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bridge blogs from the planet

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

Judy Kay-Wolff

Bridge Food for Thought

I was rather amused by the “official statement” of an “authorized ACBL official” to form an alliance with the EBL in an effort to resolve the countless problems that have emerged… defacing our once-wonderful game. If you ADD THE TWO GROUPS TOGETHER, they combine to form the universal unchallenged ‘Father of Bridge’ — THE WORLD BRIDGE FEDERATION. The ultimate aim of the WBF is to promote and honor the highest level of bridge competition in the world in an effort to strengthen and attempt to further its existence for many years to come. Political alliances should not deter them. Supporting the efforts of the WBF should be their primary consideration!

Bridge here in Zone 2 seems to be focusing on attracting more members, giving away floods of master points, raising tournament and ‘special club game’ fees (and salaries) and promoting what Bobby laughingly refers to as HCW (High Card Wins) — without any deliberate effort to further and protect the expert game which has sunken below the performances of many other nations. Worse yet, from talk over the last few years, it was rumored (not confirmed) that the intent and desire of the Board of Directors (with a couple of exceptions) was to vote to stop paying dues to the WBF which offers the only chance for top level bridge to survive on this side of the ocean. On the subject of money, I know since the inception of the ACBL eons ago, Board members were proud and honored to serve without pay… originally with only minimum expenses and perks. Now, there is talk about rearranging the structure with salaried participants. Our heroes of old would turn over in their graves if they saw what has become of the administration of our special game.

No one is denying the glorious intention of going all-out to rid our game of cheating of any kind, in all corners of the world. However, though many private groups have made valiant efforts at organized bridge in this zone, we must go all out to ‘officially’ get it into our schools here. Because of Bobby’s unyielding efforts starting over two decades ago at the Great Hall of China (despite intermittent delays), bridge was recognized and is now OFFICIALLY considered a ‘real’ curriculum there and 200,000,000 children are learning the game there as well as in many European cities. In the eyes of hosts of appreciative bridge lovers, this should be a PRIORITY… but alas, other projects come first.

As far as unifying the EBL and ACBL to ‘zero in’ and stop cheating… better late than never! — I wish they had awakened to that issue back in the sixties and seventies when my late husband, Norman Kay, his team-mates and other worthy competitors kept losing to the revered BT — taking over half a century to let the truth be known. Sadly, we cannot turn back the clock… but the ACBL should have higher and more crucial goals — like SUPPORTING THE WBF BOTH SPIRITUALLY AND FINANCIALLY… strengthening our universal bridge authority.

by Judy Kay-Wolff at June 23, 2016 01:13 AM

June 22, 2016

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 day 7

Four matches today for all the teams and stamina will start to become a factor as the Women and Seniors get to halfway. I expect the Open teams without professional players will also start to struggle as the pace for top places heats up.

The big match in the first round of the day was England Seniors v Ireland. The boards only delivered a series of partscores and most matches were fairly quiet with some small swings. The key swing in this match, as many others, was a tricky 3NT on board 9. Ireland made it, England didn't, and the Irish ran out winners by 33-18 IMP.

England Open found the going easier against Cyprus, pushing them around on the flattish set and winning imps on 11 boards for a comfortable victory by 44-9 IMP. England Women did the same to Portugal on a lesser scale, winning by 24-8 IMP.

Second up was the big match between England Women and Scotland. The first three boards were wild: a difficult game to make; then both North and South had an eight-card red suit to the top two honours, giving them the opportunity of getting too high; finally a balanced 15 count opposite a balanced 20 count could not make 6NT. England got both the first two right with the third flat to lead 25-0 and then got the best of the partscores, but a grand slam by England needing a 3-3 break on the final board was unsuccessful to reduce their winning margin to 38-14 IMP.

England Seniors will not be discussing the second board at dinner for very long as they lost 18 imps to France when six no-trump doubled went down seven (-2000). Surprisingly not the worst result on the board! Things did not improve a few boards later when they got too high and lost -800 on a partscore, and then everything went downhill and they lost 12-64 IMP.

England Open had a relatively quiet match against Romania, but did not get the better of the exchanges as the Romanians played above their 25th position in the table, eventually losing 24-30 IMP.

In the third match, England Women seemed to be playing different boards from others as there was only one double-imp swing in their match against Germany. Fortunately, or perhaps I should say skillfully, it was in their favour as they won by 24-14 IMP. England Seniors, playing Spain, threw off the shackles of the previous round as they stormed into 45-0 imps lead, but two late swings reduced the win to 46-20 IMP. England Open struggled to impose themselves on the hosts, Hungary, and fell to a disappointed defeat by 31-35 IMP.

In the final match of the day against Spain, England Women missed the slam on the first board but luckily it was flat. It was a very quiet match but they got the only game swing and emerged winners 23-9 IMP.

Playing Estonia, the Seniors also missed the slam and it proved flat. But they got the only game swing of the set as they emerged with a 26-2 IMP win.

England Open and Germany both made the excellent slam on the first board. Then Andy Robson pre-empted with a one club opener, earning 15 imps when the Germans found the wrong spot; the English found it easier after a more normal three clubs opening bid. In a good match they exchanged game swings as England emerged victorious by 42-26 IMP.

Scotland Open had a quiet first match against Estonia, but bidding a slam off two cashing tricks proved the difference as they lost by 12-25 IMP.  The Women had a poor match against Germany, losing a game swing on board 9 and being in the wrong game on another hand as they lost 7-46 IMP. The Seniors lost the same two game swings as the Women and did far better on the partscore hands, but it was not quite enough for the win against Finland as they lost by 32-40 IMP.

In their second match Scotland Open avoided all the carnage with three flat boards to start with against mid-table Greece. Then a better lead earned a game swing to get an early lead and then they scored continuously to earn a shutout and maximum win by 71-0 IMP with only eight swings.

The Seniors got big swings on the first two boards against Romania and then continued to pile on the imps. Unfortunately they lost 29 imps on the last three boards to reduce their win to just 49-30 IMP.

The Open team could not continue their good run in the third match against Belarus as three 12-imp losses killed the contest. They lost 50-19 IMP. Like their English counterparts the Women had a much quieter set against Estonia, but late losses were crucial as they went down 11-31 IMP. The Seniors had a match they'd rather forget against Italy, losing 24-61 IMP.

The important match in the final round of the day was Scotland Seniors v Ireland. Both teams missed the excellent slams on the first board and then everything went Ireland's way with three game swings in their direction and a 3-53 IMP loss for the Scots. Another disappointed result for them and a top six place getting further away.

The Open team conceded a slam swing on the first board against Switzerland but eventually got a game swing back, but all the partscores went to the Swiss as the Scots lost by 12-32 IMP.

Both teams bid the slam on the first board as the Women took on the strong Netherlands team and there were no large swings in the match at all. But the Dutch were stronger overall as the Scots lost 7-33 IMP.

Interestingly, and perhaps of concern to the Scottish NPCs, all three teams only scored 1 IMP in the first eight boards of the final set.

Current standings

I'm adding 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
6 ↑↓↓↑
10 ↑↓↑↑
13 ↓=
30 ↓↓↓↓
36 ↓↑↓↓


BBO tomorrow

Wales Open face Monaco at 9am. England Open against Bulgaria at 12.20pm. Ireland Open face Norway and England Seniors play Poland at 3pm. Ireland Open face Bulgaria at 5.40pm.



The Open team should be looking at the size of the victory in three matches but the match against the Bulgars is the most important as they face GEORGIA, BULGARIA, FINLAND, and SWITZERLAND.

The Women have a day to consolidate their position playing BULGARIA, SERBIA, and ISRAEL.

A big day for the Seniors as they face BELGIUM, WALES, and POLAND. Although the last match is the most important, scoring well in the first two is also essential to maintain their position.


Another day of opportunity for the Open team as they face high-flying FRANCE, ROMANIA, GEORGIA, and AUSTRIA.

Similarly for the Women as they play ITALY, PORTUGAL, and SAN MARINO.

Perhaps the last chance saloon for the Seniors as they play SWEDEN, NORWAY, and leaders ISRAEL.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 22, 2016 07:04 PM

Eamon Galligan

European Bridge Championships Day 6

Note .. 1220 Ireland France 1500 Ireland Monaco will be live on Bridgebase Online.

Today June 22nd 2016 at the European Bridge Championships Ireland Open face a big day. In the first of 4 matches they face Belarus. Many years ago some Belarus players attended the 1991 European Bridge championships in Killarney. They were not in the main event but we recall these foreigners playing in the Open Pairs side events. 1991 Ireland was not the multi cultured Ireland that we have today. There was still a Yugoslavia as a full country in those days. That war broke out around the end of those European Bridge championships.

One would hope for a good start to the day against Belarus but those folk have had 25 years to learn their bridge since then.

Match 2 will be against France the current leaders. Back in the early 90s there was a feared junior called Quantin ..A boy mountain they said but our juniors could not defeat him .. He is here now as fully grown middle aged man. In Xmas 2014 the Regent Bridge Club had its 90th birthday and another of this current French team fetched up in the Regent Bridge Club and played in the 90th Birthday Regent Congress. Thomas Bessis ..
I recall the Regent Club manager approaching Thomas Hanlon and wondering if he might play in the Regent 90th anniversary congress. Hanlon walked over to the entry list and wrote down 4 names.

Thomas Hanlon Thomas Bessis Justin Lall and Somebody Delmonte ..

Regent Club manager asked me ...Is Hanlon having a laugh ..
I said "I don't think so as I saw something on Facebook about Lall being in Dublin around Xmas.

Anyway the first 3 showed up along with another lady visitor .. Well done them.

So Match 2 is France ..........

Match 3 will be against the Monaco team including Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness two legends of the bridge game. Despite losing one of the top pairs in the bridge world due to rule changes or maybe the application of LAW 16B or as Declan the Donplayer calls it BILLYING.. Monaco remain a team of considerable force and are placed in 4th place.
The Irish Open team had the experience of some coaching from Krystoff Martens who is the Monaco coach and has now been added to the team as a player due to circumstances. Martens is a bridge animal and any serious player would not be going far wrong to have a look at


I bought 3 declarer play books back in 2007 and all I can say is WOW.. a new life

Match 4 will be against the Ukraine ... Like Match 1 one would hope for a decent amount of VPs

By the end of the day we will know whether a 2nd attendance is possible at the Bermuda Bowl or a repeat of that never to be forgotten Saturday morning when Ireland played Scotland needing a good victory to reach the Bermuda Bowl. Scotland did not play ball for a while and went into a 20 imp lead but slowly Ireland overcame and passed out and even moved into medal contention. Eventually Ireland collected a SILVER medal that morning and Team Silver was born.

I notice there is no Lithuanian team in this years event. I know they played in 2012 in Ireland as Thomas Hanlon introduced me to some of them .. White with a blue stripe type shirts. Some of them smokers. I know there is a bridge invitational  event run every year in Lithuania .. Maybe something happened that I missed ..

Anyway I think the bridge has started so better get in there and watch ....

Just in case anyone thinks this European bridge is easy or mistakes they see are bad .. I played Round 17 using the 6 BBO tables as comparisons and JACK (www.jackbridge.com) as a partner and opponents.

I messed up one 4H contract and went down in a 3NT both makeable but otherwise thought
I played ok. That brought me 21st place out of 24 Euro Team pairs. So that's why I cannot play for Ireland. Too sloppy ...If my avoided those two bad boards I am still only in the middle of the field despite my opponents being two Jack computer programs ..

We also have Ladies and Senior teams competing in these Euro championships. The ladies are finding the going tough but that's to be expected with most of the opponents being proffessionals and our ladies having 9-5 jobs at home.
Our Seniors backboned by the powerful Mesbur Fitzgibbon partnership. 40 years plus and they still do bidding practice at least twice a week. There is a lesson there. The Seniors also feature former World Senior Pairs  champion Pat McDevitt in tandem with Gay Keavney along with the feared O'Briain brothers... The Senior Team can beat any other Senior Team on their day as long as they don't rest Mesbur Fitzgibbon too often. It is not possible to waltz into European Senior Teams after feeding on a diet of Irish Nationals and Senior Camroses. A man at the recent Ireland Invitational Pairs indicated that Ireland Seniors would be a favourite in Euro Seniors ..
"Favourite to do what I asked " .. The reply was ." Well win the thing " ... "Dream on I said .. players who play all their Under 60 life as average at best for Euro level don't suddenly become world beaters at 60" ....All the medal winners of the 70s 80s 90s will be waiting in the Euro Seniors and not planning to roll over..... Now Mesbur Fitzgibbon the reigning Cavendish Pairs holders will put fear/respect  into any European Pair when they are sitting out the opposite happens ..

I read in a book ..think it was about Great Irish Bridge plays ...something about Mr Nobody ..
Mr Nobody made a great play against a multi world champion and the guy searched the opponents white shirt for his name ... Ah ok Mr Nobody but you are a damn good declarer .. Nowadays nobody needs to look for Nick Fitzgibbons name .. No doubt Keavney McDevitt and the O'Briain brothers will prove me wrong .... Currently they are playing England and after 5 boards its 6-5 to England.
O'Briains and Mesbur Fitzgibbon at the tables. A good win would boost the confidence.

In the womans event the Russians are 18-0 up on Ireland at the moment. Some of those Russia lady names look kind of Belarus to me but I could be wrong.

And in the Open with Hanlon McGann gone to the gym for the morning we trial 2-7 after 5 boards ..

Looks like Carroll and Garvey need to work on their cuebidding as they just bid 6H missing the cashing Ace King of clubs .. Thomas MacCormac and Eamon did that against two English internationals back in the day .. They still holding the Ace and King ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 22, 2016 08:59 AM

June 21, 2016

Eamon Galligan

Euro Bridge Championships 2016 Round 14 15

In Round 14 Ireland defeated Croatia 51-23 ..I think this was the match where Hanlon bid a 7NT based on Spade King being a working finesse. Unfortunately at this moment my computer or someones computer won't allow me access the match boards and results


In round 15

Ireland defeated Russia 40-30 to record another victory


In both the above matches click on the table number to find further information on the match.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 21, 2016 05:34 PM

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 day 6

None of the Scotland teams started well in the first match. The Women never got started at all against high-flying France and lost 1-53 IMP. What does it take to be thrashed? Not much: lead the wrong suit against game, discard poorly when a long suit is run, fail to compete and find your fit, and play in the wrong game - things that happened in many other matches, but you happen to do them all. At least they avoided the bagel (Wimbledon talk starts here), but four key mistakes across the team is all it takes.

Two slam swings put Scotland Open in control of their match against Belgium, but two late game swings out almost cost them the match. But two swings back on the final boards gave them a win by 44-37 IMP. Wales Seniors gave Scotland a fright, scoring 22 imps without reply, but a second-half rally saw the old Scots pull back the deficit and win by 38-28 IMP.  A good result given the start, but perhaps some bagpipes needed to wake them up.

The fourth board of the second match saw many teams bidding a no-trump slam off two aces. Declarer only has eleven cashing tricks so the defence always has a chance, but it made many times. But never by the Scots for whom it proved costly. The whole set was quite wild with double imp swings littering the scoreboards of most matches. Scotland Open lost the slam battles but won the war on the other hands with an encouraging 48-46 IMP win against Bulgaria.

The Women also had a wild match but most of the swings were in the plus column as they beat the strong Swedish team by 61-38 IMP. By contrast the Seniors were very sedate with only one double-imp swing, but it was for a missed grand slam as they lost to France by 28-39 IMP.

The cards turned quiet for the third and final match of the day. The big match was the England v Scotland clash in the Seniors, but it was uneventful. No swings more than 5 imps and England edged it by 20-14 IMP. Scotland Women exchanged imps with Serbia on 11 of the 16 boards, but not many of them as they won narrowly by 16-12 IMP. Scotland Open could not continue their winning run and lost to Czechia (can I call them that yet?) by 7-30 IMP, the Czechians one of only six Open teams to successfully bid a slam on the set.

A couple of adverse slam swings put England Open on the back foot against Ukraine in the first match and they conceded 37 imps before responding. A better second half and strong finish gave them the win by 55-39 IMP . The Women were cruising to a maximum against Greece but two late game swings cost a couple of VPs as they won 55-22 IMP. Two slam swings and a big penalty helped the Seniors to a 63-17 IMP win over Norway to consolidate their good start to the event.

England Women sat the second match out as BYE failed to turn up for umpteenth time in this event without being penalised. The Open team made six no-trump on board four, despite missing two aces, but these imps went back when they also missed the grand slam. Imps were flying in this match against Norway but a good performance by the team gave them a 53-32 IMP win.

The England Seniors scored first but then conceded five double-imp swings, including a -20 imps when the grand slam went down but was made by Austria.

In the final match England Women conceded the big swings as they were thrashed by Denmark by 8-16 IMP. Two missed games put England Open in a vulnerable position against Croatia, but a second half recovery saw them win by 32-23 IMP,

Current standings

I'm adding 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. This shows that Scotland Open have a much easier run-in than the other teams and Scotland Seniors need to put the foot to the metal if they are to achieve their goals - alternatively they can say that their destiny is in their own hands!

OpenVPPositionTo faceWomenVPPositionTo faceSeniorsVPPositionTo face
5 ↓↑↑↑
11 b↓↑↑
23 ↓↓↓↓
17 =
37 ↓↑↑↓


BBO tomorrow

Ireland Open play France at 12.20pm and Monaco at 3pm. England Open play Hungary at 3pm and Germany at 5.40pm.



Three matches for the Open team to build up points - CYPRUS, ROMANIA, and HUNGARY - and then the vital match against GERMANY. At least it cannot go to penalties in this event.

The Women have a relatively easy but long day - PORTUGAL, SCOTLAND, GERMANY, and SPAIN.

The Seniors will have a competitive first match against IRELAND and then hope to build on this against FRANCE, SPAIN, and ESTONIA.


Theoretically one of the Open team's easiest days - ESTONIA, GREECE, BELARUS, and SWITZERLAND. Practically speaking though, no day is easy.

Probably the Women's toughest day, although I believe they are up to three pairs now, as they face GERMANY, ENGLAND, ESTONIA, and NETHERLANDS.

The Seniors will hope to pile on the points against FINLAND and ROMANIA, before the tougher matches against ITALY and IRELAND.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 21, 2016 05:03 PM

Peg Kaplan

Granite City Sectional Results

St cloud


Players from around Minnesota and the Dakotas headed to St. Cloud this past weekend to compete in the Granite City Sectional.  A fine player from out of state who often finds himself at the top of the leaderboard duplicated that trick. Congratulations to Vern Evans; Vern and partner Maurice Evans of Willmar led the pack with just under 21 masterpoints. New Grand Life Master John Koch was less than one point away, to capture the third spot.  

The full list of masterpoints totals is here; results from the weekend are at this link.

Thanks to Co-Chairs Kory Solarz and Jean Leighton for their efforts, to everyone else who worked on the tournament and all our competitors!

by Peg at June 21, 2016 12:00 AM

June 20, 2016

Peg Kaplan

The Longest Day - St. Paul Edition



Today, June 20th, is the longest day of the year.  It is also the ACBL's special fundraiser to battle Alzheimer's.

The Bridge Center of St.Paul's "Longest Day" was superb!  The Club had 18.5 tables in play, and raised over $3700!  Donations are still coming in, too!

A great lasagna lunch was served at no charge; players could then choose to make a donation of their choice. 

Special thanks to Gary and Elaine Mulcahy, for their efforts in helping with lunch and making everyone yummy warm chocolate chip cookies!

Additional thanks to all who helped with St. Paul's Longest Day - and who contributed to this very important battle!




by Peg at June 20, 2016 09:50 PM

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 day 5

The first half of Scotland Open's match against Iceland was typical of their tournament. The team did not do much wrong, but just could not score imps as the opponents found the right partscores, did not overbid, defended a little better, and bid a thin game, missed by the Scots, that was only beaten once but bid most of the time. This is all it takes to be 0-22 at halftime. If this is the small difference between you and most of the other teams, then you will be at the bottom of the table in this event. In the second half Scotland started a recovery but it was bludgeoned out on a wild hand and the team lost by 13-48 IMP.

Scotland Women's errors were far more costly in the first half as they fell to a heavy defeat by Israel. They did mount a recovery but it was snuffed out at the end, finishing 39-64 IMP, Meanwhile the Seniors traded swings with Portugal, a more effective strategy in the first half, but the second half got away from them as they lost by 27-56 IMP.

In the second match, Scotland Open had two unfortunate slam swings out in the first four boards against Germany: the killing lead was not found on the first and the second was a poor, but making, slam. 0-20 instead of 20-0. Normality was resumed soon after, although a further slam swing out meant that the final score was 28-54 IMP. The Women just got steamrollered by Poland and only just avoided a whitewash, losing 10-68 IMP.

With all the other matches seeing imps flying around left, right, and centre on the first four boards, the Seniors of Scotland and Spain were in soporific form as Spain led 4-1. The Scots then woke up first, making three games beaten at the other table with only a slam swing for the Spaniards as the Scots won by 44-22 IMP.

The third match saw England v Scotland in the Open series. Unfortunately it was not much of a contest: England bids the right slams and games, Scotland the wrong ones, and it was almost a maximum win for the English at halftime. They continued to pile on the imps and Scotland eventually lost by 10-86 IMP. The English scored imps on 13 boards and there was only one push, a well-bid grand slam by both teams.

It was hard to believe that the Women were playing the same boards against Spain, but I suspect it was just a scrappy match with lots of opportunities missed by both teams. Eventually two late slam swings meant that the Scots lost by 32-48 IMP. The Seniors started well against the hosts, Hungary, scoring 33 imps without reply and looked set for a good win when two late slam and a game swing went against them, reducing them to a disappointing 38-38 IMP draw.

Only the Open team played a fourth match of the day and it must have been very difficult, particularly for Derek and Stephen, after the drubbing from England. They will have been buoyed when the Turkish slam failed on the first board and they were leading at halftime. But three game swings took the match away from them and they lost by 25-52 IMP.

England Open had a quieter first match than many, only two double-imp swings, as they lost to Greece by 6 imps. The Women started well against Russia but were pegged back in the middle boards and never recovered, losing 21-56 imps. The Seniors exchanged swings and were level at the half with Bulgaria, but getting the only major swing in the second half meant a 39-22 IMP win.

In the second matches, England Open lost a slam swing on the first board but then cruised through the rest of the match with a solid performance, even an adverse game swing late on cancelled out on the final board as they won by 21 imps. The Women pulverised Ireland, as they normally do, with a maximum win, conceding six imps. Only two big swings in the match as the Seniors lost narrowly to Italy, 27-29 IMP.

In their last match of the day, England Women had a match of few swings against the Swedes, but most were double-imps and they were on the right side of most as they won 50-22 IMP. The Seniors scored well and consistently against the Dutch, only just missing a maximum with their 57-17 IMP win.

England Open's last match of the day was against Poland. Both teams are far lower in the current ranking than I, and I expect they, expected. It proved a tight affair, despite a quite exciting set of hands, with both teams playing their lead pairs. Just three partscore swings to Poland meant a defeat for the English by 5-22 IMP. This meant that Poland just leap-frogged England in the table with both teams facing a more difficult second half of the event.

Current standings (with newly added momentum markers)

8 ↓↑↑↓
3 ↑
12 ↑↑↓b
17 ↓
20 ↓↓↑↓
19 ↑=
37 ↓↓↓↓


BBO tomorrow

England Open v Italy, Ireland Open v Netherlands, and England Seniors v Austria at 12.20pm.



The key match will be against NORWAY who the Open team face after playing UKRAINE. CROATIA should not prove too much of a concern in the last match of the day.

Frustratingly the Women have a bye in the second match. It breaks up the day but doesn't allow everyone to relax properly. Before that they face GREECE and then an important match against DENMARK.

A very tough day in prospect for the Seniors as they face three top teams - NORWAY, AUSTRIA, and SCOTLAND. Only one pair in these two teams played in the Teltscher Trophy, so the result there is irrelevant.


The Open team has a difficult schedule - BELGIUM, BULGARIA, and CZECH REPUBLIC - but these are the teams that they'd like to be competitive with.

The Women start with two tough matches as they face FRANCE and SWEDEN, hopefully finding SERBIA somewhat easier.

The Seniors face familiar foes - WALES, FRANCE, and ENGLAND - and a good performance will be needed in all three matches.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 20, 2016 06:49 PM

Bob Mackinnon

Weak Two in First Seat

Recently we saw on BBO men and women competing for places at the world’s championship in Wroclaw. Male commentators, who tend to be judgemental when it comes to women’s bridge, place the likes of Karen McCallum two rungs above Elizabeth Warren on the Goofy Ladder, while showing sympathy for male players who are just as loony. We men have trouble with interpreting what’s really going on in a woman’s mind.

A man shouldn’t ask a woman directly what she wants. There is a huge difference between what women say they want and what they settle for. If you asked Hilary Clinton what she wants she might say, ‘a world safe for our grandchildren, free from poverty and discrimination,’ but I suspect she would settle for becoming President of the United States and bombing the bejeezus out of Libya. It’s like bidding at bridge – you learn to make do with what comes your way. You’re happy only if you think you’re happy.

I see there were USBF competitions for youths. The trouble with the next generation is always that they want to change things rather than leave well enough alone. Here is my version of what the younger generation of bridge player may be thinking, but I hope I’m wrong.

Dear Secret Diary:

I can’t believe that in a week’s time I’ll be playing for the Rona Cup in my first USBF Championship ever. I’m sure to meet lots of famous players, like Adam Kaplan and Ben Kristensen (He’s gorgeous.) Tomorrow Leni and I will go twinning at the mall so we can catwalk our sisterliness at the tournament. She can have Ben if he doesn’t see me first! Our moms insist on tagging along, but at least Leni’s mom works at the mall, not 20 miles away downtown. Get a life, Mom. Leni wants so much to win – I hope I don’t totally screw up. (I won’t.) She’s a Leo and I’m a Libra, so we’re a good combination. Leni thinks you can get anything you want if you want it bad enough, but I think that if you want something too much, you won’t.

I wonder what my very first opening bid will be like. I hope I have 5 spades, is that too much to ask? I know that’s not everything, but those hands are so much easier to bid. Points aren’t so important. Dad taught me good players make do with less, but, call me chicken, I don’t feel comfortable with less than 9 HCP including an ace and a king. It’s nice to be surrounded with helpful queens and jacks and tens, like relatives you’d invite to a wedding, but I found singleton kings aren’t much help. Those are like smelly Uncle Ed all by himself in the Klondike panning for gold and never taking a shower unless it happens to rain while he’s out wandering around. Talk to you again tomorrow, when I bet you won’t recognize me behind my neat Revo wraparounds.

Light Openings

In 1989 Mike Lawrence published Passed Hand Bidding, a book that dealt exclusively with opening bids opposite a partner who had previously passed. He applied commonsense in allowing light opening bids with a 4-card major. For example, he recommends 1 on AQJ7 85 764 QT53 and pass on QT53 85 764 AQJ7. The problem with opening the second hand with 1 is that it might provoke a partner to overbid with a good passed hand. We’ve all experienced that. The first hand can be taken care of by using the Drury convention. A key element of Lawrence’s third hand bidding structure is the weak two whose role is expanded to include hands that have only a 5-card suit, or have a second 4-card suit in the other major, or have a void, or are extremely weak. For example, he suggests a 2 opening bid at favourable vulnerability on QJ987 8643 Q643, an 8-loser hand.

Lawrence asked, ‘why not open light in all seats?’ His answer, ‘responder will have to spend so much time finding out if opener has a real opener that other important facts will get lost.’ That was true in 1989, but no longer as response structures have been devised to overcome the apparent flaw. Nonetheless, sometimes partner is handcuffed, as Karen McCallum showed during the recent USBF Women’s Semi Finals. On Board 17 of the 6th segment she opened 2 in first seat on T85 AT964 3 8532, a 9-loser hand, only to find partner doubling the 3 overcall. What can one do in that case except hope partner has her double?

All Pass


Ideally before taking an action at the table a player dispassionately estimates the risk-to-gain ratio. Lynn Baker is a law professor and a world champion, a consultant in corporate law, so she is well qualified to exploit the loopholes in McCallum’s bidding system, but it is hard to argue on the case that her penalty double had much to gain and little to lose in this situation. Yes, looking at her hand alone, 3 might be going down 1, but the score would be increased insignificantly from +50 to +100. There is a real risk that partner will contribute very little to the defence. On the other hand, if the preempt has been effective, after a pass Debbie Rosenberg, motivated by greed, will be obliged take some risky action opposite an unlimited overcall. The defence against 3NT doubled should prove much easier than the defence against 3* as the South hand contains 5 tricks off the top after a black suit lead.

When Baker avoided leading her partner’s bid suit, opting instead for 3 rounds of clubs, she lost 12 IMPs. No one says it’s easy – and even Stephen Hawking might pursue the same you-can’t-fool-me defence without the benefit of an intelligible signal from a nearby terrestrial being (and I am not referring to some wee doggie signalling a need to leave the room.) The strategy behind the weak weak-two is to promote uncertainty, but there should be some way for a partnership to unravel the mystery subsequently if it is in their interest to do so, and clear defensive signalling was required in this situation.

At the other table Shannon Cappelletti passed as North and Irina Levitina pre-empted with a bid of 3, which under these circumstances implied weakness, not strength. Jill Meyers doubled as South and got the response I would have feared, 3 from partner. This contract on a 5-2 fit at the 3-level was ‘unbeatable as the cards lie’, as critics say disapprovingly when someone successfully violates one of their sacred conservative principles.

The Weak Two in the USBC Open Trials

The strategy of the God-awful Weak Two is based on greed that distorts the process by amplifying the potential gain while reducing the possible risk. An opponent may be provoked into imagining he is missing game. He bids his suit rather than doubling, which fits the aim of the preemptor to get away with murder.

When one is pre-empted it is often good policy to keep greed in check as far as possible and to settle for 3NT. The actions on Board 27 of the Open Final offered the viewers a contrast of styles with greybeards at one table and young guys at the other.

All Pass


The greybeard auction hardly needs comment. It is like a ferry ride across a calm harbour. Martel has rather too much defence for a preempt, but there is still hope the Multi may cause confusion as it did decades ago when it was first introduced. The opponents bid the obvious bids and Diamond made an overtrick after Martel led from his long suit. Three boards to go before lunch. At the other table the sea was rough, the journey hazardous.

All Pass

If the South hand is too good for 2, it must be right for 3. Now the greed engendered by a preempt is proportional to the level of the preempt, so although Platnick’s bid of 2 is reasonable, Moss’s 3 may be classified as being overly stimulated. Grue thought his partner must have a significantly better hand than he did, so he made a move towards slam somewhere, perhaps imagining 4NT would be a biddable and playable contract. It was playable, as Diamond demonstrated, but biddable it wasn’t. The cost was 11 IMPs.

More Weak Twos at the USBC Open

In the quarter-finals Grue opened 2 on: 7 87 KJT952 AQ75, and incurred a loss of 8 IMPs. Partner showed a good hand, so when Levin-Weinstein bid to a doomed 4, Grue with extras carried on the 5, also going down. The lesson is this: don’t have extras when you preempt lest you be tempted to bid again. An 8-loser hand is about right.

It is wrong to think that light opening bids makes constructive bidding more difficult. Here is an example from the finals where Moss, not vulnerable vs vulnerable, opened a Weak Two on a 5-card suit in an 8-loser hand and Grue, rich in controls, raised immediately to game. The Weak Two made their life easy for the time being.


Greco got off to the good lead of a diamond to partner’s K and Hampson switched to a spade. With one trick to lose in each suit it appeared that the preempt would cost 6 IMPs as at the other table the contract was 2 making 4. Bathurst had passed, Lall opened 1NT and was transferred to 2 with no one the wiser. However, with Moss’s hand something of a mystery, the defence failed to cash their aces in a timely fashion and the game came home with an overtrick for a gain of 7 IMPs. Results like this encourage rough-and-ready bidding after partner opens with a descriptive limited bid. At Teams there is little advantage to exploring with a delicate auction and stopping below game when the defence may be persuaded to yield an extra trick. Nonetheless, in the end, after a long struggle, discipline overcame gamesmanship as the all-Precision Diamond team won the honour of representing the United States.

by Bob Mackinnon at June 20, 2016 02:31 PM

Eamon Galligan

European Championships 2016 Round 12 13

Sunday June 19th and we await with trepidation Cavan versus Tyrone in the Ulster GAA semi final.
Tyrone are damn good with many All Ireland winners still in their squad having won the All Ireland in 2003 2005 and 2008. Where were the Dubs those years .. Anyway all was well with Cavan putting up a good effort and scoring a goal in the 73rd miute to equalize the match and we have to do it all again. Now I am from Cavan but I support the Dubs.

So Round 12 saw Ireland take on the mis-firing Scotland although the Scots are fresh from knocking off a deflated Portugal by 13-7 .. starting on Board 17

Board 17 Ireland make the " easy 4S " the quote is from another match .. and Scotland have a problem and languish in 3H going down ...so 11 imps to Ireland

Board 18 Ireland bid the normal 6D and unfortunately fail to make the double dummy 13 tricks so 13 imps out ..Scotland in 4S

Board 20 sees the Scots down in 4S doubled while Hanlon McGann roll it home.
"Lots of easy 4S around this set says the commentator in the Italy match ..maybe its a joke ..
14 imp to Ireland ..

Board 21 Boland leads off a 4th highest HEART against 3NT and the the Scotsman is away for slates. 10 tricks and 11 imps in a 3NT that needs quiet defence. Scotland gained 6 on 22 ..

Board 23 .. Scotland land in 6H .. some work is required but they guide it home ..
In the other room Hanlon McGann languish in 4H making 11 .. Grand slam in Clubs was on
good guesses ..    13 imps to Scotland.. now a comfortable 48-25 ahead .. 

Board 27 sees Boland Moran make a comfortable 4H on sub minimum values while the Scots languish in 2NT against Hanlon McGann. 48-45 Scotland with 5 boards left

Finally board 31 sees the Scots bid 6S on 30 hcp and a 9 card trump fit. Few tables bid this slam.
However after a diamond finesse winning and the run of the trumps West gets squeezed out of AQJ of hearts and the 4 card diamonds .. 6S bid and made .. 13 imps to Scotland who win by 66 imps to 51. The Intelligent Man was playing in the Closed Room for Scotland. He is Danny Kane.
So Scotland got their 2nd 14 VP haul in a row but unfortunately went back to old habits in the next 4 matches to remain firmly on the bottom.. Hopefully things will improve for them.
66 imps in the bag for Scotland ..a team who have been lucky to get past 30 most matches so far.
Round 13 ..saw Ireland take on Israel

First 7 boards went 6-5 to Ireland.

Board 8 saw Israel draw some blood by finding a good 5C sacrifice versus the no-vul 4S game.
Hanlon McGann unwisely pushed on to 5S and paid a further 7 imps by going down.

Board 9 saw Israel and Ireland  bid a small slam .. In the Open Room McGann led a small diamond and when the Jack won Israel were home in a beatable 6H .. KQ diamond lead is good ..
In  the Closed Room .. 6H down on DK .. 14 imps to Israel.

Board 12 sees Hanlon McGann swiftly into 3C contract EW despite the opps owning 4S cold.
3C goes 2 off while Carroll and Garvey muster up 620 in 4S. Ireland lost 9 imps on Board 13 going down in 4H while Israel went plus in 3H .. 200 in each room .
The score now 44-22 for Israel

Board 16 saw Ireland gain 13 on 4S making by Hanlon McGann for 620 while Carroll Garvey found the 5C sacrifice for 4 imps but Israel pushed on to 5S going down.

So Israel 44 Ireland 35 ...


by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 20, 2016 12:12 PM

European Bridge Championships 2016 Rounds 9 10 11

Saturday 18th of June dawns. Loads of sport on the TV. Some think Ireland are going to get something out of Belgium in the soccer. The more practical among us see Free Money at almost evens. However we lost it back when Galway done Mayo.

Round 9 versus Spain

Board 2 Hanlon McGann weore able to gather 11 imps for 3NT via 5 club tricks and enough in the other suits to make.
Board 8 saw a slip on defence or else too active defence and 4S slipped past for 10 imps out at the Hanlon McGann table
Board 9 saw Carroll Garvey make a good 3NT via 6 club tricks and a trick in each other suit for 10 imps back. Ireland by 24-12
Board 13 saw Hanlon McGann attempt 6H missing AK of trumps .. Now it is possible to make these kind of things but you need to be able to persuade the opps into some ruffs. In this case the Spanish lad had both AK in the one hand and chose to double. 800 out when 4H can hardly make but Carroll Garvey failed to find the defence not that it mattered. So 800 and 620 .. for 16 imps .. At least the 2 poor scores were on the same board. I do recall one time down in Clontarf at some intermediate competition I persuaded my opps to do some underruffing and then felled the trump AK of trumps in one to make 4H+2 but that was 30 years ago.
So 36-25 to Spain and a poor day at the office for Hanlon McGann on the boards we examined.

Round 10 v Switzerland starting on Board 17

Board 17 saw the Swiss making 11 tricks in 4H while Boland Moran failed. Trumps were 4-0 with KQ92 in one hand so nobody is saying it is easy .. 11 imps to Swiss

Board 20 saw the Swiss over reach or maybe get pushed too high in both rooms and Boland Moran collected 500 while Hanlon McGann added another 200 so 12 imps to Ireland

Board 25 saw both EWs in 6D .. Trumps were 4-0 .. KT9x .. Hanlon took a swing and 500 in against the 100 lost by Boland Moran .. 9 imps to Ireland

Board 27 saw 11 more imps to Ireland when the Swiss failed in 6H against 4H+1 in the other room

Board 29 saw Ireland lose 12 imps when someone led their singleton spade but with Left Hand Leads now illegal the defence went awry and 12 imps to Switzerland . Score about 41-32 with 3 boards to go.
Boland Moran gathered in 3 plus scores on boards 30-32 which translated into 18 imps and a 59-32 win.

Round 11 which is the final round of the day

Board 1 and the Club Ace lead against 3NT lets Carroll have Club King and Queen separately for 10 imps against 3N down in Hanlon McGann room

Board 4 saw Hanlon slip away in 4H when only 2H was book ... Ireland up by 25

Board 5 saw Hanlon down in a makeable 6D ..well unfortunately Hanlon knows the odds and a finesse beats a 3-3 break most days .. Today the finesse lost  As they saw in Fitzwilliam tennis club PLUS in game beats DOWN in slam. .. 11 imps Sweden

Board 11 saw Carroll Garvey down in 3NT off first 5 tricks ..while Sweden eased home in 10 tricks cold 4H .. 10 imps Sweden

Board 12 saw Carroll Garvey take the low road in allowing Sweden play and make 3S when 5C is cold for them as EW. 10 cautious imps to Sweden and the score 34-34 ..

Board 15 is worth a mention and shows how the Irish continue to luck in .. God help them when the
luck runs out .. 7C can be made double dummy but is an esoteric line .. Our man Hanlon who is one of the great natural declarers in the world tackled 6C and emerged with 11 tricks ..
How can this be ... The Swedes roared into the decent 7C .. and they also emerged with 11 tricks
So an interesting 3 imps to Ireland who take the match by 1 imps

There ye go .. 7C .fancy your chances of outplaying Thomas Hanlon in 6C .. or the Swedish  declarer in 7C. Otherwise maybe the Irish Congress Teams contract of 5C.
Most tables in the Open Teams declared slams .. Half made and Half went down ..
Only the Dutch North bid and made 7C .. Over to you

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 20, 2016 10:54 AM

June 19, 2016

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 day 4

England Open started with a solitary imp win against Austria. Early gains were wiped out in the mid-game and it needed 17 imps in the last four boards to get the result. The Women started slowly but eked out a 12 imps win due to some excellent slam bidding. The Seniors started slowly too and also managed to turn it around for the win.

In the second match England Women led the way, narrowly missing a maximum win against San Marino. The Seniors were largely outplayed by the Hungarians, but a late rally kept it to a 19 IMP loss. The Open team also struggled against Turkey and, despite a mid-game rally, fell to a disappointing 15 IMP defeat.

In the third match England Open started as expected against the Faroe Islands, 42-0 after five boards, but then something went wrong and they only won by 54-39 IMP. Another opportunity missed. The Women had a low scoring match against Italy and could not recover from missing two easy slams, losing 16-28 IMP. The Seniors also started strongly, 23-0 after five, but could not hold onto the lead as they slipped to defeat by Turkey by 18 imps.

In the last match of the day, England Open struggled against a strong Swedish team and the match was decided by the accurate doubling by the Swedes as England lost by 12 imps. The Women were rampant against the Finns, getting a maximum win without conceding an imp, 63-0. The Seniors were similar, demolishing Serbia 60-8 imps, but just missing the maximum.

The Scotland Open team started brightly when the Irish rested one of their top pairs, leading by 29-25 imps after five boards. They built on this lead with some good slam bidding to win by 66-51 IMP. The Women started well and held on to beat Denmark by 53-35 IMP. Conversely the Seniors also started well, 24-0 after three boards, but then imps slipped away as they lost to Serbia by 32-42 IMP.

In the second match Scotland, who have been doing well in the slam zone, failed to continue this trend as they lost 20-51 IMP to Sweden. The Women put in a very solid performance against Finland, who they've practised against a few times, and won comfortably by 49-11 IMP. The Seniors started slowly this time and then cruised to a comfortable win by 53-16 IMP against the unpredictable Turks.

In the third match, Scotland Open had a quiet match against Spain until the Godeds bid a grand slam on two finesses - I'll gloss over the fact that the Scots settled in game - and that meant defeat by 8-32 IMP. The Women had the normal roller-coaster ride against Ireland, but at the end they'd won by 47-26 IMP. The Seniors just got on the wrong side of too many boards as they lost by 29-60 IMP to Austria.

In the final match of the day the Scotland Open team gained 3 imps on the first board and then, pretty randomly, lost 20 imps when a grand slam could be beaten if you led to partner's unknown ace. Then thirty more imps disappeared in the next three boards, putting the team on the back foot. The rest of the set was fairly quiet, meaning a loss by 12-52 IMP.

Scotland Women are playing four-handed until Tuesday and perhaps they tired a little in the fourth match when they lost heavily to Russia to drop down the table. Time for a good meal and some sleep before a tough day tomorrow. The Seniors lost narrowly to Estonia with only one double-imp swing on the card, unlike almost every other match in this round.



BBO tomorrow

England Open v Estonia and England Seniors v Italy at 12.20pm. Ireland Open v Hungary at 3pm. England Open v Poland at 5.40pm.



The Open team start with three easy matches, GREECE, ESTONIA, and SCOTLAND, before taking on favourites POLAND. No local derby is easy and the Scots often perform above themselves in this match, but England will save their top pairs for the Poland game.

The Women face RUSSIA, IRELAND, and SWEDEN.

The Seniors face BULGARIA, ITALY, and NETHERLANDS in what will be a tough day. All three opponents are experienced players and teams who will compete for the top six positions.


The Open team have their toughest day - ICELAND, GERMANY, ENGLAND, and TURKEY - and will do well to emerge with a handful of victory points.

The Women also have a tough schedule - ISRAEL, POLAND, and SPAIN - teams that they need to do well against if they are looking for a good finish.

The Seniors play three largely unknown quantities - PORTUGAL, SPAIN, and HUNGARY.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 19, 2016 07:04 PM

June 18, 2016

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 day 3

Scotland only managed to score on one board against Poland, but it was a game swing and they only conceded one double-imp swing themselves until they shot themselves in the foot on the penultimate board. However better judgement and strong defence meant a steady dribble of imps for the Poles and Scotland lost comfortably by 10-62 IMP. No surprise against my favourites.

In their second match a very disappointing defeat by Cyprus by 9-62 IMP. Two poor decisions in the first five boards were compounded by two more later in the match. In the NPC had hair at the start of the match, I doubt if he has any left.

In the final match of the day against Portugal, the team only scored on three boards (and lost on eight). But two were slams made by Stephen but beaten at the other table, so a confidence inspiring 36-21 IMP win to finish the day.

England had a similarly disappointing performance against lowly Serbia, only gaining on the swingy board 11 and losing everywhere else for a 19 IMP defeat. Not how they wanted to start the day and they struggled in the second match against Portugal, but two good late boards gave a 17 imps win. A good performance and win against Russia saw them rise up the table. However they'll be wary that they have yet to play any of the top teams.

Wales continued their good run with an emphatic win over high-flying Norway in the first match. Then they had a tremendous victory against Poland, moving up 11th with real momentum, but unfortunately they could not sustain that as they fell to a surprise defeat by Faroe Islands.

A slow start for Sarah & Fiona and Sally & Susanna, the two English pairs in the Women's Pairs A Final. Both improved in the second set with Sarah & Fiona moving up to 9th and they started the final (fifth) session in 7th place. This is where Sarah & Fiona would finish, with Sally & Susanna two places behind them.

In the B Final, Fiona and Sheila finished 9th with 52.95% with Gilly and Laura from Wales 4th.







The Women's and Seniors start with four matches for everyone.

Anne Perkins (Scotland Seniors NPC) - photo by Anne Symons

BBO tomorrow

England Open play Turkey at 12.20pm. England Women play Italy at 3pm. England Open play Sweden at 5.40pm.


The Open team play AUSTRIA, TURKEY, FAROE ISLANDS, and SWEDEN. They'll expect a good haul from two of the matches but the Turks are always dangerous and the final match will be important against the Swedes.

The Women start with an easy schedule - HUNGARY, SAN MARINO, ITALY, and FINLAND. They'll look to score well in all four matches but it will be interesting to see if Italy's 'Pink' investment is showing any return.

The Seniors start with four unfancied teams - FINLAND, HUNGARY, TURKEY, and SERBIA. One of these, Turkey, were also unfancied the year they won, so it can be very dangerous to predict at times.


The Open continues with a tough schedule - IRELAND, SWEDEN, SPAIN, and UKRAINE.

The Women start with a schedule that could give some confidence - DENMARK, FINLAND, IRELAND, and RUSSIA - especially as the Russians are not the usual strong team. A good chance to start off on the right foot.

The Seniors have a couple of tricky matches - SERBIA, TURKEY, AUSTRIA, and ESTONIA - with the middle two matches likely to be close.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 18, 2016 05:26 PM

Peg Kaplan

Summertime Tournament Fun

St cloud

Minnesota summer has plenty to offer bridge tournament goers!  This weekend, the Granite City Sectional continues today and tomorrow in St. Cloud.

The schedule and details are here; plenty to enjoy!




by Peg at June 18, 2016 11:57 AM

Eamon Galligan

European Bridge Championships 2016 Round 7/8

Ireland took on Portugal in Round 7. Portugal were struggling in 30th place of 37 teams. So hopefully some VPs coming. Again we look at the double digit boards

Board 3 saw the Portuguese attempt a 3H contract unfortunately when their opponents were capable of making 9 tricks in the same contract. Moran had some double cards in his box and done the needful. Down 5 was worth 1100 versus the vul game in other room ... Ireland up by 17-1

Board 7 saw Boland Moran stay low with 10 opposite 15 and two 4333 shapes. Unfortunately the spades lay safely and Lauria guided 3NT home in comfort in another match. 3NT also made in the closed room of Ireland match so 10 imps out ... Ireland by 22-18.

Board 13 saw the Portuguese attempt 3NT despite Hanlon holding 3 bullets and McGann owning 7 high card points. .....Someone probably McGann put the double card out and that became 800. and 12 imps. ...... Ireland win by 41-21 and about 15 VPS in the bag.

Round 8 saw Ireland take on a capable German side.

A dribble of small imps out until board 23

In the Open Room Rehder after passing as dealer found a 3C bid and East got into the making 3NT.
Hanlon McGann pushed onto the making 4S as North South but the Germans took insurance in 5C.
A double followed as "We have bid a vul game " and 11 tricks to Germany.

Meanwhile in the Closed Room Carroll was still caressing his 11 minor suit cards as the Germans rolled into the making 4S unmolested. That made and that was 16 imps out for 2 vulnerable games.
Another 8 imps drifted away in small portion and starting board 29 it looked grim for Ireland. 31 imps to 1 down and nothing much looking swingy in the coming 4 boards.

Board 29 ..In the Open Room the Germans took the 4S sacrifice against the making 4H.
Hanlon McGann got the available 500 from this. In the Closed Room Carroll Garvey quickly reached 5D as the sacrifice before NS got fully going ..so 5D doubled and booked for down 2 on double dummy defence. However it is not so easy to find this defence and a trick got dropped. Then anorher trick slipped away and suddenly Ireland had 15 imps in their basket. Some hope in the tunnel

Board 30 .. The Germans attempted a long minor based 3NT and Hanlon McGann were able to cash 5 spade tricks and 2 aces .. In the closed room Garvey Carroll tried the same ..
The German defender South played off AK spades and it looked like a flat one ...
Then the German South switched to Hearts and Garvey was heading for 9 tricks and 11 imps
Two flat like boards and suddenly 26 imps got Ireland back in the game ..

Germany 34 Ireland 26 and a lot more VPS then 20 minutes ago
A hardly deserved 8 VPS but they all count towards the winning total

About 39 VPs for the day ..slightly below average but no damage done

Ireland have 2 targets in this event ... To make the top 6 and qualify for the Bermuda Bowl.
With France hosting they are excluded so 7th place will do if France are in top 6.

A secondary target is a top 10 placing which allows Irelands club champions to participate in the European Club championship.

France Norway Italy England Poland Holland Sweden  might be the chosen 7.
Monaco are there too but shown of their imp machines and short on players might
struggle to make top bunch. However Martens is togging out and he is a good Guinness

However Poland are without the shamed  Baliki Zmudinski
Monaco are struggling to field a team of 6 but it appears Coach Martens is togging out.
Italy are also weakened with no sign of Duboin Sementa Bocchi Madala.
Finland have started with 8 victories including wins against Poland Monaco Ireland and France.
So the Finns are showing well and must be considered as a competitive team.

Ireland will need to start upping their game severely to approach the top 7 places ... So far we seem to be having some good luck and good luck evens out ...

However if luck gets Ireland into the top 7 its all good with me

Em I notice this morning Ireland bid 6H on board 13 .. The opps decided to double it to keep them honest. Nobody else bid 6H so nobody else went 3 down vulnerable.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 18, 2016 10:30 AM

European Bridge Championships Day 2 Match 1 and 2

Ireland Open Team started the day with a match against Finland. Finland with no great bridge pedigree might be beatable. However Finland is geographically located close to Norway and Sweden both bridge powerhouses. Also Finland had won their first 4 matches including victories over France and current world champions Poland.  So into battle.

I will look at the double digit swings.

Board 1 .. Ireland got 12 imps when the Finns overstretched to 4S and someone was able to put the double on it.

Board 2 .. 6S on 29 hcp and 5-4 fit was not a thing of beauty but was unbeatable. Finland bid it so 11 imps to them

Board 4 saw the Irish EW attempt 3NT on a combined 24 count. Helness in another match guided it home but our declarer managed 8 tricks.

Board 5 saw our NS get a double on 5C for down 3 and 12 imps .. so 23-29 after 5 boards.

Board 8 4S makes EW but our lads allowed their NS opps declare 3H making losing 11

Board 12 saw the Finns home for 11 tricks in 3NT when a different lead with see the result as
3NT-7 ... You got to read those lead books .. 11 imps out instead of 14 in the bag .. 25 imps swing.

Board 16 saw Ireland miss a game and declare 3H for 10 tricks .. Vulnerable game so 11 imps gone.

Ireland 29 Finland 67 ... Not a good morning in the office for Boland Moran.
Match 2 v Austria was live on Bridgebase so we could see all the hands and bidding. The whole match can be downloaded from Bridgebase if required.

Board 22 saw Hanlon McGann down 3NT while Garvey Carroll got a favourable lead in 4S and that was 12 imps. Garvey played the clubs well given the chance. Ireland by 20

Board 29 saw Hanlon McGann bid the skinny but making 4S while the Austrians languished in 3D on a 5-1 fit. 3D minus 1 gave Ireland 12 imps .. Ireland lead by 33-6 ..

Board 32 saw Hanlon on lead against 3NT after an auction showing a decent club suit about to appear in dummy. Hanlon failed to pick the killing diamond lead and that was 10 imps out ..

Final score .. Ireland 33 Austria 16 ... Its still more VPS in the bag

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 18, 2016 12:13 AM

June 17, 2016

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 day 2

A new day, but the same old start as Scotland were 0-20 after five boards against Israel. But this time they rallied to earn their first win, 29-23 IMP. Their second match was against the strong Dutch team, but it was a quiet set of hands and they shared the four big swings to record a 23-34 IMP loss - a good performance and only 0-1 IMP after five boards.

Then the local derby against Wales. 6-19 IMP down after five boards, imps just slipped away until a injudicious Scottish overcall was taken for -1100; even worse, the Welsh made the same overcall but the Scot failed to double, settling for his game and +420, and -12 IMP. Two very poor decisions and a team own goal. A late slam swing recovered some of the deficit but it finished 26-40 IMP in Wales' favour.

I commentated on the Wales match and thought that the Welsh had a fairly sound performance, building on a confident start and moving into the top third of the table. The Scots stuttered, defending well at times and woefully at others, and they continue to struggle in the lower reaches.

In the final match against Latvia, 7-11 IMP after five boards was followed by a Scottish surge including a double game swing and a slam swing. This led to the second win of the day, this time by 45-31 IMP.

Meanwhile England had a lie in as they were playing BYE (who continues to perform better than ten teams) and then struggled to make headway against Latvia on a flat set of boards. In the end they'll be happy with a 19 IMP win given that they were losing with two boards to play! They got another midsize win against Belarus in the third match, only conceding two imps, but these two matches show how difficult some of the lesser teams can be.

In the final match they faced Monaco. It was a very tight affair, England losing 11-13 IMP.

Women's pairs

Unfortunately a couple of poor sessions saw Fiona and Sheila slip down the field to finish in 33rd position and they won't make the A final. Sarah and Fiona had a much better day and finished in 13th position, so they will be looking for medals tomorrow - good luck!

BBO tomorrow

England's match against Russia will be covered at 3pm.


A big day for ENGLAND as they look to charge up the table with three easy matches - SERBIA, PORTUGAL, and RUSSIA.

SCOTLAND start with many people's favourites for the Gold Medal, POLAND; any VPs earned here will be a bonus. But then two easier matches that offer the chance to move up the table as they play CYPRUS and PORTUGAL.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 17, 2016 06:58 PM

June 16, 2016

Eamon Galligan

European Bridge Championship 2016 Day 1

At the European Bridge championships today Ireland had a fine day. 59.84 VPs collected out of a possible 80. Ireland started this morning with a 19.25 score against Czech Republic. ..a 51 imps victory. The team for Match 1 was Rory Boland Mark Moran Hugh McGann and Thomas Hanlon.

In Round 2 Ireland faced England with what might be termed their front 4 in action. England always have a powerful team in this level of competition. They have several podium finishes. With 4 boards to play of the 20 the score stood at 5 imps to 1 for England. Boards 29 and 30 saw Ireland miss a couple of tough chances and England stretched it out to 24-1. Ireland got 5 imps back on board 31 and that was a 24-6 in imps loss. 14.6 to  5.4 ..

Round 3 saw Boland Moran back into the fray partnered by Carroll Garvey against Cyprus ..
One would expect a decent haul against a Cyprus team which was struggling so far. A haul of 18.77 VPs was achieved despite a couple of hiccups at board 9 and 10. 3 scores of 11 12 and 13 imps on boards 11-13 got the team back on course.

Round 4 brought up the multiple champions Italy although with a slightly changed team.
Italy had started the morning in Round 1 cold and trailed Croatia by 45 imps to 0 after 9 boards.
However they recovered 31 imps in the last 7 boards to lose 13.75 to 6.25. A 47 imps pounding of a slow starting Scotland team followed and Italy were up and running. Italy then put 62 imps past an outclassed Portugal team and were into 3rd place.
It looked like Ireland were in for a tough match and maybe a hiding was on the cards.
Ireland got out of the blocks first and led 18-0 after 4. Italy got 10 back to 1 for Ireland so after 10 boards Ireland led by 19-10 in imps. Italy bid a good 7 Spade contract but 2 4-1 breaks in the black suits doomed that contract and 14 imps to Ireland. Italy over reached again in a failing 3NT and another 5 imps to Ireland now 38-10 ahead. Italy bid another good slam this one making and 13 imps to them. On board 31 both teams bid 4S and Italy got doubled. Hanlon McGann doubled 4S and cashed 4 red suit tricks while in the other room Carroll Garvey avoided the 4 top losers.

So Ireland gain a 28 imp win for 16.42 VPS but one suspects Italy will be bemoaning the luck of the Irish. At a quick glance Ireland had the rub of the green and blue and red in this match. 7S down is a 27 imp swing. Italy not being able to cash out was another 12 imps swing. So swings and roundabouts but all going Irelands way.

More tomorrow


Lots of games are broadcast on www.bridgebase.com

Hopefully my email on some boards from the England match will be forgiven.

Eamon Galligan

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 16, 2016 09:41 PM

Peg Kaplan

15,000+ and Counting



I am certain that webmaster Peg Kaplan will never write about her accomplishment during the Gopher Regional. So, I wish to personally acknowledge and congratulate Peg for going over 15,000 life time master points at the tournament.

Peg is one of two Grand Life Masters in Minnesota (John Koch being our other).

Peg is our first Minnesotan to earn 15,000+ master points, an achievement that most players cannot imagine. She needed 2.7 points to go over at the start of the Gopher. Playing with long time partner Bill Kent, and teammates Vern and Monte Evans, Peg and company dominated the tournament, including victories in one KO, the Swiss Team and the Saturday pairs. Peg and Bill finished at the top of the leaderboard, having earned 131.90.

An amazing performance; kudos, Peg!

            Nancy Glenn

Nancy - thank you!  And - some of my own thoughts below... including - how did this ever happen!?

My thanks to Nancy Glenn for acknowledging my “going over” at the Gopher Regional. I told Nancy that I wanted to take this moment for sharing thoughts about our incredible game. Here they are.

Mononucleosis was the catalyst for my bridge career. Stuck in my college apartment one December, a brilliant mathematician professor and friend, Harvey Friedman, taught me Honeymoon bridge. I enjoyed learning the game and played a little bit. Yet, it was not until I moved to Minnesota, began playing duplicate and then attending some tournaments that “the bug” really caught.

It was my very great fortune to have marvelously talented and understanding mentors and partners from the start. Kerry Holloway, a dear friend and partner to this day, was one of the first. Chris Patrias, great player and director, was another.   A few out of towners, Alex Weiland, Dick Bruno and Claude Vogel were patient, understanding and great teachers as I fumbled my way through the thicket of conventions, declaring and defense.   And my much loved Aunt, Rosalie Hanson, was instrumental in getting me to attend tournaments and “see the world”!

On the regular partner front, I could not have been more fortunate. In addition to the above mentioned players, I’ve enjoyed partnerships with TGLO (The Great Larry Oakey, and believe me – he is!) – Tony Ames, talented and amazingly understanding, creative Roger Lord …. And Bill Kent. Twenty two years ago, when Bill and I each lost one of our regular partners, we teamed up at a regional. After I botched not one but two boards in our first pair game against the winning partnership, turning 1st place into 2nd, Bill nevertheless stuck with me for all these years.

My luck has been duplicated with super teammates. In the most “recent” 20 years, Vern and Monte Evans have been there, over and over, for fine results. Other wonderful teammates, like John Koch, Bob and Cindy Balderson, Carole Miner, Paul Meerschaert, Jim Nash, Alan Stout, Pierre Flatowitz, Don Stack, Petra Hamman, plus a host of other fine players and friends, local and not, have helped me to gain those masterpoints.

Yet, excited and happy as I am to have “gone over” 15,000, points are not “the point” of duplicate bridge.

What is the point?

It’s the thrill of first wins. It’s the joy of learning a new skill – and executing it at the table. It’s receiving a compliment from someone you admire.

It’s having the opportunity to “play up” with a far better player… then one day being able to return the favor as you improve.

It’s all the crazy stories, the funny stories, the fascinating hands and the wins no one thought you could achieve.

It’s the competing against yourself…. Always trying to be a better bridge player tomorrow than you were today. Always learning, always striving. Picking yourself up after disaster and getting back in the ring.

Yet most of all? The wonder of bridge is its people. The bridge world truly is a community of amazingly superb friends. The people who stand by you when you lose the match for them…. The people who stand by you when you need help, care and friendship in your personal life. The people who applaud you when you do well – and are supportive when you are not. The people with whom you have fun and laughs – no matter what happens at the table!

And more good news is that almost anyone can enjoy our fabulous game!   Whether 8 or 80 – you can have a good time at the table. No matter your level of expertise, you can always learn and enjoy. Bridge has so many formats, so many games, so many venues in which to compete. Choose what is best for you and go for it!

So, thank you to all of you, for the decades of fun and excitement and fascination. And a most special thanks, too, to Ed Carr. Without all of his support, faith in me and love, this joy in the bridge world could not have been mine.

by Peg at June 16, 2016 09:33 PM

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 day 1

The first round of matches featured a very wild set of hands, with just board 13 showing an average swing of nearly 12 IMP in the matches (flat in only one match, Wales getting the most with +1100 at both tables for 19 IMP).

The stars of the first round were Wales, who lost by a solitary imp to the strong Dutch squad. England had a comfortable 22 IMP win over Spain.

Scotland started slowly against Monaco, losing 4 game swings in the first five hands, and only +17 IMP on board 13 prevented a whitewash as they lost by 37 IMP. Monaco bid a number of very thin games putting the pressure on the Scottish defence, and found some good sacrifices.

In the second round, one double-imp swing was sufficient for England to beat Ireland, whereas Scotland were comprehensively beaten by Italy. The Scots only scored when the Italians overbid to game and went down, but were on the wrong side of all the other decisions.

In the third round, bridge emulated football as England came from behind in the last couple of minutes to beat Wales narrowly. Scotland continued their recent form of losing the match in the first five boards and then levelling the rest of the match. This resulted in a defeat by 41 IMP to Norway. Scotland's score after 5 boards in the matches today were 0-40, 0-19, 0-30, and 6-35.

The fourth round saw another big defeat for Scotland but England recovered from an early deficit by scoring 31 imps in the final six boards to beat Iceland by 8 imps.

Four wins for England and they finish the day in 6th place. A fair start but possibly would have been expecting a little better.

I'm sure I've written it before, but Scotland seem to get punished for every little mistake and the opponents seem to make a lot of good decisions. I think this is a reflection of meeting good teams early combined with a lack of preparation by the team, in the sense that they've not faced any good opponents recently. I'm sure they'll improve as the event progresses.

Women's Pairs

A good final set propelled Fiona and Sheila into 7th place with 54.94%. Fiona and Sarah finished poorly and are now 22nd with 51.41%. They'll play a second day of qualifiers tomorrow and then the finals are on Saturday.

BBO tomorrow

Wales will be shown playing Belarus in the second match (12.20pm) and then again in the third match against Scotland (3pm). England's match against Monaco will also be covered (5.40pm).


ENGLAND have an easy day, starting with a bye in the morning. LATVIA and BELARUS offer the chance for big wins while they will hope to demolish MONACO and show that past encounters were tainted.

SCOTLAND continue their tough start. ISRAEL are the defending champions and have not been stripped of that title despite the conviction of one of the pairs for cheating. But they remain one of the best teams and will be tough to play. The NETHERLANDS did very poorly in 2014 and look one of the strongest nations on paper. Fortunately for Scotland this cannot be said for WALES, despite performances so far, and both teams will think this is their chance of a victory. LATVIA have not started well and this is another victory opportunity.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 16, 2016 07:10 PM

June 15, 2016

Paul Gipson

Euro 2016 starts tomorrow

The main event of the 53rd European Team Championships, the Open Series, starts tomorrow. It looks like both England and Scotland will be on BBO Vugraph for the first match at 9am BST, so don't forget to sign in early.

BBO update
Scotland will be on BBO Vugraph for the first and last matches tomorrow (9am, 5.40pm). England will be on for the first two matches (9am, 12.20pm). Wales verses Ukraine will also be covered at 5.40pm.


ENGLAND have a relatively quiet day - SPAIN, a mid-table team that you'd prefer to play at the end than the start. IRELAND will be a feisty affair as they'll put their A team in for this set. WALES looks an easier match,  although matches against teams that know you well are never that easy and, by a perverse bit of scheduling, the two teams will be playing each other at the same time in the football! If I were the Welsh captain, I'd bet on Jason and Justin sitting out this match. And ICELAND, who I expect will put up a good showing.


Waiting for the start - photo courtesy of Derek Sanders

SCOTLAND have a much stiffer challenge - MONACO may have lost Fantoni-Nunes, but they will still be a minor force in this championship. ITALY are lacking a lot of stars but will be looking for a fast start and some momentum. NORWAY are always strong but HUNGARY offers hope of a decent dinner in the evening.

View from the Citadella - courtesy of Fiona
The Women's Pairs also starts tomorrow. Sheila Adamson and Fiona McQuaker are the only Scottish representatives, but I'll also be following Sarah O'Connor and Fiona Brown (England). With 11 of the 62 pairs from Ireland, I think they both stand a good chance of making the A Final.

Sheila and Fiona, with their coach, have already been exploring the city, its sights and culture.

Basilica - courtesy of Fiona

Championships website - BBO Vugraph schedule

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 15, 2016 06:05 PM

Eamon Galligan

Ireland Invitational Pairs Overall result 2016

Last Friday June 10th we had the third and final session of the inaugural Ireland Invitational Pairs. The venue was the Regent Bridge Club and we displayed 2 tables throughout on the Bridge Base Online internet display facility. The event was sponsored and organised by Jim Cahill and Ann Tuite.
The players and staff and spectators were fed and watered on all 3 days of the event. I am not certain of the prize money each day but 1800 euro divided over the 1st 2nd and 3rd on each of the 3 sessions  is a good guess. A token entry fee was taken on the day. Again I don't even know what that fee was.

At every session several large baskets of goodies and healthy foods were provided for anyone who was present. Director of the first 2 sessions in April and May Fearghal O'Boyle while not finding his favourite Mars Bars found other chocolate items to suit his palate. The healthy items included Grapes Nuts Apples and Oranges. Writing implements with www.audico.ie were supplies.
Looking on the website it appears to be a hearing solution provider out near Hermitage Golf place near Lucan. People who walk from Lucan to Leixlip for exercise probably pass it as far as I remember.

So back to the bridge .. The conditions of contest were you added your 2 best percentage scores to get your overall result and it had to be the same partnership. So going into the final day about 5 pairs were in the running for the Overall Prize of "A trip to the World Pairs in Poland in September".

Early on Michael McGloughlin and Terry Walsh approached the podium of one overall prize.
Later BJ O'Brien and David Jackson stepped up towards the podium but suffered a 20% set of 8 boards and moved away. Gorchyca and Rudzinski were the leaders entering the 3rd session with a score of 56.59% posted from the first 2 sessions. So that was the target as these 2 lads were having a poor day and were unlikely to improve the target score. Hanlon Carroll were lurking but from early in the day after collecting about 35% on the first 16 boards of 72 they were unlikely to threaten the spreadsheet. Finally from a slow start Mesbur and Fitzgibbon began to gain traction and were threatening the spreadsheet. Entering the final 8 boards and due to play the two long time Irish based Poles it was decided that we would oust the misfiring Hanlon Carroll off the vugraph.

In short we had Gorchyca and Rudzinski facing reigning Cavandish Pairs and legendary Irish pair Mesbur and Fitzgibbon for the overall. The only problem was Mesbur Fitzgibbon needed to win the 8 board match by a small margin. After 2 boards Marcin ordered a bottle of wine. Board 27 was a ruling but I left the score stand. The final board saw Marcin doubled in 3 clubs and it got home.
This meant the previous ruling was irrelevant.

All sessions scores and boards can be found on www.fob.ie or his bridge webs page.
Declan Byrne of the Regent Bridge Club was on hand to make sure all venue organisation went well.
Eamon Galligan Fearghal O'Boyle and Martin Brady handled the vugraph and directing operations over the 3 days. Grainne Barton and Barbara Seligman covered the vugraph room commentary.
As indicated above Jim Cahill and Ann Tuite were overall organisers of this fantastic event.

I don't have any direct quote from any player but over the 3 sessions over 3 Fridays I did not meet any player with a complaint about the event. Several players wondered why they did not get their invitations. One Northern Ireland   lad pointed out about his 2 second placings in the Holmes Wilson out of 4 runs. I pointed out about BJ O'Brien .. 6 National 1st places and 3 podium finishes out of 9 National events entered in 1 season .. So you need more than a Northern Ireland Pairs win or a Lady Milne cap to gain an invitation. Eamon got an invitation as the event was being planned but he knew "being involved " meant vugraph organiser not player.

All told I think it was a great event ..  Final results are below as best as I can display them on this site.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 15, 2016 12:26 AM

June 11, 2016

Paul Gipson

Social Participation and Wellbeing

Guest post by Professor Samantha Punch

Social Participation and Wellbeing

There is a commonly held view that those playing bridge beyond the age of 60 tend to remain alert into their 80s and 90s. There is no doubt that bridge playing requires higher cognitive processes associated with the frontal areas of the cerebral cortex. But is it true that the game can help maintain brain fitness?

The University of Stirling is investigating this claim in collaboration with English Bridge Education & Development (EBED), and requests your participation in an online survey exploring the effect of bridge, in tandem with social participation more widely, on wellbeing and quality of life. The survey should take about 10-15 minutes to complete and there are two £100 Amazon vouchers available as prizes for respondents. If you contribute to the survey, we will ensure your anonymity and confidentiality is maintained throughout all phases of the research process. All ages and nationalities are welcome to take part via the link below:


Many thanks,

Professor Samantha Punch, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling

Dr Caroline Small, EBED Trustee

Edit: updated with international link

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 11, 2016 11:36 AM

June 10, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

Special Alert — Play with Bobby Wolff, Legends, Top Pros and Fight Alzheimer’s

Short Intro. I have posted the following on behalf of Judy. She has become a real friend over the past few years. She has been preoccupied with family health issues back home; yet, despite her own exhaustion, she asked me to help out her friend Bruce Greenspan with his “Longest Day” bridge project, by posting the following on her blog. Note: You can read about the ACBL’s “Longest Day” on their website at www.acbl.org/clubs_page/special-events/the-longest-day/

This is your opportunity to play with Bobby Wolff and other bridge legends, Hall of Famers, top pros, teachers and writers and benefit the fight against Alzheimer’s. An amazing array of talent has joined the team including Larry Cohen, Bob Hamman, Eric Rodwell, Janice Seamon Molson, Sabine Auken, Michael Rosenberg, Steve Weinstein, Gail Greenberg, Steve Robinson, Gavin Wolpert, George Jacobs, Jerry Helms, Barbara Seagram and many more.

Go to www.32auctions.com/PlaywiththePROS and bid to play in a 12 board ACBL masterpoint game on BBO. Don’t miss this opportunity of a lifetime.

(Please note: the auction has been extended to June 30th.)

Play with the Pros

Fight Alzheimer’s

by JRG at June 10, 2016 01:51 PM

Jennifer Jones

The Black Widow

By Bob Klein

Hi again everyone.  I haven't posted for a while but I plan to start doing so again.

Jenn and I just finished playing as teammates in Sacramento.  I played with Dave Neuman; she played with Erwin Linzner.  We finished fifth overall in the 2-day Swiss Teams, due in large part to this hand.  We were in the final match.  We were sitting seventh overall going into the last round.  Our opponent was Debbie Rosenberg and some of her students.  Debbie was sitting to my right.  I was dealt the following with our side vulnerable:

S void
H KJ532
C Q962

I opened 1 Heart.  Dave and I were playing Precision, so this showed less than 16 HCP.  LHO overcalled 1 Spade.  Dave bid 4 Clubs, a splinter bid showing at least 4 hearts and shortness in clubs.  Since I was void in the opponents' suit, I decided to show some slam interest with a 4 Diamond cue bid.  Dave bid 4NT, RKC for hearts.  I replied 5NT, which showed him 2 keycards and a useful void
(a void in the opponents' suit is always considered useful).  Dave signed off in 6 Hearts.  LHO led the ace of clubs, and I looked at

                                            S KQJ74
                                            H AQT7
                                            D Q53
                                            C T

                                            S void
                                            H KJ532
                                            D AKT9
                                            C Q962

     The dummy was disappointing.  Dave clearly was hoping I had the ace of clubs, so we could use the spades after losing to the ace.  My void wasn't all that useful, and there was no obvious path to 12 tricks.  It looked like I would have to get 4 diamond tricks, 5 heart tricks in my hand, and either 3 club ruffs in dummy or perhaps 2 ruffs and a trick with the club queen.

     LHO shifted to the 6 of hearts at trick 2.   I would have liked to win this in my hand to start ruffing the clubs, but there was a problem.  Look at those heart spots.  I was missing the 8 and 9.  If I played dummy's seven and won in my hand with the jack, I could not use dummy's remaining trumps to ruff, as this would promote the 9 if the suit split 3-1.  So I had to decide if I could prevail if I won in dummy.  This would require using an extra entry to my hand to begin ruffing clubs.  Fortunately, my void did serve a useful purpose:  it enabled me to reach my hand by ruffing spades.  So I won with dummy's ace, ruffed a spade and ruffed a club.  On this trick, LHO dropped the jack.  Now things were looking better.  His opening lead was more likely from AKJ than from AJ.  I played a diamond to the ace and ruffed another club.  Sure enough, the king fell.  Now that the queen was good, I was up to 11 tricks, and just had to negotiate the diamonds for 4 tricks and I would have 12.  So I played dummy's last trump, LHO showing out.  Now I could see my way to the right ending.  Can you see it?

     At this point, the remaining cards were:

                                     S KQJ7
                                     D Q6

                                     H KJ
                                     D KT9
                                     C Q

     LHO has shown out of both hearts and clubs.  This meant that RHO began with 3 hearts and 5 clubs.  If she had as many as 4 diamonds, this leaves her with only 1 spade.  When I ruffed a spade in this position, RHO followed.  Now I knew for sure that she didn't have 4 diamonds.  Since LHO was marked with the ace of spades, if he had 4 diamonds he would be subject to a squeeze.  I cashed my last trump to leave this position:

                                     S KQ
                                     D Q6

D J73                                                   immaterial

                                     D KT9
                                     C Q

Now came the queen of clubs, the deadly black widow!  LHO was smitten.  He couldn't throw the ace of spades, so he had to play a diamond, so my diamonds were good and the slam came home.  We won 14 IMPs.  I was pleased that when it was over, Debbie said one word: nice.

Good luck!

by Bob Klein (noreply@blogger.com) at June 10, 2016 05:22 AM

June 09, 2016

Eamon Galligan

Ireland Invitational Pairs Final Session

Tomorrow Friday June 10th at the Regent Bridge Club Waterloo Road starting at 1300 hours we will have the final Day of the Ireland Invitational Pairs. This event is the brainchild of Jim Cahill and Ann Tuite. These two bridge people run a great show. Unfortunately for those looking in from the outside the biggest problem is who gets invited and why do they get invited. Well as far as I know they get invited as most of the competitors have been at the top end of the Irish bridge game for a long time.

Now I have become aware that there is an undercurrent of unhappiness among the top echelon of women bridge players in Ireland with the invitation process. However each year for the past 18 years a representative group of our top Ladies has entered the Lady Milne Trophy and no medals yet.
Part of the reason for this is that winning the Lady Milne Trials (or placing top 3 pairs) was the objective. You qualify for the Lady Milne by playing the trials in October November and then there might be a few games on BBO and maybe the odd training weekend or not. Some of the time 3 pairs
qualify that might not even get on as a team. One time when I was present a pair bid a slam in 6C and got a favourable lead and despite the NPC laughing at the contract .."Good start for your girls " a favourable lead came ...a relatively normal lead from the world class player Liz McGowan. However Eamon could see on this lead that a squeeze was coming but despite several attempts to point this out nobody would listen. Suddenly about trick 9 Ireland npc pipes up "Em This might make .. in fact just playing the cards normally and it cannot be beaten" ...
6C bid and made ... the npc did not know how ... I asked the declarer later and she said ... "I guess Liz threw away the wrong card or something " ...
For some reason that pair were benched for the rest of the event .. It was only Saturday morning.

Looking at 2013-2016 Lady Milne results ..we have a 2nd 3rd 4th and 6th place out of 6 teams.
This year we scored 49.5% of the VPs ...but that is padded by some good scores against 3 weaker teams. 6.34 out of 40 versus Scotland and England and Scotland done England 20-0 ..
16% performance versus Scotland and England ...in 2016
Last place and wooden spoon in 2015 ..

However we want to know why some Lady internationals did not get invited to Invitational Pairs.

The about comments about the invitations to Invitational Pairs is all my own view not the organisers.

Now without Gay Keavney over the last several years there would probably be no BBO training or ladies training weekends. Everytime there is some womens training on BBO or in real life Gay seems to be involved.

10 days ago I put some hands in Adam Mesburs BBO account ... two sets of 160 or so .. Adam and Nick used the hands for practice but Adam was back within 2 days ..."Er Eamon each file has 160 or so hands but after 64 ...they are all numbered 64 ...so can you make it better .. "
10 minutes later I had 6 files of 60 or less hands all with different numbers ..
I have not been on BBO much recently but I saw Nick and Adam doing bidding practice several times over last week and this despite having a 40+ year partnership .. still practicing

Also recently I have spotted kinder1 hmg2 coppers tgarve putting in plenty of practice.

I suspect markpm and roryboland are also doing some but as I say I am not on BBO so much.

1. Thomas Hanlon John Carroll
2. Adam Mesbur Nick Fitzgibbon
3. David Jackson BJ O'Brien
4. Ian Hastings Hamilton Campbell
5. Wojech Gorchyca Marcin Rudzinski
6. Thomas McCormac Ronan McMaugh
7. Anna Onishuk Karel deRaeymaker
8. Cian Holland Dermot Cotter
9. Peter Goodman Zia Mahmood
10. Terry Walsh Michael McGloughlin

Not sure about Zia

Other information can be found on www.fob.ie/national  and page down a little


Ireland Invitational Pairs

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 09, 2016 02:14 PM

June 07, 2016

Peg Kaplan

A Phoenix Rises in District 14



Have you ever sat at the table, dejectedly thinking "we have no chance"?  (Hey - who plays bridge who has not felt this way!)

Bill Voedisch, on the winning team of District 14's 2016 GNT Flight B final, was on his way to "no chance" sentiments.  And then....  

Well, we'll let Bill tell the story.  Good luck to Bill, his teammates, and all our GNT competitors in DC this summer!

After Denny Cerkvenik and I won the District NAP final we were asked by Jonathan Cohn and Andrew Clements of Omaha to team up for the GNT final.  What the heck; these guys are solid and we're not gettin' any younger.  We said “OK” and took some expected grief back home for our decision.

So the qualifying Swiss starts and after 2 rounds we are something like 14th out of 15 with only the top 4 qualifying for the 2nd day KOs.  None of us felt like we were playing poorly - but you can't argue with oh and two.  It was what it was.  Now in the bottom round robin, we won two matches but not by a bunch, resting 11th at the break.

The Omaha boys remained optimistic.  Denny and I?  Perhaps not so much.  We catch the Henson's and Weiman's after the break and lose another one.  Sitting about 12th with three rounds to go, we seemed destined for the Sunday (consolation) Swiss.  Then bing, bang, bong ... we leap over a pile of teams with 3 solid wins ... no blitzes ... to finish 3rd.   Totally crazy.

Sunday the 4 of us had a good day.  We won both KO's.  We are proud to represent District 14 at a National grass-roots final, the 7th time for Denny and me.

We'll give it our best.

Bill Voedisch

by Peg at June 07, 2016 10:06 PM

Paul Gipson

Europe beckons

The 53rd European Team Championships start next week in Budapest, Hungary. England and Scotland are sending teams to the Open, Women's, and Seniors Series.

The format has changed from previous years with the Open Series returning to a full round-robin. This will be played over ten days with the Women and Seniors playing over seven days. I don't yet know how long the matches are, but all three series look intensive with few breaks. Of course this assumes that they are playing 16-board matches, but if the EBL reverts to 12-board matches then the top players will calling it a holiday again.

With such a schedule, the top teams will be keen to play the weaker teams at the end of the event, boosting their chances of big wins as these teams inevitably tire.

The chart above shows the schedule for all the English and Scottish teams. In each series I've highlighted the top eight teams from the 2014 championship. This can be a little misleading, especially in the Open Series where some teams will presumably be weaker now that one of their pairs has been convicted of cheating and everyone expects the Dutch to play a lot better.

But the chart does suggest that England Open and Women have poor draws, playing the weaker teams when they are at their freshest. Scotland Open, if their confidence is not smashed by playing all the strong teams at the start, have a great opportunity to do well in the second half of the event.

Scotland Seniors look to have a particularly difficult run-in, but the Seniors Series is notoriously variable from year to year and I suspect that this Scotland team will do far better by building momentum early on and playing the stronger teams with a lot of confidence behind them.

The goals of the teams will vary enormously: England Open and Women will be aiming to win their events, although finishing in the top six is the true priority to gain a place in next year's world championships. The two senior teams are most likely to be competing for a top six position, although both will need a very good run to achieve this. Scotland Open and Women will be looking to improve on recent performances.

There will be extensive coverage on Bridge Base Online (schedule) with six matches covered in each round. I will probably do some commentating but also try to provide a daily update on how the English and Scots are doing.

I should add that Wales have also entered the Open and Seniors Series: I think their Seniors have the chance of making the greatest impact. Ireland are also entering all three series and the Open team will have increased its confidence with their good run at the Spring Foursomes - like the Scottish Seniors I see them as a momentum team who could do well if they start well. The Irish Seniors had a poor Seniors Camrose and I think they'll struggle to repeat the 7th place of last time, even though Mesbur/Fitzgibbon will be back in the team.

Of course, before the bridge starts on Thursday 17 June there is quite a lot of European football for everyone to follow. This is the Scottish anthem ...

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at June 07, 2016 10:09 AM

June 06, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Upcoming Schedule - from Here to (Almost) Eternity!

Here to eternity

A new month - a new almost-forever bridge schedule from Steve Gaynor!

Thanks, Steve; enjoy, everyone!

**Please note.  Brian Weikle noticed that the Gopher Regional still shows the Ramada in Bloomington to be the site for the tournament.  It is not!

In 2017, the Gopher will be at the Sheraton West in Minnetonka.  We don't know from there to eternity - but - we will provide that info.  Thanks, Brian!


by Peg at June 06, 2016 06:23 PM

June 05, 2016

Eamon Galligan

The Mixed Teams Continue

Sunday morning and the Mixed Teams trials are in full flow.
12 boards compared across 8 tables and 73 imps swopped.
So that is boards 1-3 done.

4 boards compared now and 115 imps swopped. Sunday morning and boards 1-4 certainly appear to be exciting. The two leaders Kemple and Lillis are both early leaders in Match 6
However Team Moran is also firing goals past Collins, Meanwhile Whelan and Stanley are swopping large imps biggo .. 41-10 after 4 ... 12.7 imps per board. Unreal.
Follow the action on www.fob.ie

It appears I have underestimated the Orla McEntee team. 37-37 imps versus the Lillis Team after 10 comaprisons. after starting off 18-0 down. 

So big results in Round 6 were Lillis 10 McEntee 10 .. Kemple 12.3 v Cleary and down the bottom at the time Mary Stanley pounded on Maria Whelans struggling team.

Round 7 saw Team Lillis pound on the Whelan team scoring 18.41 and probably putting the event to bed. Stanley continued to climb the table with another 14.5 VPs posted and the still surprising McEntee clobbered the experienced team of Clearys Porteus McConville 14-6

Round 8 saw big wins by Lillis and Pattinson. McEntee on the verge of getting washed out by Pattinson pulled back some imps on the last few boards to end on 2.76 from a low of 1.22.
Kemple needs Collins to destroy Lillis and that is not going to happen as Lillis has too much experience in their team. At the same time Kemple has to destroy McEntee and hope and that is
unlikely to happen either as McEntee team has performed well this weekend.

So onto Round 9 ..the final round but some of us got to watch Waterford versus Clare ...right Johnny Phelan. My GAA man Paddy Finnegan told me .. Clare by 2 points ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 05, 2016 03:00 PM

June 04, 2016

Eamon Galligan

The Mixed Teams Trials

This weekend in Templogue (I think) we have Mixed Teams Trials. Seems loads of teams fancy their chances of qualifying for some Mixed event in some place in September.

1 Orla McEntee,  Mark Tiernan,  Deirdre Tuckey,  Seamus Costello
2 Heidi Lillis,  Michael McGloughlin,  Anne Fitzpatrick,  Harold Curran,  Ciara Burns,  John Murchan
3 Maria Whelan,  Willem Mevius,  Eileen O'Donovan,  Joe Walsh,  Barbara Seligman,  Wojciech Gorczyca
4 Ena Cleary,  Aidan Cleary,  Miriam McConville,  Paul Porteous
5 Brenda Moran,  Joe Moran,  Pat Ryan,  B J O'Brien
6 Betty Cotter,  Dermot Cotter,  Maureen Pattinson,  Bob Pattinson
7 Barbara Collins,  Howard Kent Webster,  Mary Kelly Rogers,  Danny Liddy
8 Brid Kemple,  Terry Walsh,  Hilary McDonagh,  Diarmuid Reddan
9 Mary Stanley,  Martin Brady,  Dolores Gilliland,  Stefan Ekman

9 teams go into battle ..Who will win ..

Well there are about 20 internationals in the field of 40 players. However there are different types
of internationals like some are Senior and some are Lady Milne  and some are Open. Most of the non internationals have played trials of some sorts before and there seem to be a few names I have not seen too often.

However in a Mixed event its not all about the strongest players its about how the partnerships work.
A good partnership of lesser players can easily defeat a put together partnership of strong players.
And in this event the women have to put up with the men bidding the No Trump or vice versa

I went through the teams and made an estimation of bridge stuff for each player ..out of 10 with a low value being strong .. I gave Terry Walsh Michael McGloughlin and BJ O'Brien values of 1
Maybe Terry needs to be dropped to a 2 as he floored a side suit establishment game in the Senior Camrose but reports indicate he was under the weather with influenza that weekend. He looked okay to me in the Invitational Pairs last week when he was close to a podium finish for most of the day until running into the fast finishing Nick Fitzgibbon and David Jackson in the final round.

So my predictions

9th ... Team 1 McEntee
8th ....Team 7 Collins
7th ....Team 5 Moran

After that it gets tougher as the other 6 teams contain 15 of the internationals and lots of trialists and national champions

placing 3rd to 6th and hard to split are

6th Team 3 Whelan
5th Team 9  Stanley
4th Team 4  Cleary
3rd Team 6 Cotter

Leaving the two likely winners

2nd Team 8  Kemple
1st Team 2   Lillis

I put Team 2 ahead of Team 8 solely because they have a 6 person team with regular partnerships versus a team of 4 with a partnership I have not seen before

Of course BJ could strike a rich vein of form in this field of non-regular partnerships
and place in the top 4. He is partnered by one of the Pats who are good enough to be known
by first name. Recent Senior Camrose winner Joe Moran could roll back the years too.

Another player capable of inflicting some damage is the returning Barbara Seligman.
Formerly one half of the Giddings Seligman partnership who were Ireland top ladies pair
for years before my time.

However the Lillis team with its 3 regular partnerships might swing it.
Harold and Anne have done some bidding practice in the last while according to a message on my
phone. Murchan has mellowed since his invitation for the Invitational Pairs got lost in the post.
He seemed to think winning the Northern Ireland Pairs was a cue for an invitation.

So now I can go to www.fob.ie   and see how my predictions are going

Round 1 mostly went as predicted expect as mentioned Team Moran put the Cotters and Pattinsons to the sword ... Well we did mention above that Team 5 Moran could emerge out of the pack.  Big performances from Pat Ryan and Brid Kemple powered their teams to victory

Round 2 saw the other half of the Kemple Team land a decent set to gather in another win. The McEntee squad put 15 past the unlucky Whelan squad. Most of the win seems to have come from
a good defence to 3NT on board 15 where 5 tricks are there for the defenders but 4 other tables were satisfied with 1 trick. One match flattened the board in a well bid 5D.

Round 3 saw Kemple post their 3rd win with a small victory over the Collins squad.
Meanwhile the Moran squads two solid pairs dominated the McEntee team.
The Lillis team took a small hit as well

Round 4 saw BJ enter the acting Academy as his squad was battered by the Whelan squad.
When you place in the bottom 2 pairs Fearghal awards an Oscar .
Kemple continued to apply the power by crushing the Shillelagh powered Stanley team.
Lillis kept it going by defeating Pattinson small

Round 5 saw two of the big guns meet Kemple versus Lillis .. The two Lillis pairs of Murchan Burns and Michael and Heidi put in two good sets to crush the Kemple team and close the gap which the Kemple team had opened over the previous 4 rounds. Brid and Terry got Oscars.
Meanwhile in a surprising development the Collins team emerged from the depths and crushed
the Whelan team.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at June 04, 2016 10:23 PM

June 03, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 - June Board Agenda & Previous Minutes

Keeping up with the hard working Unit 178 Board of Directors!

The board's upcoming meeting on June 7th and previous May minutes posted below!

Download Unit 178.AgendaJune11.2016 

Download Unit 178.MeetingMinutesMay7.2016

by Peg at June 03, 2016 11:37 PM

They Came to Play!

What's the best part of our tournament?  Although it's all truly wonderful, it's not the free coffee and tea, nor the enticing candy, nor the KO's, Swiss Teams, Pairs, I/N events, Bulletins ....  It's our people.

Thanks for coming to the Gopher Regional 2016. You are what make it great!



More more more below the line!








by Peg at June 03, 2016 01:00 PM

A BIG Round of Applause



When a room filled with bridge players applauds, the response is usually polite and respectful.

When the object of accolades is TGLO (The Great Larry Oakey), however, the clapping goes on and on and on, with a standing ovation and many smiles!

So it was on Larry Oakey Day.

Your webmaster was given the honor of announcing this special day, then highlighting just a fraction of Larry's magnificence - and his enormous contributions, for decades, to our bridge world. As someone who was most fortunate to be able to play and learn from Larry for a number of years, I wanted to never stop clapping.




One of Larry's long time partners, at the Gopher specially from Up North to play with TGLO; Dan Sershon.




And - Larry and Dan, preparing to beat up the field!

Larry; you are an institution - the institution - in the Minnesota bridge world. We can never thank you enough.

by Peg at June 03, 2016 12:04 AM

June 02, 2016

Peg Kaplan

All in The Family



You don't see this every day at the bridge table - but - what fun when you do!

Two moms and two sons - on one team!

Audrey Weikle played with son Brian - fortunate to get him away from his directing job and ACBL position. Carol Cummings, who was tearing apart the field earlier in the week, sat across from her son, Bill.


by Peg at June 02, 2016 11:51 PM

Linda Lee

The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner

Sally Sparrow, our wonderful editor and Jill of all trades gave me an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of a book called The Bridge Ladies, a memoir by Betsy Lerner, published by Harper Collins in May 2016.

This is not a Master Point Press book and it is not really about bridge. But I did find it interesting. 

When I was growing up my mom and dad played bridge with their neighbors. I was asleep at the time but my mom tells me that dad was a very good player. 

My father (like me) was very competitive and he quit playing when he decided I had surpassed him as a bridge player. 

My mom kept on playing. She played with a small group of women who would gather at one of their houses. Each week they would throw some money in a kitty. Half of the money went to the winner but the rest was saved. Eventually mom and her group used the money they had saved for years to go on a cruise.

This book is about a group of ladies who like my mother gathered to play bridge regularly. This tells the story not of their bridge games but of their lives. It is the story of middle class American Jewish women, the mothers of the 50’s and 60’s. It is the story of my mother too.

Betsy has a nice way with words and I enjoyed reading about these women. Now I can picture my mom and her friends from an adult perspective. 

I did go to a few of my mom’s bridge games some years ago. It was held in the home of an wealthy widow on Toronto’s ritzy Bridal Path. I remember trying to explain how to play xxx opposite AJ9. I remember trying to convince them not to hop up with the ace when declarer led to KJx. You get the idea.

But I never really knew their stories. This book gave me an insight into a similar group of ladies.

Don’t expect a “bridge book” but this is still a book with a lot to say about a group of ladies in a certain time and place.

by linda at June 02, 2016 09:16 PM

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 - Results

You did WHAT?!


Ah; that's better!

With a surge in table count - from 1093 in 2015 to an impressive 1254 in 2016 - Gopher 2016 had lotsa masterpoints to be earned. At the top of the list, with a hair under 132, were long suffering Bill Kent and his not-always awful partner, your webmaster, Peg Kaplan.


A tough round robin for the final knockout event sent us to the Saturday pair event. A win there allowed us to sneak ahead of our teammates of roughly 20 years, Vern and Monte Evans. Vern and Monte earned a figure that would top the list in most years, with a 119.46 total. 

When we began playing as a team, Monte had his dad as his partner - and - lower your voice. Now, however, Monte's life is graced with one beautiful wife and three beautiful daughters, all featured in our photo above. Not as much bridge as in the early days, but absolutely a trade up up and away for Monte!

Congratulations to all who played at the Gopher, won events and earned masterpoints!

The list of masterpoint winners can be found here; all the events and those who placed in each one are here.

Additionally, Mike Cassel's Final Bulletin with results, comments and photos is posted below.  Feel free to read this new Bulletin, and scroll back through the week to read each day of Mike's publications.

Download 2016-GopherFinal

by Peg at June 02, 2016 07:44 PM

June 01, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 - Out of the Ballpark!



Sue Jackson and Patti Stuhlman, co-chairmen for Gopher 2016, hit it out of the ball park! With a fabulous new venue, big increase in turnout, yummy candy, free drinks, fine schedule and much more, Gopher 2016 had to be one of the best regionals we've seen in some time. Sue and Patti - we cannot thank you enough, along with the fine volunteers working tirelessly and so well to make this a superb tournament.




Of course, without directors we could not have a tournament.  Thanks to DIC, Peter Wilke, Kim Hayward, Larry Brobst and Brian Weikle for their efforts throughout.

Mike Cassel kept us up to date every day on schedules, results, awards, highlights and much more with his Daily Bulletins; thanks, Mike!

More, more, more to come on the Gopher; stay tuned! 

In the meantime, thanks for giving everyone who contributed a round of applause for a job very well done!


by Peg at June 01, 2016 11:22 PM

May 31, 2016

Lakshmanan Valliappa

Tactics gotta change

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

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

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

The first round was a three-way with two of the strongest teams even in the extremely strong field; we ended up winning both those matches (one of them on a blitz, the other by a couple of imps) and that's when I thought we might have a chance.  At the end of two-days, this was the scoreboard:

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

Each of the pairs in the teams we beat in the knockout would normally own us in club games. But knockouts is different, and bidding our hands to the maximum (but below game) and keeping them guessing worked out well.  We also went about manufacturing swings from board 1 so that we (the weaker team) could prevail.  This won't always work, but it's the only chance.

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

Scoring matters, and it is best to take a deep breath before an event and think about how aggressively to compete and when to double to protect one's plus score.  The tactics that work in a 24-board knockout or 12-table club game do not work well at BAM.  We knew this, of course, but this was our first BAM, and we were playing as if it were matchpoints.

BAM, however, is different from matchpoints in one crucial way. A slightly-below par option will have plenty of company at matchpoints and end up with a 40% board, but it is disaster in a strong BAM field.  Time and again, we found ourselves too high and doubled on distributional part-score hands.  It took us some time to figure out the change in strategy -- of careful precise bidding, risky declarer play, and passive defense.  Our afternoon session showed improvement (55%) but the poor (46%) morning score could not be made up and we didn't scratch.

by Lakshmanan V (noreply@blogger.com) at May 31, 2016 07:32 PM

May 30, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Gopher Regional - Lost and Found

Lost found

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

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

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

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


by Peg at May 30, 2016 09:21 PM

Paul Gipson

End of the season

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

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

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

Your call?

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

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

Another hand that caught people out was this distributional effort:

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 29, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 - Sunday's Bulletin and Results


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

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

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

Download 2016-7May29

by Peg at May 29, 2016 11:42 AM

May 28, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 - Saturday's Bulletin and Results


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

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

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

Download 2016-6May28

by Peg at May 28, 2016 12:06 PM

Gopher 2016 - Friday's Bulletin and Results


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

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

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

Download 2016-5May27

by Peg at May 28, 2016 12:02 PM

May 27, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Larry Oakey Day



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Peg Kaplan

by Peg at May 27, 2016 11:50 AM

Eamon Galligan

Ireland Invitational Pairs 2

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 26, 2016

Bob Mackinnon

Too Many Bids, Mozart

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

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

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



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

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

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

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













7 controls


4 controls

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

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

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

What is the Truth?

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

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

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

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

The System is Rigged, Folks!

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

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

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

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

Peg Kaplan

Pay It Forward - Remembering Donna Heinsbroek


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

Donna & Kathy Beckman at Gopher 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Download Donna Heinsbroek

by Peg at May 26, 2016 01:30 PM

Gopher 2016 - Thursday's Bulletin and Results


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

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

Download 2016-4May26

by Peg at May 26, 2016 12:10 PM

May 25, 2016

Linda Lee

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

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

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

The two remaining teams were

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the East West hands





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

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

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

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

On Board 25 Wolpert had this lead problem






All Pass

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

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

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

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

All Pass

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






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

The whole deal


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

Still after this board Summers had a 6 imp lead. 

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

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

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

All Pass




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


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

Congratulations to the Eaton team and my condolences to Summers. 

by linda at May 25, 2016 08:04 PM

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2016 - Wednesday's Bulletin and Results


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

Download 2016-3May25online

by Peg at May 25, 2016 11:43 AM