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April 28, 2017

Peg Kaplan

IMP Sectional

The IMP Sectional begins today and runs through Sunday. The event will be held at the Edina Senior Center.

Please note, however, that Sunday's schedule as noted in this link is not accurate!  Sunday times are:  11:15AM and 3PM.

I believe that this is our first IMP Tournament! Looking forward to a great turnout and a new format!

by Peg at April 28, 2017 03:08 PM

April 26, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Unit 103 - Awards Party


We are doubly fortunate with Unit 103's Awards Party that honored 2016 Mini McKenney and Ace of Clubs achievers! Both Sandy Casey and Steve Gaynor sent run downs on this fine event - along with sets of photos, too.

As Unit 103 encompasses much of Minnesota, attendees included many in the Twin Cities, plus healthy contingents from St. Cloud, Rochester, Duluth, Morehead and other cities.

Unit 103 President recognized winners after everyone enjoyed a fine lunch. Our thanks to Warren, event coordinator Kathy Beckman, Judy Holdenbach for her efforts with feeding the masses and Kim Hayward for her fine directing of the 26 table game.



We appreciate everyone who made this special event a success - along with our intrepid reporters for their contributions, too!

Plenty more photos below!


































by Peg at April 26, 2017 12:24 AM

April 23, 2017

Peg Kaplan

My Partner, My Friend



Ever since Larry Oakey departed from this world on April 1st - too fitting, given his sense of humor - I've received a wealth of memories, stories, and more from so many. Thank you for sharing each one; together they craft a fine sense of the man we shall miss so much.

Yet for me, words were hard to come. How do I state what this truly unique man meant to me? How do I say it "just right"? Here it is, the day of TGLO's memorial celebration, and I am still searching with no good answers. So, like my typical bridge game, I will simply try my best, knowing what I say will be too imperfect but hoping that at least some of the time, I get it right.  Larry would understand - I sure hope.

Forty years ago, I started playing at the Bridge Center at 60th & Nicollet. From that time, bridge became an integral part of my life. My immense good fortune to not only gain an avocation that I loved - but to also be blessed with wonderful friends and incredibly fine partners.  Larry was both.

Many would agree with me that had he chosen to become a well known national expert, Larry surely had what it took to do so. He was most competitive in national events, ultimately earning 2nd place in 1978's tough Men's Board a Match Teams with Steve Garner, Dick Melson and David Lehman.

Yet, for whatever reasons, Larry chose a different path for his bridge career. Rather than compete in the high octane, pressure filled world of world class bridge, Larry played more with a variety of friends. Some had plenty of talent; others were nice people with a fraction of Larry's ability. Yet he treated all with kindness and achieved decades of fine results.

For a number of years, Larry and I were a regular partnership - in addition to good buddies. Though we had our triumphs, never could I begin to approximate Larry's level of talent and understanding. More times than I like to recall, I'd perpetrate something so catastrophically awful, I'd challenge even Larry's ability to "let it go." "Were you even trying?" was a comment I'd heard more than once. In typical fashion, however, he'd shake it off and we'd be on to the next adventure.

Two experiences stand out. The first happened at the Gopher Regional; the finals of a knock-out. My LHO opened 3S; Larry called 5H! I was about to bid 5S - when my RHO beat me to the punch. Ugh; what to do!? I had a such a great hand.... Fine heart support, the spade ace, other good values on the side. It seemed a new suit would be natural and not a cue bid ... So my choice was 6 or 7 hearts. I thought and thought - then finally decided to go for the gusto:  7 hearts.

Once I bid, the 3S bidder went into the tank. Finally, he reluctantly passed, of course Larry did - and after a momentary flicker, my RHO did, too. 

Larry often would mutter as he played. When the auction went all pass, he commented, "At least I know we're not off the ace of trump."

"Ace of trump?" I thought to myself? I don't have that card! As Larry was constantly kidding at the table, I hoped that this was one of those times...  But - it was not. My RHO wisely realized that getting an extra 100 by doubling was not worth the risk that his partner might bid 7S - so he quietly settled for his plus 100.

Our teammates returned to the table and inquired:  "Did you bid the slam?" Larry laughed, "Oh yeah, we bid it!" At the other table, Larry's counterpart bid 4H over 3S - and our opponents played it there. I could have doubled 5S, bid 6H - or even passed - and we would have won our match. Larry's brilliant bid deserved a better fate, but it did teach me a valuable lesson. When the opponents preempt and you have to guess, often the wisest guess is something middle of the road.

My other bridge story is also a tale of woe. Larry and I teamed up with Sharon Anderson and Irving Steinfeldt for a Grand National Team District final qualifying in Iowa. We didn't make the cut, so chose to play in a team game that evening.

This was an era where someone was inventing twists for the team games. One was called "Best Ball."  Both sets of partnerships would sit the same direction - each pair instructed to play differently from the other. One pair might be conservative and the other aggressive, for instance. Then, each result would be recorded, but only the superior result would "count."

For the evening team game, a different version was used - I think for the first and last time in history. The principle was the same, except for this. Instead of your better result counting, the lesser of the two was the one that was recorded. And for this event and this session, Larry and I produced what I am quite certain was the most huge game we ever had in all the years we played together.

Round after round, the opponents would sit down and we'd crush them. We'd be brilliant, they'd commit an atrocity. This seemed to go on almost every hand. And we'd sit there, looking at one another, thinking "this cannot be happening!" For with ever top board we'd achieved, we knew "It cannot count; it won't matter." The results were so out of this world, no way Sharon and Irving could match them.

Despite these two unfortunate bridge memories, most of the rest of our partnership was super. I was lucky to have a long stretch of time when I was not working. So, Larry and I would play at the Bridge Center, head to a regional or even occasionally compete at the nationals. As we drove across the plains of the Midwest, we'd ramble on about bridge hands and theory and people, stories over the years, movies and more.

I know many others have mentioned much about Larry - but it bears repeating. He was an amazing film buff, not only attending more movies than anyone I ever knew, but also going to see the ones he liked the most up to 30 times! Everyone in the Twin City film world knew Larry - and of course loved him. There's a reason the Uptown Theater put up on their marquee:  "We will miss you Larry."

Larry was amazingly talented at everything he did - and amazingly giving. If you needed it done and needed it done well - Larry was there. A frenzy of energy and lightning fast and always VWD.

And then there was Larry and his omnipresent bicycle. Some may not know that Larry never drove. Due to a lack of peripheral vision, he could not get a driver's license. So, instead, much of his transportation was self-powered. Larry road his bike prodigious distances, even up to age 77. Only an awful accident stopped him then. Occasionally, for truly far events, Larry would need a ride. I'd meet him at the Bridge Center and we'd head out to a bridge party in Prior Lake or Eagan ... Larry would always act as though I was performing some big favor. I'd always think I was only giving back a tiny fraction of what he gave to me and others.

It will be wonderful to celebrate Larry's life this afternoon at the TCBC - and incredibly tough to walk through the door and know he won't be there. I can see him in my mind's eye .... Sitting in his "cage", crammed with treats and boxes, huddled over the computer ... Walking around the room, making sure all is running smoothly. Sitting with his partners, those long, slim fingers, shuffling the cards, thinking out loud, almost always getting the best out of his partner and the game that is possible..... Pushing his bike out the door, heading to a movie or to coach softball or head to the Art Institute to volunteer...

I could go on and on some more. But I am sure, somewhere, Larry, who never wanted to be the center of attention, is already embarrassed too much.

Thank you for being there for all of us, Larry.  As the Uptown Theater said so succinctly:  Larry, we will miss you. 


by Peg at April 23, 2017 02:10 PM

Celebrating Larry Oakey


Today, April 23rd, we gather at the Twin City Bridge Center to celebrate the life of Larry Oakey.

Please join us for a a memorial gathering at 4PM with a luncheon to follow.


by Peg at April 23, 2017 12:44 PM

Hiawatha Bridge Sectional Photos

Just in!  Smiles and concentration from our competitors at our recent sectional in Rochester.


Lots more below; check 'em out!













by Peg at April 23, 2017 01:54 AM

April 21, 2017

Eamon Galligan

2017 Lady Milne this weekend

This weekend somewhere in Wales we have the Lady Milne Trophy for the championship of the British Isles. You can find a link to the event via the English Bridge Union website.

Once you head over to the Welsh site you will find links to Fearghal O'Boyles website and also to Ian Mitvhels website as well. Fearghal will be posting live running scores from the event.

On the playing side there are 2 events .. England versus Scotland for the main championship and Wales WBU NIBU and Ireland for the 3rd place spoon. Scotland and England are just far too strong for the other 4 teams due to training and dedication allied to a better level of bridge skill.

I think it was last year in Northern Ireland that Scotland finished the event on the first night with a 20-0 thrashing of England .. Needing steady results against 2x NIBU WBU and CBAI ..the event was well over. England did recover to take a distant 2nd place. This year the English include Fiona Brown fresh from her Ireland Moylan Cup victory with eagle eagle eagle finish on the last 3 boards as Garve Hanlon double bogied the final board. Garvey Hanlon ran into the normal non regular partnership problem of 1 thought this and the other thought this so Hanlons overbid was deemed Garveys underbid leading to a 3NT that even Sean O'Lubaigh would not think up as a psyche. Down 3 despite a defensive penalty card.

Hopefully this year for the first time in living memory the NPCs will come up with some original party pieces instead of the stupid blonde jokes of recent years or the intelligent woman joke from Scotland. Funny thing is most men spend most of their first year of life inside a woman and then they grow up and tell blonde jokes. They don't seem to notice the jokes are greeted by SILENCE.

From time to time a Welsh NIBU or CBAI sticks their head above the ditch but mostly the ending is the same ..a close 2nd or tight 3rd place. NIBU in 2009 in Limerick and again a couple of years ago before the unfortunate loss of their main pair due to a family illness. I think an NIBU win was certain that year.

Currently I am playing a long match using hands played by Jeannie Fitzgerald and Emer Joyce against various opponents on BBO including many GIB robots. After 210 boards I am back in the lead by 470 to 433 I think but its 37 imps anyway. I started off with a 50 imp lead early on but then thanks to several disasters by Jeannie Emer opponents suddenly I was around 100 imps behind and wondering what happened. I mean one hand saw a "world senior champion" fail to take the setting trick against 3NT doubled  in imps ... for me 1 down is good bridge but this chap felt like minus 750 was his choice .. and I think 20 imps swung.... 7 or 8 more of those boards and I was well behind.

However I could see the ending as the average plus imps was well below the requirement so I knew imps were coming my way and so far they have.

Still its possible if Team Ireland have done their homework and the other teams turn up below par and the Irish NPC uses his head instead of the rotation system that Ireland could win. This is a big ask but about 10 players on both England and Scotland  have to get hands that don't suit them.
Also an Irish NPC will have to prepare a gracious victory speech for the first time ever in Mrs Milne history.

The Irish team is Jill Kulchycky Petra O'Neill Joan Kenny Teresa Rigney Jeannie Fitzgerald and Emer Joyce. .....

I recall one time playing in a Regent Pairs championship and scoring what would be 3 90% plus scores against Petra O'Neill in the first round.  Her partner got up and picked up her keys and departed for home. Bye Bye 3 good boards .. I did not even get 3 average pluses. The boards were thrown out and replaced by a sitout. Its tougher to leave Wales though and its a different partner.

Meanwhile back on the Bridge Now front ... the rating tests continue but we need extra factors as
currently the top players need to score near 70% to hold their ratings.

The top 50 of the 1520 folk who are in my database.

jim me  2205
Karl Cashen  2178
Pierre DELVAULX  2113
Patrick 27  2098
MC51  2093
Graham Hazel  2075
Igor Milevoj  2069
Marek.C  2065
pinco pallino  2059
Eamon Galligan  2039
B.J. O'Brien  2038
John Horn  2031
Tudor Trocan  2030
WBridge5 (Robot)  2030
Bernard CARPENTIER  2023
David Welsh  2020
pietro serioi 2016
Jinn  2011
Noëlle Delahaye-Levesque  1993
Paul East  1978
Igor Bek  1976
Tamara de Grady  1974
John Macdonald  1964
dr. Eddie  1962
HMN_WPB  1961
Claude Martin  1953
tom gilligan  1949
Jan Stavast  1947
Fran Swift  1938
George Kissov  1932
Maire O'Keeffe  1930
Terry  1930
Yves Costel  1924
Jim Wills  1921
Alice Bayandor  1919
Jean-François MARZAL  1918
Kerostia 1917
Jim Mullally  1910
David Boxley  1907
Jean Charles Brothier  1904
Paul Johnson 1901
Etienne Delangre  1901
tigo jean  1897
Mircea Kivu  1893
M. Hermsen  1889
GrantK  1887
Robert Pascal  1884
Baile an Mhota  1882

1523 players on the list in total and 4 of them rate below 1000.
The midpoint and starting value is 1500

Soon I will make a list of all people with Ireland flags.


Above is the website where you can play boards ..

This week I got around 67% average and gained all of 6 rating points
I got passed out by champion robot basher BJ O'Brien
Karl Cashen a champion snorer remains the top Irish robot basher by a distance.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at April 21, 2017 02:17 PM

Peg Kaplan

Serving our Greater Bridge Community

We have received two announcements for those interested in serving in the ACBL.

The first is a notice of an upcoming election for our District 14 Board of Directors. This position is for a 3 year term. Those interested in running for this elected position must file with the ACBL no later than May 31, 2017.  

The rules and regs involved are quite detailed. Should you have interest, the election document governing elections can be viewed here.

Additionally, Sarah Imig is looking for volunteers to serve on the Teacher Development and Enhancement Committee. This committee will meet at the Gopher Regional this May in Minnetonka. Those with interest or questions can contact Sarah at ssimig@cableone.net. 

Our thanks to all who serve our District 14 bridge community!

by Peg at April 21, 2017 01:55 PM

April 20, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Upcoming Schedule - from Here to (Almost) Eternity!


Yet again, our thanks to Steve Gaynor for supplying us with the latest and greatest schedule of upcoming bridge events in Minnesota and beyond!

Download SCHEDULE.4.20.2017

by Peg at April 20, 2017 11:55 PM

April 19, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

The Many Faces/Phases of Bridge

When I reflect on earlier times, it becomes a mirage as I must confess I have had a many-faceted existence. Like most fortunate kids .. it encompassed a devoted family, wonderful friends, grade school/high school and then college. Before my final semester at Temple University in 1956, I attended Columbia University one summer and an encounter from fifty-one years ago I indelibly remember. On my way to class, I heard screaming and witnessed four fellows card-tossing at each other in the college square; and when I inquired what they were doing, they casually replied with a smile: “Playing bridge.” Really? Coincidentally when I returned to the dorm, I met a lovely girl from Florida and being a Scrabble addict, asked if she played bridge and described my earlier experience with the maniacal card players. Her reply was negative but we made a tradeoff. She agreed to tell me about bridge and I taught her how to play Scrabble. These earlier introductions to our wonderful game were unlike my later experiences with my mother’s friends assembling every week, stuffing their mouths with all sorts of goodies, gossiping and playing some kind of unrecognizable game. In fact, I recall an occasion when my mother was on vacation and I was asked to fill in at one of their weekly get-togethers. Knowing how frustrating it could be to find a fourth, I sympathized and succumbed. It was a fun evening. However, I did learn something from that experience. At one point, when my partner bid 4C, and since it was a social forum, I asked if she used Gerber. After a long pause, she quizzically frowned and blurted out. “No, we use another plumber. Gerber is far too expensive.” Amazing what one can learn at a bridge table. It was quite an enlightening three hours. After college, I went to Junto (the learning Center in Philadelphia) where I enrolled in a bridge course which introduced me to yet another kind of bridge and I became mesmerized and played socially with friends, attended neighborhood games, tournaments .. and eventually the Nationals. That became the world with which I was enamored for over six decades and I thank God to have been so blessed.

Here it is .. 2017 .. and I happily confess our unique game has enriched my life in so many directions, it is hard to count the ways (and ‘counting’ at my age is not as automatic as it was way back then).

When Norman and I married in 1963 and he continued attending nationals, I was busy tending to our youngsters (like siblings — born eleven months apart). But .. after a bit that changed as I was not the proverbial ‘stay at-home’ mom and suggested (convincingly) that we hire the children’s original nurse for our tri-annual jaunts to the NABCs.. and never looked back. Besides bridge, Norman and I found others distractions .. all much easier for me than our beloved game.

We became horse owners (trotters and pacers). Whenever we raced (once or twice a week), whether Philadelphia, New York, Delaware, New Jersey or even Canada, we rarely missed watching our horses perform. Two neighborhood couples formed an alliance with us and we rented a ‘box’ at the local racetrack. It didn’t break us .. but we didn’t get rich either. Sometimes breaking even is good. Got to meet many of the famous international racers and was a good night-time diversion as our children were growing up.

At one point, our young son (a sports devotee) wanted to attend a local baseball card show. He asked us to “buy (rent)” a table, so we obliged. He had good vibes, was enthusiastic and successful, but the timing was bad as soon after our sports card introduction, he discovered girls! Although we made a little money with the earlier shows at which we set up, we found ourselves abandoned and encumbered with a batch of merchandise so we continued reducing inventory, intending to put it behind us. But, that never came to pass until twenty years later (for which we had no regrets). It was so exciting (with both Norman and I being sports freaks), we enjoyed the dealers and customers we met and became licensed as Kay’s Baseball Cards. It went on successfully (mostly locally or an hour drive) — working out of the house at first and then moved to an office/warehouse, ending up with six employees (relatives or close friends). Thus, it was more fun than work; but in 1997 when (as many things do), the hobby turned sour. we sold off much of our remaining merchandise, closed shop and returned to the house, where the hobby originated .. selling some on line and gave the rest to our son. It was very exciting period of our lives. Perhaps one of the reasons was .. our involvement purchasing and displaying a large variety of photos of great sports personalities (a huge seller) afforded us stimulating exposure to so many legendary stars who appeared (and often when the promoter felt the day was slowing down, he offered us autographs at half the going rate, so we did well selling them at future shows and on line as well). But the most fun was getting to hobnob with loads of world famous talented sports figures .. Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ted Williams .. just to name a few of hundreds. I must interrupt to add that of all things, they ALSO held a National Sports Show annually where dozens of celebrities appeared during the week. To be perfectly candid, several acted like real hotshots, but many were warm and down to earth. Among the good guys were Yaz, Ozzie Smith, Richie Ashburn, Timmy McCarver, Brooks Robinson and quite a few others who would chat as they personally autographed whatever it was .. be it be a book, a photograph or even a program. It was intriguing to be personally involved with these delightful individuals, if only for a moment or two. Incidentally, I later learned from Bobby there are oodles of universal celebrities who share our love of the game. You’d be surprised. More on that later on. With the exception of the three NABCs or a world championship (on occasion), we rarely took a weekend off from our regularly scheduled sports regimen in all those years. Busy, busy, busy. So, with my various dabblings in other arenas over time, I didn’t have to be a brain surgeon to realize that THE HIGH LEVEL GAME OF BRIDGE .. IS UNTO ITSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When Norman and I married in 1963, I was a ‘bridge player” .. of sorts. A huge overbid, for sure. I was dazzled by kibitzing Norman and Edgar (whose partnership lasted successfully forty three years (with a two year break before we met) .. and nary a nasty or critical word was exchanged. Amazing! Early in our marriage, I mostly watched and gleaned so much which was foreign to me earlier. I was dazzled by the many superstars I got to know. In fact, when Goren (a good friend of Norman’s) journeyed by train from New York and arrived at our marriage ceremony, his unexpected appearance shut the yapping mouths of my mother’s bridge crowd who always ribbed her, asking why Judy can’t “find a guy.” She apologetically replied. “Where can she meet someone when she travels with that Circus every week!.” In case you didn’t catch it, you guys are the ‘Circus’ to which she alluded. However, it was worth the wait. Our merger lasted 39 years until his death in 2002 after a short illness. It was a wondrous experience and I was relieved he was not in pain and was satisfied to remain widowed with cherished memories at 69, not seeking a replacement. But you know how it goes. One cannot determine what God has in store. What a ‘shocker’ when Bobby Wolff called me with a few words of condolence after he learned of Norman’s death. I almost dropped the phone as he hadn’t said hello to me in forty years, although he and Norman spent time together at dozens of tournaments at the Nationals discussing sports. His contacting me was a nice endeavor (totally ignoring me earlier), so when he won the right to represent the country in Monaco in the late fall of 2003, I courteously/casually emailed him a note of congratulations to return his kind gesture. Too much to recant as the details are common knowledge with the bridge entourage. I didn’t take long after our first face-to-face dinner encounter in Los Angeles and non-stop emails became the order of business the next few weeks, followed by our visiting one another a couple of times. I ended up joining him in Monaco (after my acceptance of his proposal by phone). We were wed on Pearl Harbor Day that year (another day that will live in infamy) and here we are, married over thirteen years and loving Las Vegas. Getting it right twice is an enormous understatement although I have converted from stringent KS (forgive me, dear Edgar) to loose-as-a-goose Bobby Wolff; however, when it works (and I can remember all his various ingenious nuances), I don’t complain. But, bear in mind .. octogenarians don’t absorb like they once did.

I began this blog a few weeks ago which gives you some idea of my earlier perceptions. I had to stop and catch my breath as life has whizzed by so fast .. but I want to share with you more of my delightful interludes which would have escaped me had it not been for this damn game. Later!

Back to the bridge chaos!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at April 19, 2017 11:40 PM

April 17, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 - February Minutes; Upcoming April Agenda

Our thanks to Linda Brammer for keeping everyone up to date on activities by the Unit 178 Board.

Below is February's minutes - and the upcoming agenda for April.  We appreciate all you do for us, 178 Board of Directors!

Download Unit178.February4thmeetingminutes

Download Unit 178.AgendaApr22


by Peg at April 17, 2017 11:15 PM

April 15, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Bridge Now ELO rating

Using data since January 2017 I have been calculating a rating list for


The basic formula is 3 times your old rating plus some factor of your expected performance plus top 50 players get 1-50 points. I need help on how to work this rating as currently the top 10 players need to pass 70% in a week of hands to maintain their rating. Consistent 70% scoring in bridge is too much to maintain I think. Maybe if I change the top 50 players getting 1-50 points to top 10% of the weekly players which is currently just past 700 so 1-70 points awarded for weekly placing. I am looking to parallel to the chess ELO ratings.

Also I let the Bridge Now site method of drop 5 bad boards for over 70 hands played
factor in as the experience gained from playing lots of hands

From May 2017 I will decay inactive players by 10 points per week and use top 10% as the bonus
instead of top 50. Maybe the number of times your current rating should be higher like 5 or 7 or 10
as we are calculating every week a fresh rating.

If anyone wants the full file then email eamongalligan@eircom.net
If anyone wants their rating hidden then email same
If anyone if Irish and wants to be included on Irish list then email same
Any advice send email

Current top 50

jim me  2212.174
Karl Cashen  2190.279
Pierre DELVAULX  2141.032
Patrick 27  2093.164
MC51  2092.939
Graham Hazel  2074.603
John Horn  2044.733
Eamon Galligan  2032.851
Tudor Trocan  2030.184
B.J. O'Brien  2028.115
pinco pallino  2027.22
WBridge5 (Robot)  2023.116
Bernard CARPENTIER  2023.078
Noëlle Delahaye-Levesque  2022.557
Marek.C  2022.488
David Welsh  2020.309
pietro serioi 2016.282
Jinn  2006.405
Igor Milevoj  1987.847
Paul East  1977.702
John Macdonald  1963.95
HMN_WPB  1960.717
Terry  1958.17
Etienne Delangre  1953.277
Igor Bek  1950.654
dr. Eddie  1948.755
CHARLIE  1943.769
George Kissov  1939.233
Fran Swift  1937.915
Claude Martin  1934.89
Tamara de Grady  1934.634
Yves Costel  1932.314
Jan Stavast  1919.94
Alice Bayandor  1917.697
tom gilligan  1917.401
Kerostia 1908.042
David Boxley  1907.344
Paul Johnson 1901.998
tigo jean  1896.731
Mircea Kivu  1893.477
Jens Wamsler  1890.628
M. Hermsen  1889.144
GrantK  1886.875
Baile an Mhota  1885.929
Robert Pascal  1883.836
Ewac  1878.76
James Morgan 1876.963
Martin Keller  1876.542
Jacques Bakker  1873.376
gilles lacroix                         1872

Current Top Irish ....(over 1800)

Karl Cashen  2190.279
Eamon Galligan  2032.851
B.J. O'Brien  2028.115
John Macdonald  1963.95
Fran Swift  1937.915
tom gilligan  1917.401
Jim Mullally  1868.631
billy ronan  1860.748
Maire O'Keeffe  1856.351
pat cassidy  1840.164
Patricia A Kelly  1829.433
Jeannie Fitzgerald  1817.604
Rick Crowe  1809.813

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at April 15, 2017 10:00 AM

April 12, 2017

Peg Kaplan

GNT 2017 District 14 Finals



The District 14 Finals for Grand National Teams will be here soon! The weekend of May 6-7 in Mason City, Iowa, is when Flight A, B and C and Open teams will convene to determine who will represent our district at the Summer NABC in Toronto.

This is a marvelous opportunity to compete against your peers, have a fun weekend of bridge and, perhaps, win a subsidized trip to Toronto. If the cards align your way, then you can face teams from throughout ACBL-land!

Mike Cassel, our GNT coordinator, has a new flyer with the details. Please see below - then grab your team and head to Mason City!  Good luck, all!

  Download GNTpromo17final

by Peg at April 12, 2017 08:21 PM

Paul Gipson

The winning team

We finished above average in the final night of the Scott Cup but didn't impress, so no hands but I do have a picture of the winners of the club's team championship.

Ros French, Helen Gipson, Paul Gipson, Janet Beattie
We won with three wins and a second place (plus a few more second places if tie breakers were needed). In second place, with two wins and two seconds, were Brian Thomas, George Martin, Jean Mole, and Penny Davidson. And third place, with a win, second, third, and fourth places counting, were Christine McCreath, Kitty Home Robertson, Sandy Moor, and Gary Ellis.

This is the Pianola view of how LotG and I have done in the event:

This shows that our card play is significantly better than double dummy, or our opponents is far worse. It also suggests our bidding is not particularly accurate compared to double dummy, but the Pianola analysis is quite tough in this regard: for example, yesterday we bid one hand to four clubs and made it exactly for +130; however one of us, not both, could make nine tricks in hearts for +140, so our four clubs was judged to be an underbid. Pianola was not wrong, but perhaps over time its analysis engine will determine significant and insignificant differences from double dummy.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at April 12, 2017 04:10 PM

Michael Nistler

Advanced Lesson #15_, Slams, Penalty Doubles and Excitement

Here we go again with eight more exciting hands taken “from the table” with red-blooded Bridge players! We start off pondering the bids to scope out slam (or grand slam) contracts.  But what if you’re running a tad short to make a 6 Notrump contract – now what do we do.  Are you into counting [...]

by BridgeHands at April 12, 2017 07:08 AM

April 11, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Our Last Hand



To our non-bridge playing friends, it may seem odd that we are publishing so many remembrances of one man. Yet, Larry Oakey was such a "one of a kind" - and so integral to our entire bridge community - we here in Minnesota understand it all utterly.

Another player who, like Larry, is a long time expert player and someone who has given, over and over and over, to the Minnesota bridge world, is Kerry Holloway. Kerry and Larry were long time friends, partners, and co-conspirators in doing so much for all of us....  Fitting that Kerry would craft such a lovely remembrance of TGLO.

Thanks, Kerry - and - enjoy, everyone.

I miss TGLO. He provided so many hilarious moments I couldn't begin to recall a tenth of them. One of the earliest occurred at the Minneapolis Grand Slam Club. In the early 80's, when still a beginning player, I was tasked with writing and publishing (and mailing, via snail mail) the weekly bulletin.

Larry made coffee and directed our MGSC game, and during the lull would write an informative or educational article. This I would type up and include in the weekly bulletin, along with results.

One Friday evening, no Larry!  What to do?  I wasn't about to undertake an educational article (with my 50 Masterpoints) for a membership that was 97% Life Masters.  So wrote about, the 3 C's ... Confidence, Commitment, and Control.

The following week Larry returned, and I asked if he would write an article. "Of course", he replied, "I would hate to have you write about the 4 D's!"

The last hand I played with Larry was memorable.  Final round of a 2 day Open Pair at a Spring NABC. Larry has Zia Mahmood on his left and Lew Stansby on his right.

Zia begins with 3NT, 4 Clubs by Lew, 4 Diamonds by Zia, then 5 Hearts by Lew.

Suddenly Larry comes to life with a 5 Spade bid. Since I was 7-0-2-4 with Ace-7th of Spades, I gave Larry a boost. He claimed 12 tricks.  

Later over a cocktail, Larry said he could have made 7, but the risk was making 5 ... and ... he should have entered the auction earlier.

I miss Larry.




by Peg at April 11, 2017 12:07 PM

The Man - The Legend - The Stories - Part V



Larry's fans were legion. More memories of TGLO today.


Betty Moynagh

(As sent to Kerry Holloway)

Thanks, Kerry, for sharing all the wonderful stories about Larry. I, too, so loved him. Back in the day, I would drive Larry home on some very bad winter Friday nights. After Walt died, while not frequently, whenever possible, I would still always try to get over to the MGSC.

When purchasing my entry, Larry would look at me, take my money, then say, "Are you really still alive?" Larry did always joke with me, as we were close to the same age.

A very sad heart now for a wonderful and dear friend.



Marsha Devine


Vern and I were new to the Bridge Center neighborhood in the '80s. Sitting in Perkins, looking across the street, we saw the TCBC sign, querying what the place was.

We started playing there and taking lessons, and then met up with Larry as our director. He always kept the game going back when rules were more strictly enforced.

A few weeks ago, I asked Larry about those times, and whether he missed directing regularly. He said, "No" - that times had changed, and sometimes people were nicer to one another now... and that also the intensity of playing had changed.  I think perhaps that he was relieved that he could now just "be Larry."

I will miss him and "the good old days."





by Peg at April 11, 2017 01:35 AM

April 10, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Hiawatha Bridge Sectional Results



A nice Minnesota spring weekend - and - a nice turnout, too, for the Hiawatha Sectional!

One of our local players nabbed the most masterpoints earned at the tournament. Congratulations to Greg Caucutt for his healthy take-home pay of 27.80 masterpoints. Less than a full masterpoint behind were Terry and Kathy Beckman, who earned 27.10 for their efforts.

Other players who scooped up 20 points or more were:  Paul Meerschaert, John Koch, Genny Rice, Lance Chamberlin and Bill Heyer.

The full list of masterpoints earned can be viewed here.  For results in each event, check this link.

Our thanks to tournament chairs Colleen Stacey and Kathy Maegerlein and all the volunteers for their efforts.  And thanks to Tony Ames for his fine directing!

by Peg at April 10, 2017 09:17 PM

April 08, 2017

Peg Kaplan

The Man - The Legend - The Stories - Part IV


Sharon - TGLO - Roger - circa 2004


Larry was beloved by all - and the "Larry stories" are numerous.  More TGLO tales that we hope will put a smile on your face.


Peg Waller

Good bye, Larry. We will miss you.

It seams that everyone has an Oakey story; here is mine. At one time the Minneapolis Grand Slam Club held a handicapped knockout event. Kerry Holloway captained a team that included Larry Oakey, Peg Kaplan, Kerry and lucky me. Due to the fact that Kerry and I were "B" players our team was awarded two handicap points. In the first match, though our team battled hard, the final tally suggested a two IMP loss. But surprise, surprise! Handicap points, handicap points! The ever efficient Kerry quickly calculated a tie had been achieved. This forced a four board playoff which ended in a victory for the good guys.

Needless to say, our disappointed opponents were unhappy to surrender handicap points to TGLO. Next year -the handicap format was abolished.

Larry was an extraordinary guy. I loved him for all he gave to the players. He was always there to answer questions about bidding and play. But mostly, I'll miss his humor and the many chuckles he supplied me.


 Rebecca Anspach 

Here is my Larry story.

A few years ago Keith and I went to the movies in Uptown.  Larry was standing in the lobby as if he was waiting for us.  We chatted with him for a few minutes.  Then, Larry walked with us to the ticket taker who knew Larry by name and said "Give them the best seats in the house on me."


 Keith Hanson

For many years, Jim Hall had two season tickets to the North Stars. When his wife didn’t want to go, he’d scrounge around looking for someone else to go with him.

Larry was a frequent target, but hockey was really not his sport. On one occasion when Larry just didn’t feel like going, Hall persisted. Finally, Larry said, "OK, but only if you take me out to dinner beforehand."

The next day Larry was telling people that he was the only professional hockey game watcher in the Twin Cities.


 Roger and Sharon Anderson

After we moved to Eagan ten years ago, we had dozens of Saturday night dinner and team games in our 7-table card room. Sometimes the players were a variety of intermediate players we wanted to get to know better. Sometimes the players were the many “old” friends we’ve made in our 47 years of playing bridge.

Larry was almost always the director.  He never wanted to play, but he liked to be helpful and did all sorts of little things that made for a smooth-running game.

While bridge was being played, he would watch whatever sports he could find on the TV in the next room. As players finished the round early, a number of the guys would join him to see what was going on. Between rounds, Larry would keep things organized, and maybe drop a quiet, funny line that hardly anyone could hear.

The last thing Larry wanted to do was draw attention to himself, even though he deserved a ton of thanks for all his many invisible contributions. The only thing he wanted in return for being part of the activities was a ride to and from his place in Minneapolis.

What a wonderful and giving guy!


by Peg at April 08, 2017 09:24 PM

Eamon Galligan

Moylan Cup 2017

Venue .. http://malahideregionalbridgeclub.com

WIFI code .. Malahide1352 .... capital M

This weekend we have the Moylan Cup returning to its regular base in Malahide after a brief trip
to Greystones last year when someone dropped the ball and failed to book the venue.
Normally 28 pairs from CBAI and 12 pairs from NIBU but 29 CBAI pairs are listed
A decent field to be sure but still missing Adam Mesbur Nick Fitzgibbon Mark Moran Rory Boland John Carroll Rory Timlin Thomas Roche Thomas MacCormac Ronan McMaugh Donal MacAonghusa Hilary Dowling Long as well as some  who are capable but probably not as active in recent years as time moves on.....such as Pat & Maria Barry , Ray & Miriam McConville , some Scannells , Eddie Fitzerald Michael McDonagh, Michael McGloughlin  and probably a few others I have forgotten.

The list of entrants from the CBAI side

Hugh McGann
Fiona Brown
Ciaran Coyne
David Walsh
Derek O'Gorman
Terry Walsh
Lucy Phelan
Anna Onishuk
Maureen Pattinson
Bob Pattinson
Jeannie Fitzgerald
Emer Joyce
John Phelan
Liam McKay
Joan Kenny
Teresa Rigney
Tom McCarthy
John Russell
Tommy Garvey
Tom Hanlon
Louise Mitchell
Diarmuid Reddan
Wojciech Gorczyca
Marcin Rudzinski
Conor Boland
Karel de Raeymaeker
Ranald Milne
James Heneghan
Paul Delaney
Sean O'Lubaigh
Conor O'Hara
Dave Terry
Gay Keaveney
Enda Glynn
Fred Barry
Jim McAndrew
Sheila Kelly
David Dunne
Richard Elvin
Martin Garvey
Jill Kulchycky
Petra O'Neill
Joe Coyne
John McNally
B J O'Brien
David Jackson
Tom Gilligan
Eileen McCann
Pat McDaid
Connell McLoone
Liam Gaynor
David Redmond
Cian Holland
Dermot Cotter
Donal Garvey
Pat Quinn
Michael Donnelly
John Connolly

Nothing from the NIBU that I know about yet. I had to source this list from the mainland of England.
For some reason I cannot find any information on Irelands Premier Pairs event on any Irish websites.
I looked on CBAI FOB and DReddan ....maybe I best check Joe Murray dot ie ... Nope nothing listed there except for a Moylan Test Page with nothing on it. Maybe a quick visit to the NIBU might get me something. Nope nothing there.

It seems to be the SECRET competition instead of the Premier Pairs event of all Ireland.
Now I know HIDDEN HEARING sponsor some bridge events but HIDDEN ENTRIES. seems
bizarre for the PREMIER PAIRS  event of the year.

I know lots of intermediate bridge players who fancy themselves as bridge players and are busy collecting the B points to become Area Masters... I think you need 10 .....

Well 90% of this field are probably comfortably past 400 B points .. apart from a few ex-Gonzaga newcomers and a few chess players who dip into bridge and dip out as they feel the need.

I will attempt a Top 10 in no particular order except my version of experience..

1. Tommy Garvey Thomas Hanlon
2. Fiona Brown Hugh McGann
3. Derek O'Gorman Terry Walsh
4. Ciaran Coyne David Walsh
5. Gay Keavney Enda Glynn
6.James Heneghan Ranald Milne
7. Wociech G and Marcin Rudzinski
8. Conor Boland Karl Deraeymaker
9. Martin Garvey Richard Elvin ...........The Garve cannot ever be discounted
10 Donal Garvey  Pat Quinn

The problem is most of the entered pairs are IMPS driven and pairs is a totally different game

No women in my top 10 ... well the most active pair of the moment Jeannie Fitzgerald and Emer Joyce are completely IMPS so unlikely to feature in pairs

Top 3 .... Pairs 1 2 and 4 of my top 10 with Pair 9 depending on which Elvin turns up.

OF the unknown NIBUs .. Greenwood Anderson and Murchan Burns could make a noise of
some sorts but with the SECRETS committee ruling the roost its hard to know.

Meanwhile out on the robot front of


Galligan posted a fine 72 board average of 72% this week ... Maybe I could win the Moylan.
Karl Cashen posted a fine 69.9% on 100 boards ..

and the biggest surprise of all is THE GREAT MULLALL who posts 63% plus every week
on 70 plus boards but one cannot figure out how .

Moylan competitiors BJ O'Brien and Tom Gilligan trail Galligan by 9% and 8% this week respectively but the weekly grind of pairs play may see them in the top 10 of Moylan.
Meanwhile the in form pair of Dave Terry and Conor O'Hara posted a 70% session in the Malahide bumper on Thursday night but that is a far cry from the Grade 3 Moylan race.

All the above is written tongue in cheek so hopefully those not mentioned will not take offence.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at April 08, 2017 10:17 AM

Paul Gipson

Online semifinal

We were the favourites in our EBU Online Knockout semifinal against the Oliver team (from the south-west), but then again they were the underdogs in the previous round when they beat our English and Dutch friends. But this match would be longer, over four eight-board sets, giving us a slight advantage.

They had choice of one set and went for the fourth. Obviously if the match is close then you'd prefer choice of line-ups, but this left us to select the second and third sets. With neither team really knowing the other, this looked to be advantageous for us. Generally I think it is right to pick the third set in this scenario.

The first four boards went a long way to deciding the match.

At our table the auction finished in a quiet two diamonds when neither Alex or I bid with the East-West hands. Mike's aggressive approach got to a very thin game but he got the clubs right to make +550, winning 9 imps.

On the second board, Alex and I tried a thin game.

This was beatable but hard to blame North for switching to a club rather than a heart at trick two. Always easier when you can see all the cards and a tough decision to make with little information. In the other room they played a 10-12 1NT, so Paul was able to overcall the one club opening and they settled in a quiet two clubs - another 8 imps.

The third board saw both declarers with a tough decision.

Both declarers knew that South had five diamonds, since they led fourth best and followed with the two of diamonds on the second round - perhaps it would have been better if they'd concealed that. Alex believed South's signal implying a club entry and took the heart finesse and played for the spades to be 3-3. At the other table, declarer played for spades not to break and for North to have all the missing top cards. Another 12 imps for us.

Then Mike and Paul went large.

West's spade lead resolved the issue of how to play the hand and Paul was not really tested. At our table they subsided in six hearts. I led the six of clubs and this saved the overtrick, but another 13 imps and we led 42-0.

Then there was a flat board!

Then we lost 11 imps when Mike and Paul bid to the wrong slam, the 4-4 fit playing a trick better than the 5-4 fit, while our opponents stopped in game. Then Alex and I bid to the only making game to win 12 imps.

On the last board of the set I found a hand that was between a weak two and a one-level opening bid, causing us to miss a sacrifice that actually makes. So the set finished with us leading by 54-20 imps.

The second set was much quieter with only two swings. Mike played a three no trump better than our opponents, and Alex and I bid a poor slam. We finished the set leading by 66-33 imps.

The third set only had one major swing. Alex was allowed to make three no trump while Mike and Paul defended accurately to beat it, although the stakes were higher as it was redoubled there. We finished the set leading by 86-44 imps.

We finally changed opponents for the last set and the hands turned fairly wild. Our opponents did well on the first hand:

Unsurprisingly I did not find the killing lead so this was a 10 imps loss. But the rest of the set was fairly positive for us so we were confident of victory. Less so for Mike and Paul, who let a game through, went down in a good slam on a 4-0 trump break, and generally had a lot of negative scores. But we had them covered and we won comfortably by 106-66 imps.

It will be some time until the final since one quarter-final has yet to be played.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at April 08, 2017 09:29 AM

April 07, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Celebration of Life


Sunday, April 23, 2017


A Memorial Celebrating the Life of

Larry Oakey

Twin City Bridge Center

Luncheon to Follow



by Peg at April 07, 2017 09:01 PM

Reminder: Unit 103 Award Banquet - Mini-McKenney & Ace of Clubs - 2016

A reminder - please RSVP by April 12th for the fun and happy Unit 103 Awards Banquet!




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

                       Phone:  651-490-5430


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!

by Peg at April 07, 2017 12:37 PM

April 06, 2017

Peg Kaplan

The Man - The Legend - The Stories - Part III


What can we say?  TGLO tributes, stories and remembrances keep on coming. As long as they do - we will keep on sharing!

First - thoughts from one of Minnesota's younger members, Richard Lawson. Then, tales from another "old timer" - Bill Voedisch.  

Our thanks to you both, Richard and Bill.


The world is a sadder place today.  So many good TGLO stories.   Here are a few more.

I used to have a very bad habit of detaching cards from my hand before it was my turn to play, because I knew what declarer was going to do next.  Larry saw me doing that, and in the middle of running his long suit, he suddenly switched to another suit.  I was forced to awkwardly fumble my cards and follow suit.  He then made one of his usual mildly disparaging and humorous comments (I can't remember what it was) and went back to cashing his long suit. Lesson learned, and I stopped doing that.

Back when Bill and Elaine ran the TCBC, they had an event called "Beat the Experts", where anyone who had a higher-percentage game than the designated expert pair were awarded a free play.  During one such event, Larry announced as the game started, "Today's expert pair includes" and then his voice turned comically incredulous, "Elaine Erickson?!" The whole room burst out in laughter, none louder than Elaine's.  (As an aside, no one won a free play that day as Elaine and her partner blew away the field.)

Many years ago I wrote up Minneapolis Grand Slam Club matches for the Bridge Bulletin, back when Peg still wrote the MGSC Bulletin.  Sadly I spent the better part of the last three hours trying to find a write-up of when Peg and Larry played.  It was filled with the usual brilliance's - I especially remember a 3NT that was bid when Peg and Larry both had half-stoppers in the opponent's suit and were able to intelligently communicate that fact.  There was also a collection of the usual Larry sotto voce, sardonic commentary.  One example: after the opening lead was made and he was declarer:  "I wonder if she has her bid.  Nope. We're about to be slaughtered."  (**Alas, waaaay too many of these throughout our partnership and virtually always ME... from Peg!)

Larry was also one of the best Pac-man players in the world.  Often when I would come down to the basement of the BC to play money bridge, he'd be hunched over the Pac-man game they had there.  He once talked about the patterns he knew and commented he had one of the top ten scores in the country.  As someone whose teenage years were dominated by arcade games, I was deeply impressed by this.

Thank you for being there for him, Peg.

-Richard Lawson



As a few of us were trying to break into the game of duplicate in the late 60’s, we couldn’t help but run into Larry Oakey early in our adventures.  Not just club games; Larry seemed a fixture at tournaments, too.  You see, somebody had to tally the scores as there was no computer scoring.

Larry would take the travelling score sheets, match point them if that hadn’t been done already, and then, enter the results in pencil on two big, yellow ruled  “burner sheets,” one for NS, one for EW.  But it had to balance and this is where Larry was at his best.  For each hand he would zip down the column, pencil in hand, and it had to balance.  If it balanced he wouldn’t say much, but from time to time you’d hear … “Off a half North-South, can someone check the scoring on 17.”  Larry was sort of a human adding machine.  No one could do this like Larry.

Another good memory was what would happen at about 11:30 PM on a Friday or Saturday night of a tournament.  While most players were toast after a full day of bridge, Larry would walk the floors of the venue, saying the following: “Night Owl.”   “Minnesota Room.  Midnight.”  “Night Owl.”   You had a decision to make.  Do I … have a beer with the boys?  play in Larry’s Night Owl?  listen to Stoop’s band?  … or go home for some much needed sleep?

Other memories.    I saw Larry many times at Gopher Women’s Hockey games.  “How’s the game so far Larry?”  “As expected.” or “Reasonable.” were standard responses.  Low key as always.   Larry’s love of movies and his memory for cinematic trivia.

Here’s my favorite memory of all.  It was in the early 70’s and we formed what was known as the Polish Army team.  Voedisch, Cerkvenik, Ullevig, Heimke and Sundlin-ski.  We had yellow T-shirts made up with “Polish Army” and our names.  They looked like cheap bowling shirts.  I think if you asked Denny he’d probably agree with me that Larry actually gave us this tag months before when noticing our names on a team entry … well, all but Sundlin’s name anyway.

After the shirts arrived we wore them to the next tournament, the Sunday Swiss.  We went to the entry table and of course, Larry was selling entries.  He looked up, saw us in the goofy shirts and said the following:  “I suppose you think men in uniform play free?”

I thought I was gonna die laughing.  Forty-five years later and I’m still smiling.

Larry, you were a top player, a great guy and a wonderful friend to the game of bridge in Minnesota.





by Peg at April 06, 2017 08:51 PM

Hiawatha Bridge Sectional - April 7-9



Spring is heading our way in Minnesota!  And, no better way to celebrate the season than with bridge in Rochester!

The Hiawatha Sectional starts this Friday, April 7th, in Rochester. Enjoy a beautiful drive as the state begins to turn green, and buds are about to burst.

The schedule is here.  All fine events, so bring your favorite partner and teammates to this fun tournament!

by Peg at April 06, 2017 12:52 AM

April 05, 2017

Peg Kaplan

The Man - The Legend - The Stories - Part II



To non bridge players, it may appear odd that we continue to have so many accolades and remembrances of one man. But, to those of us in the Minnesota bridge world - it all makes sense. Larry Oakey had such an immense impact in our community and lives, well....  the funny stories and tributes keep on coming.

Thank you, everyone, for your contributions about TGLO!


Kerry Holloway

I loved Larry's sense of humor. 

In 2008, Eric Rodwell won the title of most Platinum Points earned. Fast forward to spring of 2009, Larry and I are competing in the North American Pairs and we manage to make the overalls. Of course, this is the only national event that has been completed, and I hear Larry boasting:  "I have more platinum points than Rodwell - this year!"


Richard Lawson

Some 25 years ago when I first moved to the Twin Cities, I was dirt poor. I borrowed money to buy a bicycle and would often ride to the Bridge Center from where I lived. There's a particularly long hill that goes down Nicollet Avenue, and I, a young man of 27 or thereabouts, was hunched over the handlebars, struggling to get up it. Then, breezing past me, upright and using one hand, was TGLO, a few decades my senior, using as little effort as if he were simply heading to the mailbox. I'll never forget how easy he made bicycling look.**


(**Richard - in constrast to we mere mortals, Larry made just about everything look easy!  Peg)


 Howie Weinstein
Had lunch with Dave Lehman ("Victor"), which evoked one of my favorite TGLO stories. Larry, Dick Melson ("the Beef") and I were all playing in a Rapid City regional. We alternated partnerships throughout the 3 games. Dave was winning all of them. And now, 2/3 through the evening session of the Saturday Open Pair, Dave and TGLO were crushing the opposition to take a huge lead.
About 5 rounds are left to go; Larry takes David outside the playing area. David is anticipating a talk from The Master on how to preserve their victory.  Instead, he hears: "David, if you don't stop rocking, I will have to kill you before the end of the session."
So in a way, David, a compulsive forward and back rocker at the table, was indeed correct!
Craig Satersmoen
In the 80's, I played a Minneapolis Grand Slam Cub knock-out against Larry at The Bridge Center. I can't think of a more fun time I've ever had playing bridge.
The evening was full of little quips being tossed back and forth. Marsha Brouillet brought in a place of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Larry took a bite, then remarked, "Nice oatmeal raisin cookies, Marsha."  Almost fell off my chair laughing.
That was Larry; always kidding and joking; always having a great time.


by Peg at April 05, 2017 01:46 PM

April 04, 2017

Paul Gipson

Atholl Cup final

The Atholl Cup is the East District Pivot Teams of Four Championship and the final was over thirty-six boards. This meant that Anne, Alan, and Brian would have to endure an extra two boards with me than usual as we faced Harry, Roy, Bob, and Tony.

Anne Symons, Brian Short, Alan Goodman, me
Photo: Julia Palmer
Although I was the only non-internationalist playing, our team had far more caps than Harry's: in their favour we only had one established partnership and they had at least three, so it rated to be a close match.

What it proved to be was a wild match with imps flying everywhere. The hands contributed a little but I think we were all mainly responsible.

In the first set, playing with Alan, we gained from not bidding two poor games and got another swing when one of their unfamiliar partnerships bid slam with Alan holding two key cards and the queen of trumps. One of our unfamiliar partnerships gave a game swing back due to a misunderstanding and then we lost another game swing when our opponent's aggression proved more successful. But in the end we led by 33-19 imps after the first twelve boards.

Then we had the wild set when I was partnering Brian. First board 14:

Your call?

On the following board Tony's light one no trump overcall caused us to miss a thin game, losing 11 imps. Then our opponents bid slam, again without using Blackwood, missing a key card and the queen of trumps which had no play to give us those imps back.

Then I held:

Your call?

And, on the next hand,

I might have opened with some people but knew Brian would prefer pass, so I got a second-round decision for my troubles. Your call?

Brian's conservative nature was evident when he opened the following hand and gave himself a second-round decision:

Your call?

We lost 23 imps in the first three boards on the set, but then put on 60 imps without reply to have a healthy 93-42 imps lead going into the final set when both teams would have their premier line-ups playing.

The match felt over at our table after the first five boards; Anne and I beat a partial and a thin game, made a doubled game with two overtricks and kept out of a non-making game. Tony and Bob bid and made two slams, one a real punt but the other one very good, but then the boards turned flat again. The slams meant that they made an inroad into our lead, but we won 100-79 imps.

Although I've only focused on the tough bidding decisions, the real key to our win was that we played the cards better and defended better. We didn't get all the decisions right, but we made a number of contracts that failed in the other room when we got them wrong. Of course defence is the toughest part of the game for unfamiliar partnerships.

This is the second time we've won the Atholl Cup. I should also mention the important fifth member of the team, Sheila. She's never played for us, but her system with Anne forms the basis of all our partnerships except one. However if actually she saw how we bid with it, she'd probably disown us!

Thanks to all my teammates for another trophy this year.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at April 04, 2017 09:27 AM

Eamon Galligan

Junior Bridge Fundraiser

Last weekend we ran a fundraiser in aid of Irish junior bridge out in Malahide.
The we was Dublin North Region , Billy Ronan , Thomas MacCormac and Mary Reid aided by a decent supply of junior players. Juniors moved boards and filled in for some late arrivals who got the start time mixed up.

Junior bridge supports under 15 under 20 and under 26 age group levels of bridge

We had 15 teams of novice and 1 team made up of 3 Bs and a novice ..

For the B team any novice team meeting them was credited with 3 VPs added to their score.

Two big wins here were some funds towards junior bridge and being able to run a novice teams event for the novices of the Dublin North Region. We hope maybe next year with more advertising to formulate a Dublin North versus Dublin South type novice event. Something like say if we get 24 teams ... We would put 12 DNR teams as Teams 1-12 playing 12 DSR teams 13-24. Then we could have a true North versus South matchup.

Thomas MacCormac went through some hands mainly about having your rebid prepared and also about the value of distribution …meaning it is possible to make slam with only 24 high card points then Thomas threw it open to the floor for as long as people had questions.

Getting 15 teams of novices into one venue at the same time is a big deal.

I noted said novices exhibited normal bridge behaviour ..

  1. We are not slow
  2. We were held up
  3. The opponents think too much
  4. Going to wrong tables
  5. Playing wrong boards
  6. Its never their fault
  7. Carefully laying out dummy 1 card at a time
  8. Carefully playing out the last 7 tricks of winning cards .. (“Oh I knew they were all winners but they (opps) might not agree.
  9. Many mobile phones were in use throughout the play despite it being disallowed
  10. One lady was watching some sport on her lap as she played …well it looked like Blue and Gold jerseys
  11. Arguing that we are North South and we never move tables ..

When I indicated Thomas McCormac was an international bridge player …the lady said ..April Fool .. pull the other one

Dublin North Region and Malahide Regional Bridge Club and Paddy English  were the hosts and I understand Paul Porteus donated a nice prize too. Some day he will get 2 boxes of stuff that are in my car boot.

Thomas said .. “The big point is Malahide/DNR/Paddy English done this for juniors …now I can go to the other regions for a similar event possibly helping organise an event solely for novice players of other regions.

Results and hands and full details of the event have been posted by Aidan Synnott


Some junior bridge players who were in my car afterwards getting a lift to Malahide Railway station were very impressed with the 3H opening made by the Fitzwilliam pre-empter in a recent blog.
"That's the kind of player we would like to partner .. No fear bridge "

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at April 04, 2017 09:17 AM

April 03, 2017

Peg Kaplan

The Man - The Legend - The Stories


MN Bridge has already posted items about Larry Oakey and his passing. And although each and every member of the Minnesota bridge community is cherished by us, as the saying goes.... Larry is "special."  

Because of Larry's integral role in bridge for over 50 years in our state, many have sent thoughts and stories to share with others. They truly are too good not to be made public - and so, we shall make sure that everyone gets to enjoy these Tales of Larry.


Joe Grue

Joe Grue began playing bridge in the Twin Cities when a young boy.  Son and grandson of other excellent players, Larry connected with all three generations - and helped to mentor talented Joe.

Today, Joe is heralded as a world class expert, with an impressive resume.  Joe shared these words with me when he first heard about Larry's hospitalization. Coming from someone who has played with the best of this best - pretty impressive.

I'm so sorry to hear about Larry.  Please say hi for me; he's one of the most talented, and nice players I have ever played with.
Sue and Tom Grue
Joe's parents, Sue and Tom, have their own Larry story to share.
We were at the Erickson's one New Year's Day with Joe, watching football. We were going to play blackjack, but Larry didn't wish to do so. His excuse to get out:  "I only have a one hundred dollar bill."  
Joe piped up:  "I have change!"  - Joe's Christmas money.  Larry was trapped!
Keith Hanson and Mike Edwards
Larry had fans throughout the Midwest - and beyond. Coincidentally, two District 14 experts, Keith Hanson and Mike Edwards, shared the same story with me!  (And please note that Keith has for some time now been an incredibly popular teacher and director in the Boca Raton area.)
Larry is directing the Minneapolis Grand Slam Club. He's dealing with a big crowd, rushing like crazy with everything hectic. Yet, Larry needs one more person to have a "perfect movement."
Morrie Frier is there, and Larry approaches him.  "I need another player; can Ethel play?" Larry inquires.
"Nope," responds Morrie.  "Ethel can't play.
"I know she can't play," Larry responds.  "But - can she participate?!"


by Peg at April 03, 2017 09:01 PM

Mike Yuen

Gunning for Greatness!

After playing this game for a while you may have noticed most Bridge players are all a little nuts. There is a fine line between brilliancy and lunacy. Take this exchange between Duncan Smith of Victoria BC Canada and moi Saturday at the Sidney Sectional tournament.


Pairs. I was East and Resident Genius was North.

Dlr: West

Vul: None

The auction:

All Pass

After two passes I opened with 1 , my partner’s 2 was Reverse Drury inviting game with Spade support. Without a break in tempo Duncan was right there with 2 His four card suit! I counter with 3 to give partner his turn for greatness. 

With a heart lead all one can make is nine tricks in three Spades, thanks to Duncan’s brilliant 2 overcall!

Resident Genius

All those mere mortals that overcall with their seven card Diamond suit got their partners to lead the Ace of Diamonds, some letting the game through with an over trick. Others that didn’t overcall with the North hand also let the game made as South led a high club.

by Mike Yuen at April 03, 2017 06:56 PM

Peg Kaplan

Awards Party - Unit 178 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs



Yesterday, competitors gathered at the Twin Cities Bridge Center for Unit 178's annual Awards Party. Dapper Roger Anderson once again performed the role of dapper Master of Ceremonies. 

We had 12 tables of players, including those earning awards in 2016. Great food was provided by Sandy Nelson, with a yummy Jim Essex cake for dessert.

Winners of Sunday's game were Carolann Paulson and Dave Gronbeck; congrats on your impressive 66% score!  

And, VWD to our award winners for your 2016 performance! Results for 2016 Mini-McKenney races are here. Results for Ace of Club races are here!

More photos of the day below; many thanks to Steve Gaynor for providing photos of the fun celebration.

















by Peg at April 03, 2017 12:39 PM

April 02, 2017

Peg Kaplan

A Man for All Seasons

In the bridge world, it can be common to see players hang out with those of similar abilities and experience levels.

Larry Oakey, however, was an uncommon individual.  Though Larry's talents were clearly elite, and he had many friends who were also top-notch and most experienced, like he was, Larry also very much enjoyed both socializing and playing with players of all levels.  

One of the players with whom Larry developed a strong friendship and partnership was Nita Krevans, a professor of classics at U of MN. Like many of us who partnered Larry, starting with (almost by definition!) a fraction of his experience and skill, Nita was in awe....  But, in his own special way, Larry's encouragement and patience led to a wonderful partnership of many years - at the table and away.  Here is Nita's story - in her own words.  Thank you, Nita!



I believe I first met Larry at the terrifying Sunday night games at the Bridge Center in the early 1990s.  Andy McLennan and I, or Christina Kelton and I, would show up and get trounced. Every week.
And one night Larry was sitting on the stairs to the basement and he said to me something like "don't give up; this is the hardest game in the Twin Cities and for beginners you are doing amazingly well."   Later on Larry and Roger Anderson volunteered for a mentoring program for newer players, with Larry mentoring Christina and Roger mentoring me. (One of the most amazing things about the Twin Cities Bridge community is the support expert, world-class, players offer to less experienced players.)  
Eventually Larry and I started playing  at tournaments. I oscillated between awe at Larry's mastery of the game and disbelief that he would put up with me as a partner.   But eventually (after about 10 years!) I finally decided that yes, he did actually want to play with me, and I relaxed a little bit. Then I could finally enjoy Larry's deadpan humor, and his ability to welcome everyone in the upper Midwest to our table by name!  
We started going to movies together as well, and I discovered that Larry's bridge expertise was matched by his knowledge and appreciation for film.  I have a tendency to prefer the Twinkies of movies rather than the gourmet entrées. But Larry dragged me to the movies I would never have chosen for myself.   I think that is one of the most important things that a friend can do for you: to help you do something you might not have chosen for yourself that turns out to be something wonderful. 
Thank you, Larry, for your guidance and friendship. 
Nita Krevans


by Peg at April 02, 2017 09:18 PM

Remembering Larry



Of all his many friends in Minnesota, Ron DeHarpporte likely owns the title of bridge player with the longest running friendship and ties with Larry. Due to their special relationship over the years, Ron has kindly offered to share his insight, thoughts and reflections on this very special and talented man.

Thank you so much, Ron.  And - we look forward to hearing from others about their Tales of TGLO!


I think that I met Larry before any other bridge player still playing. It was about 1960 or 1961 when this kid from Fargo started showing up around tournaments in Minnesota.  He usually played with women from Fargo that we had not known before.  

I was usually playing with Dave Setterholm, Hugh McLean, Russ Weikle, Bob Fishman, Walt Moynagh, and we thought we were the best young bridge players for many miles around. But soon this kid from Fargo started winning more than we were, while playing with different women from Fargo that we had not seen before.  It was not long before we started asking him to play on our teams, but he was only mildly interested.  He and I did play a few times and did well. 

Larry had been going to Winnipeg and had some really strong partners there and he invited me and some others to start playing on some teams during tournaments there.  So we would pick him up in Fargo and play in Winnipeg and, naturally, discuss hands during the long hours in the car up and back.  As everyone knows, Larry remembered every card in every hand in every event in the tournament, and had a strong opinion on where we went wrong.

About 1964, Larry decided that there was not enough bridge available in Fargo and moved to Minneapolis. We played together some as we traveled to tournaments around the state but it soon became apparent that his favorite partner was a very attractive and talented bridge player named Joyce Schoenecker.  Larry and Joyce actually led the field after the fifth of six sessions in the Life Master Pairs, the equivalent of today's Platinum Pairs, in the 1968 National Championships in Minneapolis.  I think they finished 12th. 

I was impressed enough with that to marry his partner a few years later.

In those years Sports Illustrated magazine sponsored a widely followed team competition before each Summer National Tournament with the host city playing the winning team from the prior year.  So, with the Nationals coming to Minneapolis, there had to be a process to select the team that was going to represent our city in 1968. 

The powers that be devised a marathon method for choosing the team.  We played 36 boards of team competition every Wednesday night for ten weeks.  Six top teams entered and I played with Larry.  The top three teams that survived the elimination comprised the team to play Montreal, the winner from the previous year.  We came in second and played a four session match in the two days preceding the Nationals. 

The event was on an early version of Vugraph and drew a big crowd.  On the last board of the event I was on lead against four hearts.  I under led an Ace to find a stiff King in the dummy.  I thought I got lucky when the lead only cost an overtrick until we found out that the one IMP created a tie that necessitated a four board playoff. 

Needless to say Mr. Oakey had some comments.  Fortunately we won the playoff.

These are only a few of my memories of my friend of 57 years and I could relate many, many, more but let me repeat what I said at the party held for Larry a few months ago.  Of all the players that have played in MN, and that includes national stars like Kantar, Weinstein, Garner, Grue, Kaplan - I believe that Larry has the highest “batting average” of anyone.  That is, he won more Master Points, of the points available in the events that he played, of anyone.

And that really is the best measure of talent. 

Larry was very knowledgeable about many topics other than bridge.  His knowledge of sports and his political opinions gave us food for discussion during the times we ran out of hands to talk about.  Larry had the most droll sense of humor of anyone I know, and all who knew him can recall some of the comments and stories that only Larry could come up with.  Someone said once that Larry had the “quickest mind that I have ever seen”.  I believe that to be true.

Larry was a very unusual person and many people are feeling very sad about his passing.  Yet I know that, like many others, we can be very happy to have known him and to have shared his love for the game we all love.

                Ron DeHarpporte

by Peg at April 02, 2017 02:54 AM

Who's Larry?

A close and longtime friend of mine - not a bridge player - called me a short while ago.  He was concerned about my Facebook posts he was seeing, then asked, "Who's Larry?"

Who's Larry?  My goodness; where do we start?!

Harpo did a fine job of capturing the really olden days in the previous post. Now, we hear from one of the "young upstarts" back in the day - who is now a world class, well renown player and administrator:  Howie Weinstein.

Thank you, How, for this marvelous collection of history, stories, Larry-isms and more. 

And - please keep them coming, everyone!  I already have a number of fine tales to relate that I have received. Not sure exactly how I shall post them all. Yet, post them I shall. And I am immensely grateful to everyone for taking the time to craft and share.



So many TGLO stories, and of the small fraction I can remember off the top of my head, too many can’t be told because they involves others.  
Certain things can only have happened to Larry.  Who else in the world gets a DWI on a bicycle?   Or the time he locked up his bike at the Bridge Center at 60th and Nicollet, only to come out and find someone had placed an additional chain and lock on his bike, where he needed to call the police to cut the lock. 
One of his proudest moments was as a pitcher for U of North Dakota (could have the school wrong), he struck out Roger Maris.
I hope you will indulge me the trip down memory lane I now find myself taking with Larry’s passing.
When I started playing in the early 70’s while in my late teens, Larry was one of the leading icons of the Twin City bridge scene and a fixture at the Bridge Studio near 32nd and Nicollet.  I remember several of the better players seeming pretty old — Jim Hall, Ron Deharpporte, Hugh MacLean, RW DuFour, Jim Leary, Batman (Dave Niklasson), Terry Borne, Jack Rhatigan, Mike Hoffman.  They ranged from their late 20’s to late 30’s, with some really ancient ones like Morrie Frier and Dave Clarren unimaginably older, in their 40’s or more.  There were several excellent women players, many frequent and favorite partners of Larry, but perhaps more circumspect to not imply ages.  My apologies for leaving others out.
There were loads of players my age getting into bridge, something which seems almost anachronistic these days, but perhaps it is all just perception.  Larry was a mentor to many of the group of younger players — a group which included were Dick Melson, Dave Lehman, Steve Garner, Terry Beckman, Tom Jensen, Gary Knippenberg, Chris Patrias, Mike Flader (MN seemed like it was a breeding ground for great and some colorful directors — also including Paul Stehly, Dale Egholm, Bobbie Shipley).  While supportive of the younger players, it did not keep Larry from being ground zero in creating ubiquitous sobriquets for many of the local players — some benign, some less so, but always reflecting Larry’s wry sense of humor.   It really seemed like a different era, with both the local dupe and tournaments skewing much, much younger with more energy and color.
Larry liked to tweak people, it entertained him, but never in a malicious manner.  Whenever I found an incorrect number of cards in my hand at the local dupe, I would immediately bellow "Oakey" — and not because he was the director (though often the case).  We spent a lot of time together at the local bridge club, as well as many lunches and dinners, perhaps ironically Bridgeman’s being his favorite restaurant for years.
Back in the mid 70’s, a local sponsor tried to create a team from among some of the younger players in the area, paying some expenses so we could afford to attend some NABCs (the sponsor normally did not play as part of the team).  We were dubbed "the Rangers", often including Larry, as well as Melson, Garner, and Lehman and me.  We all tried to play pretty much interchangeable systems, kind of an Aces Scientific (still used by Hall, Melson, & Lehman for decades).   It wasn’t until years later I noticed “Rangers’ was an accidental anagram of S. Garner.   No resemblance to a real pro team, but it was still a nice experience with Larry being involved.
At times in the late 70’s/early 80’s Larry worked with me in the computer services business, partially in Chicago.   Before I knew him, Larry was an air traffic controller — a job I can’t imagine someone being less suited for.  While he had a brilliant mind and certainly had the skill set to keep planes from flying into each other, he truly hated stress, and had a tendency to mumble rather than using clear enunciation.  I think he was okay with the stress part when he was stationed at smaller airports, but IIRC, his time at ORD was shall we say — a bridge too far.   While Larry intellectually understood aerodynamics, none of this was probably helped by Larry’s very real difficulty in viscerally accepting that airplanes could actually fly.
I never saw Larry ever do anything mean or untoward in my many years knowing him.  He was a brilliant mind, but was perhaps too nice for this world.  Larry hated letting anyone do anything for him, but would be the first person to volunteer to help others.   He was almost always in a good mood, with a dry and engaging sense of humor — a joy to be around.  
I feel I am required to relate one TGLO hand (please excise the hand if you judge better).  I was playing with my then regular partner Dick Melson, against Larry and Miriam at the Bridge Center.  We are at favorable, and I open 1N in 3rd chair with Jack - 7th of hearts and a bunch of small cards.  Larry doubles for penalty, and my partner tries a 2H Jacoby transfer, which I judge to pass.  Larry now tanks for seemingly minutes, complete with facial contortions and moans.  Looking at a 25 count with 5 spades, he eventually selects 6NT, promptly doubled by my clueless partner holding Axxxx of spades and no other cards.  Partner fails to lead his ace and loses it, as dummy comes down with an 11 count — making for a very happy TGLO.
My first years playing bridge in MN (before leaving the area in the late 70’s), from the local dupe to driving to sectionals nearby, were by far my favorite times being involved in bridge.  Larry was there for almost all; my wonderful memories of MN bridge are truly inseparable from Larry.  I will miss him terribly.
P.S.  An additional note about Howie, Steve Garner and Larry.  When The Cavendish, the annual big money bridge tournament was held in Las Vegas, Larry would often fly down with the sole purpose of kibitzing Howie and Steve. They surely were "his guys!"  (That Larry was no dummy :) )



by Peg at April 02, 2017 12:38 AM

April 01, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Minnesota Mourns - The Loss of an Icon



With the heaviest of hearts, we are sad to report that we lost our beloved Larry Oakey this morning about 10:35. A mainstay in Minnesota's bridge world for over half a century, words cannot describe how we will miss this unique and incredibly fine man.

I think it is fair to say that no one has had an overall impact on the bridge world in our state more than Larry Oakey. So, please prepare for many, many posts in the coming days about this beloved elite player, director, teacher, mentor, volunteer, comedian, movie buff and dear, dear friend.

I request of any of you who would be so inclined to please send me memories, stories, tales at the table, and so forth about Larry over the years.  They will be shared at MN Bridge as we celebrate Larry's life.

More later; I am afraid your blogmaster is too broken up now to write more.  I will only share this quote, hoping it can help to console us all.

"Don't cry because it's over.  Smile because it happened."

Larry - you happened, so big time it is incredible.  We love you and will miss you big time.....

by Peg at April 01, 2017 05:31 PM

March 27, 2017

Bob Mackinnon

Slams – An Endangered Species

Once upon a time slams were regarded as being within the exclusive domain of the expert. Accuracy in slam bidding was the hallmark of good pair. It was said that the team that got the slams right were bound to win the contest. The Italian Blue Team were world champions year after year because of their superior slam bidding.

When the 2/1 system was evolving it was touted as the answer to the Big Club slam methodology. Imagine, enthused the advocates, after 1 – 2 being in a position to explore slam with the assurance that one can bid safely at least to the level of game. True enough, but things took a bad turn when the mood changed from exploration to exploitation. Partnerships acted like a drug company that values false advertisement over credible research. Players realized that slams were rare creatures, so there was more to gain in the long run by bidding deceptively to 3NT than by bidding accurately to a minor suit slam. Strong jump shifts were abandoned in favour of weak jump shifts featuring nothing but a long suit. Raises were almost meaningless, especially self-preemptive jump raises which promised nothing but 4-card support. The bidding of a minor side suit was avoided as it gave away too much information to the defenders when one ended up in a flawed 3NT whose success depended on not being punished with an informed defence. The information content of an auction was greatly diminished in the process.

Even I was surprised recently by how far the standards have fallen when I looked at the results from my local club with 15 tables in play. The field contained players who have represented Canada internationally. Most players have decades of experience and play some version of 2/1. First we show a slam that failed. Only 3 pairs avoided it.

21 HCP
12 HCP
6 Controls
4 Controls
(1) ♥’s
(2) no Q
(3) AKK

It should be easy with any reasonable system to avoid slam with 2 flat hands on a 4-4 fit missing the queen of trumps and an outside ace. Of course, if all one does is count HCPs the bidding might go 2NT – 6NT with the perpetrators feeling hard put when going down on a combined 33 HCP. Surely some form of RKCB should be evoked along the way.

‘Don’t bid a slam on a finesse’ is common advice, but it that correct in this circumstance? A finesse with an a priori probability of 50% represents a state of maximum uncertainty. In the long run one’s average score will depend only the probability of the finesse failing, but at 50% it doesn’t matter in the long run if one bids slam or not. However, with everyone else bidding slam, one can go with the field to attain the same mean score in the long term while reducing the variability of results in the short term. So bidding a failing slam is the most cautious approach. On the other hand doing what most everyone is doing limits one to an average score. One might consider that to be an opportunity missed.

What information do we obtain in the Precision auction? Opener knows he faces a flat hand with 11-13 HCP. Transfer Stayman reveals responder has 4 hearts without the Queen. 4 asks for controls, and opener finds 4, so 2 controls are missing. This is enough information for opener to know to pull in his horns, but he also knows that the vast majority will be in slam. To stop in game would be the swinging action. He can stop in game or not depending on current needs.

Note that there is no way to wiggle around the finesse in 6. One has to draw trumps and the A is an unavoidable loser. This is a problem with flat hands. With long suits to play with some losers can be avoided. Here is an example where no one got to a good 6 on 30 combined HCP. Missing a king and two queens presented no problems.

20 HCP
10 HCP
8 Controls
3 Controls
(1) short

The shortage in hearts cancels the effect of missing the King-Queen. If responder had 4 clubs, a grand slam should be bid. In the actual deal clubs split 4-1 so 12 tricks were the limit. But why risk 13 tricks when eleven pairs stopped in 3NT? The top score went to the pair who bid and made 6 on a 3-3 split with the queen onside. That was wildly inaccurate, wishful thinking at best. Their aggression was admirable, but we have to blame the 2/1 system for their bad evaluation as it did not provide the information necessary to avoid an unnecessary risk.

Slam bidding has deteriorated to such a degree that the easiest way to pick up matchpoints or IMPs is to bid good slams based on distribution where hand evaluation depends on loser count, controls, and degree of fit. When the opening bidder holds 8 controls he has a terrific hand, a fact not given sufficient weight by the HCP total. (Even in the recent Vanderbilt we see experts not taking full cognizance of this.) Precision gives one the alternative of avoiding a slam-killing 2NT bid with 8 controls. Here is a slam missed in the same session where in 2/1 the bidding may well have gone 1 – 1; 3 – 4 with clubs being totally ignored. No one bid the grand slam, 12 pairs playing in 4, 4 in 3NT.

18 HCP


8 Controls

2 Controls

(1) ♥’s
(2) Q
(3) x

In the Precision auction responder is not obliged to show his 4-card heart suit first, rather he can show his fine 6-card club suit, surely the best feature of the hand. Opener next finds responder has 4 hearts to the Queen, so slam becomes an attractive goal. Responder can splinter to 4 showing slam interest primarily because of his fine club suit. 5NT is a grand slam try, and 7 is reached on 27 HCP. Although the auction starts with asking bids, it ends as a cooperative effort with responder making the final push. Of course, bidding a grand slam is only for artistic satisfaction as 6 is good enough to score a top.

The temptation is to bid slams that may be borderline 50%, as one is sure to maximize one’s score against a reluctant majority if the slam makes. Here is a refreshing example from a previous session that many would find unworthy, but slams that can’t be defeated by any lead seem worthwhile to bid, especially if good card technique can improve on the initial odds. As in many a risky but successful slam, a good trump suit and plentiful controls are the key ingredients.

14 HCP
11 HCP
6 Controls
4 Controls

I held a minimum in HCP for my splinter and signed off in 4 after John cuebid his A. Despite this discouragement, John showed further slam interest by cuebidding the A at the 5-level. With a maximum of 15 HCP what could he have to justify this? It appeared his optimism must be based long hearts and a good diamond holding, as a wasted Q would not give rise to much excitement. At the time it appeared that my J might have a role to play in slam, so I accepted the invitation while wishing I had the Q instead. Note that each hand has a loser count of 6 supporting a move to slam.

As Shakespeare wrote, the play’s the thing, and John got the mechanics right after an unhelpful club lead. There doesn’t appear to be much hope with the poor diamond holdings, but what if one can eliminate the side suits completely before tackling the diamonds? The 10-card fit in trumps was essential in allowing declarer to eliminate the clubs and spades and end up in the dummy in this position:


Slam now depended on the location of the 9, the curse of Scotland, but John is of English extraction, so it was onside for him. A diamond to the 8 served to endplay North and the slam was made. The 8 was a big card, for the endplay still operates if the 9 is played from the South. One final point on the play: there was another way to win. North started with K5, so could have been endplayed in the diagrammed position by playing A and out. In some cases alternative plays can be sussed out when a full count can be obtained (4=2=2=5) opposite (3=1=4=5) within a distribution of sides of 7=3=6=10. Such alternatives are not predictable ahead of time, but the increase in information can increase the probability of success during the play.

It is bad practice not to know the quality of one’s trumps below game level. The information exchanged in an auction should be selective in keeping with the objective in mind. If game is the limit of one’s ambition, less needs to be revealed in the run-up to game. The fewer bids the better. If slam is possible, the more relevant information available, the better the final decision. This is the dilemma everyone must face, expert or no expert. Having to go to 4NT RKCB in search of a trump queen is a major defect of 2/1 methods. It is no wonder that repressive 2/1 technique does so poorly in the slam zone.

by Bob Mackinnon at March 27, 2017 02:37 PM

March 25, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Let 'Em Eat Cake!



We appreciate people in the bridge world for a variety of reasons. Some we admire as fine experts; some excellent partners.  Others serve in administrative positions and some very giving volunteers.
For the Monday night bridge crowd at the Twin City Bridge Center, Jim Essex is a superstar.  Why?  Because is hobby is decorate cake baking! 
Competitors recently were treated to this fabulous looking and tasting creation.  The grand slam of desserts!


by Peg at March 25, 2017 02:51 PM

March 23, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Spring is Coming Sectional Photos


Sorry about the glitch with our website. Sharing photos of the many people who came, played, conquered and had a blast at the sectional!











































by Peg at March 23, 2017 04:18 PM

March 22, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Rochester Non-Life Master Sectional


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.


by Peg at March 22, 2017 09:00 PM

Unit 103 - January 2017 Board Minutes

Thanks to Unit 103 for all their efforts! Updates for all as to the minutes from the Board's most recent January meeting below.

Download Unit 103 Board Minutes.January28 2017

by Peg at March 22, 2017 07:54 PM

Eamon Galligan

The robot endplay avoidance play

Good afternoon folks ...

One of these days I will figure out Twitch and make some bridge videos ..
I have a nice new Army style haircut

However for now its plain text and pictures ..

Today I was declaring 1NT on http://bridge-now.com and this happened

So I cashed 2 more winning clubs and when I played the HEART 5 the robot rose with the
HEART QUEEN and gave me the HEART JACK on trick 13 .. I don't know why this

I have seen this thing happen before with www.bridge-now.com

However I have not seen it on the Wbridge5 offline program
I did not test this file on Wbridge5 but I will save the pbn

http://bridge-now.com is still a fine place to play bridge and you don't need a partner.

Zoom to 150% size if you cannot see the pictures ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at March 22, 2017 05:08 PM

March 21, 2017

Paul Gipson

Pivot problems

The Atholl Cup is the East District Pivot Teams of Four Championship and last night Alan, Anne, Brian, and I played the semifinal against Iain Sime's team. The match was played over thirty boards, ten with each partner. Last night our captain, Alan, had a new plan for line-ups, perhaps influenced by the fact that we'd never led after the first set when playing our 'strongest' pairings first. I'm not sure it made much difference.

Pivot teams gives you the opportunity to torture your partner with sequences that you've never even discussed with your regular partner, and I was right there with Alan on the first set.

I was West, of course. What do you think my two no trump shows?

A few boards later Alan was in the hot seat again:

You are supposed to ignore the fact that I am sitting opposite you and presume it is an expert who has some idea what the system is. Or, failing that, what he thinks 'expert standard' is. Still, it is your call?

After a fair bit of carnage at both tables, we'd established a comfortable 29-27 imps lead after ten boards.

I played the second set with Brian but most of the action happened at the other table. Brian spent most of the set complaining that I wasn't bidding at all, but I'm sure that secretly he was not worried about this at all.

I wasn't very happy on one board where John took a pessimistic view of his hand:

Naturally John was right as, even with Simon holding the ace of diamonds and jack of hearts, nine tricks were the limit although it did take a 6-0 trump break to hold it to this. I expected a swing out as Anne and Alan got to game. Fortunately the defence went wrong and, somehow, Anne made an overtrick for a big gain.

But this was not sufficient for us to hold the lead as Sime went into the final ten boards leading 52-44 imps.

For the last set both teams had their most established partnerships. Actually each team had precisely one established partnership and they would be played each other, with no-one really knowing what was going on at the other table.

I was soon faced with a difficult decision:

Anne and I were playing fairly standard 2/1, better minor. Your call?

I made a thin three no trump on a favourable lead and then we missed this good slam: our auction was a little agricultural but not easy to see how to get there, and we were pleased that Iain and John missed it in the other room.

Despite conceding two doubled games in the set, we emerged victorious by 73-68 imps.

We will play Smith in the final.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at March 21, 2017 01:28 PM

March 19, 2017

Paul Gipson

Not pretty, but still a win

Alex and I did not impress in the quarter-final of the EBU Online Knockout, but fortunately we had excellent teammates as Mike and Paul were able to cover most of the rubbish we produced as we won by 47 imps. The semifinal should be played next month.

On the first board we missed an opportunity when a misdefence let through a game; then we bid a thin game that was doubled and down two; and then I went down two in another vulnerable game. However we got all these imps back on the next board when we bid to a making game and Mike's strong no trump won the auction in the other room.

Then, perhaps, a slightly fortunate swing.

Both East-West pairs did well not to sacrifice and our defence was very obvious. In the other room, Paul had doubled with the South hand and so Mike played five hearts. My hand had only pre-empted to three spades, so it was more difficult for East to find the killing defence and two top spades meant a big swing to us.

Then another game swing when Mike played a hand better, albeit on a slightly more revealing auction. The match was really decided over the next four boards when we scored 8, 7, 8, and 5 imps through slightly better judgement. This was the scariest:

It was not difficult to find the trump lead and careful defence was sufficient after that. Mike bid three clubs directly over 1NT and played there, making ten tricks for 8 imps.

This meant a 62-16 imps lead at half-time.

The second half started as poorly as the first, letting through a doubled game and going down in a game that they made in the other room. Then an opponent went for -1400 against a vulnerable game to give us some points back and, on the final board, I made a slam when they failed to take their ace at trick one allowing me to misguess the queen that was vital at the other table. It was a surprise, and big relief, to win the set 35-34 imps and 'cruise' into the semifinal.

Meanwhile one of Mike's regular partners has been showing how to play the game at the Spring Nationals in Kansas City. David Gold, playing with David Bakhshi, had a tremendous run in the Vanderbilt, reaching the final before meeting the Nickell machine. Disappointingly they lost comfortably after Nickell had a big second set, but congratulations to both teams on a great week. The Davids were playing with Ritchie Schwartz, Daniel Korbel, and Norwegians Boye Brogeland and Espen Lindqvist.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at March 19, 2017 06:48 PM

March 17, 2017

Eamon Galligan

The Fitzwilliam Pre-empter

Last night while directing in Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club bridge game I was drafted in to play as one mans partner failed to show. Now everyone in Dublin apart from one  knew this woman was on vacation in Morocco so she was unlikely to show up.

However our steely eyed man turned up in Fitzwilliam and set his steely left eye on me. Eamon sure you will play with me ... I got the go ahead from the boss so we played.

Now I am often pressed into service in this club as players often double book or their partner is sick but generally it is an accident and I don't want to send a chap or lady home without a game.
I just make myself available to help out and generally play a nice soft game but if an opponent puts it out there then a little more attention is paid.

So board 5 came along halfway thru our set at table 2 against Mr K and Ms W.
I am dealt a fine hand comprising of  82.. AKQJ73.. K7.. KQ9 in SHDC order ...
so I have 6 fine hearts and am getting my 1 Heart opening ready.

However partner is dealer and it goes PASS to Mr K who ponders a little .. so looks like I am not going to get to open 1Heart. ..

Mr K reaches into the bidding side of the bidding box and to my surprise places 3H opening bid on the table .... Well if Mr K has 7 card Hearts my hand is not going to go as well as expected and as it is
normal to pass when the opponents bid your best suit I quickly placed the PASS card on the table.

I suspect 90% of players will hmmm or haw for a while and give the game away or hope that opener looks down and indicates a mistaken bid. However the bidding continued with PASS PASS despite my hope for a double on the way out.

Declarer used up 2 small hearts early on and when I got back on lead after playing ACE of HEARTS and partner followed ..it was now a claimer as declarer was down to 4 trumps versus my AKQJxx..
so he was done like Seabiscuit ...

3H minus 5 ..was top score on the night ..

Now the Dealing machine was by no means finished with us lads yet

A lady was dealt AJT6 .. KQ986432 ... VOID and T ..

So 8 hearts and 4 spades and a singleton club.

Being dealer she opens 1H and her pard responds 2 Spades over the intervening 2 club overcall.

So 1H 2C 2S ...and our hero bids STOP 4H after some long thought ..

After the Ace of Clubs opening lead she received AJ7 of trumps in the dummy ..

Now the 2S bid normally shows 5 plus spades but our hero was happy enough to make same
tricks as 4S+2 ..

Now I don't agree with 2S bid or 4H bid ...
The 4H bid is more acceptable if partner can only have 4 card spades ...but anyone I know will have 5 or 6 spades for the 2S bid ....but I live in a parallel world ..

Another hand brought up one of my favourites ...the downgrade

I was dealer and was dealt a flat 12 count with 4333 distribution ... For many years especially in teams I have passed these type of hands as they are only worth about 10.5 hcp.
So last night I duly PASSED as dealer and vulnerable and the opps sailed into 3NT via a probable bidding misunderstanding ..

Opponent wondered at all the other kids declaring 1NT from the WEST hand going minus ..

On the above hand I launched the auction with a normal 2H weak opening bid .. Partner rose that to 6H and I mentioned his lack of Blackwood probably meant he owned all the aces ..

The point of mentioning this hand was that 4 pairs of 7 in total remained at the game level.
Seems my picture grab lopped off last two scores on each occasion ..

Anyway 13 tricks in hearts was easy with assistance of my CQ and DK ...

And there was more

Some fine shape here .. Our opps bid to 6D so we doubled that and I blew a trick for about the 5th
time in the night. Most of them did not matter but when my opponent on the bridgemate
forgot the DOUBLE .. This undertrick cost me a few matchpoints ...

However not to worry ...

Anyway my final exhibit from the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club last night is

This hand saw us locate the 4-4 spade fit like normal people and later locate the 5-0 trump break which was dooming the contract. Playing manfully I managed to gather in 9 tricks and was surprised to find this was a poor score. Amazingly 3 declarers has found their way to 3NT and all made it despite the 5 club tricks for starters against them... BIZARRE ...

All the above boards turned up in a 21 board set that I dealt on the Fitzwilliam dealing machine before the game. Lots of distribution last night ...

Unfortunately the printer was out of ink so the players were unable to admire the great hands that
were dealt ..

Eamon Galligan

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at March 17, 2017 03:49 PM

March 13, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Gonzaga versus Nickell or David versus Goliath

This afternoon in Kansas City the all conquering Irish junior bridge squad finally take on something they won't be able to chew. Winning the Peggy Bayer in 2016 was an enormous achievement and placing 2nd (missing their top player)  to a decent English squad in the Junior Camrose was good.

However John Donnolly versus Eric Rodwell and Michael Connolly versus Jeff Meckstroth.
or Arran Bolger versus Steve Weinstein or Stephen Barr versus Bobby Levin. Then in the 2nd quarter it could be Dan Varley and Nathan Doyle tacking Katz and Nickell.

In the 2nd round Irish Juniors will play the winners of RUBIN and BAKER. two teams filled with World Class players and in the last 16 it will probably be a STREET team backboned by French and Canadian internationals.

Don't get me wrong these young lads can play and they are certainly by far the youngest Irish lads to make it as far as the US Nationals. I was well into my 30s and living in USA when I first went to a US National. My 2nd time was facilitated by a friend Matthew Haag who lived 1 mile from the venue in San Francisco.

Thomas Hanlon and his Silver Team were quite shocked to find they were seeded 28th or so on their first visit despite waving their European Silver medals around. I heard a well known US international player say to some of our lads ... " I HEAR YOU GUYS WON MEDALS ... WAS USA PLAYING IN THAT COMPETITION" The capitals were intended. MR HAMMAN is quite loud.

So our post teens from Gonzaga might be in for an experience. Some of them were a little green after the Junior Camrose banquet. However its all a learning experience ..

I need to go and fill in my Bracket. Its a free competition on www.bridgewinners.com

Its a nice day in Swords. I dunno if there is any vugraph today but it will likely be some closer matches like seeds 28-36 type matches.

I notice Irish Junior player has tipped his Irish Junior team to win all the way to the final and then lose to Lavazza. Perhaps he made a mistake on the final round or the first round.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at March 13, 2017 01:10 PM

March 12, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

Turning Another Page

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! 

by Judy Kay-Wolff at March 12, 2017 05:00 PM

March 11, 2017

Peg Kaplan

New Faces at The Table



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!


by Peg at March 11, 2017 02:02 PM

March 10, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Gopher Regional - Not Too Late!

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. 

You, too, can recognize someone special by naming a game.
For information, contact Sue Jackson (sjackson@smumn.ed)

by Peg at March 10, 2017 12:01 AM

March 09, 2017

Eamon Galligan

A random hand dealt in Malahide on Feb

On Monday February 20th Derek Howe pointed out a hand to me from that mornings Duplicate.
He claimed the Double Dummy indicated 11 tricks were always COLD.

So I examined the hand casually while preparing for that evenings Duplicate event.
I direct bridge some nights so this was one of those nights.
At first glance I could not see any way past 10 tricks. Diamond Queen is the opening lead and the
contract is say 5H or 4H looking for an overtrick.
We will leave it at that for now to allow some people time to examine it .
I gave the hand to 10 of the strongest Malahide bridge players but got no joy there.
On Tuesday night I was partnering Declan the Donplayer in a  2 euro a corner best of 3 DON game.
We won the first 3 games comfortably and that meant we were 6 euro to the good each.
In the 4th game we were going well and suddenly Declan started anti cheating. He gave the opponents points instead of taking points off them. Later he said "Eamon it would not be fair to send them home 8 euro down each... Better to let them win a game and take 4 euro home and they will come back for more games thinking Declan Donplayer is a nice chap"

Last night in Malahide we ran a handicap game based on CBAI grades.
Regional Master or higher handicapped 8% and 2% drops per grade after that.
The 2 partners handicaps are added together to get the pair handicap.
It seemed to go alright with no complaints yet.
Now I have to go to Lidl for the grub and a few bottles of vino.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at March 09, 2017 12:32 PM

March 08, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Spring is Coming Sectional Results



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!



by Peg at March 08, 2017 02:50 PM

Eamon Galligan

Ireland Open win Camrose 2017

Last weekend Ireland Open Team of Mark Moran Rory Boland Hugh McGann Thomas Hanlon John Carroll and Thomas Garvey completed the acquisition of the Camrose Trophy 2017.

As I was otherwise involved between running the bridgemates at the aforementioned Hospice event and then heading off to Dungarvan to attend Christy Moore at the Park Hotel on Saturday night the 2017 Camrose 2nd weekend slipped my mind. It was only on Sunday morning I kind of recalled that somewhere on the mainland Camrose Weekend 2 was taking place.

A quick visit to Bridgebase Online and to Scotland Bridge Union via the always informational English Bridge Union website at http://www.ebu.co.uk/

and I was set. A quick perusal of http://www.camrosebridge.com/ and I quickly gathered in the
information that it was Irelands Camrose to lose as they had already gathered in almost 50 of the available 60 VPS including a 15-5 victory over England their only challengers. So it was just required to survive against a decent SBU team (who took the match 14-6) and a probable comfortable victory against the weaker Scotland team. In the end an 11-9 victory was secured against Scotland.

Meanwhile back in Galliganville he can play all the boards as he has seen very little of the event.

Match 1 Garvey and Carroll started with a big run of imps it appears according to my version of the game. After playing 8 boards in Jack I had managed to gather in 12 imps against the field but the intrepid (not sure what that word  means ) duo had gathered in 26 imps versus Northern Ireland leading to the above positions as extracted from the Jack program.

I will continue playing and see how I do but its unlikely I will catch up on those lads.
Mind you their opponents Greenwood and Anderson are no pushovers but Carroll and Garvey
seem to be back in form.
Meanwhile the GM rings up and makes enquiries about how to use Dealer4 as he is directing in Fitzwilliam tomorrow night. GM is a powerful tournament director and has no need to leave the computer as one bellow from the big lad and all East Wests move quickly. However this morning we managed to download and use the Dealer4 software and he did not SHOUT at me once.
Things are looking up.

So later I will play some more hands on Jack but first I have to complete my 70 hands on
http://bridge-now.com  ... The weekly ratings are gone but maybe I will devise my own rating system shortly. A fine website indeed where folk can play 0-300 hands a week and get instant matchpoints.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at March 08, 2017 01:33 PM

The Hospice Charity fights back

Last week in Malahide Regional Bridge Club , my home club a charity bridge game was organised. It was connected to Maureen Meade who passed away earlier this year. Known on BBO as donabate which was also her most recent home she last appeared on Bridge Base Online around December 23rd 2016.. Maureen was a capable player and represented Ireland in the Lady Milne in 2004 or maybe it was 2005 in Manchester. Ireland finished 2nd that year which is as good as we have ever finished in the recent past. On the Friday night when the bridge started one Welsh pair was still enroute to the venue. Now Maureen and her partner Nuala were making their debut in this match and were placed in the closed room. As people who have attended Camrose or Lady Milne matches will know the Closed Room is off limits to all bar the players in the room and the directors and organisers.

So with the match being staged in England the officials were English and nobody thought of the 2 debutants sitting in the closed room awaiting their fate. As any bridge player will know stepping up a level above your grade is seriously nerve wracking and here 2 folk were making their international debut and there was no one to help them. Its possible they did not even know if they could go to the loo. You can but you need a director to escort you so you won't see or hear anything about hands on the way to or fro. These days it is easier as bridge matches are often held in hotel business centres or converted hotel rooms so most rooms have their own loo. However back in the day it could be 2 tables in the closed room and no loo. Myself and BJ O'Brien were with the team but we had no access to the closed room or any knowledge that the Welsh team were even missing for quite a while.
Anyway all got worked out but the ladies survived that ordeal.

Next morning saw Ireland play Scotland and our intrepid duo sat down to face the well known Liz McGowan a monumental Scottish bridge institution.

Liz McGowan    I played my first Lady Milne in 1977, and this will be my 31st appearance, with my 9th partner. I have won 8 times, and would like to reach double figures, but I'm running out of time.…. Prior to 2000 Liz, I was a member of the British Women‟s team, picked up silver medals at the 1988 and ‟92 Olympiads and gold at the Europeans in ‟97 and „99.  I also won the 1996 World Mixed Teams with Heather Dhondy when the two were eliminated from the Venice Cup and, while drowning their sorrows in the bar, “chatted up” the Icelandic men who had suffered the same fate in the Bermuda Bowl.  My daily column in „The Scotsman‟ has recently been axed, so I'm looking for something else to do. I live in Edinburgh with husband Ian, and two daughters, and much loved grand-daughter. 

So Liz is pretty good at the bridge ...as can be seen above.

Anyway the first hand saw our intrepid pair wheel out the Gerber much to the amusement of our NPC BJ O'Brien and they end up in what seems to be a no play small slam.

However as BJ congratulated Brian Short on a good start for Scotland , Galligan watched as Liz cashed an ace and then played the card that tightened the squeeze. Galligan tugged on BJs suit sleeve and excitedly said SQUEEZE is coming .. but BJ brushed me aside and continued the congratulations.
Meanwhile Maureen continued playing cards from the top and a 3-3 break in clubs happened and the final club exerted the pressure and the Scottish NPC and his friend BJ suddenly realised the squeeze was materializing and Ireland were getting 12 imps or so ..

The old Clyde Love works again ..

After the match was over I asked about the slam and Maureen said .." I guess they threw away the wrong cards" .. Anyway the match progressed and Ireland won by about 10 imps all because of that slam.

Meanwhile back at Malahide last Friday ..we had 3 sections of bridge and several people offering help and no great communication between them.

Section 1 was an 11 table Mitchel but somehow after the section started the 2 pairs at table 6 ejected and went off to another section.
Section 2 was a 13 table Mitchel and the cards were layed out and play had commenced and then suddenly a previously empty table (it was empty when I gave out the boards) grew 4 occupants waving their hands in the air saying we have no boards ..
Section 3 was a 12 table with Novice and Inter Bs and that section rolled along fine.

In Section 2 I rolled back the boards and added in a 14th table and all seemed well except some bridgemates were saying sitout. Someone or maybe me had started up the section on the computer but neglected to say add 20 to the table number for EAST WEST so some bridgemates complained about SITOUT round 2 ..and so on .. Eventually I figured out what had happened and reset the movement.
However some scores were already in and I did not notice it was 1 versus 15 instead of 1 versus 21
and 2 versus 16 instead of 2 versus 22 and much later I saw some pairs had the wrong total as the pair numbers were wrong in the bridge scoring program. Anyway I solved that by editing the BWS file and all was eventually well...

Meanwhile in Section 1 an organiser found a pair to play at table 6 and all was well you would think.
Well the pair sitting out decided they would be North South instead of the normal EW and it was a while before that knowledge made its way back to me ... However knowledge is power and I was soon able to sort out the movement and the SITOUT merrily made its way around the room.
Meanwhile I spotted the missing  pair was performing well in the event being placed as high as 2nd at one stage after 6 rounds ...Hmmmm ...Whats wrecking my head now ..

Finally I recalled some mention of entering Round 1 scores as PASSES .. and of course at that stage
the famous MISSING PAIR were presumed present and correct so the passes entered on the bridgemate in as real scores .. and the Missing pair was heading for a prize...according to the TV.
However Galligan got in there and sorted it and the MISSING PAIR became a sitout.

So be careful with those bridgemates and the moving players ..

Maureen as a bridge director never crossed over into bridgemate territory as far as I know.

The final news of the night announced 4300 euros for Hospice and more coming ...

Hospice looked after Maureen Meade and she paid them back in spades ..

Thanks to all who supported and played in the event ..


by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at March 08, 2017 11:41 AM

March 06, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 - Charity Game


Unit 178 is willing to hold a charity game and fundraiser for a worthwhile, local organization. We invite Unit 178 members to propose a charity as this year's recipient.
Your proposal should include your name, name of a 501c(3) qualified charity, a brief explanation of the worthiness of the charity, the willingness of charity representatives to attend the event, and your willingness to chair the event with the board as your committee.
Submit proposals to Linda Brammer (linda.brammer@yahoo.com).
Thank you!


by Peg at March 06, 2017 09:58 PM

Minnesota Top 100 - 2016



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! 

Download Minnesota100for2016



by Peg at March 06, 2017 02:58 AM

March 01, 2017

Peg Kaplan

A Feel for the Game - Honors Bridge at U of MN




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.

3 - Copy
3 - Copy


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!


                North (dummy)






                South (Morgan, declarer)








by Peg at March 01, 2017 03:06 PM

Paul Gipson

Cup cleaner needed?

Following last night's result, Janet, Ros, LotG, and I have retained the Scott Cup, the club's team championship.

The Scott Cup, donated by the owner of the hotel where the club met forty years ago, is played over seven evenings with the best four positions to count. Our three wins (plus a second and third place) mean that we cannot be overtaken with two evenings remaining. Technically Christine's team could tie with us by winning the last two evenings, but our better fifth result means that we'd win the tiebreaker.

Of course our intention is to win at least one of the remaining evenings to repeat last year's perfect result of four wins.

Scoring up last night was a dream and it took so long that they packed up the computer before we could check the result. Janet and Ros, like so often, came back saying they'd made a few mistakes. We had too, but none of this showed in the scoring. Whenever one pair had a poor score the other had done even better, or we'd been a little lucky: for example LotG overbid on one board and we went down in five spades, but I pointed out that game should not make and Janet and Ros duly beat the game by two (!) for a small gain. In the end we only lost imps on one board, and Janet revoked on that (and she is still apologising profusely). And the plus column was pretty full as we racked up 100 imps in just 22 boards.

Janet and Ros started well, bidding these hands to slam on the first board:

A very simple sequence because Ros was able to take control of the auction with her minor suit controls.

Four of the twelve tables saw a slam bid and it is more difficult if East does not make a jump rebid. Our opponents missed the slam when West jumped to two spades. I think many club players get intimidated by strong hands and this was a case where going slower is best - you should only really make a strong jump response if you have (a) a strong single-suited hand or (b) a good suit with primary support for partner and a strong hand. With strong two-suited hands without a fit, go slowly initially and give yourselves space to find the best fit. Her mistake was compounded by East bidding four spades directly with a hand that is too strong - this jump should be weak, in context, because you are in a game forcing auction. If you want to play in spades with such a hand, just make a simple raise.

Two boards later, LotG and I did better than our traditional close rivals:

The key was my bid over two spades. I was confident that LotG would know I had a very strong hand when I bid three hearts, so there was no need to jump to four hearts like my opponent did in a similar position. This enabled us to find the better game and it was worth 10 imps when hearts broke 5-2 and that game failed. With the ace of clubs onside, as expected, you can make six diamonds but LotG played safely to make her game. No other pair found the diamond game.

We were the only North-South pair to get a positive score on board 19, as both pairs did exceptionally well to reach the par contract:

As it happens, with LotG playing five hearts it is going to make because East has no entry to give a club ruff, so Dave did very well to bid on and I had an easy diamond lead to beat five spades. One other pair also bid to five hearts, albeit by North, but unfortunately misplayed it after a spade lead to go down but they were still rewarded with 11 imps when their team mates played in the spade game. Janet and Ros also played in four spades and we gained 13 imps.

So the conundrum is that now we are going to get the magnificent trophy back, is is necessary to really clean it?

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at March 01, 2017 09:55 AM

February 28, 2017

Paul Gipson

Camrose weekend

The second weekend of the 2017 Camrose Trophy will be held in Edinburgh from this Friday to Sunday.

I will be there as the official scorer, which basically means chasing after the non-playing captains who are chasing after their players to find out who is incapable of entering the correct contract and result on the bridgemates. It may come as a surprise to many that top bridge players, of whom some will be at the event, can think about a hand for twenty-five minutes and still not know how many tricks they took at the end of it.

The website for the weekend is now live. It contains the schedule, teams and system cards, preliminary results (#alternativefacts), and venue details. It will provide live results and current standings throughout the weekend and all six tables will be broadcast on BBO vugraph.

There is no vugraph room at the venue but kibitzers will be welcome to sit in the Open Room, on the shoulders of giants. Or giantesses. So if you want to hear howling, shrieks, and lots of fish calling then come along to the Holiday Inn in west Edinburgh. The zoo is next door, but we expect the players to be louder.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at February 28, 2017 10:48 AM

February 27, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

Back at The Plaza…

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!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at February 27, 2017 02:38 AM

February 26, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Spring is Coming Sectional - March 3-5



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!

by Peg at February 26, 2017 12:28 PM

February 25, 2017

Paul Gipson

EBU Online Knockout second round

I didn't know our opponents for the second round match but our team changed as Sarah stepped in to replace Paul when he got delayed by the stormy weather. I was also down south but despite witnessing some downed trees was able to make it on time.

The action started straight away:

Not a difficult slam to bid and it was a flat board. The only big swing in the first half occurred on the third board of the match:

So what is your choice?

It is fair to say that we got this wrong at both tables to lose 12 imps. But we had gained a game swing and some partscores to lead by 22-17 imps at the half.

Mike and Sarah made an immediate contribution in the second half:

This was worth 11 imps and a great start to the second half. We continued to build on this, even though it took a little while for us to bid a slam ourselves:

The key to the slam was Alex's decision to break the spade transfer with a minimum (14-16) 1NT and only three-card support, but he liked his strong controls. At the other table, perhaps over a weak no trump, they were in game so we gained 12 imps.

There were not many partscores and Mike thought we'd had an unusual route to game on this hand:

It is our system to open one club with my distribution but I could have shown a weak no trump rather than raising spades. Unfortunately the diamonds were unfavourable but I escaped for one down.

The good news though was that this sequence kept the opponents quiet. Mike and Sarah managed to bid the North-South cards to five clubs, which meant +12 imps when it was doubled and made.

We won the second half by 46 imps for a comfortable win. We play Lawrence next month in the quarter-final.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at February 25, 2017 06:24 PM

February 24, 2017

Ray Lee

David Silver (1935 – 2017)

David SilverI’m sad to announce that David Silver passed away on February 23, 2017, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

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.

-Ray Lee



by Ray Lee at February 24, 2017 03:06 PM