridge table, so James was disinclined to accept the offer of a free finesse. He went up with the A and ran off winners to reach a 2-card ending in dummy with 4 and T opposite AT in hand, the result being that Hisashi was happily squeezed between the red suits.

‘Golly, who would have thought it. You must have been potent,’ exclaimed Gloria. From the strange silence at the table she sensed she might become the subject of criticism.

‘He plays his cards very well, Dear. You are lucky to have him,’ explained her aunt.

Later in the game James again found himself in 6NT with 13 tricks available, this time in a diamond slam. Many played in 6 making an overtrick, but a few played in 6NT making 6 when West failed to find the killing club lead.


Most players can handle two rounds of bidding, but the third round brings trouble. On this auction a great deal of optimism was being expressed on both sides, so James took matters into hand with a 5-loser hand using the method of hand evaluation advocated by the great Maurice Harrison-Gray in a recent issue of Country Life.

The bearded Frederick Snodgrass led the 7 in the British style of third worst from four bad. After 2 rounds of diamonds James could see that a contract of 6 would result in 13 tricks if played probably. With shortness on his right and his club communication still intact, there might be some advantage to be had from running off the diamonds to put pressure on Howard Botts, a building inspector with whom he had often crossed swords, not always to James’ advantage. At present Botts was leering over his spectacles admiring the obviously sound structure of an oblivious Gloria. Perhaps the distraction would prove beneficial. After the diamonds were played off ending in hand, James ducked a heart to the 7.Winning the T return in hand, the young man found himself in a 7-card configuration of which he was only vaguely aware. There would be a great deal of satisfaction to be had from changing that leer to a frown, but how?


Botts had discarded 3 small spades in upward order giving an indication that Snodgrass held the guards in the spade suit, so a spade finesse in dummy might effect a squeeze in clubs, which could have been split 3-3 all along. Distrusting Botts disinterest in the spade suit James led the Q, covered by the K, pinning the J thus turning the T into a winner and the squeeze card to which Botts had no answer. Gloria was slow to realize 12 tricks in 6NT represented a very good score as many were playing in 6 making a lesser 1390 on 13 tricks.

The only West not leading a trump to cut down on the presumed ruffs in 6 was Mrs Abercrombie for whom leading trumps was an anathema. Her choice was a deceptive 9. The Reverend Forsythe, recently returned from Africa, was professionally obliged to assume that Man’s, and especially Woman’s, nature was in grievous need of restitution, but he did not, could not, accept this glum view, having been companioned for 35 years through innocence and health by the angelic Mrs Forsythe who was sitting North with a hopeful smile of encouragement on her lips. After calling for the A in dummy, he became alarmed when on the lead of a small diamond from dummy the J appeared from his fellow hierophant in the East. Without doubt this was an affliction, but afflictions are given us to be overcome. With an essential entry removed from dummy it would require a minor miracle to bring home this slam. With nothing apparently better the old fellow marked time by playing off the KQ, to get the count, cashing the AK pitching a club, and ruffing a heart to his hand to this 6-card ending.


On the play of the A Abigail had to ruff to prevent the discard of the T. Forsythe was well pleased with this development as he could overruff and lead towards his hand to promote the Q as his 12th trick. It was a great shock when the T was covered by the J, the Q and the K from the scarlet Jezebel on his left.

A trump return was won in dummy, but a heart ruff with the Q returned declarer to his hand. He played the 8, West following, and paused to reassess his chances. Could it be? Yes! His spade must have been promoted to a winning card, he was sure of it! So after passing the 8 he could take the last trick with his wife’s remaining top trump. Thank you, Lord, justice is served, thought the churchman, unaware that innocence being a condition, not a virtue, merits no reward. Scoring 1370 garnered a disappointingly meagre return given his brilliant recovery. Ah well, his experiences in Africa had taught him not to expect too much. Good health and a warm cocoa at bedtime were rewards aplenty in this world.

As a special concession to his American guests the director with rare good grace posted the scores soon after the finish. The names of A. Abercrombie and H. Hashimoto were listed at the top with a score of 68.3%. James and his friend had a few moments alone while their erstwhile partners retreated to the Ladies for emergency repairs. For James all dreams of romance had evaporated as he could not imagine himself making love to a woman, even a goddess, convulsing with hiccups.

‘Perhaps we can see the ladies to their hotel, then drop in on the way home at the Horns and Antlers for a lager and lime,’ he suggested.

‘So sorry, but Abbie-san has invited me to go to Ronnie Scott’s to listen to Ben Webster. His saasphone has rich sound like wet rice patty at planting time.’

I know what you mean, it’s earthy.’

‘ I admire her belly much – she has great Ka. You must look under the clothes to find the true person – remember that, James-san.’

‘Good point, Sensei,’ conceded James wistfully.

by Bob Mackinnon at June 26, 2017 02:59 PM

June 23, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Unit 103 - July Board of Directors' Agenda

Irrespective of season, our Unit Board members work hard for us throughout the year!

Below is the agenda that Unit 103 has scheduled for their July meeting.

Our thanks to all!

Download 7.14.2017.Unit 103 BOD Agenda

by Peg at June 23, 2017 12:03 PM

June 20, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Granite City Sectional - Results

St cloud

St. Cloud's beautiful summer Granite City Sectional has concluded; results are in!

Three players tied for top masterpoint winners:  Wendy Turk and Chris Champion of Colorado Springs, along with John Koch. Each earned 26.61 masterpoints. Well done!  

This was, however, a bit of an oddity. Wendy and Chris partnered one another in various events; John played with others. Yet at the end of the tournament, their masterpoints matched!

Carole Miner and Terry Beckman also scored over 20 masterpoints. The rest of the Granite results can be viewed here.

Our thanks to co-chairs Kory Solarz and Jean Leighton - plus our directors, caddies, other volunteers and of course - all our competitors!  Congratulations to all who placed and did well at the sectional!

by Peg at June 20, 2017 10:15 PM

Sectional in Clubs at the Edina Senior Center

We have an excellent opportunity this week for the STAC for Extra Masterpoints and Extra  FUN.
Tuesday, June 20 - 6:30PM
Thursday, June 22 - 7:00PM 
Any questions or if you need a partner, please call Judy at 952-474-3653.
We are expecting a big turn out.  There will be some healthy snacks!!!
Hope to see you at one or both games.  Tony II will be directing.

by Peg at June 20, 2017 08:50 PM

The Bridge Center of St. Paul - STAC Games & Longest Day

The Bridge Center of St Paul is running STAC games all week including Sunday late afternoon  except on Wednesday when they have a day long series of 5 18-board matchpoint games to support the Longest Day. 
Cost is $5 for each game.
Games at:
Free food will be available  between each session!

by Peg at June 20, 2017 08:43 PM

Eamon Galligan

Double Take

This afternoon I was having a look at the results in the European Open Bridge championships.

I looked at Open Pairs and spotted our men Hanlon and Carroll in 209th place of about 240 entrants ..
I spotted some Irish Ladies pairs mostly down the rear end of the field ..apart from Rigney Kenny.
However it is early days yet.

However when I went for a look at the Seniors ..I got this

For some reason I guess the officials wanted to make sure these older folk could see their results so
they printed out each pairs results TWICE.. Now it did not make any difference apart from indicating both Irish pairs have some work to do...but to spell it out TWICE..

If I displayed results like this in Malahide or god forgive on CBAI .. I would be laughed out of the room. This is at European level ... but of course it is a glitch in the HTML or something.
The real results printed on site are no doubt perfectly normal.

Hmmmm just went to Open Pairs ...must be my computer ... as this could not be happening

Repeated  pairs names there too .. maybe its my Microsoft Edge ..
Better by a MacBook quick

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 20, 2017 11:44 AM

Plane Crash or Carrot disease ..Board 19 of last 16

Yesterday while reviewing the Moran Team exit from the Euro Open Teams I noted the loss of 14 imps on Board 19 in the 2nd half of the match. Given MORAN last the match by about 5 or 6 imps this was a large cause of the loss. Now I understand that the 2 way 1 club opening is flawed as its too easy for punters to get in there and interfere over 1C with no danger to themselves. However the problem is if you interfere you might solve problems for the Carrot lads.

Anyway here is the hand ..

Now out in my medium bidding club in Malahide which has many limited bidders I think they will all manage to declare in a spade contract .. but some might only reach a game contract ..
However we will forgive them that as at least they found the right strain.

I want to know how does Irelands 2nd strongest pair manage to end up declaring in 6C on a 7-0
fit. Straight away we are depending on a 3-3 break in trumps .. as we are also off the HEART ACE.
This is madness or a flaw or something went wrong or maybe Hanlon McGann were not seated North South. Even if this is so another capable pair in Carroll and Garve would be there instead.

C:\>cd gib
C:\gib>bridge -ULAscNSIT 1000
GIB Version 6.1.3, 1/4/03
Enter S hand: q98752.kj87.j82
Enter S hand: q98752.kj87.j82.
Enter N hand: AK3.3.AT.AKQ7542
Enter dealer: s
Enter vul (none, N/S, E/W, both): E/W
dealt 250 hands at time 0.02
book bid [default] P, considering P 1C-7N
prognosticate at time 0.02
complete at time 30.81; size 35
analyzed 35 deals (35 current) at 45.52 sec
P: 10.27 (prog 26.43 par 34.37)
1S: 9.88 (prog 16.43 par 34.37)
3S: 9.81 (prog 13.71 par 16.94)
2S: 9.79 (prog 31.71 par 34.37)
1H: 8.50 (prog -90.86 par 34.37)
4S: 8.18 (prog -143.14 par -69.91)
2H: 8.10 (prog -140.43 par 34.37)
1D: 8.05 (prog -107.77 par 34.37)
3H: 7.11 (prog -214.14 par 16.94)
1C: 6.77 (prog -233.71 par 34.37)
I bid P (45.55 sec)
That bid shows: No suitable call -- 11- HCP; 12- points
Enter bid for W: p
That bid shows: No suitable call -- 11- HCP; 12- points
dealt 250 hands at time 0.03
book bid [rule 10508] 2C, considering P 1C-7N
prognosticate at time 0.03
complete at time 23.33; size 35
analyzed 89 deals (89 current) at 69.16 sec
2C: 9.40 (prog 413.60 par 686.58)
1C: 7.79 (prog 315.84 par 686.58)
2N: 7.50 (prog 306.18 par 644.00)
5C: 7.39 (prog 280.45 par 594.00)
4N: 7.17 (prog 268.76 par 643.89)
3C: 5.83 (prog 172.98 par 686.58)
1N: 5.70 (prog 183.26 par 683.89)
4C: 5.65 (prog 163.60 par 672.88)
2S: 5.10 (prog 130.56 par 686.58)
3N: 4.68 (prog 139.00 par 570.97)
I bid 2C (69.16 sec)
That bid shows: Strong two club -- 23+ points; forcing to 2N
Enter bid for E: p
That bid shows: No suitable call --
dealt 250 hands at time 1.06
book bid [rule 12726] 2D, considering P 2D-7N
prognosticate at time 1.06
complete at time 8.17; size 35
analyzed 40 deals (40 current) at 22.03 sec
2S: 8.11 (prog 499.00 par 717.48)
2D: 7.53 (prog 419.50 par 717.48)
3S: 6.77 (prog 428.63 par 717.48)
3N: 6.34 (prog 363.00 par 631.05)
4S: 5.62 (prog 316.88 par 705.48)
2H: 5.38 (prog 323.00 par 717.48)
4H: 4.75 (prog 247.63 par 705.48)
4N: 3.21 (prog 163.00 par 425.30)
5S: 2.91 (prog 143.75 par 577.23)
6S: 2.03 (prog 125.00 par 351.60)
I bid 2S (22.05 sec)
That bid shows: Positive -- 5+ S; 11- HCP; 6+ 8421 HCP in S; 8-12 points; forcing
Enter bid for W: ?
South: 5+ S; 11- HCP; 6+ 8421 HCP in S; 8-12 points; forcing
West: 11- HCP; 12- points
North: 23+ points; forcing
Enter bid for W: p
That bid shows: No suitable call -- 11- HCP; 12- points
dealt 0 hands at time 9.52
Trouble generating sample; generation failure set to 1
dealt 0 hands at time 15.08
Trouble generating sample; generation failure set to 2
dealt 0 hands at time 19.56
Trouble generating sample; generation failure set to 3
unable to generate useful sample; returning book bid 3C
I bid 3C (19.58 sec)
That bid shows: 5+ C; 23+ points
Enter bid for E: p
That bid shows: No suitable call -- 20- points
dealt 250 hands at time 2.91
book bid [rule 839] 3H, considering P 3D-7N
prognosticate at time 2.93
complete at time 6.79; size 35
analyzed 89 deals (89 current) at 27.62 sec
4S: 7.16 (prog 341.24 par 600.82)
3D: 7.04 (prog 347.08 par 631.16)
3H: 6.79 (prog 297.64 par 631.16)
3S: 5.92 (prog 280.51 par 631.16)
4H: 5.51 (prog 238.37 par 600.82)
3N: 5.35 (prog 240.73 par 582.65)
4N: 4.83 (prog 200.51 par 449.56)
5H: 4.29 (prog 184.66 par 476.10)
P: 4.02 (prog 115.39 par 110.34)
5S: 3.80 (prog 130.84 par 439.02)
I bid 4S (27.64 sec)
That bid shows: 11- HCP; strong rebiddable S; 6+ 8421 HCP in S; 8-12 points
Enter bid for W: p
That bid shows: No suitable call -- 11- HCP; 12- points
rule 1360 (73)
I bid 5S (-0.00 sec)
That bid shows: 5+ C; 2+ S; 23+ points
Enter bid for E: p
That bid shows: No suitable call -- 20- points
captained auction; returning bood bid
rule 229 (62)
I bid 6S (-0.00 sec)
That bid shows: 11- HCP; strong rebiddable S; 6+ 8421 HCP in S; 8-12 points
Enter bid for W: p
That bid shows: No suitable call -- 11- HCP; 12- points
rule 120 (91)
I bid P (-0.00 sec)
That bid shows: No suitable call -- 5+ C; 2+ S; 23+ points
Enter bid for E: p
That bid shows: No suitable call -- 20- points
Enter play for W: Enter play for W:

Even my crazy GIB robot from the late 1990s can bid 6S although it plays strong 2C opening..
but there it is in Black and White ...

I recall one time many years ago playing against Thomas Hanlon in the Regent and on making an off centre bid ...he commented ..

"Eamon you did not get that bid out of your computer .. "

Well the computer strikes back ...

So what went wrong ..and can we fix it for the future ...
or did Hanlon McGann just play BASHWOOD or PUNTWOOD and presume partner had a club card. It seems absurd ....

It cost Ireland a place in the quarter final ..

Here are two auctions to reach 6 spades 

trivial for Shillelagh

1C     1S

2D etc................ 

strong GF 3+ card support for major asks major length/strength WWS+   

Mom and Pop bidding 

2C              2D

3C              3S

4NT            5D   0

5H (askQ)  6H  Qs+Kh

6S   1430

I am beaten by this development .. maybe Hanlon McGann denies a void in the bidding 
or maybe North pulled out the wrong bidding card at the end ..
It just beats me .. and my GIB program too ..
Hold on to the horses ...It is slowly dawning on me that this session might have been live on 
BBO and I did not watch it .. 

Ooops I missed the live action .. Did not think to look on BBO to watch live ..

McGann wonders "Why so brutal "

Maybe it agrees spades with 4NT .. Hmmmm or maybe 6C was choice of slams..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 20, 2017 07:49 AM

Peg Kaplan

Tom Hammond - 1934 - 2017

Tom hammond2

The best part of bridge is the people who love it ... and the saddest part is reporting when we lose one of our members. Today, I regret to report that we suddenly lost Tom Hammond this week.

Kim Hayward, Club Manager at The Bridge Center of St. Paul - and good friend of Tom's - was kind enough to write this beautiful remembrance of our good friend, competitor and marvelous teacher.  Thank you so much, Kim.

Tom hammond

Tom Hammond was one of the most active and giving Bridge players we've ever had at the Bridge Center of St Paul. He was integral in the creation of a teaching/mentoring program which, since he began in the mid-1990s, has yielded many satisfied players.
Tom played for many years with Ken Marier developing their system. He would always entertain requests for both lessons and entering into mentoring relationships with new players. His lesson series would sometimes be planned, or ala carte depending on the group.
When Tom taught he'd never want money. When students paid, he'd collect it all, go buy things for the local food shelves or homeless centers and come back to the class and report: "I was able to buy 309 toothbrushes, 216 tubes of toothpaste, 110 deodorants..." etc. He would often show up during a game with a huge box of donuts, I always noticed one was missing, so it seemed to me he wanted a donut, but thought we'd all like some too!
Tom was always happy to offer advice about Bridge, but also about life, with words of encouragement or a letter of recommendation. We missed him terribly every year when he and Judy would be off to California.
Now we will miss him every day. 
Kim Hayward, Club Manager
Bridge Center of St Paul


We also have a link to Tom's obituary here.  A Celebration of Life for Tom will be from 4 to 7 PM on Friday, June 23rd.

Our deepest condolences to Tom's wife, Judy, and all of his family.



by Peg at June 20, 2017 01:57 AM

June 19, 2017

Eamon Galligan

European Open Teams 2017

Yesterday Sunday saw the 2 Irish Ladies teams bow out of the European Ladies Teams with barely a whimper. CASADOMA from the Wicklow area managed one victory over the bottom team to end up in 27th place of 30 teams entered.
Team Hibernia on the other hand bid a slam needing 2 3-2 breaks and some handling and went down losing 13 imps and their opponents bid a dodgy slam that made and lost 16-4 .. Then they got smashed by Denmark 20-0 and that was the end of that
3 late victories restored them to their 17th place start of day position. 17th is respectable but this team know they left 8 places behind them.

Meanwhile in the Mens Teams event Team MORAN after a good pre season on the BBO under the tutorship of one Krystoff Martens entered the OPEN TEAMS with some hope. After 4 rounds MORAN lay on the average score of 40 VPS and got beaten by GILLIS 18-2 to drop them to a 42% score and 87th place of the 120 teams.
Sunday morning dawned and TEAM MORAN got out of the blocks fast with 16 VPS against a team named 1over2. Entering Round 7 in 62nd place they met a team called DACIANS from Romania ..
18 VPS followed and MORAN was up and running at the right time.
MORAN entered round 8 in 40th place and 9 VPs outside the Knockouts.

Round 8 ..MORAN got what looked to me like a good draw ...who calls their team NPC DAISY and no known NAMES on the team ....despite many bridge legends on other possible opponents nearby.
The strikers were in form and 41 imps were shot past DAISY and 19 more VPS for the total.
Up to 20th place now and beginning to enter dangerous territory. All teams up in this rarefied atmosphere can do damage.

Round 9 and MORAN drew what looks like an Italian team with one of the Race Cars on board.
Italian teams are always capable but MORAN fired out 40 imps on the first 9 boards and won the match 40-8 and another 18 VPS to rise into 9th place .. On these 4 matches MORAN had scored about 71 VPS out of 80 .. That's almost a 90% score ...

Nearly as good as Team Galligans final session in Coen Trophy 2001 .. 148 our of 150.

Round 10 required a steady match against CHATEAU ROSENOVO which seemed to be a BULGARIAN TEAM ... A 1 imp win secured  qualification for both sides.

Currently TEAM MORAN play the Round of 16 and are getting the worst of it for now.
However a couple of good swings and they will be back in it.


Results can be found at the above link and also running scores ..
Meanwhile out in the other worlds .. The Irish Ladies Teams are learning about BAM TEAMS

TEAM HIBERIA are finding the going tough with 3VPs out of 18.
9 boards played and its 2VPs per board.

Meanwhile .. CASADOMA on 9 VPS REGENT on 8VPs and the more
experienced BANZAI have 12 VPS ....all out of 18.

TEAM BANZAI currently lies in 10th place out of 112 teams ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 19, 2017 09:57 AM

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 April Minutes and June Agenda

Our thanks to Linda Brammer for sending us Unit 178's April minutes and the upcoming agenda for the Board meeting this coming Saturday.

Thanks to all for their continuing efforts for the betterment of bridge!

Download Unit 178 Minutes April 2017

Download Unit 178 Agenda 6.24.2017

by Peg at June 19, 2017 03:13 AM

June 17, 2017

Eamon Galligan

A big lesson for TEAM HIBERNIA and a column for Mr Comyn

After 9 boards of the Round 5 match against team TOP ONE in the European Open Bridge championships TEAM HIBERNIA one of the Irish Ladies teams had eked out a comfortable 19-1 imps lead and were looking good to close with nice victory.
Board 20 pictured above was placed on the table

5 clubs looks a reasonable contract and of course 3NT if one could bid that after a 3S opening looks iron clad. Nobody in the Ladies found or was allowed play 3NT .. A couple of intrepid souls in the Open Teams bid 3NT and several made 5C.

However our HIBERNIA WEST ended up declaring in 4S doubled and got smacked for 800.
I personally cannot figure how one gets into 4S as surely the most one could open with the WEST
hand would be 3S ....and even that is a stretch for a disciplined player. I think most will open 3S but its kind of a trick short in reality when you are vulnerable. So I will have to wait to hear the story.

Meanwhile in the other Ladies match our team of CASADOMA having stuck their heads over the precipice ran into some heavy fire and were trialing 46-0 as board 20 hit the table.
They came out the better of it ...with their opponents declaring 3S down 2 in one room and 4H on the 6 nil break in the other room .. CASADOMA collected 4 undertricks for 9 imps and a VP saved on the score.
Meanwhile the MORAN team also struggled on the same board 20 ,,,MORAN declared 4H against the 6-0 break on the NS side and declared 4S amazingly undoubled on the EW side.

All because of a hand that GALLIGAN would certainly ponder reducing to a weak 2 spade opening or a PASS. Its just not enough for a 3S opener no matter how big your chest is or how big you want to puff it out.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 17, 2017 06:32 PM

CASADOMA versus HIBERNIA Sat June 18th 1530

Currently we are halfway thru the 2 week European Open championships. There are 2 Irish ladies teams taking part. One is mainly from the Wicklow area and the other is most of the Irish Lady Milne team. The 2 teams are meeting at this moment in the 4th round of European Open championships.

Board 1 saw Hibernia declare in both rooms going down a trick in each contract to trail by 3-0
2H by E and 1NT by North..... a 9 card club fit East West being spurned in both rooms.

Board 2 is a 15 point opposite 8 point hand where No Trump is declared ..
Casadoma NS made 9 tricks and Hibernia played cautiously to make 7 tricks.
Casadoma declaring 3NT gained 11 imps against the 1NT of Hibernia

Board 3 saw both sides declaring 4S and 1 imp went to Hibernia ...now trailing 14-1

Board 4 saw both sides declare 1NT and 1 imp to CASADOMA now 15-1 up

Board 5 saw both sides declare 4S ..and 8/9 tricks made ..2 imps to CASADOMA ..17-1

Board 6 saw both sides go 4 OFF in a 2H contract ..flat board ..HO HUM There must be some lesson
there .. .still 17-1

Board 7 saw 3NT up 2 by CASADOMA and 4S made by HIBERNIA ...18-1

Board 8 sees HIBERNIA bid 6S and make 13 ... better than lots of pairs so far but only the direct
match matters so lets see the response ..the response is good ... CASADOMA equal the SLAM.
Many pairs missed this slam so its a decent board for both Irish sides ..

Board 9 saw CASADOMA down in 4H so prospects for HIBERNIA improve but we await
the result in the other room ...Lots of pairs losing 50 on this board ..so we wait and see.
HIBERNIA bid and make 4H in the other room and gain 10 imps ... Score 18-11

Board 10 saw CASADOMA NS bid and make 4S ..CASADOMA will win the match
but lets see by how much and 4S is made in the other room and the match ends

Gilliland Whelan Newell and Cummins played for CASADOMA
Kenny Rigney Fitzgerald and Joyce played for HIBERNIA


You can find all details of the event at the above website ...
Go to Microsite from there

Other Irish teams are MORAN in the OPEN , BANZAI and DUBEL in SENIOR

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 17, 2017 04:06 PM

June 15, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

Las Vegas Bally’s Regional Monday, JUNE 19th SESSION TIMES CHANGED!

Although MONDAY starting time corrections were made earlier (FROM 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) TO 1 p.m. And 7:30 p.m. — many participants are/were not aware of it.


See you there!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at June 15, 2017 02:55 PM

Peg Kaplan

A Remembrance from Up North

Ron DeHarpporte, Larry Oakey partner, teammate, and long time friend, shares a TGLO story that hails from Canada!

We appreciate that Minnesota Bridge has already had a wealth of remembrances and stories about Larry Oakey. Yet, TGLO was an extraordinary individual in our bridge world. And - as stories continue to be submitted to us, we believe they must be shared.

This story arrives via Ron DeHarpporte. It's from a player whose name was unfamiliar to me:  Brian Pauls of Canada.

Ron notes that Brian was one of the best bridge players with whom Larry ever played.  Indeed, Ron thinks that Larry was of the opinion that Brian was the most talented partner he'd ever had.  The famed Eric Murray told Ron that Brian was "the best player in Western Canada." And, Eric Kokish, another elite Canadian player and "Koach" to the stars shared similar sentiments.

Brian saw Ron's name in Larry's obituary; the two then renewed a friendship that had been on hold for 50 years.

Brian and Ron played on many teams together, often with Larry as a teammate and usually in Winnipeg - but on occasion, the team would travel Down South to the Gopher during the 60's. 

Brian virtually gave up bridge in the early 70's to become one of Canada's most successful attorneys. Another top Canadian player, Hersh Wolch, became an important Canadian official. Recently, however, Brian has begun to play a bit again, yet he states "not seriously." He still works as a full time, successful attorney.

Brian's TGLO story is below. We thank Brian for sending to us and Harpo for sharing it.

If you knew Oakey at all - it will put a smile on your face!

In 1967 Canada celebrated its 100th birthday. The ACBL awarded what were then still called the Summer Nationals to the city of Montreal, which at the same time was hosting Expo 67 (whence came the name of its short-lived major league baseball team) and had built a giant theme park called La Ronde.

Hersh Wolch and I drove (just the two of us) to Montreal. We were both red-blooded 27 year olds  for whom bridge was only our second favorite activity. Just leaving Ottawa, we spotted two attractive girls (late teens, early twenties, as i recollect) who were hitching rides. Naturally enough, we stopped.

They told us that they were headed to Quebec City. We told them we could only offer to drive them as far as downtown Montreal. We gave them our names and told them where we were staying ( the two of us sharing a room, of course, since we were still impoverished young lawyers)--the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and that we were playing bridge, but only in the daytime, and would love to take them out to La Ronde. Their response was that they planned to take a bus on to Quebec City, stay there a couple of days and then, maybe, call us when they returned to Montreal.

Ho hum, right.

Flash forward. Larry the Great arrives a day or two later, pleads poverty, and asks us if he can sleep on the floor in our room. Pals are pals, so we said OK. He promised not to snore.

About 5 days later, we came in to the room about 6:30 p.m. Bridge was finished for the day. Larry, it turned out, had been happily napping there until his dreams were interrupted by the annoyance of a phone call. Well, he told the female caller to forget for whatever reason she was calling. Hersh and I were not there, he told her, and he reported further to us that he got rid of her ( a true kindness, in his view) by explaining carefully that Hersh and I were much too busy playing bridge to have any free evenings.

Good old Larry! We never heard from the girls again, but are certain that they have gone on to make productive contributions to Canada's economy.

As for us, it is now the year of Canada's 150th anniversary. The Nationals ( correction, the NABCs) are back in my country but even if we decide to embark on another road trip to seek bridge stardom, I greatly doubt that the granddaughters of those girls will be out on the Trans Canada Highway hitch hiking and waiting for us to show up).

As for Hersh and myself, well the past is prologue, it is said. 50 uneventful years have passed, with nothing except wives, children, grandchildren, a few professional successes,  a few grey hairs and extra pounds. How unexciting, compared to what might have been! Ah well. Pals are forever and Larry will always remain on my list of Aces and Kings in a deck full of lesser cards.

On behalf of all the Winnipeggers who knew Larry, we would like our friends, old and new, in the Twin Cities, to be aware that we miss him too. Very much.

        Brian Pauls

by Peg at June 15, 2017 12:41 PM

June 12, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Mike Lawrence Seminar



This past weekend, three dozen Twin City bridge players experienced a most special treat. They attended the Mike Lawrence seminar on Saturday and Sunday, affording them the opportunity to learn from one of the top players in bridge history.




Mike has an extraordinary record of accomplishment.  In ACBL competition, Mike has an amazing array of championship wins and runner-ups in the toughest events on the calendar. Plus he's a three time world champion. Plus Mike played on the world reknown Dallas Aces.




And - as if that were not enough, Mike is one of the most prolific, successful and revered bridge authors. Mike has written more than 23 bridge books (with more on the way), bridge CD's, and articles of his have been published in both the ACBL Bulletin and The Bridge World.  Many, including your webmaster, found Mike's books invaluable tools to learning the game. His ability to describe not only what to do, but why you should be doing it, gives players deep insight into how to be a successful player.





During the two day seminar, attendees were given the scoop on how best to respond to takeout doubles and, an age old problem:  what to do after an opponent preempts. Following lectures, players were able to go through Mike's problem hands, ask questions and gain much insight. Lunch was also enjoyed both days; those participating got to learn more about Mike and our fascinating game.




In addition to his wealth of bridge wisdom, Mike brought along his lovely wife, Karen. Our thanks to Diane and Larry Henson, who were instrumental in putting together the seminar and providing hospitality to Mike and Karen while they were visiting.




As you can tell from the smiles from our seminar participants, the Mike Lawrence visit was a tremendous hit. If more of our players wish that they could have attended, then perhaps Mike will grace us down the road with a repeat performance.  Here's hoping!




More photos below of this fun, exciting and educational weekend!




by Peg at June 12, 2017 11:49 PM

June 10, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Sligo Bridge Congress in progress

This weekend June 9th-11th we have the Sligo Bridge Congress under the guide of Ferghal O'Boyle aided by Diarmuid Reddan and the ever capable Sligo Congress Committee. Mairead Basquille is no doubt overseeing all.
Currently in the Congress Pairs is in progress with some of the  new kids on the block out in front after a few fences John Connolly and Stephen Barr. However the experienced English campaigner known as THE GARVE  is already hot on their tail and MacCormac McMaugh maintain an eye on proceedings from back in the pelethon. The Knights and English visitors Root Naat will also be around at the finish and maybe the Ennis Dannys might emerge from the pelethon. Long time partners Hilary and Gilda might also compete for the prizes but they have no recent form at this level.

All can watch the running scores on http://fob.ie

Meanwhile on Bridge-Now here are this weeks ratings

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 10, 2017 02:52 PM

Peg Kaplan

Granite City Sectional

St cloud

Just six days from today, on Thursday, June 15th, the Granite City Sectional in St. Cloud begins. Enjoy bridge Thursday, Friday and Saturday - with Sunday free! Enjoy teams or pairs; your choice!

The flyer for Granite City can be found here; all the info about the events, schedule and places to stay if you're not a local.

Have fun in St. Cloud - and do well!

by Peg at June 10, 2017 12:44 AM

June 08, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Leading Malahide player walks into a brick wall with eyes open

Recently  I was playing some hands on Bridgez. Its a website where one can play 16 hands per day and compare with 100s of other folk of similar afflictions. This means those with time on their hands who like to play bridge.

Now my man Wolfy ..a short dude with a large mouth and a set of teeth like a wolf fish.
Well I think the image I am thinking of is a wolf fish .. I saw one on National Geographic once.
Declan the Donplayer told me he knows one that lives in Swords.

Anyway Wolfie is dealt a balanced 14 count with 5 card diamonds and chooses to open 1D... guess he has the wrong values for 1NT opening .. and his partner bids 1 Spade and its back to Wolfy who produces the amazing bid of 2D. Little Red Riding Hood in the West quietly doubles for takeout and the Wolf is porridge.

Poor Wolfy is declaring 2D doubled with a 5-0 fit and wonders what happened. Meanwhile Galligan declares 1NT doubled and emerges on the opposite side with 10 tricks ... 3 of them doubled overtricks. Funny thing Wolfy considers himself my equal or better.
The problem is this 2D second bid. It should start with a 6 card suit. That hand is some sort of 1NT
hand either a strong one or a weak one or a 14-16 one.

Another day last week I came across this hand

I had played the hand online in 6H and after seeing the Heart Jack on the first round of Hearts
I played the restricted choice line of playing for 4-1 trump break and duly made 6H for about 88% score. For some reason I had it in my mind that some established players had gone down in 4H but on searching for their results I could not find them so I guess it was my imagination. I will look some more so.

This was the hand I meant to show but I got mixed up with the previous hand ..When I played the above hand the East West robots bid 5D over my 4S contract and I decided to double that.
Getting 5D down 3 doubled I was reasonably happy but I figured 6H or 6S was making and was surprised to land the 90% score.
Therefore I looked at the results and was surprised to find two very decent players had both declared in 4S and both had gone down 3 in the contract despite double dummy claiming 12 tricks is there.
Now this story is not about knocking these 2 lads ...

Its about all those folk who look at the double dummy sheet or printout and say ..Hmmm partner floored that contract and should have done better. The truth is one should examine the full story and find out how did partner or yourself go so far away from double dummy. I was lucky on the board to get  the free money crack at doubling 5D.

Seems they both got the Diamond Ace lead and a heart switch. Winning they ruffed a heart and
tried to draw trumps ...succeeding on the 3-2 break in trumps ...
However on this day trumps were 4-1 and our 2 intrepid declarers hit the dust and lost control
of the hand. Looks like normal play as we are playing matchpoints here.

However I will let my old pal the DOS based GIB robot from back in the late 1990s have a go.
The text based GIB robot was built by a chap called Matt Ginsberg and is still a capable bridge playing program. The current version is the well known robots on Bridge Base Online

So robot declaring 4S gets DA and Heart 8 switch and goes up HA as expected.
Now GIB switches to GIBSON which is the more powerful engine and its first thought is
Heart King and after 42 seconds it duly plays the Heart King and discards the club 2.

Trick 4 is in the tank .. S2 S5 SK s4
Trick 5 ... SQ H4 ....and amazingly here the robot plays SPADE ACE ..
Trick 6 .. takes the club finesse with Queen
Trick 7 .. cashes Ace of Clubs
Trick 8 ..ruffs a diamond
Trick 9 Top Heart

and East is helpless .... 10 tricks for the GIB robot ...

I wrote this live as the robot was playing the hand ...Curently the robot is stuck in what seems
to be an endless loop ..complaining about ..
"Inconsistent change to sample  " although at same time saying ..
"Perfect line "

So that is our robot ...Some hands are worth a little extra look ..

Just to finish both BJ and Karl are rated well above me on Bridge Now ..with Karl
being in the top 3 or 4 players of the 700 regular weekly participants.


57 / 580.88% B.J. O'Brien Ireland CustomSouth4XXX-3A-150
57 / 580.88% Karl Cashen Ireland CustomSouth4XXX-3A

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 08, 2017 08:44 AM

June 05, 2017

Paul Gipson

Hunter Cup

The Hunter Cup is the traditional season-closing event for the East District. Sixteen teams were not sufficient for a Swiss Teams so we played three boards against everyone else. The SBU and East District always converts such events to VPs, but I prefer the EBU policy of total imps when you play fewer than five boards in a match - I think this would have changed the winner this year but not our position.

I played with LotG with juniors Ronan and Liam. Despite my rank we were eligible for the Silver prize because teams are ranked based on the second-highest player. In this case it was the Silver LotG. I think this is a good policy, since it encourages stronger players to team up with less experienced teammates and still retain a chance of a prize. However that was not my aim: we asked Ronan and Liam so that they would get some table time against reasonable opponents prior to the European Youth Teams next month.

It had been a little while since LotG played but she had no time to relax into the event as this was our first board:

Although we play 2/1, LotG sensibly responded with two hearts as she was a passed hand. As we only play simple Blackwood and continuations, I could not jump to four no trump immediately and temporised with a control-showing four clubs. When LotG cue bid the king of spades, I made a small attempt to reach the grand slam but it was very unlikely that she would have the necessary cards. With the king of hearts onside and the king of clubs dropping in two, thirteen were easy although only five pairs bid the slam.

The weak no trump showed off well on board 42:

Most went two or three down, but this was a good save against the no trump game that East-West can make. As neither East nor West has a call over this opening, it is the perfect hand for the weak no trump.

We managed to avoid this trap and were one of the two pairs to actually reach three no trump on the East-West cards because LotG opened the East hand with one club. And then showed extras!

She played safely for nine tricks, refusing a finesse for the tenth.

Overall LotG and I made too many mistakes for a good finish, missing a couple of easy games and slams. But Ronan and Liam had an excellent day and we finished 5th overall, with 175/300 VP. If we'd not missed our chances then we'd could have finished third, but the two leaders were well ahead and both on 210 VP. The result of the head to head match gave SHORT (Brian Short & Alan Goodman, Sam Punch & Stephen Peterkin) the win over CLOW (Robert Clow & Troy van-de-l'Isle, Tim McKay & Jim Hay).

We did win our entry fee back by winning the Silver prize.

Good luck to the Short team and everyone else who is now flying off, Italian strikes notwithstanding, to Montecatini for the European Open Championships later this week.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 05, 2017 08:42 AM

June 03, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Bridge Now ratings to May31

Gareth Bale is doing the warm up after 56 minute of the Champions League Final. Sure he should be allowed to play for a little while given he is the only eligible Welshman and the event is in Cardiff.

Meanwhile out in Westmanstown it looks like the Pat Egan powered Dublin South team has won the Inter County Fun Teams. I think this is a repeat for Dublin South as they also won last year powered by late addition Jim Mullally.

I do hear some great comments in the Bridge Clubs where I direct.
"The negative double is great because partner can decide if we want to defend the contract"
"I knew it was a singleton as we never lead doubletons against suit contracts"
"We will play the unusual 2NT and you will know it as I will use the STOP card"

Bridge Now ratings May 31 2017

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 03, 2017 08:45 PM