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August 24, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

Riches to Rags!

What you see above is not a mistaken reversal of the old concept. It has been happening over the last few decades and presently, with all the ugly whispers, everyone is aware of the decline of the ACBL from numerous vantage points. My greatest concern at the moment is of huge magnitude: Exactly WHO is at the helm of our once-great ship .. and WHY?? When I came upon the scene, those in top administrative positions (with or without official titles) were greats like Ralph Cohen, Johnny Gerber, Lee Hazen, Edgar Kaplan, Alvin Landy, Lew Mathe, Eric Murray, Sidney Silodor, Margaret Wagar and many other prior legends. The prime objective was the betterment of the game and most of the aforementioned served on the impressive Board of Directors. Later appeared Bobby, Jeff Polisner, Peter Rank, Tommy Sanders and a few others who dedicated a huge portion of their busy lives directly to the majesty of bridge. Because of the respect they earned (both at and away from the table), their leadership was revered and the recommendations were appreciated, heeded and voted upon positively.

Much of what I am about to relate is ‘old hat’ and has been said time and time again (by myself and countless others with much greater experience, know-how and genuine talent). The big question: Just who should be making the major bridge decisions concerning the honor, improvement and preservation of our game, both here and abroad? To many, the answer is a slam dunk: those who have earned unchallenged reputations for their bridge expertise, great familiarity with the laws AND enough knowledge to refute/change or add to those passages in the Bridge Laws no longer appropriate because of negligence to adapt to the times. It is this group who should have the responsibility because they are more qualified to serve as the uncontested judge and jury of questionable behavior … similar to our Supreme Court. And … the sooner the change is made … the better! Most importantly (which is my top priority) is that we should have on this mighty qualified group all trustworthy individuals — devoid of showing partiality to some and ill-disposed toward others. To cut to the chase: no favoritism, cronyism or personal or political leanings (either positive or negative). If such a situation occurs, one must recuse himself or herself immediately upon notification of the individuals involved. Recusal is not a dirty word! This is not about the administration of bridge .. but mandatory when it comes to making high-level bridge decisions (now and as precedents).

To understand the earlier workings of a carefully planned device to protect both the game we love and the dignity and honor of all involved … my husband, Bobby Wolff, back in the Eighties presented two proposals which were received with overwhelming acclaim by his peers: (1) The Recorder System; and (2) The Ethical Oversight Committee (EOC). I shall share the happenings below, so if you are unfamiliar with the facts, fasten your safety belts or grab a cocktail!!

The Recorder was an appointed individual to whom a player sent a written complaint about the propriety of a questionable incident. Said Recorder examined the facts and either dismissed it … or … If the grievance had merit, it was sent to the EOC for a verdict. Bobby served as the first National Recorder but because of time restraints, turned it over to Bob Rosen, whom Bobby felt did a sensational job. And just for the record — neither Bobby nor Bob ever served on the EOC!!!!!  They prosecuted the cases similar to the role of a district attorney and sent them on to the EOC.

The Ethical Oversight Committee also organized by Bobby was a mutually agreed upon self-appointed committee which consisted of fifteen or so fair-minded true experts who were originally (without question) qualified to make final judgment. To keep it Off Limits (so less-learned individuals would not creep in as members), when a vacancy occurred (either death or resignation), replacement was made by the remaining members of the EOC — keeping it free from politics, etc. It worked fine with Bob Rosen at the helm until the proverbial brown stuff hit the fan. Most people know the smelly details, but if not, check it out in The Lone Wolff for specifics.

An incoming ACBL high official was accused of a heinous bridge crime and after the customarily routine, but thorough investigation by the Recorder, Bob Rosen, he then presented the documented findings of the EOC to the BOD — advising by unanimous vote of the EOC that the charged individual was found guilty!!. The BOD refused to honor the EOC’s findings, fired Bob Rosen and disbanded the hand-picked exemplary EOC … taking over the whole operation itself. This was the BOD’s way of showing the world they knew more than the carefully chosen Ethical Oversight Committee and sadly still choose to make far reaching decisions regardless of their obvious lack of expert knowledge on a variety of subjects.

Another hair-raising conclusion came to fruition again this past year when a top player was given a strong punishment by the then-current EOCwhich was ‘hand-chosen’ by the BOD itself, no less! There ensued astounding universal negative resentment and criticism toward the perpetrators when the BOD reversed the harsh ruling of their own hand-chosen EOC and made a big joke of the embarrassing disclosure by giving the victim a mild slap on the wrist. I am not here to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. That is hardly the issue! My objective is to investigate and examine the qualifications between administrations concerning the running of Horn Lake and distinguish it from those long-time experienced players (the EOC) who should be the final jurists as to the disposition of any serious wrongdoing.

Where on earth does a National Board of Directors get off with the very controversial handling of such a grave matter and still hold their heads high when they were responsible for the mess in the first place? It is time this longstanding ‘routine’ is carefully re-examined and a more equitable policy put in place … helping Zone 2 rise to the occasion as a democratic bridge society!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at August 24, 2016 11:17 PM

August 23, 2016

Lakshmanan Valliappa

Good defenders can help you place the cards

All non-vulnerable, in a robot tournament, my partner (North) opens 2H and this gets passed out:

Do you agree with my pass?  The 2H at equal vulnerability ostensibly promises to go down 3. I can see that I cover 3 of partner's losers, so I should probably bid 4H.

East leads the 10 of diamonds. I cover and West plays the Ace of diamonds and returns a spade.  East cashes the AQ of spades and returns a diamond to the 9, queen and king.  At that point, I lead the Queen of hearts and East covers.  These are the cards that have gone so far:

Now what?  I lead the 8 of hearts.  West plays low.  Finesse or not?  Think about it before reading further.

East and West are good defenders, so it is worthwhile to consider their play to the hearts. With 3 hearts to the King, East would never cover. (well, perhaps if he had KTx, he would cover because it makes no difference).  Ergo, East started with 1 or 2 hearts. If East had King singleton, West will always get a trick. So, the only case to consider is that East started 2 hearts.

If that is the case, West now has 2 hearts and East now has one.  The odds are 2:1 that West has the 10 of hearts. Take the finesse.

At the table, I didn't bid 4H, and I didn't take 10 tricks. The full hand is here (click Next to see the play).

by Lakshmanan V (noreply@blogger.com) at August 23, 2016 08:27 PM

Peg Kaplan

Detroit Lakes NLM Sectional - August 26-27

Detroit lakes

You don't have to be an expert to enjoy bridge!

This coming weekend, Detroit Lakes is hosting a 0-500 non-Life Master tournament. 

See the last few weeks of summer in beautiful Minnesota, be treated to expert lecturer Platinum LM G.S. Jade Barrett - and compete against your peers!

Here's the flyer - no better way to complete summer!

by Peg at August 23, 2016 01:24 PM

From Here to Eternity


Not quite, but - pretty darn close!

Our thanks to Steve Gaynor for keeping Minnesota's bridge players up to date with bridge activities here and beyond!

Download SCHEDULE.sept.2016+

by Peg at August 23, 2016 12:13 AM

August 20, 2016

Eamon Galligan

CBAI International Committee might be guilty of Agism

Rumours are emerging that the International Committee has developed a policy of ageism in the recent weeks. Apparently this committee which is charged with the control and direction of Irish international bridge has decided that a persons age affects their bridge skills.
I understand that some post teens expressed an interest in attempting to qualify to play in the Camrose Trophy and that it was indicated they were too young. Two years ago in Belfast a teenager was representing Scotland in the Camrose Trophy. Our experienced  committee would deem him ineligible.
The current suggested entry point for the Camrose Trials is 100 B points. I personally own around 200 B points but I stopped collecting about 2006 when I started focussing on learning the LAWS and becoming a TD and bridge facilitator. However since 2006 or so I have attended most of the Open Team training sessions so I see stuff and hear stuff and learn stuff indirectly.
I am quite confident I would defeat comfortably most  CBAI players holding 100-200 B points.
I know I am stronger than or at least the equal of  several of the CBAI grandmasters. The 100 B points entry point means I will qualify for trials for the foreseeable future despite hardly ever playing.
Strong players mainly collect B points by thrashing lesser players. You get 0.25 B point for thrashing intermediates/area masters  at the Holmes Wilson and other National Teams events. Thus everytime BJ plus 3 meets 4xSligos or 4xCavans its 1 B point added to BJs Team Total. 0.25 each player.

B points are an attendance record and are nothing to do with Bridge Skill. Bridge Skill is attained through training and dedication. There are no B points awarded for training and dedication.


The above link shows the results of the August issue of the Regent Summer Bonanza

42 pairs participated and 52 of the 84 players are eligible for Camrose Trials.
However the 3rd placers and 9th placers are deemed not good enough. The winners on 61.82% are both members of the International Committee and they feel they have the right to deem their 3rd place opponents not good bridge players.... just 1.4% behind them on the same hands.
2nd 3rd and 4th all played in the same Howell .. Possibly the winners were lucky to play in Howell A where the opposition starts at 11th 12th 13th 15th 16th places ..

I personally know these juniors are serious as they ask me for bidding practice hands.

Maybe CBAI could upgrade promising juniors to 100 B points so they can play only in the top Irish events. Most likely the players from the Confined Grade or Area Master Grade don't want to be meeting juniors who have been hardened from toughing it out in Peggy Bayer and Junior Camrose.
Juniors need to focus on School and College rather than chasing B points. A grade A in a Leaving Cert exam is worth far more than the  100 B points required to play in Camrose Trials.

These lads have been working on bridge since getting an impromptu lesson in the 4 Seasons B&B
in Galway about 3 years ago from Eddie Fitzgerald. 4 Juniors are not going to get B points when they have to beat Grandmasters and internationals at the top of the field.

I also hear David Synnott is also deemed not good enough for Camrose Trials ... however he was allowed play in 2012 when it suited the movement or the politics. I understood that once you played in a trials you could not be refused in the future. You were meant to be upgraded to the B point level.
Same applies for Hugh Gormally...

One night about 4 years ago I was co opted onto a team to play a Regent Bridge League event.
David Synnott Hugh Gormally and CBAI Treasurer Mullally were my team mates..
The BJOBrien team rolled in fielding BJ himself Michael O'Briain and David Jackson ...Their 4th player was held up in traffic but eventually Nick Fitzgibbon arrived in the Regent.
4 legends of the Irish game ..

After 12 boards it was Synnott by 30 imps but the BJ team got going
After 24 boards Synnott prevailed by 10 imps ...

but deemed not good enough or too young to play in a qualifier for a 3rd division Bridge event ..
Maybe its Ageism ... Why should a 60 something year old brain be allowed deem itself more powerful than a 20 year old brain.

The prosecution rests or maybe I am the defence ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at August 20, 2016 11:39 PM

August 18, 2016

Peg Kaplan




Being at a big, super regional is always a treat.  Last week, the Nebraska Regional was that treat, with cherries and whipped cream on top!

Steve Gaynor and Jean Boettcher added the nuts when they reached the ultimate - a grand slam.

Steve shares with us how they did it!




Board 6.  E deals, E/W vulnerable.

                        ♠ 9

                        ♥ K 8 6 2

                        ♦ K 6 4 2

                        ♣ K 9 7 5

        ♠ Q 7 3 2                                 ♠ A K J 10 8 6 5        

        ♥ —                                         ♥ J 9 7 3

        ♦ A 9 8 7 3                               ♦ J

        ♣ A Q 10 6                               ♣ 8

                        ♠ 4

                        ♥ A Q 10 5 4

                        ♦ Q 10 5

                        ♣ J 4 3 2


My sweet and lovely wife and bridge partner Jean and I played this hand on Tuesday afternoon in the second session of the Open Pairs at the Nebraska Regional in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Jean thought her 7-4-1-1 hand was too good for a preempt, so she decided to open 1S.  South passed and I chose a splinter bid over Jacoby 2N.  Our agreement is that the splinter is usually limited in strength and I thought she needed to know what I had more than I needed to know what she had.

Despite her minimum, she could see potential so she bid 1430 RKC.

Now remember that last week I wrote an article about a hand I played with the recently deceased Murray Appelbaum, a longtime Minnesota bridge star and great guy, where he answered a previously undiscussed 5N to my Blackwood bid showing two keys and a void.   So with that fresh in our minds, I bid 5N here.  This was all Jean needed to hear and she bid the spade grand.

South, Liane Turner, a longtime fine player got off to the accurate trump lead.  Jean had no problem ruffing out the diamonds for a late heart pitch to make her bid.

7S = 2210 was worth 25 out of 25 matchpoints. 

Thanks, Murray, I hope you had a chance to kibitz us from up there.

                                Steve Gaynor


(Cross posted at District14bridge.org)

by Peg at August 18, 2016 01:26 PM

August 16, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Tributes to Larry



In addition to the fun game at the Twin City Bridge Center, along with the pot luck to honor Larry Oakey's 10,000 masterpoints and Platinum status, we had more.  People talked about just how special Larry has been - both to our Minnesota bridge world and as an amazing player.



Sharon Anderson, our District 14's ACBL Board of Director, gave a fine intro.  



Then, Ron DeHarpporte gave exemplary examples of just how impressive Larry's 10K masterpoint achievement really is.

Ronald contrasted a baseball player's "batting average" to the accumulation of masterpoints:

A baseball player can be judged by the number of home runs he hits over is lifetime and/or his lifetime batting average. 
Home runs are simply added to the previous years total each year and lifetime grand total is used to evaluate his career.  But batting average is calculated by dividing the total number of hits into the players total number of “at bats”.
So a player who got 2000 hits in 10,000 opportunities would have an average of .200.  And a player who got only 1500 hits in 6000 at bats would have a batting average of .250.  Which is the better hitter?  It is the .250 hitter even though he got 500 fewer hits in his career that the guy who got 2000 hits.
In bridge we count only masterpoint totals like home runs.  If we evaluated a bridge player’s “batting average," his masterpoints divided by the number of points he had an opportunity to win, it would obviously favor those who won one more while playing less.  Oakey has a higher batting average than anyone else around here.  He has 10,000 points but played far less than others thus had fewer opportunities to accumulate more.  
I am not a follower of baseball. I think that Ron's super point, however, is that Larry has been "up to bat" far fewer times than many others in the years he has played bridge.  When Larry does have the bat in his hands, though - he belts the ball out of the bridge ball park.
And, I have more knowledge than most.  Your webmaster was blessed with having this super person and stellar player as a bridge partner for some years.  I know there were times where I almost did Larry in with my unthinking plays.  On the other hand, if I were to count the times Larry didn't shine, I would come up woefully short.
When defending, I remember hands where, looking at dummy and my hand, I'd think "the only way to beat this now is if Larry has an unsupported queen and leads it."  Moments later - there it would be on the table.
And then I shared another Larry brilliancy with a different ending.
Playing in a knockout team event at the Gopher Regional, my LHO opened 3 spades.  Larry bid 5 hearts!  I was all ready to cue bid 5 spades, when - RHO, Irving Steinfeldt, beat me to the punch.
Alas, too many years have now passed for me to remember my exact hand.  But - it was excellent.  I had good hearts, the spade ace, other values on the side......  I sat there, going back and forth, weighing what I ought to bid.  Finally, I went for the gusto:  7 hearts!
My LHO pondered this for a bit.... Then he passed.  Irving, in pass out seat, flickered for a moment, then he, too passed.
Finally, as has always been his wont, Larry piped up with some table chatter.  "Well, at least I know we're not off the ace of hearts."
"Ace of hearts?"  I sure didn't have it!  Was this yet another of Larry's amusing comments he would issue to moderately torture me?
Alas, it was not.  Irving had the heart ace, but wisely judged not to double and potentially give his partner a chance to "save."
And - speaking of "saving" - I could have taken virtually any other action and we would have won our match. 6 hearts, double, pass .... all would have resulted in a win for us.
At the other table, the player holding Larry's hand bid only 4 hearts, and the partnership played there.  Larry committed yet another brilliancy with his 5 heart call ... and at the end of the day, I learned my lesson that when the auction is jammed, you then take a "middle of the road" action and don't gild the lily with your partner's original excellent decision.
This hand was an example of simply one of so very many wise decisions Larry has produced over the years - in addition to all of his other countless hours of volunteerism, directing, aiding, teaching and so forth and so on.
Congratulations again, to our TGLO Larry.  A gem in our bridge world, a friend to so many - and now, our newest Platinum Life Master!


by Peg at August 16, 2016 02:16 PM

Juniors Win the Board-A-Match Teams in Italy!

Junior BAM
Ben Kristensen, Kevin Rosenberg, Zach Brescoll, Zach Grossack, Adam Kaplan, Adam Grossack

In Salsomaggiore, Italy, Duluth's own Ben Kristensen, along with partner Kevin Rosenberg and teammates Zach Brescoll, Zach Grossack, Adam Kaplan and Adam Grossack won the Junior BAM title by 4.5 boards!

Congratulations to these fine players, all of whom have already won either medals, other junior titles and NABC events!

We especially look forward to more reports on Ben's successes at the bridge table.  We can say, "we knew him when!" 

by Peg at August 16, 2016 12:28 AM

August 15, 2016

Eamon Galligan

Some Blur chap plays bridge

I saw a post on Facebook recently where a music chap from a band called Blur got a small hook on bridge.


Now I have to go on youtube to see if Blur are any good at music or I could ask my musical brother Paul

Alex James was born in 1968 and rose to fame as the bassist in Blur. His autobiography, ’Bit of a Blur‘, is possibly the best book ever written by a pop star. He lives in the Cotswolds.
Alex James de Blur
Alex James de Blur
 These are a few of his thoughts about bridge…
Bridge is utterly compulsive once it has got hold of you. It isn’t too hard to learn and the joy is that you can play it and actually start enjoying it before you get very good. You can take it on at any level that you want. The big problem is that very soon after you start you want to be brilliant.  Alex James
Take It To The Bridge
Alex James on the many pleasure of the king of card games
Aren’t casinos rotten? I mean, great to visit with good company, but there, where isn’t? Woolies is potentially a scream. Take Caesar’s Palace. You think you’re going to feel like James Bond and then you end up being surrounded by ghastly lizards and tough nuts in a neon lit Ancient Greece. Fuckin’ losers. It is absolutely certain, that is absolutely certain, that the more you play, the more you will lose. It must be the playing that people are willing to pay for and it’s a pity because there are far better games than blackjack. Blackjack is a arsehole’s game for people who drive cars with personalised number plates. 
Although the origins of most are obscure, all card games tend to fall into two categories – those where you have to win tricks (whist, black maria, belote) and those where you try to make runs and groups of the same value (gin, rummy, canasta, poker). People really started playing cards after gas lighting was invented and before telly. Various games enjoyed enormous popularity at different times, and the national British card game is in fact cribbage, which seems to work well in December.
The ace of all card games, though, is bridge. It was invented in 1925 by Harold Vanderbilt while he was on a cruise. It is played by two opposing teams of two players using all 52 cards of a standard deck and is a whist-type game. It is the most sophisticated, subtle and posh game in the world. I have the same compulsion to play bridge today as I did to play football when I was twelve. I could happily go on all day and think of nothing else. The formality of the game, slightly annoying to begin with, soon becomes a source of comfort, a place, even. The strictly observed etiquette is all for the purpose of conviviality and making the game flow smoothly. You have a lot of common ground with other people who play. You can look your partner in the eye and tell them the truth in a secret language on an island of calm and it’s you against them and nothing else matters.
Dave Rowntree en Bridge-Celebrity-Grand-slam
Dave Rowntree in Bridge-Celebrity-Grand-slam

Cards are a delicate but profound pleasure. Going to a bridge evening is like attending the AA , in that you get a total cross section of all kinds of dudes. The amount of laser thinking that has been applied to the game is stupefying. Foyles is jammed. A good bridge book would be a guide to bridge books. 
It takes about as long to learn the rules of bridge as it does to learn the rules of chess and I’m not going to explain them here,but for how to play and for willing partners try msn/bridge or yahoo/games/bridge. Pretty soon you’ll start saying things like this: “The club bi was artificial, asking for partners major. North’s jump shift to four spades was conventional. Stayman showing opening control and Blackwood’s five diamonds confirmed they had slam potential,” or: “Making seven no trumps redoubled is better than a nosh in the bog.” 
There really is no better pension plan for our dotage.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at August 15, 2016 09:16 PM

Paul Gipson

Summer is coming ... soon

For those of us who live in the northern climes of the UK, we are really still waiting for the summer to start. Luckily for some the EBU Summer Meeting starts this coming weekend in its new location, Eastbourne.

I believe the move away from Brighton, its traditional home during my playing career, is mainly to do with costs: both for the organisers and competitors. I'm only playing the second weekend but certainly cheaper accommodation is available and I expect the food options will still be plentiful.

It might be interesting to compare the cost of actually playing bridge with our trip to the ACBL Summer Nationals. Obviously it costs a lot more for me to get to Washington DC than Eastbourne and the hotel was a lot more expensive there - these costs dwarf the playing costs. But to play in the Roth Open Swiss, the most similar event, cost $150 for three days presuming you qualified each day. For this money you'd play 56 boards a day, the last day using screens. So it cost us $0.89 per board. The three-day Four Stars Swiss Teams at Eastbourne costs £83. If you qualify for a final, then you play 136 boards at £0.61 per board: if you don't, then you play 112 boards at £0.74. So, at current exchange rates, this is pretty similar.

Information on the EBU Summer Meeting is available on its website. Good luck to everyone competing!

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at August 15, 2016 11:25 AM

August 11, 2016

Eamon Galligan

Sonya Britian Trophy 2016 .. CBAI regain trophy decisively

In The Sonya Britian Trophy at the weekend the CBAI decisively regained the trophy from the NIBU. A disappointing NIBU team failed to win any of the 8 rounds. However next year on home territory the big guns could be fielded although said Big Guns are getting rusted these days.

Hands and Results can be gleaned from www.fob.ie but you got to make your way to his Bridgewebs pages for that.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at August 11, 2016 10:44 AM

Bray Swiss Congress 2016

There will be a Bridge Congress out in Bray this September I think

Now Michelle hopefully that will be ok for you ... Hope some people read it

Then last night while I was in the pub this hand came up on www.bridge-now.com
A hand like I never saw before but I grabbed the nettle and stung myself

Well I have seen hands like this before of course and I was thinking would I open 1H like a normal person but then I noticed my partner had opened 1H and the Right Hand Opponent had bid 2C.
So I tried 2S to be going on with and partner bid 3D ...
Still at a loss but going to bid 6H at worst I bid Blackwood and 5D showing 1 or 3 came back
I decided the Club overcall owned the Ace of Clubs and that as we had at least 11 trumps we mght be good for no trump loser and I bid 7H and myself and my Guinness awaited the dummy with trepidation

All Good 7H makes .. and the other lad doubled me as well ..
36 players played the hand and half bid 6H and half bid 5H
Nobody bid 7H and its not a bad punt ..I am fully aware I could have been off an ACE or a King of trumps but the odds were good ...Oops Now I see 2 more people bid 7H
However 5H is a joke

7XXX = A 2470
7XXX = A 2210
7XXX = A 2210
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
7XXX -6 A 1400
5XXX -4 A 800
5XXX -4 A 800
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
4XXX 3 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 4 710
5XXX 2 4 710
5XXX 1 4 680
5XXX 1 4 680
5XXX -3 A

There will not be any hands like this in Bray

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at August 11, 2016 10:21 AM

August 07, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Larry Oakey - Pure Platinum

TGLO - working away, even during the party honoring him!


Friday, Minnesotans and fans from afar came together to celebrate Pure Platinum Larry Oakey. The man who has contributed so much in so many varied ways to our bridge world has now earned an amazing 10,000 masterpoints. Friends and fans partied and competed to honor TGLO.



Long time partners and friends from all over came to celebrate!



During a lunchtime break, everyone enjoyed a fabulous pot-luck and regaled one another with TGLO stories.



Larry's SPECIAL 10,000 point, Platinum Life Master cake!



Thanks to Sharon Anderson and Sue Jackson for organizing, and of course, to Teri & Chip Blu for hosting the party.  



No one is the slightest bit surprised that Larry was working alongside Teri and Chip at his own party!  Larry may now be a Platinum Life Master - but - some things never, ever change!

More photos of everyone below. And - another post coming, highlighting honorifics for Larry!



by Peg at August 07, 2016 05:59 PM

Judy Kay-Wolff

Bugs Unlimited

For purposes of this frothing at the mouth, I have altered the name of our local exterminators which enticingly is named Bugs Limited (although I am told it was once called Bugs Unlimited).

As we grow older, more and more happenings seem to get on our nerves and sometimes I cannot control my tongue — of which I am not proud. When it comes to cheating (especially at bridge), I offer no apologies as subjects which at one time were considered taboo — are now the primary topics of the chatter on Internet sites and few stones are left unturned.

Before I get to our favorite pastime, I want to confess to a couple of my favorite annoyances in real life.

Perhaps it has to do with living in LV … where traffic regulations are quite differently interpreted. In New York … if you ran a yellow light, you might get a warning, a ticket or your life might be in danger. Here, it appears to be commonplace to pick up speed as YELLOW seems like an invitation to beat the RED. Most times, you get away with it .. but at your own risk.

That could be dangerous .. but my second grievance is simply nitpicking. In LV (and I suppose in most cities), it is allowable (and sensible after checking both ways — to make a right hand turn on a red light … if the coast is clear). If it is observed, it is a wonderful time saver .. especially if you are late or in a hurry. HOWEVER, an inordinate number of drivers are either ignorant of the regulation or just plain inconsiderate. Many times I have been fifth or sixth in line and the lead car is going straight and we must all sit patiently till the light turns green; but on second thought, it is even more annoying if you are car number two and wait and wait and wait. Enough bitching. There are worse things in life.

Now to our favorite subject: Certain players have an uncontrollable habit of butting into conversations not addressed to them. It is bad as an opponent .. but worse as an uninvited onlooker. I know of an incident where someone walked in mid-game and asked the partner of a rather well-known player if it would be alright to watch. The Brief Answer: “Only if you do not talk!” (as this person had a long rap sheet for blathering)!!! Clear enough?? I think so!! The pair he was kibitzing reached 5 of a minor — making! With no prompting, “big mouth” said authoritatively, “if you didn’t lead your king (from king/queen) .. they would have made a slam.” The person who had issued the ultimatum obviously to no avail) had to bite her lip .. and it still hurts.

My mother always told me … children should be seen but not heard! Smart woman!! If I had only listened!

C’mon .. don’t be shy .. let it all hang out (but shield your cards)!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at August 07, 2016 01:46 AM

August 05, 2016

Bob Mackinnon

Jekyll and Hyde Bridge

There are some lessons that need to be learned over and over again. Here is one of them. In 4th seat, nonvulnerable against vulnerable, I opened 1NT on AJ75 AT2 K84 QJ2, right in the middle of my range of 14-16 HCP. The auction proceeded without opposition as follows: 1NT – 2; 2 – 2NT, alerted as invitational not promising 4 hearts. Should I accept the invitation at matchpoints where going plus takes precedence? A hand with 5 controls, 2 jacks and a ten looks promising despite the 4=3=3=3 shape, but I decided to pass against a pair that could be expected to play excellent defence. Our opponents were Matt Smith, the international director, and his brother, Duncan Smith, a leading Canadian player who has amassed over 12000 masterpoints. After the hand was over Matt asked why I hadn’t accepted the invitation as I was above the minimum for my range. I didn’t answer because I hate discussing the hands at the table – there are too many factors involved, some of them personal. Besides which, once the hand is over we should file it away for later. Here at last is my answer.

One aspect to keep in mind is what the field will be doing on a deal. One can expect the very same start. What will the majority decide? In the present case I am sharing with the field an auction that I hate. The closer the decision the better it is not to give away information that will benefit the defenders. Rather than invite with 9 HCP and no 4-card major, I would just as soon that partner would bid 3NT from the start. The diamonds are developable, and the 3 outside controls make this dummy better than invitational opposite a strong NT. Without this pointless rigmarole one is more likely to get a favourable lead. Here is the deal in its entirety:


When the dummy comes down some may ask themselves what The Field is doing, as if The Field were an individual. This is akin to saying, ‘I wonder what Dr Jekyll is doing this evening, as a scientist having a quiet dinner with his virginal fiancée (played unconvincingly in the 1941 movie by Lana Turner) or out on the town as a wildly popular figure among the dissolute London ladies of the night (represented unconvincingly by the wholesome, intelligent Ingrid Bergman. What was Hollywood thinking?) Myself, I have always wondered about the hidden resources of the former and her innermost thoughts behind the frozen smile concerning the dull doctor who only talks about his work. If it were at all possible, Jekyll and Hyde would have formed a formidable bridge partnership. Any attempt to emulate The Field is to put oneself in danger of acquiring a dissociative identity disorder.

The tendency of many is to play to justify the contract – if they are in 3NT they go all out to make 9 tricks, but if they are in 2NT they pull in their horns and are content with 8, the contract taking on the aspect of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The double dummy result is 1NT making 2, so it appears to make sense to play carefully to make the contract, but to achieve it South must first avoid leading his 4th highest from his longest and strongest after which 9 tricks are easy to come by. Duncan Smith, who gives due regard to an opponents’ bidding, sensibly chose to lead the 9 giving nothing away. This was the position with me on lead having won 2 tricks with good prospects of 3 tricks in clubs and 2 more in the majors:


If finessing the 9 results in 9 tricks being made there is no gain when the field is in 3NT making. In 2NT one subconsciously hopes the diamond play fails. A diamond to the queen safely fulfills the contract, whereas a diamond finesse losing to North’s minor honour puts 3NT in danger if North holds the A as well – he will set up his 5th spade with an entry intact. Consequently I led to the Q and claimed 8 safe tricks. Wrong at matchpoints! North’s holding AJ or AT was much against the odds (2 in 15).

So what were the results across the field of 14 tables? My assumption that most pairs would be in 3NT was far off the mark. Two pairs stopped in 1NT, 2 pairs played in 3NT, making, and 10, yes 10, pairs played in 2NT. Half of the multitude in 2NT made 9 tricks obtaining a 62% score, while the other half who, like myself, achieved the double dummy result, scored a lowly 27%. My supposed safety play proved costly.

While it is dangerous to guess the statistics of results on a single board, it is valid to generalize on the basis of a pair’s record of achievement over several sessions. If a pair is consistently below average, one can conclude safely they are not so good. We don’t play for averages against such a pair, because to achieve a good score overall one must score above average against them on the boards presented. On the other hand if one is facing a good pair, like the Smith brothers who score consistently above 60%, an average score will put you ahead of the field by 10% on that board. Logically it pays to take more chances against good players as you are risking less. On the above board if I had boldly bid 3NT and gone down 1, I would have scored a zero, but if I had succeeded, I would have scored 12 MPs. However, making 9 tricks in 2NT was worth 8 MPs, so bidding and making game would gain a mere 4 MPs while risking 8. In a field of non-aggressive players the chickens come home to roost in 2NT.

The very next deal gave me a chance at recovery. Having learned my lesson I put my faith in the diamond suit.


After the auction, 2NT – 3NT, I was sure I was in a contract shared by the field. The low heart lead appeared to be normal, the J winning in dummy. When against a strong hand a careful player makes a dangerous lead from a broken suit I expect him to have an outside entry, else he might have tried to set up tricks in his partner’s hand. Thus I was inclined to place the A with South. Nine tricks were assured by playing on spades, but what about an overtrick? As I was in a contract shared by most if not all the field it made sense to take a risk for a 10th trick. It would be somewhat dangerous to rely on spades for two tricks if I played to the K and South held up his presumed ace, a defence I would fully expect from this South. Eventually I would have to play on diamonds, so why not now, before the defenders got wind of what was happening?

The a priori percentage play in diamonds is A and Q, and I didn’t mind losing to North, the 9 and 8 represented some safety with respect to a spade switch. North took the Q with his K and returned his remaining heart, which caused little worry. With diamonds 3-3 I eventually made 10 tricks without scoring a spade trick. This time I got it right – every pair played in 3NT, but 4 were making less than 10 tricks. Over the two deals we scored near average which is what I hope for against superior opponents.

A Director Comes Calling

I am annoyed when a player opens a standard 1 and his partner announces, ‘could be short.’ To me it makes sense to open 1 on AQ 543, so what’s the big deal? Most of the time 1 is opened on 3 or more cards in the suit, even with 543 AQ, which to me is even more deceptive. The auction proceeded: 1 (Pass) 1 (2 by me). So what so you think my 2 bid signifies? At the table I was the only one who was sure of the meaning. Is that a matter for legal experts? Here is the full deal.

All Pass

Everyone cooperated in getting me to the right contract. South asked John what my 2 bid meant and he answered he didn’t know. He thought I might have clubs, or I might be asking him to bid his better major. The 3 was led, the A taking the J. A club was returned to the king. The club continuation and ruff set up the J as a winner in the dummy. Not the best start for the defenders. At this point the director was called. The complaint was that I had bid clubs when I didn’t have clubs. The Director asked me if John should have known what my bid meant, a question that puzzled me. My assertion was that ‘could be short’ doesn’t mean, ‘is short’. In fact ‘could be short’ most often acts as a smoke screen for hands that have many clubs.

Here 1 was called on a perfectly normal shape. It was the takeout double that was rather questionable, albeit effective, yet there was no howls of protest when dummy appeared without at least 3 cards in each unbid suit, not even 4×4 in the majors. Should I announce this double next time as ‘may be long in clubs’? As Charles Dickens might have written, ’if the law supposes that, the law is an ass.’ Most of the time one must rely on judgement when choosing bids and not to be required to give free lessons to the opponents. Of course, it is regrettable when one makes a bid so brilliant that even a partner can’t fathom it. Here I draw the veil. RIP Marshall Miles.

by Bob Mackinnon at August 05, 2016 07:04 PM

Peg Kaplan

Steve Gaynor Remembers Mur

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2016-08-05/3ba8583186614569a7b6688fb6d919d2.png
Murray & Arlene - 58 years ago

Many of us in Minnesota's bridge world mourn the loss of Murray.  Our thanks to Steve Gaynor for sharing his wonderful recollections of Mur.

We lost a good bridge player and a great guy when Murray Appelbaum passed away this week. Usually I was his opponent and much more often than not his fine play was responsible for crushing our pair or team. However, one time, at least 20 years ago, Murray agreed to play with me in New Partner night at the MGSC. I do not remember exactly how we did except we did not win, but we scratched and there was one hand of note.

The exact hand is lost for the ages, but we had good cards and after we established a fit I bid 4N blackwood. Murray responded 5N. Undiscussed. I had to figure this out.

I looked up and across the table Murray had a little smile on his face. I had never seen the bid before, but somewhere in the recesses of my brain I remembered reading that this was supposed to show two key cards with a working void. If that was true, I was pretty sure where his void was and that we could make a grand slam.

So I bid 7 and was not disappointed when dummy came down. The play was academic and we scored it up.

After that we communicated more often, sending e-mail back and forth on bridge, politics and our mutual Jewish heritage.

Murray was a very wise and worldly man, someone I will greatly miss.

Shalom, Murray.

            Steve Gaynor

by Peg at August 05, 2016 12:10 AM

August 04, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Murray Appelbaum - 1935-2016



Always a treat to report triumphs and success about Minnesota's bridge players. Conversely, such sadness to relay the loss of a long time, integral member of our state's bridge community.  So it is today, as I must report Murray Appelbaum's death on August 3rd.

Murray was among the top bridge players in Minnesota for decades.  He achieved Gold Life Master status, and as recently as 2015, was 53rd on the Top 100 list, despite being unable to play bridge for years due to health issues.

In addition to a never ending sense of humor, Murray was a prolific writer and communicator in his professional life and in the bridge world. Well informed, Murray and several other bridge players (including yours truly), met for years over lunch. There, we solved world issues, bridge problems, debating back and forth for hours.  Murray was always in the thick of things.



In addition to Murray's talents at bridge and communication, he was quite the fashion plate!  Day Glo orange, hot pink and amazing combinations of plaid and color were Mur's MO.

Murray's obituary, including information about funeral arrangements and shiva, can be viewed here.

Farewell to a funny, warm and talented member of our bridge community ... Loving husband to Arlene, father and grandfather - and good friend.  

You will be missed by many, Mur.

by Peg at August 04, 2016 02:07 PM

August 03, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Dazzling in DC!



The Summer NABC 2016 is complete. Washington DC sizzled through the nationals - and - a number of our Minnesotans were hot!

At the end of the Life Master Pairs, Steve Garner and Ralph Katz were 2nd, a tiny fraction behind the winners.

Also achieving 2nd place were Paul Meerschaert, Carol Miner, Serdar Ogut and Peg Waller in the 0-10,000 Mixed Swiss Teams.

Claiming a first place finish in the 0-1500 Mini-Spingold, we find Curt Kristensen! Curt won his event with teammates Greg Sellgren, Ti Davis and Brian Rink.

And, seizing the Big Prize of the nationals, the Spingold, first place went to Joe Grue, with teammates Brad Moss, Sabine Auken, Roy Welland, Marty Fleisher and Chip Martel



Other of our players placed in NABC overalls and had successes in regional events.

So proud of everyone; very well done!

(If I happened to have missed anyone with a fine finish - my apologies.  And - please do let me know, so I can highlight your achievement!  Also - sorry no additional photos of our players, but some individuals to come and looking forward to seeing smiling faces from the ACBL photographer!)

by Peg at August 03, 2016 10:46 PM

Judy Kay-Wolff

Procrastination is not the Solution

It is very refreshing and encouraging that so many qualified and determined worldwide recognized and respected bridge players have recently stepped up to the plate in the name of furthering honorable bridge competition. They have volunteered to work unyieldingly to (1) EXPOSE AND DETAIL BOTH CHEATING AND PROVEN UNETHICAL CONDUCT … especially at the higher levels; and (2) TO PUT IN PLACE FAIR, UNCHALLENGEABLE METHODS OF PROVING BEYOND A DOUBT THAT THE ACCUSED ARE FOUND GUILTY OF SPECIFIC CHARGES AND PUNISHED ACCORDINGLY. Wishy-washy excuses won’t cut it!

Although I consider outright, deliberate swindling at any level abominable, we will all agree that punishment must be meted out fairly. It should be determined (1) DEPENDENT UPON THE DEGREE OF INTENT AND SEVERITY; and (2) THE EXTENT OF THE CRIME OR MISDEMEANOR in relation to the violation of the rules or serious and deliberate attempts to defraud their opponents (often affecting the entire field). Add to that the already humiliating universal publicity that the game has recently suffered … and not without due cause. Don’t delude yourself. These are not new tactics of despicable deceit (and they keep on improving and refined them as we speak). There is NO JUSTIFICATION for such behavior. If you want to learn about similar improprieties, check out ‘The Lone Wolff” which details another disgraceful method of deception called “Double IMPS.” Subterfuge in bridge has existed for decades but attempts early on were made to hush them up and not give our game a bad name (mostly for fear of lawsuits). Though it is painful and humiliating … the only solution at this point in time is to RECOGNIZE ITS EXISTENCE and LINE UP THE CULPRITS — with the ultimate goal being: TO STOP AND DESIST.

I will conclude my rant of disgust and furor by adding that neither Bobby nor I know who the individuals involved in the current scandalous ‘reporting of imaginary scores’ actually are … but that is immaterial. Stopping the fires from spreading are our only concern. 

For further details (if you can spare an hour), check out:

by Judy Kay-Wolff at August 03, 2016 01:55 PM

Peg Kaplan

GNT Chuckles in DC



As many of you may know, Bill Voedisch and his GNT Flight B team of Dennis Cerkvenik, Andrew Clements and Jonathan Cohn earned a very respectable 5/8 finish in their event.  Well done, men!

Denny wanted to share a moment from their competition.  This is not some insightful declarer play or devilish defense.  Instead, it is one of the many whacko oddities that we all have experienced at the bridge table.

Thanks, Bill!

By now you know we failed against a solid CA team in the quarter finals.  But along the way we had one if the all time crazy director calls.

Cerks opens 1D and my RHO sitting on the same side of the screen as me bids 2S which he alerts to me as like a good weak 2 bid.  I held :  T, Qxx, ATxxx, ATxx.

I tried 3S at the moment, looking for a spade stopper.  LHO passes, Cerks bids 3NT, RHO passes and after some thought of 4D, I also passed.  (We have favorable vulnerability.)

The skate board slides back to the other side and in little time slides back to us.

The skate board may not have been pushed all the way back to us as both RHO and I failed to notice that LHO (North) had called 4S !!

We pushed it back and of course neither of us added another PASS card but the other side never would have caught that anyway.

Now the other side of the screen is waiting for me to lead against 4S while i'm waiting for RHO to lead at 3NT which he dutifully does.

You can predict what happens next.  RHO puts the 4 of spades on the table, I put down dummy (creating 13 penalty cards) we lift the window ...  and the guys on the other side say something like "What are you bozo's doing?" To which we reply "Playing 3NT!"

They call the director and my side of the screen still doesn't know what's going on.  The director shows up and they explain the contract is 4S but DECLARER made the opening lead while West put down his hand.

The director marches over to our side and asks us both, what's the contract?  We both say 3NT by East.  "You both failed to see North bid 4S?"  Errr .. Huh?  RHO and I just sat there, stunned.

"Well, isn't this side of the screen a treat.  Lead out of turn and 13 penalty cards!"

Now we have two directors.  They declared the board fouled and warned as to pay attention .. get the trolley all the way over etc.

When comparing scores Clements and Cohn had plus 620.  Even though they are short on HCP they have 2 excellent suits, the cards are well placed and 10 tricks are there.

I sheepishly announced the board was fouled at our table.  We tried to explain it as best we could ...

Had I seen 4S out of North at favorable vulnerability i would have called 5D which gets cracked for minus 500 and a 3 imp win for us.

Ahhh ... those bidding screens.

        Bill Voedisch

by Peg at August 03, 2016 01:32 PM

August 02, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Ben and Curt - We are So Proud!



Some years ago, I met Curt Kristensen and his son, Ben, at the Gopher Regional. I recall my team winning a Swiss Team - yet Curt and Ben's team being the only team to beat ours. From that time on, I felt that this young boy was headed for the top.

All Minnesotans are proud of how Ben has succeeded in junior bridge - here in the ACBL and with a World Youth Silver Medal in 2014.

Now - Curt himself has won an NABC title, 0-1500 Mini Spingold, and Ben is playing in major events with the Big Boys.  After 3 days of play, Ben and his partner, Kevin Rosenberg, along with illustrious teammates Steve Robinson, Peter Boyd, Kit Woolsey and Fred Stewart, were 16th in the prestigious Roth Open Swiss.

When I first heard of Ben's team (also for the Spingold), I told Kit, "So nice of you guys to play with Ben and Kevin."  I loved Kit's response.  "We are fortunate that Ben and Kevin are willing to play with us!"

Now, while we await Ben achieving his first win on the national stage, we will let his dad report on the huge success Curt himself secured in DC.

Congratulations to a wonderful father and son from our great state!

And now, some thoughts from Champion Curt Kristensen about his adventure and win!

I met Greg Sellgren at the partnership desk of the 2014 Summer Las Vegas NABC. We played on a Swiss team there with different partners, and then one session together. Ti Davis and Brian Rink were added to our Spingold team using the ACBL partnership desk. They had played 3 sessions previously in the last year or so.

In our quarterfinal match, we led by 39 IMPS with 14 boards to play. We felt confident, setting the opponents' contracts on 6 of the boards. But we ended up tied - ultimately winning 20-0 in 6 boards, with each team bidding to the same contract.

During the event, I learned that my sister-in-law had been hospitalized with metastatic cancer. Thus, we decided to devote our team effort as a dedication to her and her family.

Each round, our team play improved as we faced better opponents. In our final match, we beat the Chang team 160-131. Their team had placed 2nd in the GNT C-Flight; for the Mini Spingold, they added Frank Lin. Their entire team showed class throughout. Playing against them was just great!

Curt Kristensen


by Peg at August 02, 2016 07:38 PM

Paul Gipson

Eat, sleep, play, repeat ... STOP

An average first half was followed by a below average second as we finished 35th in the Roth Open Swiss. I don't normally comment negatively on our teammates' performance, but I don't think this applies when we receive a 4VP telephone penalty; not Alan's best moment! On a positive note, at least we finished the day without an appeal, unlike the first two days!

Overall it's been a good Summer Nationals and I'd only complain about the oppressive temperatures. It's easily been the best tournament as we received no complaints or sarcastic comments about our system and the number of pre-alerts we had, perhaps a sign that the regulations for torment play could be updated without the furore that the Conventions Committee fears.

From a play perspective I thought Alex and I played really well on four days: our day in the Spingold and the three days of the Roth. The good news is that these were easily the most important days of the week, but we were more erratic when playing in the regional events: a couple at the start having flown in the previous evening and a couple in the middle, perhaps as a result of missing out on a Spingold run; apologies to our teammates for those.

Given we came across on our own this time, we've been fortunate with our teammates. Gerry and Bob who we found at the partnership desk and played a couple of regionals: their high spot was beating Schwartz in a Compact KO when we'd had a poor set against Gold and Bakhshi.

Alan and Rick, who we played with last year, were good company and good teammates and it was just unfortunate that we didn't go deeper into the main event. Melody stepped in when Rick had to leave on Friday and she brought a more visible competitiveness to the team. Along with LotG and many of the women bridge players I know, they just make a farce of the theory that women can't compete effectively in the Open game and, I believe, demonstrate that there is no reason to hold women-only events.

Melody and Alan

Hand of the week was possibly this:

My slow approach worked well as I scored an overtrick when the clubs behaved ( Alex held the two minor aces and four clubs).

Alan did very well to save in six spades when four had been doubled! He went one down for +11 imps. His auction:

Next summer the nationals are in Toronto. It's easy to reach, with direct flights from Glasgow, and a great location. Personally I'd recommend going there rather than the European Open: the cost of playing is a lot less; there is a lot more bridge available and the standard is a lot higher; it's a lovely city and place to explore if you decide to take a day off or add time before or after the tournament. If anyone hasn't been to a Nationals before and wants an idea about schedules, costs, or just playing in these events just drop me a line.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at August 02, 2016 04:06 PM

August 01, 2016

Peg Kaplan

10,000 Masterpoints for The Great Larry Oakey!



If you have played duplicate bridge in Minnesota some time over the past 45+ years, then the odds are high you know Larry Oakey (TGLO).  Larry has been involved in so many aspects of our game for decades - one might say he is truly the icon of Minnesota duplicate.

Everyone knows that Larry is an incredible player. As someone who was lucky enough to have TGLO as my regular partner for some years, I can attest to his enormous talents. I remember once looking at dummy, and thinking to myself "the only way to beat this hand is if Larry has the unsupported heart queen - and he leads it." No sooner did my brain form this thought, when - there it was; the queen of hearts.  We could use up all the space in the Internet regaling people with stories of how Larry has shown his prowess at the bridge table!

Yet, as everyone knows, Larry's stellar bridge abilities are only one portion of the impact he has had on Minnesota bridge.

Larry is a master director.  If you need it done, as well as humanly possible and in the blink of an eye - Larry is your guy.  If you need some one to volunteer - no matter what the task - Larry is there.  If you need someone to play with club players needing a game, filling in, solving any issue you can imagine - again, Larry is The One.

Away from bridge, Larry's other talents shine. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of movies.  Any movie worth seeing (plus about 10,000 others in addition) - Larry's viewed it, knows the cast, the story behind the story, and so on. I don't know Larry's IQ - but, let's just say if you are a betting person, don't put up much moolah thinking someone else's number is higher than Larry's.

Now, despite virtually his entire bridge career playing with lesser mortals (as almost all of us are), Larry has earned over 10,000 masterpoints.  And, in honor of Larry's "going over" and reaching Platinum Life Master, the Twin City Bridge Center is hosting a party to celebrate!  The details are below - and note, this is one game and celebration you do not want to miss!


The Great Larry Oakey Goes Over 10,000 Masterpoints Celebration!


Friday, August 5th - 11AM

Twin City Bridge Center

Pot Luck - Bring Your Favorite Dish

See Everyone Friday! 

by Peg at August 01, 2016 09:34 PM

July 31, 2016

Paul Gipson

Quick post

Last day of the Summer Nationals today and just a short post add play begins at 11am. We had a good day in the Roth Open Swiss yesterday but a big defeat in the last match meant we only just qualified. But we are happy to be in the final and looking forward to rising up the field.

David Gold and David Bakhshi qualified in 16th place, also well set for a run today.

Also qualified is Barry Rigal. I apologized to him yesterday for not including him in my list of Brits, thinking he had gone native over here. But he assured me that he supports Britain (aka Europe) in the Ryder Cup so I'm pleased to include him today!

I hope I'm well prepared:

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 31, 2016 02:10 PM

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 - Agenda for Upcoming Board Meeting

Unit 178 shall be soon having their August meeting. The Board's agenda is below!

Download Unit 178.Agenda.8.6.2016

by Peg at July 31, 2016 01:08 PM

July 30, 2016

Paul Gipson

A good day for the Brits

Just a quick update today as we had an appeal a review of a ruling that went on very late last night. I was not surprised when it went against us.

The first day of the Roth Open Swiss is all about getting to the second day, which means finishing above average. All the Brits managed this, mostly with a match to spare, in a field of 169 teams.

David Gold and David Bakhshi, playing in Ritchie Schwartz's team, finished 9th.

Alex and I, playing with Melody Bi and Alan Watson, finished 16th.

Andy and Shireen, playing with Richard Popper and Zach Madden, finished 29th.

And Ed Levy and Gary Hyett, playing with Lee De Simone and Marshall Lewis, were 56th.

You only have to look at the teams who did not qualify and the Spingold-seeded teams who scrapped in to appreciate how tough this event is.

The aim for the second day is to finish in the top 44 places in the field of 86 teams. Our carryover means that we start 6VP better than the 45th-placed team, pretty small when you will be playing eight matches.

In other news, I'm currently leading the Bridgewinners Fantasy Spingold competition and just need Lavazza and Fleisher to win their semifinals today and then see the Italians (and Argentineans and Dane) prevail tomorrow.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 30, 2016 04:13 PM

July 29, 2016

Paul Gipson

A good start needs a good finish

It turned out that our teammates from Saturday were willing to play the Compact KO with us. There were nine teams in the top bracket and that meant an 'interesting' format: there would be three three-ways with six-board matches, with the top two in each group remaining in the event (the three losers all play another three-way, but only for the masterpoints as they have been eliminated). So, after 12 boards, the six qualifiers repeat the process to get 4 teams for the evening session.

Alex and I had two huge boards in the first match but I played poorly against David Bakhshi and David Gold, losing concentration after finding a winning line in three no-trump. We also went for a penalty, so that match looked lost.

Scoring up with Gerry and Bob we'd win the first match as expected, but surprisingly beat the strong Schwartz team too. We'd only lost 13 imps on our bad boards but got 17 on partscores - Gerry and Bob played above themselves!

In the second triple, we lost one match 0-1 on an overtrick and the other match more heavily, meaning we would not play in the evening.

Meanwhile Alan and Rick were scoring 59% in the first session of the Pairs Final. They were quick to tell me about their final board of the session:

Alan led the king of diamonds. Rick overtook and switched to the queen of clubs! This went to the king and ace, followed by a low club. Expecting Rick to ruff this, declarer played small and Rick's ten won. A diamond to the queen and club ruff followed, and Rick still had two trump tricks for down three and +300 for a top.

Andy and Shireen also had a sound start to the final with 51%.

It was raining in the evening so we ate in the hotel:

Unfortunately both pairs failed to build on their first sessions and would not break 50% in the second. Alan and Rick just made it into the overalls, but not the finish any of them were looking for.

Today Alan has a new partner, Melody, for the Roth Open Swiss as we try to qualify for the second day.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 29, 2016 01:12 PM

Eamon Galligan

Dublin Summer Bridge Congress further information

Some further information on Dublin Summer Congress which came in my email and all others on the mailing list. Double the playing area that's a serious move as it was a large playing area last year albeit with 119 tables approximately in play at peak playing time.
Some important information on Staffords Dublin Summer Bridge Congress this weekend

Staffords Dublin Summer Bridge Congress

A huge thank you to all participants in our congress this year and a final reminder to anyone who wants to put in a last minute entry.

This year we have doubled the size of the hall and have created the most experienced team of Tournament Directors in the country headed by Fearghal O’Boyle, Diarmuid Reddan, Brian Lalor and John Crimmins.

Friday the 29th

The event kicks off on Friday evening with a Mixed Pairs competition starting at 7.30pm. For those of you who would prefer not to play in the formal competition, there will be an Open Pairs competition also where pre-booking is not necessary.

Saturday the 30th

Intermediate A, Intermediate B, Area Master and Congress Pairs will start their two session events at 1.30 pm. There will be a break at approximately 5.15pm for dinner.
Novice Pairs only will play in a single session event which starts at 7.pm

Sunday the 31st

Novice, Intermediate A, Intermediate B, Area Master and Congress Teams will start their two session events at 11.am with a short break for lunch as ordained by the Tournament Director.
On the Saturday, Citywest Hotel will be running a buffet at the Bistro with prices for salads, main courses and desserts starting at €15.50. On the Sunday, they will be running a carvery from the main restaurant. There will also be a Soup & Sandwich Combo available at the bar on both days for only €8.
Last minute entries may be entertained at the pleasure of the Tournament Committee and should be made by email to – dublinsummercongress@gmail.com or by text to 087 677 9406.

Finally, our sincere thanks to our sponsors, headed by our main sponsor Staffords Funeral Homes.

We would also like to thank Fáilte Ireland, IPB Insurance and South Dublin County Council for their continued support this year. Once again we have my own Oracle Communications, Home Instead, Irish Life and Dr Martha Mulcahy sponsoring and this year we would like to give a special welcome to Mary Gleeson and Gleesons of Booterstown. 

Please support them all throughout the year remembering how they have supported us.

Thank you all on behalf of the Staffords Dublin Summer Bridge Congress Committee
Rory Egan, Ann Burns and Stefan Ekman.

Copyright © 2016 Rory Egan, All rights reserved.
This is an occasional newsletter about Bridge events that I am involved in. You are receiving this email because you have shown an interest in Bridge, have corresponded with me about the game or your email address was part of list that I was also part of. If, for any reason, you would like me to take you off this list, please email me with the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the title and I will be happy to do so.

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Declan the Donplayer plans to make his bridge debut at Dublin Summer Congress this weekend on the Sunday Open Pairs. He has a plan and placing last is not part of it.
Team Amoils exited the Spingold Trophy early this morning despite my support of watching on vugraph.

Some serious free bridge content and comments are available on this website

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 29, 2016 09:53 AM

July 28, 2016

Paul Gipson

Watching the world go by

We had yesterday off, so I went to the zoo and then kibitzed some friends who were still in the Spingold.

Giant Panda, courtesy of the ACBL

David Gold
I watched David for a session and a half and the only worrying aspect of his play is that I would have done the same on most hands. Basically the boards were uninteresting.

In fact whoever I watched seemed to suffer the same fate. I arrived halfway through the first session and sat behind Tom Hanlon, playing with Les Amoils.  I saw them potentially lose two partscore swings, but they won the set convincingly because the first 7 boards were exciting.

Then I watched David play a boring 22-22 set, followed by watching his teammates, Brogeland and Lindqvist, on a slightly more interesting set featuring this hand:

Boye's opening promised just two clubs and Espen's one spade was either a transfer to one no-trump or game forcing with diamonds.

Three clubs promised a good hand. I thought three diamonds might be best now, but three spades does get the power of the hand across even if you don't have a fit yet. Four spades showed a void, and four no-trump was 'Last Train' -would you have this agreement?

Five clubs showed minimum, for the auction to date. Your call?

In the end this team would lose by about 30 imps. From what I saw it was just not their day. Tom won however and will play in the round of 16 today.

As Alan, Rick, Andy, and Shireen have made the final day of the Werner Open Pairs we're playing a Compact KO with Gerry and Bob.

Sad news overnight with the passing of Patrick Jourdain. Just last month he played 350 boards for the Wales Open team at the European Team Championships, an impressive final performance. I didn't know him well, but he made a big contribution to bridge in the UK and, through his bridge journalism, to the worldwide community.


by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 28, 2016 04:18 PM

Eamon Galligan

2nd Dublin Summer Bridge Congress

Good afternoon

Just in case folk have forgotten the 2nd Dublin Summer Congress is taking place this weekend in CityWest near Saggart Co.Dublin

Link to Dublin Summer Congress pdf

The Congress will be held in the CityWest Complex. Plenty of parking space near the building venue.
Easy access just off the M7 South take the exit near a company called Meile or something like that
Head towards Saggart and CityWest will be on your right ...Its a long driveway..
Bridge is normally in to the right before the main hotel.

Plenty of refuelling (food) places in the complex and Saggart also has a fine chipper if you are stuck for time. Some people are slow bridge players so might eat into the break time.

Last year I think there was about 119 tables in play at the highest peak but I don't know what the plans are for this year. The Directing Team is top notch though with Fearghal O'Boyle flying in via Knock Airport and Diarmuid Reddan flying in from Shannon assisted by several local Dublin TDs.

Diarmuid Reddan is on some 10 day plan to lose 10 pounds ... He will lose it at CityWest .. Last year on the Saturday I broke my record of walking ...somewhere in the region of  24000 steps. ..that's about 17 kilometres for my short legs

Email Entries to dublinsummercongress@gmail.com
Text Entries to .. 087 9779406
Further information from the Congress Co-ordinator  Rory Egan 086 8192765

Open Pairs on Friday night ..
Open Pairs on Sunday but I am not sure if its 2 sessions ..
Check with the phone number above ..

The venue is great though .. Should be a good event so if you want to play bridge outside the
comfort zone of your local club .. Dublin Summer Congress is there .....

If you are hoping for a high finish in any event a couple of Mars Bars for Fearghal might work but I doubt it. Probably best you eat the Mars Bars yourself at around board 16 or 17 of the event.
Bridge players often indicate they get tired about 3/4 way through an event of 26 boards or so.
However they might not be getting tired ...their glucose levels might be low.

When a large and intimidating partner of mine is playing .. he usually stocks up on a large Gin and Tonic about 10pm on a 730pm game start. One does their best to keep his hands off the dummy at these times as GIN and low Glucose don't add up to securing lots of tricks.
Another chap I know always heads for the bar about 10pm for 2 small bottles of wine ... It just does not make sense. He sees me looking at him and he says its for after the session ... Strange as the bar is still there at 1045pm.

I almost forgot .. Thomas Hanlon and his team have reached the last 16 of the Spingold Trophy in the USA. 90 teams started out in this event which is a large knockout event. To understand the strength of the field in this event .. The 90th seed knocked off the 5th seed over a 60 board match ...
That's like me beating Mesbut and Fitzgibbon

Patrick Jourdain a well known Welsh bridge international and journalist passed away last night.
He would be well known to anyone who has attended any Camrose or Senior Camrose events or even
Welsh Congresses. I was in his car once when I played in Portcrawl Congress. I think he played Camrose for Wales in 5 different decades ..

From my email via  Simon Richards

I am very sorry to inform the bridge community that Patrick Jourdain died in the night following a short battle with pancreatic cancer. It was peaceful and he was asleep. Not only is this a devastating loss to the bridge community but it is also a personal loss to many of his friends. It was mercifully quick, however. Only last month Patrick was representing Wales in the European Championships in Budapest and was still playing tennis and golf.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 28, 2016 01:22 PM

July 27, 2016

Paul Gipson

No need to check the result sheet

It was an up and down performance in the Swiss and we never threatened the overalls. I think we're all still feeling a little down after crashing out of the Spingold.

Alan and Rick are playing in the Werner Open Pairs for the next two days, so Alex and I are taking today off to do some sightseeing and then kibitzing when we are completely dehydrated. We'll want to play some one-day event tomorrow but have nothing arranged yet. Them on Friday their is the Roth Open Swiss, a three-day major event but with half the field getting chopped each day.

Unfortunate Ollie and Ed withdrew from their round of 64 Spingold match after just one quarter. I presume one of the team fell ill, disappointing after doing so well on Monday.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 27, 2016 02:05 PM

July 26, 2016

Paul Gipson


Our Spingold experience, like last year, did not survive the first day. Our team made too many costly mistakes and, combined with ill-fortune in the slam zone, meant that we are now history.

In the first match of our four-way, against #18 Levine, Alex and I had a soft card against Verhees and van Prooijen. This was one decision:

Your 2C response is Drury, promising a maximum pass with three or four hearts. Alex's two diamonds shows a normal opener. Two or three hearts now, or two no-trump? Naturally I got this wrong.

We were 24 imps down at the half with the prospect of facing all the pros in the second half, We had an excellent set helped by the scoreline, getting a 5-level decision right on a wild hand and bidding a thin grand slam. Unfortunately two defensive disasters at the other table, plus a <50 3="" and="" bid="" by="" dutch="" evening.="" have="" imps="" in="" losers="" lost="" made="" meant="" on="" other="" p="" pair="" play="" set="" slam="" the="" to="" we="" would="">
Our second match was against #43 Baker. We were down 4 imps at the half with only two big swings, Alan and Rick making a slam but also letting a silly game make. In the second half our opponents relayed to an excellent grand slam and, at the other table, bid and made another anti-percentage slam from which we could not recover.

Elsewhere, Dan, Gary, Ollie, and Ed made short work of #22 Onstott and earned the evening off (Onstott did better in the evening to get through). They face Mahaffey today over 64 boards. Unfortunately Andy and Shireen also went out, losing their first match by just 3 imps.

We are playing a one-day Swiss today.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 26, 2016 04:07 PM

July 25, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

Considerations for the Future!

I, and other bridge lovers, have been distressed by the recent happenings on the local scene. Bobby and I have loved the excitement of life in Vegas (which is now over eleven years) despite the complaints of the heat. That is why air conditioning in homes, cars, casinos, restaurants, markets and other locales are so popular. Every problem has a solution.

We both came from active, thriving bridge communities .. Bobby from Dallas and I from Philadelphia. No one needs to remind any of us that bridge is a very competitive activity and with the rapidly deteriorating economy, the situation is slipping vigorously in a downhill direction as evidenced by worsening attendance at clubs and tournaments. Sadly, it has become a dog-eat-dog scenario caused by unwise (and possibly unilateral) decisions of earlier hotshots deemed to be in charge. In recent years, the friction between our district and unit has become more evident with constantly changing slates which is not all bad if their primary interests are not deluded by self-interest, ego and politics.

Although we only play duplicate bi-weekly, news travels fast throughout the community about ploys to distract their members to keep them loyal. Early on, we tested the waters of the various clubs and I must confess the handling of the players and methods of ruling and judging obvious violations (either because of favoritism or lack of knowledge of the staff) gave us no choice but to move on. Incidents such as allowing the officially printed election candidate list to be tampered with, revised and posted on the club pillars (possibly resulting in the change of the expected results of a major unit election) and playing favoritism to ‘regulars’ relating to huddles and allowing unethical information to be overlooked .. we found UNBELIEVABLE! Some clubs (to survive) will do anything to keep their customers. With one (or possibly two exceptions) … that is the way it is. Oh, and lest we forget, we learned that when a two-day special 299er event was being held to attract more newbies to the fold, one of the clubs offered free plays on that day/s if they did not attend. That is not only poor sportsmanship but to me falls into the category of PURE GREED and disparagement of what bridge is all about.

Believe it or not, the above were merely ‘side issues’ that have distressed many Las Vegan bridge players. As far back as I can recall, there were always doubts by the members questioning who had the authority to make decisions for the Unit AND whether these decisions/contracts had to be approved by the UNIT Board. However, what I am about to focus upon (at least to me and dozens of others locals) resides in a category of and unto itself. I don’t know the individual/s responsible (nor does it matter as long as we don’t have a Repeat Performance) … but how can anyone be so stupid, uneducated, unknowledgeable, uninformed, indifferent. and out of touch to designate October 3rd. 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th as the LV Sectional being held once again at The Boy Scout locale far past the popular, easily accessible Las Vegas Strip. The site itself is quite comfortable but for visitors who fly to Vegas for bridge as well as gambling and to enjoy the famous entertainers at the prime hotels … the travel time, effort and inconvenience are not conducive to dragging themselves here to find themselves in the hinterlands. However, in all fairness, the handling (or possible neglect) of contracting with more conveniently located sites may have placed us in this untenable position.

BUT WAIT. Don’t hang up! I HAVE NOT ARRIVED AT THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG: PRAY TELL … who on earth was responsible for not confirming that anything conflicted with our tournament dates (October 3rd through the 7th)? APPARENTLY … NO ONE … UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE. How could it NOT be of primary concern to clear those dates … and unless blind … see in living color that sundown on Sunday, October 2nd (a Sunday) and continuing on MONDAY AND TUESDAY (the 3rd and 4th) are the SACRED DAYS OF ROSH HASHANAH (also known as the High Holidays) where most Jewish people observe either at home or their local synagogues and temples. ALL EVENT DATES should be checked out on the computer or calendar beforehand to verify that no potential conflicts exist. I know the current Unit Board headed by Bob LaFleur and many very dedicated individuals, including JoAnn Sprung and Ed Matulis (Co-chairs of the upcoming Sectional) have been very involved.. The previous Unit Board suffered countless conflicts as doubts were raised as to whether many of the decisions were made and put into force independently or with Board approval … which made for much bad blood (including resignations of a few who wanted no part of it). JoAnn’s and Ed’s efforts also included proposals for major changes in the by-laws and other constructive recommendations which will be voted upon at our next meeting in August; BUT someone has a responsibility to get to the bottom of the disrespectful oversight to assure there is no recurrence. How would other sects react to major local events being held on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Eve … whenever and whatever … which customarily are either religious or ‘family’ days … a tradition which has been time-honored and observed for centuries? Bridge has overstepped its bounds and encroached upon the practices of other equally entitled groups.

Does anyone know by whose authority these ‘dates’ are legally determined? Unit? District? BOD? ACBL? I would like to get a definitive answer from someone-in-the-know. Decision making authorization comes from somewhere! Who is endowed with that power?

In the interest of the future of our once-great game (where Las Vegas a few decades ago was one of the leading tournament sites in the country), please take heed of our local predicament/s. To resume the continuance of our earlier success and survival of bridge in our area, we must band together to get our administration back on track because it will necessitate all the help, cooperation and guidance it can garner!!


by Judy Kay-Wolff at July 25, 2016 07:24 PM

Paul Gipson

Waiting for the Spingold

We played in the Swiss yesterday but with little success, save for a win against a very good team in the first match. I was chatting to Simon de Wijs, Dutch world champion, before the session and agreed we should meet in the final round. It proved to be the first. Unfortunately we didn't take advantage of a big win and finished just above average.

I had one interesting play hand:


West led the two of diamonds, fourth best against no-trump. You duck, East wins the queen and returns a diamond. What do you do now?

In the Life Master Pairs there was a terrific performance by the young (compared to almost everyone) English pair, Ollie Burgess and Ed Levy, who finished 21st. Even getting through the first day is an achievement, but reaching the third and then having two 50+% sessions is remarkable at your first nationals. Ollie said he expected the standard to be similar to the EBU National Pairs Final, but it only took 4 boards to appreciate that it was significantly different!

For the Spingold this afternoon we play the #18 seed, Levine, a team that features another Dutch world champion pair. We are #77 (teams seeded 65-80 are randomly shuffled). If we lose then we'll play this evening against either the Baker or Kolesnic teams. We need to win one of these 30-board matches to survive into tomorrow.

Ollie and Ed are also playing in a four-way, playing with Dan Crofts and Gary Hyett. They are in the same seeding group as us. Andy and Shireen, playing with Bruce Rogoff and Michael Wilkinson, are #61, theoretically meaning an easier draw. In reality there is no such thing here.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 25, 2016 03:29 PM

July 24, 2016

Paul Gipson

Fighting jetlag

Alex and I arrived on Friday evening, so on Saturday morning we were checking the bulletin to see if our team mates, Alan and Rick, had qualified for the second day of the Life Master Pairs.

They had comfortably, so we needed to find an event and a team for the weekend. I spotted that Andy and Shireen, from London, might be in the same position but they were already fixed up, so after some wandering I ended up at the partnership desk.

There I found Gerry, from Chicago, and Bob, from Vancouver, who were very happy to play with us. As we had a lot more masterpoints than them I made sure they were happy to play in a higher bracket than normal for them, but they were just looking for a fun game and pleased to find an established pair.

So we entered the two-day knockout and played in the second bracket.  We all had a good first half and led by 26 imps after 12 boards. The second half did not go as well. Alex went down in a good game that was not makeable on the right less and good defence. I went down in two games in similar circumstances, failing to drop Qx offside on both occasions. These did not feel good, but we finished on a high note on the final board.

My 4D bid was a light fit jump, normally I'd like a better suit but decided it was the most descriptive call. I then showed one key card and the king of diamonds. Alex's six hearts was 'last train', asking for any extras. I thought the sixth diamond was extremely valuable on this auction so bid the grand. There were no problems in the play and we gained a much needed 14 imps as they languished in game at the other table.

We won the match by 11 imps.

In the quarterfinal in the evening no-one could get anything right as we fell to a heavy defeat to a good Polish team. This meant that it had turned into a one-day event for us.

Alan and Rick had two 49% sessions in the Pairs, just failing to make today's final. This means we are all free to play in the one-day Swiss, a tough event as all the top teams warm up for tomorrow's main event.

Andy and Shireen did better, winning both their matches in the top bracket and will play the semifinal this afternoon.

I'm not going to comment on the weather again this week as it will be hot, humid, and sunny all the time with a temperature of 33-35C.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 24, 2016 03:22 PM

July 23, 2016

Lakshmanan Valliappa

Get partner in

Now that BBO runs free daily MP tournaments, I try to catch them when I can.  Time constraints man that I've pretty much stopped playing the bridgez/wbridge5 one.

Here's a hand from yesterday's:

I started off with the Queen of spades lead and declarer (East) immediately led a heart. I ducked and the robot guessed right to go up with the King of hearts.

Next, three low clubs to my singleton King.  Nice playing by the robot ... I continued spades and after the robot ruffed in hand, the four of hearts was led.

What should I play?

I desperately need to get partner in to lead diamonds through. I need to duck this trick.  If declarer has the queen of hearts, I can't lose my Ace-of-hearts trick, but if partner has it, then he can lead a diamond through.

Beating 3C by two tricks (instead of one) was the difference between 68% and 38%.

by Lakshmanan V (noreply@blogger.com) at July 23, 2016 05:14 PM

July 22, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Aquatennial Sectional - Results



Summer is full of lots of great bridge for Minnesotans!  We just completed our annual Aquatennial fest at the Twin City Bridge Center.  With almost 37 masterpoints, Terry Beckman can be found at the top of the masterpoint list.  Not far behind is frequent partner John Koch, earning a more than respectable 32_+. Masterpoint list for the tourney can be found here. A recap of the events can be found here.

Meanwhile, the Summer 2016 NABC in Washington, DC began 2 days ago. Many Minnesotans were on the District 14 teams representing us. After a great start on Wednesday, tough competition felled two of the three remaining teams. Our Flight B team is still in the hunt, though.

Check out the District 14 website for frequent updates!

by Peg at July 22, 2016 06:17 PM

July 21, 2016

Paul Gipson

It's my turn, Mr Smith

After seemingly weeks spent watching my friends playing in the European Team Championships, mostly without success, and then watching the juniors in the European Youth Pairs Championships win more medals and play a lot better than expected, it's my turn to actually play the game.

I'm off to Washington DC tomorrow to play in the ACBL Summer Nationals. The Europeans and upcoming bridge Olympiad meant that none of our British friends had the time to come along, so we are playing with our team mates from last year, Alan Watson and Rick Binder from Boston.

Aside from packing a bag, preparation is needed to play in the nationals. I need to print out two copies of:
  • ACBL convention cards, one for Mid-Chart and one for GCC events. Hopefully we'll not need the latter.
  • Pre-alert sheet: covering all the highly exotic methods we play, like transfer responses to one club, two clubs response to a 5-card major opening that *may* be a relay, and the one spade response that denies 4+ spades when our minor opening is overcalled by one heart.
  • Official defenses (sic) to our opening two bids.
  • Summary of our highly unusual methods, even though no-one has looked at this in the last decade.
  • The Alert Chart to learn on the plane.

Single copy of the paperwork
It may seem silly to need all this, but it is a small price to pay for the opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world. Obviously we have to comply with ACBL regulations and we are quite diligent in our preparation, to the extent that we know them better than many locals.

We'll play first on Saturday in some teams event, depending on who is free as Alan and Rick hope to still be playing the Life Master Pairs.

Our main aim, the Spingold, starts next Monday. The second target will be the North American Swiss which starts on the following Friday, assuming we've been knocked out of the Spingold by then!

I'll provide updates while I'm away, but probably not many hands as inputting on a tablet can be tricky.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 21, 2016 06:31 AM

July 20, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Play Bridge - Do Good!




Sunday-September 25th

Free Lunch - Lesson by Randy Mertens

12:30 pm


1:00 pm

Twin Cities Bridge Center




*Raising awareness about mental health and depression in order to prevent suicide

If you or someone you know is currently in danger, please dial 911 immediately
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Are you a Veteran who needs help? Call 1-800-273-8255

by Peg at July 20, 2016 01:06 PM

July 19, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Parkingson Charity Bridge Game - July 11, 2016



Minneapolis' Minikahda Club is a marvelous place to golf, dine, host a party - or - play bridge!

On July 11th, Director Mike Flader and competitors did just that!  Below are the results of the Parkingson Charity Bridge Event.  Thanks all!

Parkingson Charity Bridge Monday Aft Session July 11, 2016
Scores after  7 rounds  Average:   63.0      Section  F  North-South
Pair    Pct   Score  Rank   O/A   MPs    
  2   66.27   83.50   1     2    1.97(O)  Eric Swanlund - Robert Echols
  5   57.14   72.00   2     3    1.48(O)  Ron Poole - Nancy Wyman
  7   53.97   68.00   3     4    1.11(O)  Beryl Waldeland - Janet Stewart
  1   53.57   67.50         5    0.83(O)  Pamela Burkley - Pamela Leese
  3   46.83   59.00                            Mary Stern - Gary Stern
  8   46.03   58.00                            Jean Reissner - Hedy Holmberg
  6   39.29   49.50                            Velia Melrose - Ann Johnson
  4   36.90   46.50                       '    Nancy Frykman - Cathy Mitchell

Parkingson Charity Bridge Monday Aft Session July 11, 2016
Scores after  7 rounds  Average:   63.0      Section  F  East-West
Pair    Pct   Score  Rank   O/A   MPs    
  5   68.25   86.00   1     1    2.63(O)  Susan Mathews - Sally Hall
  2   52.78   66.50  2/3         0.79(S)  Betsy Cussler - Jayne Emory
  3   52.78   66.50  2/3         0.79(S)  Elizabeth Hasselman - Edward Hasselman
  6   50.40   63.50                            Mary Bang - Joanne Veenhuis
  7   47.62   60.00                            Nicolai Lewis - Glenda Struthers
  8   46.03   58.00                            James Mayor - Kerra Mayor
  1   44.44   56.00                            Cindy Snyder - Joy Peterson
  4   37.70   47.50                            Terri Carlson - Deborah Touw

by Peg at July 19, 2016 02:42 AM

July 17, 2016

Paul Gipson

... play, STOP

The European Youth Pairs Championships came to a slow end for the players from the home nations.

Alex Roberts - Ankush Khandelwal (Eng) were the top pair in the U26 final but only finished in mid-table, a disappointing result after an excellent qualifying performance.

Jonathan Clark - Kripa Panchagnula (Eng) finished in eleventh position in the U21 final, an excellent performance from a pair that I don't know.

Carina Negreanu - Yvonne Wiseman (Eng) slipped a little today but still finished in the top half, their pain lessened when Yvonne's boyfriend won the U26 pairs.

In the U16 pairs, Harry Madden and Oscar Selby (Eng) finished just a handful of matchpoints away from a bronze medal.

In the consolation President's Cup, Shivam Shah - Freddie Illingworth (Eng) won the Gold Medal with Jun Nakamaru-Pinder (Sco) - Aleksis Zlatis (Est) second. With Ronan Valentine - Donald Mackillop (Sco) ninth it was a good event for the British.

Overall I think the Scotland pairs will be pleased with their performances. As well as a surprise gold medal for Jun and Liv, the other pairs have done considerably better than in previous years. I think England will be disappointed not to have taken a significant medal; and Ireland may feel that their top pairs could have done better but will be pleased to have given many others international experience.

A lot are now going on to the bridge camp that I'm sure they'll enjoy immensely.

Final results - Results bulletin

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 17, 2016 04:54 PM

July 16, 2016

Paul Gipson

... play, repeat

In the Young Women's final, Carina Negreanu - Yvonne Wiseman (Eng), Johanna Piibor - Susanna Laan (Est), and Olivia Bailey - Soozy Nesom (Sco) barely moved position throughout the entire day. I guess they will all be pretty tired for seemingly little reward. Carina and Yvonne are best placed, but four tops behind a podium finish so they will need a big day tomorrow.

Similarly in the U16 pairs, Alexander Pemberton - Henry Rose (Eng) and Oscar Selby - Harry Madden (Eng) have seen little movement today but Oscar and Harry will be competing for a medal tomorrow, just two tops behind third place currently.

In the other two events it was all about finishing in the top 26 places and qualifying for the final.

In the U26 pairs,  Alex Roberts - Ankush Khandelwal (Eng) started in the lead and finishing there too, taking the maximum carryover into the final - an excellent performance by them so far! Alex Birchall - William Roper (Eng) moved steadily up the field and qualified comfortably in the end, but it was tighter for Shivam Shah - Freddie Illingworth (Eng) as they slowly slipped from a good position and disastrously finished in 27th spot.  Abi Wilson - Jake Milne (Sco) spent the entire day on the bubble and also just missed out by a handful of masterpoints, so close but so far. David Synnot - Hugh Gormally (Ire) started in the middle of the qualifiers and were looking comfortable until a poor final session. But they survived, so congratulations to the three pairs and good luck in the final tomorrow.

In the U21 pairs, Jonathan Clark - Kripa Panchagnula (Eng) and Ben Norton - Sam Behrens (Eng) spent the day in qualifying positions and qualified well. Best of luck to both pairs in the final tomorrow. After a 35% first session, I was very pleased to see Ronan Valentine - Liam O'Brien (Sco) slowly climb up the table but they finished in 27th spot, just seven matchpoints off the final.

The non-qualifiers can all play in the President's Cup tomorrow.

Running Scores: U26 Pairs - U21 Pairs - Young Women - U16 Pairs

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 16, 2016 04:59 PM

July 15, 2016

Paul Gipson

Eat, sleep, play, repeat

The main events at the European Youth Pairs Championships started today. The U26 and U21 events feature two-day qualifying followed by a final, whereas the small fields for the Young Women and U16s mean that they are straight into a three-day final.

Following their triumph yesterday, Liv and Jun have new partners but both struggled to make an impression today. Hopefully Jun and Gints will be able to move up the U26 field tomorrow and Liv and Soozy can get on a good run in the Young Women final.

In the U26 pairs, Alex Roberts - Ankush Khandelwal  (Eng) lead the qualifiers after the first day, with Shivam Shah - Freddie Illingworth (Eng) and Michael Alishaw - Stephen Kennedy (Eng) both well placed. David Synnot - Hugh Gormally (Ire), Abi Wilson - Jake Milne (Sco), and Aleksis Zalitis - Jakob Prii (Est) are all on the bubble of qualification and need to repeat their performance tomorrow to get a place in the final.

In the U21 pairs Glen Falconer - Donald Mackillop (Sco) and Ronan Valentine - Liam O'Brien (Sco) have left themselves plenty to do tomorrow, but qualification for the final is not completely out of the question. Jonathan Clark - Kripa Panchagnula (Eng) and Ben Norton - Sam Behrens (Eng) are currently in qualifying places but Michael Donnelly - Stephen Barr (Ire) are the leading pair from the British Isles.

In the Young Women final, Carina Negreanu - Yvonne Wiseman (Eng) are currently eighth and both Johanna Piibor - Susanna Laan (Est) and Olivia Bailey - Soozy Nesom (Sco) have left room for improvement.

In the U16 final, Oscar Selby - Harry Madden (Eng) are in the top half of the field, closing in on a podium position.

The EBL's video of the first championship event:

You can read a little about Liv and Jun's win in today's bulletin.

Running Scores: U26 Pairs - U21 Pairs - Young Women - U16 Pairs

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 15, 2016 04:56 PM

July 14, 2016

Paul Gipson

Simply stunning

The Mixed Pairs at the European Youth Pairs Championship has been won by Liv Bailey and Jun Nakamaru-Pinder. As far as I can tell, this is the first time a British pair has won a youth pairs Gold medal and it is a simply stunning achievement by the two young players. Certainly no others have ever won a Gold medal representing Scotland at the European or World level.

They started off leading after the first ten boards and were always in the medal places, eventually winning by just more than a full board. How they survived the pressure is a little beyond me!

Their celebrations will be curtailed by the fact that they are playing in a different event tomorrow, with different partners, as Jun plays with Gints in the U26 pairs and Liv plays with Soozy in the Women's Pairs. Good luck to them all!

Final results

Liv and Jun, courtesy of the European Bridge League

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 14, 2016 09:51 PM

Linda Lee

The Last Book Review … Practice Makes Perfect

Sally has the habit of handing me a new Master Point Press book to review whenever I walk into the MPP office.  So Sally, this will be my last review for at least a month, okay?

I do want to do some other blogs especially some for my favourite Israeli bridge player Norm, who I play with on BBO. Norm has been with me through house moves and toothaches and all sorts of other personal things.

But I have a special feeling for 25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know: Practice Makes Perfect. It take me back many years to when Master Point Press was a baby and we published 25 Conventions You Should Know. My mother and I were very much a part of that book.

My mother, who will be 91 in a few weeks, is no longer able to play bridge, but I know that through a lot of her life and especially after my dad passed away getting together with her bridge ladies was an important part of her life. And 25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know was their bible.

Practice Makes Perfect is a companion to 25 Bridge Conventions, and is written by Barbara Seagram and David Bird. The idea behind it is to remind people of the conventions but also to provide some bridge hands to play to help readers understand exactly how to use them.

The book works perfectly well in a bridge class since each chapter (one convention) has four hands, which is about what Ray and I would get through in a class of beginners or intermediates.

What I particularly like about the book is the bridge hands. Of course with David Bird as a co-author you would expect good hands. And with Barbara as a co-author you would expect the content to work very well for teachers and students alike.

And with some tears, I just wished my mom still had the mental capacity to enjoy this book.

Here is one deal I liked: the first hand in the third section, Sophisticated Stuff, Chapter 8, which discusses Lebensohl 2NT.  I am going to focus more on the play not the bidding, which is described and explained in more detail in the book.




All Pass

A very brief description of the bidding (by me not David or Barbara) 2NT by South is not a notrump raise but an example of Lebensohl. North dutifully bids 3 and South can now play 3 after the opponents pass.

The opening lead is the  10. East overtakes with the  J and continues with the top two hearts. How do you play the hand? (Okay, so double dummy its pretty easy, but think about your options). 


Its all about guessing who has the trump queen. East did overcall but he has six hearts. As the authors say, given that East has six hearts, West is a favorite to hold diamond length. You therefore trump with the ace and finesse East for the queen. While the book takes you through the rest of the deal you can take it from there.

Also the authors point out that a switch at Trick 3 can defeat the contract. Do you see it? Would you have found it?!

by linda at July 14, 2016 05:52 PM

July 13, 2016

Paul Gipson

Mixed Pairs - day 1

With 52 pairs starting, the Mixed Pairs at the 13th European Youth Pairs Championships is a two-day all-play-all event. With five 10-board sessions a day your score will depend on who you play when and I expect to see a lot of movement on the leader board.

The first to impress were Olivia Bailey and Jun Nakamaru-Pinder, who led after the first twenty boards. A poor third set was followed by a good fourth and fifth and they are well positioned. Yvonne Wiseman and Shivam Shah are also in the top ten.

Positions after the first day
A lot of the British players feature in the top half of the field, together with Aleksis and Jo from Estonia. They all stand a chance of a good finish with another solid day's play. For those in the lower half, the challenge is to move up and get a finish in the top half - something that is easily possible in such an event.

Championship website - results, bulletins

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 13, 2016 05:06 PM

Juniors to the fore

After the ten days of the European Team Championships, with largely disappointing performances from the British Isles save England Women's Gold Medal, it is now the turn of the junior players to perform at the 13th European Youth Pairs in Liepaja, Latvia from 12 - 20 July.

The first event is the Mixed Pairs and there is a mix of experience both in terms of the players and the partnerships. The competing pairs include:
  • Alex Birchall - William Roper (Eng)
  • Emma Bentley - Sean Mekie (Eng)
  • Laura Covill - Ankush Khandelwal (Eng)
  • Carina Negreanu - Nick Dean (Eng)
  • Yvonne Wiseman - Shivam Shah (Eng)
  • India Leeming - Tommy Brass (Eng)
  • Abi Wilson - Jake Milne (Sco)
  • Olivia Bailey - Jun Nakamaru-Pinder (Sco)
  • Roisin Watters - Jason Doyle (Ire)
  • Johanna Piibor - Aleksis Zalitis (Est)
It is very difficult to predict how everyone will do: firstly, it is matchpoints; secondly there will be a huge variation in standard across the field and a lot will depend on who you play when. Hopefully my predictions will give confidence to some and incentive to prove me wrong for the rest.

I think the goal for most pairs should be a top half finish, with Yvonne and Shiv standing the best chance of doing really well with Laura and Ankush chasing them hard. I also hope that my Estonian friends, Johanna and Aleksis, do well.

After two days of mixed pairs, then the main pairs events start: U26, U21, U16 and Ladies.

The home pairs in the U26 category are:
  • Alex Birchall - William Roper (Eng)
  • Alex Roberts - Ankush Khandelwal (Eng)
  • Shivam Shah - Freddie Illingworth (Eng)
  • Laura Covill - Sean Mekie (Eng)
  • Michael Alishaw - Stephen Kennedy (Eng)
  • Dominic Rayner - Nick Dean (Eng)
  • India Leeming - Tommy Brass (Eng)
  • Nathan Doyle - Arran Bolger (Ire)
  • David Synnot - Hugh Gormally (Ire)
  • Jun Nakamaru-Pinder - Gints Freimanis (Sco)
  • Abi Wilson - Jake Milne (Sco)
  • Aleksis Zalitis - Jakob Prii (Est)
I expect Shiv & Freddie, Alex & Ankush, Michael & Stephen, and Jun & Gints to do well and qualify for the final.

The home pairs in the U21 category are:
  • Jonathan Clark - Kripa Panchagnula (Eng)
  • Liam Sanderson - Daniel Winter (Eng)
  • Ben Norton - Sam Behrens (Eng)
  • Ariane Kane - Sheila Walsh (Ire)
  • Roisin Watters - Jason Doyle (Ire)
  • Daniel Varley - John Connolly (Ire)
  • Joseph Carthy - Conor Farrell (Ire)
  • Michael Donnelly - Stephen Barr (Ire)
  • Glen Falconer - Donald Mackillop (Sco)
  • Ronan Valentine - Liam O'Brien (Sco)
I expect Ben & Sam, Michael & Stephen, and Ronan & Liam to qualify for the final.

There are only nineteen pairs in the U16 Pairs including two from England:
  • Alexander Pemberton - Henry Rose
  • Oscar Selby - Harry Madden
Oscar and Harry played in the EBU Schapiro Spring Foursomes, where they not only faced the holders but, more intimidatingly, Harry Smith's bunch of Scots. I think they'll do well here.

I'm not a huge fan of the Ladies Pairs as an event and like the fact that many of the women are playing in the open pairs. I've no doubt that these pairs below could compete very effectively in the open events, so I don't know why the EBL and WBF retain this category. There are only 21 pairs in the event, including:
  • Carina Negreanu - Yvonne Wiseman (Eng)
  • Johanna Piibor - Susanna Laan (Est)
  • Olivia Bailey - Soozy Nesom (Sco)
I expect Carina and Yvonne, who played for me in some of the Scottish warm-up matches for the Euro Teams, to do well but, given all their online practice, I expect the others to be close behind.

After the championship a lot of the players will be attending the Bridge Camp.

Information and, from Wednesday, results and bulletins available at www.eurobridge.org/repository/competitions/16liepaja/microsite/Information.htm.

I hope they all play well, enjoy the trip, and make lots of new friends.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 13, 2016 03:38 PM

Michael Nistler

Social #19, Part 5, Takeout Doubles and Overcall Competitive Bridge Bidding

Welcome Bridge Friends! In this whopping 2.5 hour show, we will look at new approaches to mastering the fundamentals of Bridge Overcalls and Takeout Double Bridge bidding including bids with a very good hand (18+ High Card Points) regardless of suit distribution.  After all, Bridge is a competitive game so when our Left Hand Opponent [...]

by BridgeHands at July 13, 2016 03:58 AM

July 12, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Aquatennial Silver Point Sectional - July 13-17


Tomorrow, Wednesday, is the day!  Summer's Aquatennial Sectional begins at 10:00AM at the Twin City Bridge Center in Minneapolis.

The tournament offers a fine schedule with a nice variety of events.

Enjoy July competing at your favorite competition!

by Peg at July 12, 2016 12:14 PM

July 07, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Unit 103 - May 2016 BOD Minutes

From the Sheraton West, site of our Gopher Regional, Board of Director minutes from May.

Our thanks to Unit 103's hard working Board of Directors!

Download Unit 103 BOD May 2016 Minutes

by Peg at July 07, 2016 09:30 PM

July 01, 2016

Paul Gipson

EBU system card changes

For those in Scotland and others who play occasionally in England, the EBU is changing its system card policy from 1 August. From this date only the EBU 20B card will be acceptable in EBU events (except the Schapiro Spring Foursomes where the WBF system card is also permitted).

For Scottish visitors, this means that the standard SBU card and the EBU20A card (which is very similar to the SBU card) will be unacceptable, so I'd advise everyone to prepare a new card if they are going to play in England.

For those who already have an EBU 20B card, please note that there has been a change to the card; the lead from five small cards is now shown.

Blank and editable system cards are available from http://www.ebu.co.uk/laws-and-ethics/convention-cards.

The EBU Summer Congress in Eastbourne will be the first major event where this rule will be in place.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 01, 2016 08:33 AM

June 27, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Last Hand of the European Championships


If you love bridge, then you love a report of fascinating bridge, wherever in the world it is occurring.

This hand is the last hand of the European Championships that just concluded. Mike Cassel, star reporter, was kind enough to spot it and share it with us.

Thanks, Mike!  Enjoy seeing world class bridge, Minnesota!

Download EBL37-16

by Peg at June 27, 2016 11:32 PM

Unit 178 - June Board of Director Minutes

Our Unit 178 Board is hard at work, making bridge in the Minneapolis metro area as good as possible!

Here are the issues that the Board tackled in June.  Minutes below!

Download June11MeetingMinutes

by Peg at June 27, 2016 11:15 PM

Judy Kay-Wolff

Departing from the Norm

Since jokes are constantly made about bridge players being either old or dead, I took poetic license to share this with all of you. Quite appropriate for many of us youngsters!

Julie Andrews Turning 79

To commemorate her birthday, actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was ‘My Favorite Things’ from the legendary movie ‘Sound Of Music’. Here are the lyrics she used:

If you sing it, its especially hysterical!!!

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,

These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin’,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,
And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

(Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores. Please share Ms. Andrews’ clever wit and humor with others who would appreciate it.)

by Judy Kay-Wolff at June 27, 2016 04:36 PM

Jennifer Jones

Fourth from Longest and Strongest?

By David Neuman

             A maxim dating back to the early days of contract bridge is to lead the “fourth highest” from your “longest and strongest” suit against a notrump contract.   This maxim has been under attack in recent years, most vocally by the expert and theorist Kit Woolsey.   Noting that expert practice is increasingly to shy away from leading broken four-card suits, Woolsey has theorized that such a lead is a losing tactic when trying to defeat the opponents’ 3NT contract.  

If your objective is to defeat 3NT, Woolsey advises to look for a 5-card suit.  If you see one in your hand, lead it.   If not, look for one in your partner’s hand.   Woolsey’s point is that trying to defeat three notrump by leading a broken 4-card suit is often futile.  At its worst you are handing declarer an extra trick without gain, and even where the lead is successful in establishing the suit, it is unlikely that the lead will establish enough tricks to defeat the contract.    As one example, suppose declarer’s side is wide open in the suit, so the lead enables the defenders to cash the first 4 tricks.  The defense still need another trick to defeat the contract.  So even if you had led another suit, if the contract can be defeated you will have another opportunity to run your 4-card suit.

            The following deal, taken from a qualifying round in the recent California Capital Open Swiss Teams in Sacramento, is a good illustration of this principle.    As West, I was on lead against 3NT, holding AQ94, 8742, 862, 103 (spots approximate), after the following auction:

West   North  East     South

Pass     1D        Pass     1H
Pass     2D        Pass     2NT*
Pass     3NT     (all pass)

                                    *Alerted as forcing

            Spurning the “obvious” spade lead, I led the 10 of clubs.  This was the layout:

                        West                                                   East
                        AQ94                                                   10753
                        8742                                                    AJ
                        862                                                      104
                        103                                                      K9765 

            Declarer ducked the club in dummy.  My partner, Bob Klein, won the king and, seeing no future in the club suit, shifted to the ten of spades, covered by the jack and queen.  I returned a heart to Bob’s ace.  Another spade through declarer’s K8 gave us four spade tricks to go with our club king and heart ace, to defeat the contract by two tricks.

            This resulted in a gain of 13 IMPs.  At the other table, my counterpart led the four of spades (fourth from longest and strongest!).  Jennifer was the declarer and she now had eight tricks, and had the timing to establish her ninth trick in hearts to make the contract.   The spade lead was “successful” in that it established the spade suit for the defense, but after the lead declarer had 9 tricks and made his contract. 

            One might say of the spade lead that the operation was successful, but the patient died.


by Bob Klein (noreply@blogger.com) at June 27, 2016 02:18 AM

June 25, 2016

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 final day

Match 1

Quite a wild set of hands with lots of opportunities to win and lose imps.

Scotland Open seemed to be demob happy, missing a game, bidding an excellent grand slam (flat), and following up with a ridiculous slam (the redouble only cost three imps, to be fair) to be down by thirty imps at halftime. They recovered a little to lose by 22-45 IMP.

Scotland Women fell behind Norway early when they also missed the game on the second board, but it was a succession of double-imp swings in the second half that cost them as they lost by 12-59 IMP.

Scotland Seniors' match against the Dutch was a much quieter affair but the Dutch went clear in the second half, the Scots losing by 21-43 IMP.

Two game swings put England Open on the front foot against the Danes, even though they lost a grand slam swing. Another double imp swing for the Danes was met by a succession of partscore gains as the English won by 37-26 IMP.

England Women consolidated their drive for a medal against lowly Estonia, getting some big swings and winning the partscore battle. In the end they just missed a maximum, winning 70-18 IMP.

England Seniors started well against Portugal but suffered on the wilder hands in the second half, eventually losing 20-47 IMP.

Elsewhere Wales Seniors put a huge dent in Ireland's hopes of a top seven finish.

Match 2

Scotland Open and Women both had byes. The Seniors swapped large swings with Denmark, but when the merry-go-round stopped it was 43-51 IMP.

England Open could not cope with some excellent slam bidding from Italy, combined with excellent play from Versace and Lauria, as they fell to a disappointing 15-62 IMP loss.

England Women ensured a medal with a fine second half winning 49-16 IMP over Netherlands. They lead going into the final round. The Seniors could not cope with losing two large swings to Israel, as they lost by 22-29 IMP.

Match 3

England Open needed a good win against gold medal winners, France, and luck to make the top seven. They got the win, 54-36 IMP, but it was never close to being enough. They'd left themselves too much to do and disappointing end to the championship.

England Women needed a good win against third-placed Poland to win the gold medal and exchanged game swings early on. Then they fell behind, but 17 imps on the final board saw them home to the gold medal, winning by 42-37 IMP.

England Seniors thin hopes of a top six finish were extinguished by losing two game swings in the first four boards against Sweden. Things did not improve and they lost their final match by 31-54 IMP.

Scotland Open played the team above them, the Faroe Islands, in the knowledge that they could not overtake them. They looked correctly placed as the Faroese established a 20-0 imps lead after three boards and the Scots finished by losing 23-31 IMP.

Scotland Women were playing the team below them, Bulgaria, but they would have been level after the first three boards as the Bulgars scored 26 imps without reply. But the Scots did enough to stay ahead in the table although they lost 24-49 IMP.

Scotland Seniors had little to play for against Belgium and also exchanged game swings early on. A swing on the final board didn't help as they lost 20-51 IMP.

Final table












by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 25, 2016 03:57 PM

June 24, 2016

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 day 9

Scotland Seniors started well against Bulgaria by making a slam off two top tricks on board 2 (open results). They didn't try a similar trick on board 5 (open), bidding a grand slam off an ace, but these two boards were responsible for hundreds of imps across the three series! They gave a game swing back and then had a quiet match on a fairly wild set of hands, but eventually a string of partscore swings left them behind, losing 20-38 IMP.

Scotland Women dominated the first half against Hungary, despite letting the slam make on board 2. Unfortunately some losses in the second half reduced their win to 55-40 IMP. Missing the slam on board 2 was the biggest loss for the Scotland Open to Finland and the rest were partials as they lost by 21-24 IMP.

The first board of the second match swung a lot of imps. You lead your singleton jack, against game, the queen appears in dummy, and so you expect partner to take his ace & king, give you a ruff, and cash your ace to beat four hearts. Unfortunately declarer ducks in dummy but so does partner! Now all you can do is hold it to eleven tricks. This happened often, including for Scotland Seniors against Germany; unfortunately the Scottish defence not only failed to beat game, but somehow failed to beat slam too! They got these imps back three boards later and the remaining boards were partscores, eventually losing 24-31 IMP.

After a quiet start, Scotland Women dominated the middle boards against Turkey and ran out comfortable winners by 51-21 IMP despite an exciting finish. Scotland Open put in a strong finish against Russia, at least until the last board, winning 47-43 IMP.

In the third match Scotland Women gave Greece a 0-13 IMP lead and could not recover from giving them 17 imps in the final three boards, losing 29-34 IMP. It should have been more. Scotland Open established a useful lead against Denmark, lost thirty imps in the three boards, but got a game swing on the final board to only lose 51-55 IMP. The Seniors struggled against a strong Poland team, losing 19-51 IMP, extinguishing any lingering hope of a late run to a top six position.

Once again only the Open teams played a fourth match. Scotland started very well against Serbia gaining two large swings in the first half, but then Serbia scored 31 without reply in the last six boards, Scotland losing by 28-35 IMP.

In the first match England Open also let Czechia make the slam on board 2, but fought back by making 7NT doubled on board 5 missing an ace! The Czechians got the better of the remaining boards, meaning an England loss by 42-49 IMP.

Slams were the problem for England Women, conceding the grand slam on 5 by not finding the lead to partner's ace and then Turkey bid an excellent slam on board 9. Eventually these two boards were the only difference as England lost by 16-47 IMP.

England Seniors started very poorly, conceding two big swings to Romania. But fighting back and scoring on the final eight boards meant a victory by 52-23 IMP.

In their second match, England Seniors played consistently as they beat Denmark by 44-14 IMP. England Women should have scored a maximum against Norway but a late slip cost, so it just a 61-22 IMP win. England Open conceded a trickle of imps and didn't score until board 13, but got enough to keep the loss to 17-24 IMP.

In their final match of the day, England Women were playing a tight match against France until they missed a game. It was going to be a whitewash until they got a game swing on the final board, losing 10-24 IMP. The Seniors struggled throughout against Germany and lost easily by 13-54 IMP. England Open conceded two swings to Belgium but won the battle 31-19 IMP.

The Open team's final match was against the strong Dutch team. Both had their seniors pairs but England struggled to score and the Netherlands got the three big swings as England lost 19-53 IMP.


Current standings

I've added the number of teams left to face who are in the top half of the table, to give an idea of the run-in faced by everyone (of course the teams in the top half can change round by round).

OpenVPPositionTo faceWomenVPPositionTo faceSeniorsVPPositionTo face
9 ↓↓↑↓
12 ↑↓↑↑
33 ↓↓↓↓
35 ↓↑↓↓


BBO tomorrow

Ireland Open v Poland at 8.30am. England Open v Italy and England Women v Netherlands at 11.50am. Final round matches will be decided at the time.

Tomorrow - the final rounds



A very tough run-in with two top teams and a strong Danish team that would've hoped to do better.


An easy looking first match, but then two matches with others seeking medals.


After an easy looking first match, two matches with others seeking medals.



Perhaps the team's easiest day to finish the event, looking for some consolation wins.


Norway will be a tough match as they aim for a top 7 placing, but it should be easier against Bulgaria.


Three mid-table teams and a chance to join them!

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 24, 2016 07:23 PM

Eamon Galligan

Euro Bridge championships 2016 Round 31

After a disappointing day yesterday when Ireland Open lost to Belgium and Serbia when wins were required and lost against a strong Bulgarian team and won small against the very strong Monaco team it looked like the game was up regarding qualification for the Bermuda Bowl.
First match this morning was against a Welsh team with familiar faces from the Camrose. However when Rory Boland went down in 4S to lose 13 imps it looked like more of the same. However Ireland rallied to lose no more imps over the next 13 boards.. not one solitary imp .. 68 imps in the IN column for a 19.61 victory.
Given Rory Boland is a capable declarer one needed to examine Board 4 a little further. So here it is

10 tricks is not straight forward. However most of the tables led Club Ace and now we have 5 spades and 2 diamonds and 1 club...for 8 tricks and most heart plays will get 2 tricks or you can setup the club and make a Heart ruff.
However Boland in South got the SPADE 4 lead ...and now things are not so clear.
8 tricks on top and many ways to look for 10 ... several of them not working.

The full hand can be found on the European Bridge League website at the link below

For the Irish Open Team despite being 22 VPS out of Bermuda with 120 VPS to play for it is not gone yet. Some big teams have to battle each other and if the TOP 4 crush the chasers and Ireland get a large run of Irish luck or maybe play well things could happen ..Playing well helps luck though.

Just like in the soccer against Italy .. you cannot win the match if you play the game in your own half.

Meanwhile the Irish Ladies team continue to struggle and this was expected as despite being at the top of the Irish ladies game more is required. A fair share of good luck would also be required.
The Irish Ladies have  4 matches left TURKEY SPAIN ESTONIA BULGARIA AND 12 points for the BYE. Maybe they could score 64 out of 100 ..to finish well. Its raining in Swords.

Recently I prepared some hands for one of the English Ladies pairs and one of them came back to me after bidding the 63 hands and gushed that those hands were magic .. I presumed she was just hoping for more so I went ahead and made another set.
Last night I saw two Irish ladies who have both played in European championships in the past bid these hands and issues in the bidding arose on about every 2nd hand. One could estimate 6 imps for each issue and 10 of these is 60 imps out the door. Things like Grand Slam is cold as the cards lie but our two decent players languish in 3NT "because it might be the right spot"
If GRAND is cold then one should be making a small slam try at the minimum.
Arguably Irelands premier bridge partnership Adam Mesbur and Nick Fitzgibbon are in the partnership bidding room at least 2 nights a week so if its good for the gander its good for the goose and any other ganders who want.

 A friend of mine Paul Delaney used to say "Training and Dedication " beats "Well done partner "
This is not exactly the quote but I don't recall the exact context but the gist was I don't need congrats on every average contract I make .
Two many pairs get into the habit of "Well Done partner " ...for making a normal game or making 10 tricks when there are 11 there.

Meanwhile the Irish Senior Team have closed to within 12 VPs of qualification for the Seniors Bermuda Bowl .. d'ORSI Cup I think it is called. I am hoping they will close the gap and qualify.
It is very possible but very tough.

Now Mesbur and Fitzgibbon is not all about good bidding and good play and good defence ..
They have those things in spades ..

6 Clubs bid by our intrepid duo ... Mesbur and Fitzgibbon ...

Now to be outdone Boland and Moran also dipped into the pot of Irish luck..
6 Clubs bid and made also ..

Hanlon and McGann decided to sacrifice in 5H and that got doubled and gone for 800.
So we needed the slam to cancel that out. I doubt it bidding 5H is a winner in the long run but
these boys seem to like living dangerously.

So lets go watch some bridge .. Some big battles are taking place on BBO ..
Poland versus Sweden in the OPEN might be worth a look ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 24, 2016 11:44 AM

June 23, 2016

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 day 8

Scotland Open started against leaders France and were leading after four boards due to a game swing. A good sacrifice put France into a lead that they didn't relinquish, but a solid performance from the Scots as they lost by 41-27 IMP. The Seniors started well against second-placed Sweden but two late game swings restricted their win to 31-26 IMP. A failing grand slam on a finesse cost the Women on the second board against Italy, but they got the better of a wild final five boards to win 37-28 IMP.

Second up for the Women were Portugal, who was just above them in the table. At the end of the match the Scots were well ahead as they fell just short of a maximum win, 64-5 IMP. The Seniors struggled against Norway, two partscore swings not making up for three double-imp losses, as they fell 21-42 IMP. Scotland Open were cruising to a nice win until they conceded 25 imps in the last four boards, mainly due to missing thin games, to lose 35-36 IMP.

Scotland Women faced bottom-placed San Marino in the third match and got a quiet set where they struggled to expose their superiority. A poorly judged slam gave Scotland the win, but they handed back half the imps with a missed game and eventually won by 28-10 IMP.

Scotland Open finally played a team below them in the table but both teams struggled to score imps on a quiet set. But at the end two well-judged slam decisions (one a 'no' decision) gave the Scots the score they were looking for as they won, going away, by 51-18 IMP.  An early game swing gave the Seniors the lead against leaders Israel but it was a slam bid on the final board by Haase/Murdoch that gave them the 25-18 IMP win.

Only the Open team played a fourth match and Scotland soon established a small lead. Then Scotland were doubled in a four spades contract to lose 12 imps, more or less levelling the score. I watched this hand on vugraph and Monaco sacrificed in five hearts rather than double four spades - a case of not being a famous team for Scotland? England also doubled four spades against Switzerland. A couple of partscores went against Scotland as they lost narrowly, 27-34 IMP.

England Seniors beat Belgium by 41-20 IMP, starting well by not bidding the failing grand slam and then some sharp doubles working. England Open scored continuously against Georgia, 65-6 IMP being one short of a maximum. The Women were also heading for a maximum before a late game swing was lost, keeping them to 55-20 IMP.

Second match for the Women were Serbia and, again, the English demolished them winning 61-13 IMP. The Seniors took on Wales and, as I've said previously, the gulf between them is pretty irrelevant when local derbies take place. A swingy match was won by England by 38-26 IMP. England Open could do little right against Bulgaria, who played well, as they fell to a defeat by 18-51 IMP to their near rivals, only a couple of late swings preventing a rout.

In the third match against Israel, England Women had a succession of flat boards, eventually drawing with Israel 9-9 IMP. The Seniors exchanged game swings with Poland in an otherwise tight match that they won by 22-16 IMP. England Open, like many other matches in this series, seemed to have been playing a much livelier set of hands (but they were all the same) but were on the wrong side of three large swings as they lost to Finland by 31-42 IMP.

England Open had a quiet match against Switzerland in the fourth match but earned two of the three big swings to win 35-12 IMP.

Current standings

I've added the number of teams left to face who are in the top half of the table, to give an idea of the run-in faced by everyone.

OpenVPPositionTo faceWomenVPPositionTo faceSeniorsVPPositionTo face
8 ↑↓↓↑
15 ↓↓↓↓
30 ↓↑↓b
35 ↓↓↑↓


BBO tomorrow

England Women play Turkey at 9am. England Open play Israel at 12.20pm. Ireland Open play Iceland, England Women play France, and England Seniors play Germany at 3pm. England Open play Netherlands at 5.40pm.




Czechia offers the prospect of a good win but the other teams are all in the top half of table and will be tougher. I expect the Dutch will play their Bermuda Bowl winning pairs in the important finale.


Two mid-table teams followed by multiple world-champions and current leaders mean an important, and very tough, day for the team.


An easy first match and then two very important matches against the two teams just below them in the table.



Four mid-table teams with little to play for except pride means an opportunity to increase the team's win count.


Three matches which provide the chance of a lot of imps.


Three teams fighting for medals and top six places will be a real challenge for the team.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 23, 2016 07:01 PM

Eamon Galligan

European Bridge Championships 2016 Day 8

On Bridgebase Online .. 3pm Ireland Norway .. 540pm Ireland Bulgaria

Today Ireland Open start the day with a match against 19th place Belgium .. followed by a match against 17th place Serbia . One would hope to start the day with 2 good performances. However it is important to note that mid table teams in this event are well capable of defeating teams 10 places above them. In this event that powerful bridge nation the Faroe Islands defeated Norway yesterday and already have a win against Germany. Now I could be doing the Faroe Islands a disfavour as I have no knowledge of their bridge community. I had a look and there seems to be about 56 names in the EBL listings for Faroe Islands.
Later in the day live on www.bridgebase.com one can find Ireland Open Team in action in two crunch matches (at this time) versus Norway and Bulgaria. Failing to deliver in the opening 2 matches will deem these 2 later matches less important. However we will see how the first 2 matches go. Hopefully the celebrating Hungarian football supporters did not keep our lads awake all night.

Hungary drew 3-3 with Portugal allowing both teams to enter the knockout stages of some football tournament taking place in France. Lesser teams like Wales Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland also secured their places in the last 16.

In this bridge event the top 7 qualify for the Bermuda Bowl. That's presuming France continue to hold down a top 6 place as they qualify automatically as hosts .. Ireland would like to achieve a top 7 placing but are currently in 10th place about 16 VPs out of 7th. Powerful bridge nations currently hold the top 6 places .. FRANCE SWEDEN GERMANY MONACO NETHERLANDS ENGLAND
with other bridge dynasties like World champion POLAND ITALY BULGARIA NORWAY and even HUNGARY + ISRAEL not out of it yet. The current IRELAND team might be considered just around the end of the above mentioned teams.. However a few more Irish slams ...those are ones were the cashing AK in a side suit are not both in opening leaders hand.

Hanlon McGann had rotten luck when they bid a grand slam yesterday against France which only required a 3-2 break in a side suit .... 68% odds or the side suit 4-1 break reversed giving a restricted choice position when a diamond honor falls .... probably another 12% ...so an 80% grand slam had no play . I have not done the maths on the 4-1 making position but made a guess but you cannot have a 4-1 without a singleton honor.

A grand slam we would all be happy and proud to bid ... but the Great Shuffler or some other fecker
deemed that the Great Bidders in the European Bridge Championships would be penalized for their skill. Now don't get me wrong Ireland players have received their fair share of luck over the championships but that hand is just too random ... 30 imps swing on this hand .. probably a difference of 4.5 VPs .... lose by 17 imps instead of 47 ..
Even a French commentator was gracious enough to say .. tres tres malheareux ... whatever that means.... sounds like very very unlucky ...
However an examination of Irelands large win against Italy will find two similar boards going the Ireland way so we have no complaints ..


I notice Scotland got a 20-0 victory against some team yesterday. The Scots have not been having much luck in these championships but they crushed Ireland early on.
The Ireland Senior Team are not finished yet after gathering a 50 imp win in the final match yesterday evening against Scotland I think. A look at the cross table results indicates if they play well and in luck they have several VP gathering opportunities.. However it will be a hard task to push into the top 6 but it is achievable with some luck and good solid bridge. This is 4 of the team that reached World Seniors quarter final ..with World Seniors champion Pat McDevitt assisted by Irelands possibly best natural bridge player Gay Keavney replacing Pat Barry Rex Anderson.. so a decent squad. A couple of dominating performances from the O'Briain brothers might clinch it ..

The Irish ladies are struggling but they are only 18 VPS behind the Scottish squad which crushed all in the recent Lady Milne in Belfast so that shows the strength of the field or maybe Scotland are having some bad hair days. The Irish ladies did have some luck when a Dutch declarer somehow went down in 6S on the hand featured above .. our girls gaining 17 imps to add to 2 other imps gained over the 16 boards to lose 19-23 to the Netherlands.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 23, 2016 07:59 AM