This Saturday, our players with 0-500 masterpoints (non-Life Masters) are welcome to compete in Rochester's NLM Sectional. Two sessions available to win silver points!
Details for the tournament are below.
Even as a young child, after the fairy tale stage, I couldn’t sit still long enough to relax and read a good book. I was always a “shaker and a doer” (akin to ants in one’s pants). I was never an ’avid reader” even back in college. Just plowed through the subject textbook before a final and survived on what was once a good memory. In fact, the last book I read thoroughly (I am ashamed to confess) was “God’s Little Acre” (the Erskine Caldwell hit from the forties). I even recall its hiding place. Coming home from high school in the late forties, with my mind in the clouds, I walked into a slowly moving trolley car, broke my knee, ended up in the hospital with a plaster cast up to my thigh. However, it served its purpose… a place to hide the book from my mother.
As I grew up and was dazzled by the attractive bridge world, my interests traveled to higher plains. I was so enchanted, I became engulfed in the many challenges it presented and eventually met and married the late Norman Kay, whom many of you old timers will remember. With him, I roamed the world to a host of international championships, got to see many distant locales I otherwise never would have visited .. and the most enjoyable part of the trips both abroad and on U. S. soil was meeting so many delightful bridge personalities — famous players and other mere bridge mortals like myself. I loved the game but never took it seriously and one of my failings was lack of bridge education (because among other things), I never, bothered reading educational renditions as they reached the public. Suddenly, in 2007 (then remarried to Bobby), we were recommended to Ray and Linda Lee, famous for Master Point Press. The draft of what I later named “The Lone Wolff” was discovered high upon a dusty shelf In his Dallas apartment. Bobby had stopped at Chapter 18 and called it quits. On my way back to Philly I read it on the flight, called Bobby from the airport when I arrived home and yelled “No way! We are gonna finish it together!” It took a few years but with Ray’s sensational guidance, it hit the shelves in 2008 and was a tremendous hit. It was then I realized what opportunities of enjoyment I had missed with my stubborn attitude toward reading.
Another unique and charming gentleman with whom I crossed paths several decades ago was the famous syndicated writer, Frank Stewart, who took over Freddy Sheinwold’s byline newspaper column upon his death. Mind you… he just finished his twenty-fourth book (this one self-published) although two were through MPP .. “Becoming a Bridge Expert” (2001) and “Frank Stewart’s Bridge Club” (2004). It is called “Keys to Winning Bridge” and just hit the press. Because Bobby was honored to write the Foreword, we received an early copy. I confiscated it on arrival and he has not actually had a chance to read the final release yet as I am still so captivated by Frank’s presentation and determined to read more. It is a book for all seasons. If you want more information, contact me here.
As you can now see, I have been cultivated into a ‘reader’… but bridge only. Oh, what I missed. It is never too late!
Not only was it exciting to have a great turnout for the Spring is Coming Sectional, it was also a thrill to see new players at the tournament. And - they were under 65! :)
Two pairs of young men had a great time. I asked them how long they had been playing; "A few years online" was the response.
Here's to more and more "face to face" bridge for them and years of competing!
The Wednesday pairs game at the Gopher Regional will honor John Westrom. His friend wants everyone to know how much they appreciate him as a great guy and great player.
Our Spring is Coming Sectional produced an excellent turnout on Friday through Sunday. When the last board was played, a player we often see meeting with great success was at the top of the masterpoint list. John Koch. Playing with a variety of partners, John amassed 27.3 masterpoints. Other competitors who earned 20 or more points included Robert Schacter, Paul Meerschaert, Kerry Holloway and Harry Sapienza. The full list of points earned is here. And results from each event can be viewed here.
Kerry Holloway dragged along his partner (yours truly) for an impressive feat in the Friday afternoon game. We managed to score over 77%! That rare combination of welcome gifts from opponents, some racing luck and making lemonade out of lemons did the trick for us.
Our thanks to hosts Terry and Chip Blu for hosting the tournament, along with Kim Hayward, working hard to direct a fine weekend of bridge.
One fellow - a fixture of bridge in Minnesota for many decades - and "Mr Bridge" in just about every way one can imagine, TGLO, The Great Larry Oakey was present, of course. TGLO was under the weather this weekend, though, so please join me in offering your best wishes to Larry to feel better soon.
And now - lots and lots of smiling faces! Thanks to all of you for attending and enjoying our favorite game!Please note that we have many photos from the weekend. But, for some reason, we cannot post them properly now. Check back later. We hope to have them here soon!
Philosopher Heraclitus said, "The only thing that is constant is change." Right he was.
For the year ending in 2016, we see changes in Minnesota's masterpoint landscape. We now have six Minnesotans who have earned over 10,000 points! In order are:
Peg Kaplan 15414
Terry Beckman 11363
Sharon Anderson 11044
John Koch 10577
Peder Langsetmo 10287
Larry Oakey 10021
And rounding out our top 10 masterpoint holders in Minnesota are: Jack Rhatigan, 9586, Paul Meerschaert, 9236, Bob Balderson, 9175 and Cindy Balderson, 8908.
Earning a spot on the top 100 for 2016 demanded a masterpoint total of at least 2410.
Our congratulations to everyone on the list! Here's to continued success to all our players in 2017. May the "masterpoint force" be with you!
The Bridge Experience Honors classes at the U of Minnesota continue on - with great success. During my most recent visit, Professor Eric Hendrickson gave a rousing lecture to intrigued participants.
Some students sported smiles as they listened and participated.
From the expressions of others, the complexity and challenge of the game is evident.
University Honors Program Director Matthew Bribitzer-Stull offered additional perspective, along with Professors Paul Gutterman and Leon Hsu.
At the table instruction, too, from Professor Bribitzer-Stull.
Bridge is the greatest mind game - and yet - the most challenging. Kudos to our instructors and honors students for giving it their all!
Below, Matthew Bribitzer-Stull shares a rundown of recent events during our classes. So thrilling to see students grasp more and more of this deep and fascinating game!
Good session last Monday! Many of you seem to be picking things up, making connections, and starting to get a feel for the game. We hope to continue spending quite a bit of time playing (including some "off-road" hands that you just shuffle and deal, rather than using the pre-set hands all the time). We're also hoping to finish teaching you rubber bridge scoring to make it easier to play and keep score in the dorm.
Next week: For next Monday, be sure to read Defense, Chapters 1 and 2, doing all the exercises possible. Some of this material will already be familiar to you.
Links: Some links you might be interested to explore:
The American Contract Bridge League ($5 student memberships, including 12 months of the excellent, full-color Bulletin periodical) and lots of online information.
Bridge Winners, a forum for discussion, learning, and bridge resources of all kinds. Some of the best players in the country contribute regularly, as do rank beginners. You can pose problems, start polls, start a forum, read what others have had to say, and store convention cards you make with various partners (a great feature—more on that in later weeks).
Last week Highlights: Finally, for those who didn't stay past 7:30 last Monday, we hand some exciting hands come up. Zeyu made Three Hearts Redoubled! (The contract would have failed, but one of the defenders led out an unsupported Ace, giving declarer an extra trick.) Zeyu also played a Four No-Trump Contract and made an excellent finesse play in diamonds.
And, Morgan made Three No-Trump on the hand below (suits are listed in rank order from top to bottom: spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs). Neither diamonds nor spades divided 3–3, but excellent declarer play, including finessing the Jack of Hearts garnered her an overtrick! Brava!
South (Morgan, declarer)
Thanks deservedly go out to the practical enthusiastic foresight of Chicago/Las Vegas resident/commuter Angie Clark who was in huge part responsible for the tremendous success of our Sectional. Not only was she unstoppable. She enlisted hard workers to cover all the bases she could not physically handle herself. Superwoman can do only so much.
As much fun as I have had at the Sectionals in LV since we moved here in 2005, never thought I would ever see the day where I noted so many unfamiliar out-of-towners who motored or flew in for the five day Sectional at The Plaza located at The Fremont Experience in downtown LV. The Plaza was once the site of the record breaking tournaments run in many earlier decades by Martha Beecher and Grace Matthews. Sadly when they were replaced, it was never the same! However, the trend is finally turning in the right direction.
In 2017 the rates negotiated were soooooo cheap, it was frightening until the guests entered the remodeled hotel and suites and were overwhelmed with their bargain rates! If you played at any of the specified gambling games on the ground level (mattered not which they were) for a specified short length of time .. your ten dollar daily parking tickets were validated PAID. The eateries especially to grab a snack between sessions were fantastic and cheap. Bobby and I ate at The Pizza place each day and still found time to play before afternoon game time.
Our playing space was superb .. good as I ever witnessed .. with more than adequate lighting. Add to that nearby restrooms and lots of fattening tempting chocolate goodies and mints.
By the way (even at our ages), it’s never too late to change. Bobby and I realized it was so tiring to commute (though it was not far from our home in Summerlin) and it took no convincing on either side to stay at The Plaza for the next Sectional. The price will be right!
Though the turnout exceeded Angie’s expectations .. there was another treat in store:
Despite the marvelous throngs at the tables, the two Tournament Directors (KEN HORWEDEL and BRANDON SHEUMAKER) did an incredible job of handling the crowd, keeping the tournament going at a good pace and posting the scores promptly.
By the way, every fact and detail on the Sectional will be presented in written form to the BoD at their meeting this coming Wednesday. I am certain it will be available to the public.
Angie proved .. never give up. Bridge is definitely on the rise here in Vegas!
We escaped "Snowpalooza" in the metro area this past weekend. Perhaps spring is not so far off, after all!
Spring is coming quite soon, however, to our bridge world! Starting this coming Friday, enjoy multiple sessions of sectional bridge at the Twin Cities Bridge Center.
The schedule is here. Grab your favorite partners - then aim to have fun and win silver points at our harbinger of spring tourney!
He was a man of wide-ranging interests who will be remembered by many students from his forty-year career teaching literature at Seneca College in Toronto. He was a collector of rare books and first editions, and loved poking through flea markets and used book stores for undiscovered treasures. He enjoyed squash and tennis, and after retirement took the opportunity to travel widely. He had a quick and ready wit, and could never resist an apposite one-liner, even in social situations where the habit occasionally came back to haunt him.
However, his life-long passion was bridge, which he played at an expert level and in which he achieved many tournament successes. In typical self-deprecating fashion, he claimed to have partnered every great player of his generation – once. David’s own writings reflected both his love for bridge and his knowledge of literature. His five published books featured his alter ego, ‘Professor Silver’, in humorous pastiches of everything from Sherlock Holmes and Joseph Conrad to The Maltese Falcon and Douglas Coupland, all somehow made plausible in a bridge setting.
His readers often had difficulty distinguishing between the Silver of fiction and the man himself, and he told me of many occasions on his travels where he had been addressed as ‘Professor Silver’ and asked to play, or to solve some abstruse problem.
For the past few months, he had been working on a sixth book, which unfortunately will now never see the light of day.
Here in the States (as well as elsewhere), there is continual chatter about declining interest in our once majestic game .. particularly Contract Bridge, which came upon the scene in 1927. As with most issues, everyone can cite reasons for declining participation. The most popular explanations seem to be an aging population as people are dying off .. with not enough interest generated by the younger set. I have done some research that I would like to share with you though that is far from the whole story.
After checking reliable sources, it appears that life expectancy is longer NOW than ever before (excepting rare circumstances). Perhaps we can attribute it to incredible medical science, research, surgeries, procedures and therapy. Times are changing. Old age is not that much of a factor lessening bridge attendance than as in physical enterprises. However, with the advent of modern technology in countless spheres .. consider the following! The younger set has witnessed so much that has evolved in past decades. Consider the addiction to TV, Taped shows, Internet, Kindle, Cell Phones, DVD’s (buy/rent), Movies, Soap Operas, Theatres, Operas, Traveling Headliners and the beat goes on! In fact, why go to a duplicate, tournament or NABC when you can play on BBO in the comfort of your robe .. at your own home .. and at convenient times that suit your personal schedule. Besides, the price is right! I am not condemning BBO .. far from it! It is very popular .. and why not? Just pointing out the tacks in the road. The public wants to know why bridge attendance is faltering with less and less youth taking up the game. Perhaps the above is only a fraction of the realistic reasons.
I think you may be surprised at my major primary suspicion. Let me acquaint you with the introduction of bridge to the younger set which actually was considered (but delayed) about a decade later in Asia. My husband and Bob Hamman were invited to Beijing by the late James Ortiz-Patino (Founder of the World Bridge Federation) to play opposite himself and his obviously enthusiastic partner, Deng Xioaping, the then-reigning Leader of the People’s Republic of China. That was in 1985. In 1993 Bobby (who was then President of the WBF) returned with a specific goal in mind. He was accompanied by Jeff Polisner (then Legal Counsel for the WBF) and another WBF Representative, Patrick Choy, who had since relocated in Singapore. The WBF trio met with a hierarchy of Chinese officials regarding earlier discussions about the positive aspects of the game of bridge. Their historical conference was held at The Great Hall of the People located in the legendary Tian’anmen Square. The primary purpose of the WBF visit: Introducing bridge OFFICIALLY by sanctioning it to be taught in the schools of China. After addressing Bobby …. “Mr Wolff: Exactly what can we do to help promote bridge?” — Bobby responded “Introduce and authorize the teaching of bridge into your school system.” The Chinese dignitaries discussed all the promising possibilities, opportunities and eventual results, excused themselves briefly, returned, extended their hands to Bobby, Jeff and Patrick and agreed “DONE DEAL!” MISSION ACCOMPLISHED .. or so they thought.
When Bobby returned to Aspen a short time later to attend the WBF Management Meeting, he presided, and proudly explained arrangements had been made and mutually agreed upon .. so that Audrey Grant (and her husband, David Lindop) would sojourn to China to “teach the teachers” how to teach bridge to the students. That included bringing notes, books, lesson materials, etc. … leaving the proverbial “no stone (or no card) unturned.” Shockingly, there was much resistance because many in attendance chirped in and wanted to join the entourage. Thus, their great intentions were thwarted even longer; however, the project finally got off the ground turning it over to the Chinese teachers who must have done one helluva a job as TODAY there are over 200,000,000 children learning and playing bridge in China. That is NOT A MISPRINT … OVER 200,000,000 IN CHINA … in addition to the eleven other European nations who had already officially introduced it into their school curricula earlier.
Just bear in mind. The collective membership here is around 170,000 total members. Compare that 200,000,000 school children in China alone (and add that to the other eleven countries who proudly adopted the educational school programs before that time). Lack of official bridge school involvement here is very discouraging .. so let’s face the facts and work on a solution:
Instead of concentrating on special local events and games and, of course the lure of more masterpoints, perhaps the ACBL administration should dedicate their time, interest and financial support (via ultra-qualified bridge leaders) toward investigating and hiring experienced teaching professionals to organize the same type of educational program the two hundred million Chinese youngsters have enjoyed the benefit of .. and are enabling them to make their way into the beautiful realm of bridge .. and eventually some of our newbies may become the budding bridge stars of the future.
Forgive my bluntness .. but the TIME IS NOW for a major turnabout to prevent the most incredible mind game in the world from losing stature. China and Europe have striven to teach and preserve the game and hopefully are enroute to protecting its continuance and popularity for centuries to come. Not so in the Western Hemisphere where little has seriously been done on a major scale to indoctrinate bridge into our school systems .. to prevent it from continuing to fall from grace and eventually vanish.
Bridge in the States and neighboring areas needs immediate resuscitation (long overdue) and that is OUR responsibility! The foresight taken by China and Europe seems like a rational approach. Otherwise, just sit back, do nothing and watch bridge fade into its likely fate of extinction.
Attend Unit 103's Awards Banquet and celebrate the 2016 winners
of Unit 103 Ace of Clubs and Mini- McKenney!
WHEN: Saturday, April 22, 2017
WHERE: St. Paul Bridge Center
2603 – 6th Avenue East
North St. Paul, MN 55109
Congratulations to all Unit 103 players that did well in 2016!
We look forward to recognizing and celebrating their success.
All players are welcome to a complimentary lunch starting at 1:00.
Immediately following will be the Awards presentations and a special Bridge game.
Players who are 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in their category will play free.
$6 entry for others.
Please join us in this fun day! Everyone is welcome!
RSVP by April 12th to 651-490-5430. We look forward to seeing you!
A month ago, MN Bridge reported that the U of MN would start having bridge classes for honor students. Now, the game is on!
Your webmaster traveled to the West Bank to see for herself how the lessons were coming along. Delighted to report that all systems are go!
At the front of the room, Professor Matthew Bribitzer-Stull, Director of the Honors Program and Associate Dean, leads a lively discussion about the values of honor cards. Getting their bridge feet wet, students offer thoughts on aces and spaces.
Other U of MN professors assist as students wade into our fascinating yet confounding game. How do we capture tricks? What bids are to be made when? Which hands are great - and which not? Professor Hsu, below, advises.
As I walk through the room, I remember my own fascination and concurrent bewilderment with this marvelous game as my bridge education began. I hope that many of these students take on the bridge challenge, leading to a lifetime of excitement, mental sport - plus an entire world of bridge playing friends.
What does it all mean? How does it work?
Never ever do you master bridge completely - yet learning continues forever - along with the fun!
We will be reporting more on our bridge adventure at the U of MN! Stay tuned, everyone!
If you are in Minnesota and want to play in the state's most challenging club game, then the Minneapolis Grand Slam Club is for you. Now in its 79th season, the MGSC is a super place to compete, irrespective of experience.
One of the big reasons for this is our people. We have great folks who love our game, work hard at it, volunteer at the club and elsewhere - and are friendly and welcoming. One of those people who surely would be a contender for Best in Show in all these aspects is a guy who today is celebrating his 70th birthday: Kerry Holloway.
Last night, as Mike Cassel, another fine player and volunteer, was preparing lots of goodies for our GNT Fundraiser Super Bowl evening, Kerry's marvelous wife Cara was preparing for a surprise! She dropped off a huge & very yummy birthday cake with Kerry's partner for the evening (yours truly) to surprise Kerry on his Big Birthday.
Kerry was indeed duly surprised and delighted! And all of us enjoyed the treats and birthday cake - along with another excellent evening of bridge.
If you happen to be reading this and you are not a bridge player, then please note that we would love for you to learn our game! Not only is it THE greatest mind game out there - it is filled with loads of really superb people who forge friendships for decades - just as important as the bridge partnerships they cherish.
Happy BIG birthday to someone I met forty years ago, already an expert then when I was a newcomer. Whether playing with a novice, seasoned player or someone top flight, Kerry is kind, a tough competitor and supportive in every way.
Thanks to all who played Friday night! We love our bridge community and are happy to share lots more photos of the people who are as wonderful as the game itself.
The beginning of our beloved game came about in the 1800’s with Bridge Whist — continuing until it was converted in 1904 to Auction Bridge and continued that way until Harold Vanderbilt was credited when he brilliantly converted “Auction” into “Contract” Bridge while on a cruise in 1927. Then along came Eli Culbertson, Milton Work, Charles Goren and others who helped pioneer the game as we know it today. Since then Contract Bridge has appeared in many forms, including social at-home games. The American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) was created (in 1936) and The WBF (World Bridge Federation) at the urging and support of James Ortiz-Patino was formed in 1958 and under its auspices hosted many world championships/olympiads. Competition comes in all forms and shapes: individuals, pairs, teams … and more. Name your poison and pay your entry fee. At the duplicate clubs, the majority of events are focused on daily pairs with an occasional Special Club Championship (with an additional charge and extra masterpoints ala ACBL).
Judging from what we see locally here in Vegas, most play because of their love and enjoyment of the game enabled by leisure time. We also have Sectionals and Regionals. This Month (February 20th-24th), our Sectional will be held at The Plaza (which was the popular downtown site for the record breaking attendance of the 80’s and 90’s). I am pleased to add .. the advanced reservations are quite sizeable with nearly three weeks to go. All games (even at the neighborhood club level) allow the players to be ranked within their peers… new, intermediate and more experienced — depending upon their level of play). Obviously, it varies from social bridge all the way to the top .. National and International Competition where many high- level experts from both here and abroad compete … something like a Game for All Seasons. Bridge has shaped my life phenomenally beyond description (blessing me with both Norman and Bobby) and thus the necessity to express my concerns for the future distresses me!
Because of modern day technology, much has changed! I refer specifically to the current fabulous facilities employed to detect and document stealthy cheating (at all levels) with research and scientific methods not available previously. Early on .. perhaps sixty or so years ago, some adventuresome pairs illegally exchanged information and when discovered and corroborated .. some were booted out of our game .. many never to be seen or heard from again. Others paid a shorter period of penance .. but later resurfaced. However, with more experienced, clever, culprits (both nationally and internationally), it continued to thrive and is in the active stage of being proven and soon (I pray) to be stopped. I cannot go into the details myself, as I am not qualified to offer up proof .. but many top players (in 1963 when I came on the scene) KNEW and would have staked their lives on the undeserved wins of certain “glorious” teams (and pairs) whose names always appeared as No. 1. Many are familiar with the details after reading The Lone Wolff, but hold on to your seats .. there is more in the offing.
Since I truly believe the issue of deliberate underhanded, stealthy action is in the process of being squelched, we are exerting our efforts toward a new concern. On another site, most of you may have read about a second try (which failed over two decades ago) at introducing into universal bridge a proposed new contrived bidding system in conjunction with the striving for use of ‘Ferts.’ Yes, it is aptly nicknamed for the word ‘fertilizer’ which needs no elaboration. Just read between the drops. It is what it is! No doubt, most competitions are subject to change — and certainly favored .. IF in the interest of improvement (v. complicated bidding methods of confusion). Those of us old timers are appreciative and captivated by the majestic level to which bridge has ascended. However, there exist strong attempts to totally renovate our long-used methods of bidding where ‘this’ means ‘that’ and ‘that’ means ‘this.” If allowed (and we pray not), the game will go to hell in a hand basket — bearing no resemblance to what, for decades, we have proudly known as Bridge.
The most destructive element of this attempt at wreaking havoc on our long used, improved and rather simplistic bidding structure involves confusing techniques. Besides resembling a Halloween scene as it is very deceptive, it will cause contestants to play against trumped-up intentionally concocted bidding systems, slow down the game indescribably by unfamiliarity with the newly arriving chicanery, and force longtime players enamored by their favorite pastime to change their own bidding and defense to cope with it. And, how about all the extra time needed for those relatively in the dark who cause a delay of game. Certainly, they should not be penalized. With the revival of this second attempt to allow ‘ferts’ to infiltrate the system, I fear we will lose many avid players .. either giving it up or returning to relaxing mama-papa social coffee klatches. Is this attempted bridge revolution what you want? I didn’t think so!
Should (by some very dark and distant miracle) ‘Ferts’ and their accompanying ramifications officially ever sadly see the light of day … our once-great game’s replacement should be re-named GARBRIDGE!!
A new year for bridge - and - Steve Gaynor has provided us with a new schedule for almost all of eternity!
Our thanks to Steve for helping us know what fabulous games are lurking throughout our state - along with other events that Minnesotans would love.
From the start of 2017 and on - posted below. Thank you, Steve!
A great venue at the Maplewood Community Center provided a fine weekend of tournament bridge! Our thanks to tournament chair Keith Thompson, DIC Kim Hayward and all our able volunteers for the Winter Sectional.
At the top of the masterpoint list for the weekend, we find Kerry Holloway. Known for not only his excellent play, but also his ability to partner a wide variety of players and achieve great results, this weekend was no different. Kerry earned an impressive 30.5 masterpoints with his partners! The overall masterpoint list is here; results from each event here.
And as we near Valentine's Day, a sweet treat. For many of us, partnering our partner in life can be a significant challenge AT the table. Yet, some of us handle it magnificently!
Love is in the air - and in these smiles.
More shots of sectional fun below!
While the Winter Sectional at the Maplewood Community Center continues on this weekend, a fine article for all our competitors to enjoy.
We sometimes think that elite players are bridge gods and can do no wrong. Sometimes, they do indeed perform miracles at the table!
Yet, as Fred Gitelman (one of the founders of BridgeBase Online) highlights, even the experts sometimes make errors - and sometimes bad ones!
Fred recalls one time approaching Michael Rosenberg, whom he had just watched make a play that had not turned out well. and asking him why he had made the error. Michael smiled at him. ‘Don’t you get it yet. Fred?’ he asked. ‘Nobody’s any good at this game; it’s just that the top players are less bad than the rest.’
Have a great time this weekend at our Winter Sectional. And remember that no one at all ever plays perfectly! If something goes wrong at the table, then forget about it and move on to the next hand.
That's what the experts do!
In My Fair Lady Professor Henry Higgins asks his companion, Colonel Pickering, ‘why can’t a woman be more like a man?’ The colonel doesn’t come up with a clear answer. In the 21st century we are facing the question turned around: ‘why can’t a man be more like a woman?’, and we are finding he can, although not yet reaching the status of an interchangeable piece in the post-industrial machinery. Some men still fall in love with their baby-sitter.
We can’t imagine Sherlock Holmes, back in the Victorian era, asking Watson the same question. Watson might reply, ‘Really, Holmes! Why this sudden interest?’ Previously his friend had shown no more interest in a woman than in a discarded cigar butt. Indeed, he had never written of a woman, ‘close examination can uncover many interesting details.’ Holmes is a realist and an admirer of Petrarch who famously noted, ‘rarely do great virtue and great beauty dwell together’. For some this provides an incentive for interaction, but for Holmes it is an excuse for not getting involved.
At one time clever Anglo-Saxon schoolboys made Sherlock Holmes their hero. When they were old enough to take up bridge seriously, they strove to adopt his analytic methodology to the play of the cards. The atmosphere at the table was in the Victorian model of civility and comportment. There are still remnants of that era about. Many fine (male) bridge players, like Sherlock Holmes, enjoy solving puzzles more than they value human companionship. Holmes does not hate Mankind, rather he views people, women in particular, as the necessary providers of problems. One cannot play bridge without a partner and opponents. His strong sense of justice is tempered by circumstances. In The Boscombe Valley Mystery he lets a murderer go free in order that a beautiful, blue-eyed daughter might have a better chance at happiness, happiness being defined as a marriage to a poor but handsome chap who had been living in sin with a disreputable barmaid. (Watson should check him over.) Perhaps in the mind of the great detective this was to be a punishment for her distractive beauty, not a reward.
Holmes brings his cold objectivity to the bridge table. Recently at my local club word was received that a club member had gone to the hospital seriously ill. A Get Well card was being circulated for signature. One of the players at the table, a Holmes-type, said, ‘He should have quit smoking years ago’. I thought, true enough, but you never write ‘I told you so’ on a sympathy card. This got me to thinking about other greeting cards on which a middle-aged misanthrope should refrain from putting his true feelings in writing.
A Misanthrope’s Greeting Cards
Have a Nice Trip! Beware of strangers offering assistance.
Congratulations on your Engagement! Honeymoons are short – so get a head-start.
It’s a Girl! Enjoy the next 12 years.
It’s a Boy! Boys will be boys. Hope he’s not the exception.
Congratulation on Your Promotion! A nice surprise!
Sorry! I would like to apologize, but facts remain facts.
I Heard of Your Divorce Only five years for manslaughter, but alimony for life.
Happy Retirement! Wise decision and none too soon.
Congratulations on your Re-Marriage It’s a good bet when you’ve nothing to lose.
Have a Nice Cruise! The Pyramids are beautiful in the moonlight, but don’t go there.
Get Well Soon Defy the odds! You always have against me.
Happy 70th I thought you were much older. Enjoy your overtime.
The Sudden End of a Rubber
Now we come to Dr Watson, who portrays himself as a conscientious mediocrity, but who carries a revolver and, if the need arises, is not averse to shooting someone overcome by strong passions. His life is devoted to completing tasks, whereas Holmes’ life is devoted to starting adventures. As Watson looks back he regrets he wasn’t more like his quixotic friend. The truth is, Holmes couldn’t have tolerated Watson if the doctor had shown more initiative. He had to be reliably predictable without disturbing the thought processes. There are bridge partnerships like that. Here they are at the bridge table, as described by Watson looking back in his old age.
One evening, while awaiting certain developments in the East End, Holmes and I dropped in at the Aurelian Club near the Moorgate Street Station (where it still stands) to pass the time with a few rubbers of bridge. He was not a favourite there, partly because of his aloof air of superiority, but largely for the inordinate time he spent making decisions during the play of part-scores that appeared to others to be of no great consequence. Yet these were the problems that most engaged his mind, with his cards face down on the table before him, eyes closed and fingers pressed tightly against his noble brow. On one occasion an impatient opponent was heard to mutter, ‘for God’s sake, Man’, for which transgression he was immediately expelled. Later Holmes had the man reinstated and he himself paid the membership fee, which, although befittingly modest, was a significant sum for the fellow who had come on hard times due to excessive drinking. It came to light later that he had helped Holmes in writing his memorandum on strong liquors, a task that may have contributed to his medical condition.
On the occasion of which I write our opponents were two gentlemen of quite varying aspect, South being a slim, nervous, young man with a thin charcoal pencil moustache on his upper lip, North, a red-faced, portly gentleman with mutton chops and an air of self-importance that often comes with successful middle age. It was getting late in the rubber after an inordinate number of part-scores when this hand finally brought the affair to its swift and satisfactory conclusion.
The auction was brief, the play, quick. Holmes won the ♠Q lead with the ♠K in his hand, drew trumps in 3 rounds, took two rounds of clubs ending in dummy, and led the ♥J. The beefy gentleman pounced on it with his ace like a hungry hound on a bloody bone. Holmes ruffed the ♣Q return and claimed explaining he could ruff this club, and throw two clubs on the established ♥KQ. The young man slumped dejectedly in his chair while the clergyman hurried to the exit without ever thinking of settling up.
The next morning over breakfast I questioned Holmes on his line of play.
‘I was wondering, Holmes, why you didn’t play on hearts immediately. It seems safer.’
‘Ah, Watson, you again demonstrate that at bridge even success has its critics. I admit I may have been too greatly influenced by our opponents’ behaviour.’
‘I noticed nothing untoward.’
The young bank clerk on my left hesitated briefly after our 1♣ – 1♦ start. He is the type who enters auctions cheaply without material justification. Did you notice the threadbare condition of his shirt cuffs? While he was considering such a rash move, his partner, an honest clergyman of Nonconformist persuasion, drew out his pocket watch, anxious not to be late for his evening prayer session scheduled to begin in 18 minutes time. That marked him with a flat hand of little interest. For such people, failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.’
‘This is unlike you, Holmes. You are always insisting on evidence based on facts.’
‘Very well, I shall explain. The division of sides of the opponent’s cards was 7=9=4=6. The lead indicted a robust spade suit. On the third round of trumps, South let go what appeared to him to be a worthless club. He felt he must keep guards in both majors. The rest was elementary. If he had the ♥A and returned a safe spade to dummy’s ♠A, I could ruff the clubs good and return to dummy to enjoy them.’
‘But I had opened light in first seat. How could you know you couldn’t make 13 tricks?’
‘I know your tendencies, Watson. Dinner time was upon us, nevertheless, I would expect no less than 2 aces and 9 minor suit cards. The young man’s hesitation pointed to potential bad breaks, so I decided to put an end to it, if for no other reason than not to inconvenience our clergyman’s parishioners.’
‘You might have done that by bidding 3NT and be done with it.’
‘That would be unsporting. No, at least slam presented me with a one-trick problem.’
‘It all depended on the clubs sitting 3-3. If they weren’t, holding up the ace would have presented difficulties. The opponents aren’t always so reliable.’
‘Well observed, old fellow. If our RHO were a Moriarity, he would be capable of withholding his ace in order to create a problem in communication, and I may have regretted not giving the situation more thought, especially after he had taken out his watch in such an obvious manner. However, if we can’t trust our bankers and our clergyman, where would we be? ‘
‘Quite so. Concerning that young gentleman…’
‘Watson, I am willing to wager we’ll not be seeing that particular young person again. Now let’s take up our instruments and try to give justice to a theme by Herr Pachebel.’
Just two days until winter fun in St. Paul! Starting Friday, January 27 at 9:30AM, head to the Maplewood Community Center for the start of the Winter Sectional Tournament. Every day features new and challenging events, along with coffee and treats.
During Sunday's morning and afternoon sessions, lunch will be served.
The schedule and all the details about our great sectional are here. Grab your favorite partners and head to the Maplewood Community Center this weekend for the bridge event of the month!
Mike Cassel, our GNT Coordinator, has shared an information sheet about our May District 14 Finals this year in Mason City, IA.
Lots of great information from Mike about the event. A fabulous opportunity to compete against your peers at the Summer NABC in Toronto!
Take a look below at the event. Hope to see many of you in Mason City - and - winning teams in Toronto!
Minnesota may not be one of the more populous states in the U.S. Yet, we have produced quite a number of super stars in the bridge world.
One of those very accomplished stars is Eddie Kantar.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Eddie began to play at age 11, continuing with both competition and teaching at the University of Minnesota. He has had quite the illustrious career.
Not only has Eddie twice won the famed Bermuda Bowl, he also has many North American Championships to his credit, along with Grand Master status in the WBF and Grand Life Master status in the ACBL. In addition, Eddie is one of the most revered and prolific bridge writers around. His biography has more details.
Twenty years ago, Eddie was inducted into the ACBL Hall of Fame. Much more about his accomplishments in so many aspects of our game are heralded in his HOF write up.
Now, yet another honor has been bestowed upon Eddie. The 2017 Lazard Sportsmanship Award has named Eddie as their recipient. As an "icon of the game" and a competitor who has been "a beacon of integrity and sportsmanship for decades," the committee selectors chose Eddie for their award.
Bridgewinners has posted a lovely detailed explanation of the award - and why Eddie is so deserving of this title.
Congratulations to Eddie, who joins fellow "from Minnesota but now in California" Howie Weinstein as a Lazard Sportsmanship Award winner! We are bursting with pride for you both!
Many of us "old timers" learned bridge when we were in college. Yet for some years, the number of students getting turned on to The Greatest Mind Game Ever dwindled. Now, however, a fine roster of U of MN professors are going to alter that trajectory!
Matthew Bribitzer-Stull, along with colleagues Paul Gutterman, Eric Hendrickson, Leon Hsu, Nita Kevans, Glen Meeden and Harry Sapienza will soon be teaching bridge at U of MN! Approximately 48 Honors students will learn how to play bridge on Monday evenings, from 5:30-7:00PM in the Honors dorm. If they so wish, students will be encouraged to stay for another hour of play, from 7:00-8:00PM.
Education will go well beyond rote explanation of rules. Faculty will also include discussion of the thinking skills that bridge develops, including enhanced memory, concentration, analytic thinking, contingency planning, communication and more.
Bridge at the Honors dorm starts Monday, January 23rd, through May, 1st. A tournament will be held on the final date! Students are encouraged to join the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) and to continue their bridge education at local bridge clubs, such as the Twin Cities Bridge Center and The Bridge Center of St. Paul. We hope that students will also continue their education with further lessons.
U of MN students have a fabulous opportunity to learn the game with a fine array of bridge teachers! We hope that many take advantage of these exceptional sessions!
Thanks to Minnesota Bridge Education for supporting this effort by providing teaching and playing supplies.
Take advantage of the upcoming Unit 373 Glitter Gulch Sectional rates at the newly renovated Plaza in the traditionally celebrated area known as The Fremont Experience. I have been in touch with Chairlady Extraordinaire, Angie Clark, who served as Hospitality Chairperson for the last two Chicago NABCs. I’ve gleaned the following from her which I want to share with you:
The playing site is conveniently located and has fresh new carpeting where they have installed an additional bank of can lights to the already-existing adequate light system to make a very well-lit attractive playing area which is almost adjacent to the restrooms. There are restaurants and coffee shops in the Plaza as well as numerous dining facilities and other casinos just steps away.
The dates of our tournament are Monday through Friday (February 20-24th). The Starting Times are 10 & 3. The room rates (including resort fee and tax): MONDAY ($54.25); TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY ($44.25). Be sure to make your hotel reservation by January 30th USING OUR RESERVATION CODE: SPACBL! (The card fees per session are $12 per person/$15 for non-ACBL members). The popular starting times of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. allow our players to enjoy relaxing meals in incredibly exciting surroundings.
The bridge schedule encompasses: PAIR GAMES: Two Sessions Every Day with an exciting BAROMETER PAIRS on Thursday; KNOCKOUTS Monday through Wednesday… with SWISS TEAMS available for those knocked out early. The tourney closes on Friday with a two-session STRATIFIED SWISS TEAMS and PAIR GAMES as well. Our 0-299ers have games every day at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. No section top prizes will be provided; however, trophies for I/Ns have been arranged. Check out our Unit 373 site for more specific details.
With the expected success of the February Sectional, we can ensure many more events at this location in the future. We look forward to your joining us at The Plaza.
More details to follow!
Bridge lessons at the Rochester Bridge Club have been quite successful in bringing new players into the club.
Recently, 14 of their bridge students have joined the ACBL and are playing regularly, some even competing for the Ace of Clubs award in their category! Hats off to Sue Greenberg and her team for these achievements!
An additional note is that Minnesota Bridge Education has supported the cause by helping to pay entry fees as the new players try out duplicate games.
MN Bridge Education is a charity whose goal is to support developing bridge players in Minnesota. We support bridge teachers, students, and clubs by providing funds for lessons, supplies, and duplicate games for new players.
As a recognized charity, donations are tax deductible. So far our funds have come from individual donations, memorial gifts, and bridge charity games. We also have been included in at least one person’s estate planning. Please contact Sue Jackson (email@example.com) with questions.
We now have a link to this on the left of the website. Keep an eye out for news about this resource to help promote more bridge players in our state!
And, articles of incorporation are below.
Help Minnesota Bridge Education earn money during the tax season!
If you are a new client of H & R Block, then tell the H&R office that you visit that you were referred to them by the Minnesota Bridge Education.
A $20 referral fee will then be donated to Minnesota Bridge Education.
And yes; it is that simple!