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December 07, 2016

Paul Gipson

Celtic Pairs

The Celtic Simultaneous Pairs is a joint venture between the SBU and WBU to raise funds for their international teams. It has always been expensive to fund teams at events like the European Team Championships and the current state of sterling is making it worse, so events like this are necessary to help reduce the financial burden on the players themselves.

I played with Ros for a change. We'd taken preparation seriously over some large tray bakes and strong coffee and had a fully completed card. Lebensohl was on our card although Ros did express some concern over some of the sequences and commented that it rarely came up - naturally that was a mistake ...


What the hand does not show is that Ros forgot to alert my 2NT as Lebensohl. This is a conventional bid that allows me to differentiate between weak and moderate hands: so 2NT is used to show weak hands and asks partner to bid three clubs, which I may pass or bid another suit to show a weak hand (in this case I intended to pass three clubs); if I had a moderate hand of, say, 7-11 point, I can bid three clubs directly.

Obviously Ros does not want to play in three clubs with her 25 points, so she bid three spades asking for a stop. The lack of an alert for 2NT means that I have unauthorised information and must carefully avoid taking advantage, but here I have no problem because three spades clearly asks for a stop in the first instance so bidding 3NT is clear.

On Penny's second spade trick I need to decide what to throw from dummy. I have no entries to my hand, but the king of diamonds is obviously with Colin (North) otherwise Penny would have opened one spade. I have seven cards in both red suits and need to decide which is most likely to split 3-3. Naturally this is a 50-50 choice, but there is an additional chance in hearts that the jack is singleton or doubleton, so I pitched diamonds and made the contract. Surprisingly this was worth 75% for us.

Although we declared 16 of 27 boards, it was our defence that was particularly successful. This included getting a contract down four vulnerable when we made all six of our trumps, and a five down non-vulnerable when our opponents played in a 5-1 fit. We didn't give any unnecessary tricks away and were merciless whenever declarer made the slightest error. For example,


As you can see Ros made the right decisions in defence but declarer made a small error. If he overtakes the nine of diamonds with the ten, then he will be able to establish his diamonds and retain an entry to his hand. We scored 90% for making declarer pay for this mistake although I suspect most played this hand by North on the lead of a small club.

Overall we scored 68.06% at the club but I expected this to reduce by at least 5% across the field. But fortunately it seems to be standing up as we currently lie second with 67.99% - full results.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at December 07, 2016 10:39 AM

December 06, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Membership Week at the Twin City Bridge Center

Santasnow
 
 
Wondering what to do the day after Christmas?  Wonder no more!
 
December 26-31 is Membership Game Week at the Twin City Bridge Center. Every game delivers extra point awards at no extra charge!

Head to 60th and Nicollet throughout the week and get extra holiday presents as you compete!
 
 

 

by Peg at December 06, 2016 02:10 AM

Holiday Sectional Results

Holiday

While some Minnesotans were competing at the Fall NABC in Orlando, others were battling away at the Holiday Sectional at the Bridge Center of St. Paul.

Kerry Holloway, playing with a variety of partners and teammates, headed the masterpoint list with a fine total of 26.03. In second spot, Jim Stepnes was the only other player to earn over 20 masterpoints with his total of 23.31. Results for all events can be viewed here.

Thanks to chairman Alexis Campbell and all the other volunteers, directors - and players - who made the tourney excellent!

by Peg at December 06, 2016 02:05 AM

December 02, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Holiday Sectional

Holiday

 

Our Holiday Sectional starts today, December 2nd!

Play Friday - Saturday - Sunday at the Bridge Center of St. Paul.  No better way to kick off the holiday season!

The schedule and details are here.

by Peg at December 02, 2016 05:16 PM

Florence Sajevic - 1925-2016

We are sad to report that Minnesota's bridge world has lost another of our integral members.  Florence Sajevic, of North Oaks, passed away on November 28th.

Florence was a long time member of our bridge community.  We are grateful for her friendship, competitiveness - and for her long life and wonderful family.

Florence's funeral is scheduled for Monday, December 5th.  The details can be found in her obituary.

 

by Peg at December 02, 2016 04:54 PM

Florence Sajevic - 1925-2016

We are sad to report that Minnesota's bridge world has lost another of our integral members.  Florence Sajevic, of North Oaks, passed away on November 28th.

Florence was a long time member of our bridge community.  We are grateful for her friendship, competitiveness - and for her long life and wonderful family.

Florence's funeral is scheduled for Monday, December 5th.  The details can be found in her obituary.

 

by Peg at December 02, 2016 04:54 PM

November 28, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Winners!

Swiss team

Mega congratulations to Mike Cassel and Barry Purrington!  Along with teammates Bob and Ellen Kent, they won the 0-10,000 Swiss in Orlando.

On the cover of Monday's Daily Bulletin, you can read all about how their team achieved victory!

Well done, Mike, Barry, Bob and Ellen!

 

by Peg at November 28, 2016 04:44 PM

Eamon Galligan

Thomas Hanlon places 2nd in Life Master Pairs

Well known Rochfortbridge Donplayer Thomas Hanlon placed 2nd in the Bobby Nail Life Master Pairs yesterday in Orlando Florida. Along with regular US National partner Leslie Amoils ...Hanlon finished in 2nd place to well known bridge player  Marion Michelson originally from Holland. Zia Mahmood was the only man ahead of Hanlon.

Hanlon Amoils 2nd in Life Master Pairs

Meanwhile down in Kilkenny Congress well known Wexford players Sexton and Doyle emerged from their slumber to be leading Irish players at Kilkenny international bridge festival.

No sign of the incredible BJ O'Brien at this event. Its not like BJ to miss a chance to get some cash in
Colleens coffee jar. BJs partnership had some slam troubles at the recent Dundalk Congress.

4 softer players dominated the teams in Kilkenny putting all men and juniors and Shillelagh Club
teams to the sword. Jill Joan Petra and Teresa did that.

A large man wielding a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has been spotted in the greater Dublin area.

A Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a decent piece of kit apparently.

........................
For a deeper understanding of Thomas Hanlons 2nd place mentioned above

http://live.acbl.org/event/NABC163/NAIL/4/results

Plenty of well known bridge players even near the end of the field ..

Thanks
Eamon Galligan





by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at November 28, 2016 07:46 AM

November 24, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Happy Thanksgiving - Happy Hand

Happy-Thanksgiving

Celebrating with family and friends? Winging your way to the Fall NABC in Orlando?  Whatever your plans, we wish you a fine Thanksgiving - and wish our friends competing at the Nationals much luck and fun!

Speaking of which .... our thanks to frequent contributor and competitor Steve Gaynor. This most recent contribution is part of what keeps us coming back to the game.  Just "Wow"! 

See Steve's amazing hand below!

Download DearBrian

 

by Peg at November 24, 2016 12:10 PM

November 23, 2016

Paul Gipson

Slam night

It was slam night in the third round of the club teams championship.

Firstly Gary, our President, and Sandy bid these hands effectively:


Unfortunately for them, LotG (South) held all four outstanding hearts and this excellent contract failed. Even worse, our teammates Ros and Janet were unusually reticent in the auction and played in four hearts, so we gained an undeserved 11 imps on the board.

Then LotG and I missed a good slam:


Although I appear to have underbid considerably, LotG's four hearts bid showed a pretty poor hand. With good hearts, she would definitely have cue bid a spade or diamond king, so it seemed likely that the slam would be on a finesse at best. My judgement was not far out: the slam is about 55%, so certainly worth bidding, but not the end of the world if we missed it. As it happened, we did lose 11 imps when Morven and Pam bid it at the other table.

We struggled on the following hand, as did most of the field:


LotG was concerned that we were clearly missing the ace of spades and that the lead would be through her, and we could be missing the ace of hearts too. I was naturally concerned that we were off two spade tricks. Of course LotG could just choose to blast the slam on the grounds that she has a lot of points and I must have most of the rest, but I'd probably bid the same way without the queen of spades.

Although it's about a 57% slam, this time it failed on every occasion as the clubs were 3-1 and the defence made the ace of spades and the queen of clubs. It was almost flat in our match, but a trump lead against five clubs picked up the suit.

We are trialling Pianola Plus at the moment and it is always entertaining to look at the Session Report afterwards.


The Bidding Accuracy chart shows that we underbid less than other leading pairs but failed to double more. However this judgement criteria is totally objective and based on double dummy analysis: at the table we are not permitted to look at all four hands first. And Pianola are still tuning this analysis: for example, on the first hand shown above we were charged for failing to double six hearts, whereas a double could let them run to the making six no-trump.


The Card Play chart shows why we are winning the event: we are just making a lot more contracts with overtricks than the other leading players.

Despite our combined failings in the slam zone, Ros, Janet, LotG, and I recorded our second win from the three evenings so far. The competition continues in the New Year and if we can win two of the remaining four nights then we shall retain the trophy.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at November 23, 2016 03:19 PM

November 21, 2016

Paul Gipson

A wild weekend

I'm not eligible to play in the Scottish National League but I spent yesterday watching the final round of matches as I continue to help and stalk the junior players.

I'm very pleased that a number of our best junior players are participating in the league. It is tough, as they are surrounded by seasoned tournament players and mistakes are punished, but I think it is an excellent environment to learn what is needed to improve. I've seen the English junior teams improve consistently through playing in the English Premier League and Spring Foursomes, together with some coaching I suppose: but gone are the days where they regularly go for -800 against partscore and -1100 against game.

The Scottish juniors still bid a little too aggressively at times but are a lot more disciplined. Like all matches, a lot of imps swing on bidding the right slams but, in the main, the areas they need to focus on are competitive bidding and defence: experience goes a long way in these areas.

It did not take long for a wild deal to arrive:


Take your time to look at the hand above before pressing the Next key. What would you do?

In the other room Ronan bid six diamonds when the opponents stopped in five hearts. I'd given the juniors advice on bidding 6-6 hands (keep bidding until partner doubles) but failed to help them with 10-card suits!

It wasn't before another imp-generating hand came along. The juniors won ten imps, but it could have been more:


Ronan showed a lot of faith in Liam's vulnerable Michaels Cue Bid, his view bolstered by the fact that Liam had very poor spades and would probably have distribution to compensate for this. He was right and comfortably scored +650 after a club switch at trick two.

At the other table the auction was very different. As an American politician might say, I do not approve of some of these calls!


Five hearts has no play but is a good save, but after two rounds of spades the junior declarer could have made the contract by playing for hearts to be 4-1. He might have helped himself by asking what North's first double was, since it looks like it was penalty. A missed opportunity for another six imps.

I had to wait until the final match of the day for another really wild hand:


To be honest the hand was wilder than the deal, since everyone will overcall four spades and get to play there, making eleven tricks. One North was lucky enough to get doubled.

One junior pair got too high (and achieved a very stupid result) on this board when they pulled the wrong card from the bidding box and could not correct it in time (only noticing after their partner had called).

However the key for any pair when you have a disaster is to try to forget it and move on to the next board. It was very pleasing to see that they moved on without comment and scored on the next board:


When East made his normal lead of the king of hearts this made comfortably. At the other table Abi and Jake beat five clubs. I suspect that Jake lead the ace of spades and switched to diamond from Jxxx, giving Abi a ruff when he got in with the ace of clubs for a deserved 12 imps gain.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the juniors were relegated from the second division. Although they were never outplayed, the experience and consistency of the other teams proved just too much, but hopefully they will all be back next year.

However one of our junior squad, Jun, was in the winning team in the first division and will represent Scotland again in the Camrose Trophy in January. Congratulations to him and to the rest of his team, Mike Ash, Arend Bayer, Paul Barton, Alex Adamson, and Mike McGinley.

Full results: First Division, Second Divison, Third Division.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at November 21, 2016 12:12 PM

November 20, 2016

Jannes van 't Oever

Doctor

Oh little sicky, seems to be the pain
Got all these herbs, don’t mean a fucking thing
I am the little witch, with the magic tricks
Mistrust the white house, come and get your fix
It’s not about the numbers, what you feel is real
Crystals, rays of light, the taste of orange peel

South
AQT73
5
AQ5
KQ62

That’s a decent 17-count. I open 1 and this is what happens:

West
North
East
South
 
 
 
1
pass
31
pass
42
pass
43
pass
64
a.p.
 
 
 
  1. 6-crd suit, exactly invitational
  2. Slam try
  3. Cue
  4. Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming

We don’t cue singletons in partner’s suit, so I could picture Kees with King-small in , AJ-6th in and possibly some useless red quack. Sometimes it’s so easy to count to twelve: 

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
K6
962
J8
AJT843
West
954
KJ843
K742
7
East
J82
AQT7
T963
95
South
AQT73
5
AQ5
KQ62

A perfect dream.

You might wonder why I didn’t splinter in to get my slam aspirations across. I thought any pointy King would make slam pretty much lay down. If Kees had something like a 2-3-2-6 with the King instead of the King, he can discard his loser on my Queen. But if I splinter in he might be unable to show it.

Surreal.

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by Jannes van 't Oever at November 20, 2016 06:15 PM

November 15, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

Would You Believe????

Do you remember as kids how intrigued we were with magicians and all that phony-baloney stuff? It was always a fascination and here I am… still mystified even at my age. While watching a football game this afternoon, the conversation casually turned to Bobby’s Texas birth site. He reminisced that one time he was invited to a San Antonio TV station with two or three 5:00 News Broadcasters in the early to mid sixties and performed on stage (live!) an incredible feat. He asked someone to shuffle a fresh deck of cards, hand it to him (which he reshuffled a few times), then had the person remove a card (so he could not see it and return to him the remaining fifty-one cards). Bobby then turned the deck over (face up), thumbed speedily through them to come up with the denomination of the card… Ace? Deuce? Six? Ten? Queen? WHATEVER!!! Of course, if it was the wrong card, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Obviously, he hit pay dirt.

After I heard the story, I replied… “O. K. This one I gotta see. Do you still remember how to do it?” About one minute later I handed him a freshly shuffled deck, he went through the exact routine with me this afternoon… and damned if he didn’t confidently smile and ask me to flip over the missing EIGHT (of CLUBS)… and it sure was! This made me realize (after playing bridge with Bobby for over thirteen years)… what I always suspected… maybe he can see through the cards!!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at November 15, 2016 02:01 PM

November 14, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Unit 173 - Agenda for November Board Meeting

Unit 173's agenda for November, posted below.

As always, our thanks to those who work hard and long to make bridge great in our units and throughout Minnesota!

Download AgendaNov19th

by Peg at November 14, 2016 12:01 AM

November 13, 2016

Eamon Galligan

Bridge Interprovincials 2016

This post only refers to the Open Interprovincials as I know very little about the intermediates.

I became aware on Friday that the interprovincials of bridge were taking place this weekend. My first thought was would Ulster be competing. On my first look at running scores whatever way I had my screen it showed Connacht Leinster and Munster but then it slowly dawned on me that totals did not add up and I scrolled downwards and found a struggling Ulster Team.

Connacht as a rule go strong in this event and this year is no exception and at a quick glance there are 10 full internationals on their squad of 12. Some years ago in Connacht the tail wagged the dog and the dog never showed up for some interpro qualifiers. I cannot find many historical results on the CBAI website so I cannot check how the tail end of Connacht performed.

Leinster generally go medium in this event fielding a Mens Team and Ladies Team and the best Kelbourne. Its generally enough to push Connacht for the title but some years the Mens Team is extra strong and Leinster win. Leinster this year have a Mens Teams backboned by monster Irish pair Mesbur and Fitzgibbon. The ladies team is a collection of experienced females. The Kelbourne Team
is the long time  Delaney O'Lubaigh partnership teamed with the two Polish Rudzinski Gorchyca.
These Poles are touted as being top players but I remain to be convinced that either of them is better than James Heneghan.

Munster run a qualifier as far as I know and it usually lands a capable Munster team who can push for the title on a good year. This year might be a good year. Currently they are playing round 8 of 9 and this round is the VP collection round against Ulster. A large total out of the available 60 should set Phelan and his Munster compatriots up for the overall victory.

I think Ulster should be replaced by a Bankers-Regent selection or maybe some international selection made up of Lady Milne Camrose and Juniors. Ulster seem to be struggling to field their
better known players for both Interpros and Sonya Britian at the moment. This years event is just an Ulster bashing event. At this moment in the 8th round Ulster have gathered in 131 VPs out of a possible 480. In the Sonya Brittan their two top end teams struggled also.

Running scores at http://fob.ie

When I looked last night Ulster intermediates  in contrast to their Open team were leading the
Intermediate event.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at November 13, 2016 12:59 PM

November 10, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Shop with A Smile - Support Bridge in Minnesota!

Amazon

 

Shop happy this holiday season - and - support bridge, too!

Visit smile.amazon.com  as you are shopping for gifts and items for yourself. 

When you purchase there, you will be supporting Minnesota Bridge Education! Amazon will donate to this fund when you put in this link:  smile.amazon.com/ch/37-1745323. 

Thank you for supporting bridge in Minnesota - and - happy shopping!

 

by Peg at November 10, 2016 12:14 AM

November 07, 2016

Paul Gipson

Premier League day 6

The final day of the Premier League started against Hart, the team just below us but who we lost to in the first round-robin. With Chris and Andrew at the other table, we'd be playing all three matches.

As in the first match against them, our opponents bid a slam against us that most of the field missed. The slam was on a finesse and duly rolled in. Then every pair involved in the match tried to make a slam missing a cashing ace and king, both East-West pairs on board 11 and both North-South pairs on board 15 - none were successful.

The making slam proved the difference as we lost by 20-25 imps.

Our penultimate match was against the high-flying Penfold team. Like most bridge players I'm happy enough to complain about our bad luck, but I must say that all our good luck came in this one match. One swing that was not too lucky was this slam:


On a non-heart lead the slam is a good proposition with ruffing the diamonds likely to be the best line if the ace of spades is offside. On a heart lead, it's a 50% chance that the leader has it especially as we've not given much information away.  At the other table, a slower auction allowed North to double a heart cue bid and they stayed safely out of slam.

Both pairs did well to reach five diamonds on this board, our auction was:


My pass of the double followed by five diamonds was intended to show some values without controls. Alex didn't really care, he'd done enough on the hand. I was worried when Brian Senior led the jack of spades, but fortunately it was from Jxx and he only had one trump. With the heart finesse working, the game rolled in as it did for Green-Holland in the other room.

The rest of the match went our way as we ran out winners by 68-22 imps.

The final match was against Pryor. Alan Mould, from the Gillis team, gave me a pep talk about how important it was for us to help him get promoted but I assured him that our matches against Pryor are always competitive.

Alex had a difficult decision early on:


Your call?

Alex's options were slightly curtailed by our system, since four clubs would show 5-5 in clubs and a major. At the other table Chris and Murph were more aggressive as North-South but, on this occasion, pushed the opponents into the right spot.

Then we judged a hand precisely:


Every time that the tray disappeared to the other side of the table it remained there for some considerable time, especially for the final time when only South could be thinking. This helped a little with the play and the lack of a heart switch from South, conceding a ruff and discard instead, meant that careful play including the heart finesse enabled me to make the contract - even though I was prepared to go down one.

Most of the field was in the spade game, normally making eight tricks.

We continued to have some luck, missing a difficult to make slam when we had a misfit. I achieved this by passing what I thought was a natural 4NT, whereas Alex intended it as a key-card ask. Basically we got the vast majority of our luck in the final couple of matches.

In the end we did Mould proud, winning 39-34 imps.

We finished mid-way in the final table, 5th out of 10, with 196.97 VP (average 180 VP). We scored 64 VP out of a possible 80 VP against the top two teams, but never beat the teams who finished 7th and 8th.

Overall a little frustrating for all the team, when you beat the best teams but failed to consistently score against the teams who finished below us. Perhaps this is where we were luckiest, or perhaps it is just bridge.

Congratulations to Gillis and Penfold who will ply their trade in the First Division next season. It will not be easy, as shown by the fact that last year's First Division winners, Mossop, were relegated on Sunday.

Many thanks to our team mates, Chris, Murph, Alan, and Nick, for making the weekends good fun and interesting.

All the results can be found on the EBU website.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at November 07, 2016 09:09 PM

Premier League day 5

The third weekend of the Premier League was in Solihull and we'd play the first two matches with Alan and Nick before sitting out the final match of the day.

We started against Fegarty, newly relegated from the First Division but now struggling in the Second - perhaps an indication of how competitive the entire league is. The first big swing was a lead decision:


Your choice?

Naturally I got this wrong and that was 12 imps out. Then Alan, and all the other Norths, faced a tough decision:


I think this is very tough. Two hearts is only competitive but everyone is going to bid game, but should you choose hearts or spades? I can't think of a sensible way to involve partner in the decision, as any cue bid would tend to overstate your values. What do you think?

Unless two hearts was non-forcing, I thought the two spades chosen at our table was an understatement of the values but a plus score was sufficient to get a swing when our team mates, as most, guessed wrong.

And then Alex had a lead problem:


Your choice?

Having got all these decisions wrong it is no surprise that we lost heavily without doing too much that was stupid. Just one of those matches.

The second match was against bottom-placed Dixon. A mix of luck and good play gave us a big win, but there were some challenging hands (press Next to go through the hand):


So how would you continue?

The focus was soon back on West:


Alex did well to get this right and it was worth a game swing when four hearts made at the other table.

Then Alan and Nick created a problem for East that, luckily, I did not have to face:



Your choice?

When their opponents got this wrong and we faced less adventurous opponents it was another swing to us.

There was an amusing incident, at least to bridge players, when we were scoring up. Team mates apologised for a very poor result, going three down when vulnerable in a partscore. We just said, "+3 imps", as we'd beat it by four.

In the end we won by a couple more imps than we'd lost the first match of the day.

In the final match Chris and Andrew replaced us and they beat table-topping Gillis by 33-20 imps. The second time that we beat the team that would eventually win the division.

Overall a positive day, but one that could still have gone quite a bit better with a little luck, or good decisions, or both.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at November 07, 2016 09:03 PM

November 06, 2016

Jannes van 't Oever

Sovereign

Hi all, 

It is somewhat confronting when you move an age range in some random online survey. Fresh decade? Affirmative.

Snippets of news for the readers that stuck with me after 6 months of silence. Good things come from & go to Mexico. Purchasing a new kitchen proved to be more of an ordeal than initially considered. Everything should be installed by the end of this month. Two new bridge books in my library: I Love This Game by Sabine Auken and Winning Suit Contract Leads by David Bird. Hopefully some technique, insights and statistics will rub off on me. 

Here’s a nice deal from a Pairs tournament. I was playing with René.

North
KT73
AQ82
AQ62
3
South
A8652
K974
AQ64

This is how we bid it:

West
North
East
South
 
1
pass
1
pass
3
pass
4
pass
4
DBL
6
a.p.
 
 
 

When East revealed values with his lead directing double, René considered that good enough news to leap to slam. Now how to play it?

René took stock for a minute or two and combined a boatload of chances in his plan. He took the lead in dummy and immediately ruffed a (West echoing high-low). Next he played two rounds of trumps ending in dummy. Alas, West remains with a trick in trumps. Next he ruffed another in his hand and cashed the King. West pitched a when René played a towards dummy. Dummy’s last  ruffed (West following) and a 3rd towards dummy. West had nothing to gain by ruffing in the air, so he pitched another . This is the position by now, West having a trick in trumps waiting:

North
T7
8
3
South
9
AQ6

René placed West with a trump. Stripped from everything but he had to play into René’s AQ-combination. Away went the loser.

West Dealer
NS Vul
North
KT73
AQ82
AQ62
3
West
QJ4
3
9753
KJT82
East
9
JT65
KJT84
975
South
A8652
K974
AQ64

You take at least 12 when trumps split, or when the suit comes in and if push comes to shove you have a hook as backup plan. René’s addition of the avoidance in the suit and foresight of placing opportunities (after stripping the suit) are marks of genuine expert play. Kudos!

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by Jannes van 't Oever at November 06, 2016 05:44 PM

November 04, 2016

Eamon Galligan

Some hands from Lady Milne Trials,Bridgez & Declan the Donplayer goes to Malahide Regional

Good morning all

I spotted this hand that was played in the Lady Milne trials ... Clearly some of the tables had the wrong board as it is hardly correct that some allowed a declaration of 2S while cold for 9-12 tricks themselves in a minor suit.

Now I have no idea how one is allowed to play 4S on this hand let alone 2S+1 and 2S+2.
I think one of the 2S defending pairs actually made the team. Further down the scoresheet
one spots the a pair winning 8 imps for missing a cold slam. Bizarre or as another man might say Mousey or my granny. However I can only presume that boards  1 and 2 were swopped in the dealing or something. Like even the North South players on their own would want to lash into 4S.

Then working backwards I spotted a 15 imper and wandered in for a look.
Someone landed in 6C and it comes home and the poor unfortunate opposition lose
15 imps because some other pairs in the room are a little gentle.
One pair gains 8 imps the other way because their esteemed opponents choose the 7-1 spade fit at the 5 level over the 5-5club fit.
Another pair defends 4H despite holding 12 black cards and an outside Ace in one hand
A couple defend 5H and fail to either double or collect the maximum tricks ... 1 of each
and finally one pair gathers in 9 imps for missing a slam but at least they gathered in +650 so we
won't grill them too much.

Clearly I have just talked myself out of any NPC positions at Lady Milne for several years but
I am sure the other 154 boards were things of beauty.
.......................................
Meanwhile I continue to notice and enjoy the much improved Bridgez website..
I have not decided to release my hard earned 15 euro which is a voluntary donation to the Council of this website to go towards the costs of keeping it up and running. Even if all the regulars tossed in 15 euro the person running this now fine place to play bridge might only get 2 dinners a day out of Lidl.
That's not saying the food in Lidl is bad ... I go there twice a week ... but he won't be getting rich.
So if you are a regular user and enjoy the site by all means give him enough for a dinner.
I see many of the people I introduced to this site many years ago are still using it for their daily bridge warmup. Even the dour Dublin Northsider Elvis ... The King is alive and living in Dublin North.
I see rashers and sausages are still playing most days ...they even partner up sometimes in live competition. So Allez Bridgez

http://bridgez.net:3002/ConnectingPlayer.html

The link above to the free Bridgez website

.....................
Last Friday Declan the Donplayer finally made his long awaited appearance in a live Bridge Club.
Now I have played lots of bridge in my time in many places but I have never seen a man enjoy a game of bridge so much. He was getting beaten up and down the room ...but every 3rd board he managed a strike against the head with his brand of Crazy Declan bridge ...
If a bad score arrived and there were many ...it was .. "Eamon you did not teach me the No Trumps thing yet" This lad produced a 2D cuebid holding a 7 card Heart Suit .. KJT9xxx ..."Eamon you told me if I bid their suit it means I have a good hand " ...
So that was Declan the Donplayer debuting in Malahide Regional Bridge Club
http://malahideregionalbridgeclub.com/

Open Games in this Club ... Monday morning 10 am Friday evening 730pm
and Sunday afternoon 3pm.

Otherwise you need to partner a member ..or get a special permission.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at November 04, 2016 10:35 AM

November 01, 2016

Paul Gipson

Premier League day three

The second weekend of the league was in Manchester, with Alex and I playing alongside Alan and Nick for the six matches over two days.

Our first match was against Hart, currently below us in the table. It turned out to be a very quiet match and lost by 24 imps, mainly due to an excellent 25-point slam they bid against us missed at all but two other tables.

The second match was against Penfold, who would finish the weekend in second place, but good performances at both tables saw us get us largest win to date, 53-18 imps. Alex and I started well when we were allowed to make two spades doubled (similarly Simon Cope on the same auction and play in another match) and later got a big penalty after an injudicious intervention by an opponent, but the real story was about bidding six clubs.

Firstly Nick and Alan were the only pair in the field to bid these cards to six clubs:


Then they matched our opponents who bid aggressively to slam with the following cards, probably helped the state of the match:


I think Nick and Alan had a similar auction except South only jumped to five clubs and North gave it one more. Root and Natt even bid and made the grand slam in another match!

In the end we only lost imps on two boards: Alex took a reasonable but unsuccessful line in three no-trump, and Alan and Nick got into a fair but non-making 24-point three no-trump.

The final match of the day was against Pryor, who was just above us in the table. It did not start well when Alex psyched a positive response to my weak opening and, when the smoke cleared, I'd gratuitously gone for a four-figure number: in a sense it helped our score that this was a hand where Alan and Nick bid a no-play slam, since their score was pretty irrelevant to the number of imps lost.

Then Alex and I failed to bid a good slam that we would have right-sided, whereas it was only a fair slam the other way around since a killing lead was available. We got some imps back with good defence and play, but were relieved that Alan and Nick had a good set keep the score down to 15-37 imps.

Our table finished two minutes late but Rob Cliffe graciously said that his partnership was responsible for this, taking the full 1VP penalty rather than it being shared. Thanks to him, and his captain Malcolm Pryor, for this.

So we finished the day, and the first round-robin, about 4 VPs down on average. Disappointing given we'd played well against the strongest team.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at November 01, 2016 07:05 PM

Judy Kay-Wolff

Betty Ann Kennedy (1930-2016)

Bobby and I were saddened to learn that his friend of countless decades had passed away yesterday… I only knew Betty Ann personally through Bobby… but casually at the card table as a terrific and ethical bridge player who always said the right thing at the right time… just as what would be expected of the “Perfect Southern Belle.” Unfortunately, I might add (as her opponent) her bidding, declarer play and defense followed suit. She will be sorely missed!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at November 01, 2016 12:23 AM

October 31, 2016

Paul Gipson

Premier League day four

Second day in Manchester and the start of the second and final round-robin. We started against the juniors and we had two slam bidding challenges:


This made comfortably when the king of clubs could be ruffed out. It was bid at three other tables. Then, where would you like to play the following cards?


I think the six clubs by East that we found is probably best, but those in six diamonds or six no-trump needed diamonds 3-3 or the queen dropping doubleton. As it happened everything made when the diamonds were 3-3 and the queen of clubs (to four) was onside.

We eventually won by 38-24 imps when we slipped up in the final three boards.

The second match was against Harris. Alex and I missed three games which proved costly, one a clear error but the others should really have been bid, but the most exciting hand was board 26:


The only good news for letting this make was that Alan made it doubled! We clawed back some imps by bidding the right games as Alan and Nick defeated the wrong ones, but once again we were pleased to find they had another good card as we only lost 33-38 imps.

The final match was against Bowdery, a team fighting for promotion. We dented those hopes by winning 48-23 imps. It didn't feel that great at the time when the opponents bid two minor-suit games and then we missed a making slam. But the rest of the set looked fine, Nick and Alan had a good card and it all finished well.

So after ten matches we are sixth with 124.46 VP. If we could cut out more of the self-inflicted losses then we could get some of the big wins needed to move us up the table but promotion looks a long way off with only six matches remaining.

The final matches are next weekend in Solihull.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at October 31, 2016 06:39 PM

Peg Kaplan

Unit 103 - October Board of Director Minutes

After a great autumn tournament at the Maplewood Community Center, Unit 103's board is hard at work!

Here are the minutes detailing the fruits of their labor.  Thanks to all the directors for their efforts!

Download October15,2016BoardMeeting

by Peg at October 31, 2016 01:55 PM

October 30, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Brenda Travis - 1938 - 2016

Brenda travis.2

 

Sharing news about the loss of a member of the Minnesota bridge community always remains difficult. Today, I am deeply saddened to report that Brenda Travis of Rochester died on Saturday, October 22nd. After a tragic auto accident, Brenda succumbed to injuries from the incident.

Sue Greenberg, the Rochester DBC manager, shared that Brenda had been active in their club, plus had been an avid tournament goer for years. Brenda chaired local tournaments in the Rochester area several times.

Brenda travis

 

Brenda loved to travel. This past spring, she enjoyed a steamboat bridge cruise down the Mississippi.

Brenda's obituary can be read here.

"Her laugh could be heard all over the room," Sue says.

What a loss that Brenda's laugh is now stilled.  Our condolences to all her family and friends.

 

 

by Peg at October 30, 2016 01:22 PM

October 28, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Rochester 0-500 NLM Sectional Report

1

 

Lots of aspiring Life Masters turned out for Rochester's Non Life Master tournament! The morning session had 12.5 tables vying for silver.

2

 

Ann Van Ryn, the Rochester DBC President, and GS Jade Barrett offer smiles for the camera.  Ann and her club did an outstanding job of organizing and running the NLM sectional for local intermediates and novices.

Well done, Rochester!

 

3

 Results can be found here!

by Peg at October 28, 2016 11:19 PM

October 27, 2016

Bob Mackinnon

The Golden Rule at Matchpoints

Most play bridge for the fun it provides, and the most fun comes from the quick thrill of a lucky play. That’s a dangerous approach in the long run, so don’t say I didn’t warn you, but, hey, missed opportunities are just as bad, even though you don’t feel them as acutely at the table. To pursue immediate pleasure or to avoid future pain? As with many dilemmas of a philosophical nature, it’s your choice, no matter what Epicurus (341-270 BC) may have claimed. There is a third way, play with equanimity, free from anxiety, and always go with the percentages.

Parents set down rules for their kids, ‘brush your teeth after meals’, ‘ go to bed at nine’, etc. Parents don’t say to a 4-year old, ‘do what you think best’. (Although the trend appears to be in that direction.) Kids respect the rules, and the world might be a better place if everyone was home in bed at nine o’clock, but as time goes by kids learn from experience to make exceptions. A distraught mother may admonish a daughter not to scream in public, but if the daughter grows up to be an opera singer, the rule goes by the board. When the prima donna plays Tosca about to jump off the Papal parapet, her mother may urge, ‘scream as loud as you can, dear, the audience will love it.’ Whether it’s the opera house or the super market makes all the difference.

So it is when beginners are taught bridge. They are not told directly to do what they think best, rather they are taught rules, rules which will stand them in good stead in most situations, but rules that should be broken as the circumstances dictate. Beginner’s rules are for beginners. Take the finesse, for example. Students are shown how a declarer can create an extra trick by taking a finesse and are given numerous examples how this works. They are taught, ‘take your finesses and don’t fist-pump when the desperate ones succeed.’ Students are not told how to avoid a finesse by employing a strip-and-endplay, because that is a topic for the master class, and it may be hard to spot the possibility in any case. It’s easier for the average player to keep on finessing, regardless. Only advanced players can follow the golden rule: choose the path mostly to lead to success.

In order to judge whether a given bid or play is likely to be successful, one needs a working knowledge of the probabilities of the success of various options. At matchpoints especially one should not make a play that is against the odds. In many cases it is better to play for a plus rather that hope that a finesse will work when you feel it won’t. How can one expect to win by playing against the odds? Before one can think in these terms, one has to learn how to estimate the odds at the time of decision, which may be when the dummy first appears, or near the end when more knowledge has been gathered.

The knowledge one seeks is to what extent the current deal departs from normality. One has to gauge the state of affairs and decide what is most probable. Sometimes one has a rule that covers the situation and sometimes one may decide instinctively guided by previous experience on other hands of a similar nature, but often one has the clues available to make a decision based on the current probabilities.

The Golden Rule when Bidding

Differences due to system are most strongly felt in the bidding of slams. In a mixed field many players are content to end up in 3NT rather than in a minor suit slam simply because the field will not be confident enough in their methods to attempt the higher scoring contract. This approach feeds upon itself, as even superior players will play down to the field. Slams are becoming rare, whereas previously the bidding of slams was considered to be the keystone to good bidding practices. Now failing to bid a cold slam may result in only a small loss as the vast majority will be stuck in the same boat. Using Precision on the following hand I am ashamed to relate that I fell into the trap of bidding down to the level of the field.

W
Bob
AQ5
10
AJ10
AQ10852
 
E
John
K10876
K8432
3
K4
West
East
1
1
2
3
3
3
4
4
Pass
 

The initial response to the Precision 1 showed a game-forcing hand with 5 or more spades. Using a series of asking bids I was able to discover that partner held at least 5 spades to the king, 3 high-card controls, and second round control of the clubs. By bidding 5 I could find out whether the club control was a singleton or the K. If John held a singleton club I would stop in 5 with work to be done with the field stuck in game with 17 HCP opposite 9 HCP. If he held the K I would bid 6 with good chances of making 5 spade tricks, 6 club tricks and the A. Playing to minimize my loss if I were wrong, I stopped abruptly in game when it would have been better (although not optimal) to go directly to 6 over 4 because the odds were greatly in favour of finding the K opposite. In a field of 11 pairs, fully 10 pairs stopped in game so ostensibly I was not punished for my bad bidding. Nonetheless it was a mistake to defy the Golden Rule by rejecting an action that was more likely to be right than wrong.

Maximize the Gain or Minimize the Loss?

There are two common approaches to decision-making: minimize the loss if you guess wrong, or maximize the gain if you guess right. Let’s consider the scores one would receive by bidding for the higher score regardless of what the field is doing. Assume 11 tables with eight pairs in game, two in slam. Here are the splits in matchpoints resulting from the decision on whether to bid slam or stay in game.

Bid slam and it makes 9 Bid game and slam makes 4

Bid slam and it doesn’t make 1 Bid game and slam doesn’t 6

With 10 matchpoints available there is greater variability when one goes against the majority and bids the slam. There is less variability when choosing to bid with the majority, even if they are wrong. Say P represents the probability that the slam makes, M represents the number bidding slam and N, the number resting in game. The average score for bidding slam is (M+N) x P/2 and the expected score for bidding game is (1-P) x (M + N)/2. The average score for bidding slam will be greater than not bidding it, if P>1/2, regardless of how the field has split. This is the origin of the Golden Rule.

A probability of ½ represents a state of maximum uncertainty. It follows that if one has some reason to suspect slam will make one should bid it. Trust your instincts, especially when they are right. Clearly, I was wrong not to bid 6. I might excuse myself by saying that near the end of a successful run I was happy to minimize my potential loss knowing I would have lots of company in game. In the long run this thinking is bad. One is playing to surpass the good players in the field. It is to be expected that you will outscore the bad ones. How would my partner have felt if we had come in second overall by a couple of matchpoints? Not good.

The Matchpoint Anti-Finesse

The Golden Rule applies equally when making a play decision. Very often this reduces to fishing for a queen. Many feel they must take all the tricks available in a common contract, so will finesse at every opportunity. Play may degrade into a frenzy of finessing, declarers being unwilling to forego the extra trick obtained when the finesse happens to succeed. They are playing to maximize the number of tricks taken, and if the finesse fails it won’t cost that much with most playing in the same manner. However, one shouldn’t take a finesse that is more likely to fail than not. The following hand recently played at the local club represents a situation where declarer does best by taking an anti-finesse.

W
 
KQ
K543
J8
AKJ103
 
E
 
A843
87
A10543
52

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

West overcalled the opening bid of 1 with a call of 1NT, not everyone’s choice. Partner evoked Stayman then left him in 2NT. The opening lead was the T and questions were raised at the table as to why East didn’t raise to 3NT. However, it appears his caution was justified as 8 tricks may be the limit as the cards lie. South took his A and continued a low heart to the K, LHO following with the 9. At this point South had 3 heart tricks to take if and when he gets in again.

One of the main advantages for declarer is that upon seeing the dummy he immediately knows the division of sides. When the division of sides is 7-7-6-6 it often pays declarer to go passive and give up the obvious losers early rather than trying to create an additional winner by force. Sometimes pressure is applied in this manner. The active approach is to overtake the Q in dummy in order to take the club finesse. If it wins, continuing clubs will create 9 tricks provided the RHO holds Qx(x). If the finesse loses, there is still an excellent chance for taking 8 tricks, via 2 spades, 1 heart, 1 diamond and 4 clubs.

The question to ask is whether or not the club finesse is likely to succeed. By overtaking with the A the number of spade tricks is reduced from 3 to 2, so declarer has to make an extra trick in clubs to make up for the loss. What are the chances the finesse will succeed? For his first seat opening bid South needs the K and at least one minor suit queen. With 15 HCP he might have opened 1NT. North has 11 vacant places to South’s 7, so the chances of South holding the Q is less than 50%. That indicates declarer should avoid the finesse. Let’s look at the most likely division of suits.

The two main candidates are North 4=2=4=3 opposite 3=5=2=3 and North 4=2=3=4 opposite 3=5=3=2. If clubs are split 3-3, it is 50-50 whether the finesse succeeds or not. If the clubs split 4-2, the finesse will probably fail. As the shapes are equally likely, declarer is unlikely to maximize his score by taking the club finesse.

What is the alternative plan? Declarer can cash the KQ and play the J hoping that North must take the Q. If so, declarer has 9 tricks easily. North must duck the J if he holds four to the queen in order to destroy the communication with dummy and hold declarer to 8 tricks. But some might win at the first opportunity and exit ‘safely’. That is an edge that can be exploited. On the other hand if South has the Q, declarer is held to 8 tricks immediately. It would be a cause for general merriment at the table if South held a singleton Q, nonetheless 8 tricks would still be taken with declarer’s communications still intact.

What was the situation at the table? Not surprisingly North‘s shape was one of the two most likely candidates, 4=2=3=4, and he held the Q as expected in that situation. This is exactly what declarer might have expected at trick 2 following the suggested line of reasoning. By not taking a losing finesse West might still have scored 9 tricks on the extra chance of bad defence. It is hard to guess how many matchpoints the overtrick would be worth, but we do have the results for this occasion.

The 14 tables in play produced 8 different contracts and 9 different scores. Only 3 pairs played in 2NT, 2 making 120, one making 150. Making 9 tricks in 2NT instead of 8 would have added 5 matchpoints to the score raising the percentage from 42% to 80%. That shows one needn’t bid a close game to be successful at matchpoints, even if you would have made it if you had bid it. Two pairs were in 3NT, but both declarers failed, as they should have done, for a shared bottom, the highest EW scores were got by defending against a vulnerable 2*. The Law tells us it doesn’t pay to stretch on 13 total trumps, one of the most neglected rules in bridge.

Sometimes when the dummy first appears declarer realizes he is in a minority and is pretty sure that this is a very good contract or a very bad one. Don’t be too happy or too displeased when you find yourself in that situation. It’s silly to hope to gain matchpoints by playing against the odds. What little you may lose on the play in such situations could make a difference in the final standings.

by Bob Mackinnon at October 27, 2016 10:00 AM

Eamon Galligan

I had a go on Bridgez today

Early this morning I played 8 hands on Bridgez and then after sleeping I woke up and played the final
8 hands.

Add caption
I tried a few hands using Google Chrome and now I can see how many tricks are won as the play goes on. Big improvement on the old Bridgez and the interface is much smoother.
Also today my play was a little smoother on the early boards but I still blew a few boards in the late
stages to drop down to 73% or so ..
.................................
Its worth the 30 minutes or so in the morning if one has the time ...
I notice Elvis from out the North Side of Dublin is still battling away on Bridgez ... must be his morning coffee effort .... but he is a 56% merchant ..
............

However for other people the Bridge-Now site might be more suitable
Same WBridge5 robots but you can play many more hands and also get a weekly rating


Thanks
Eamon Galligan


by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 27, 2016 08:51 AM

October 26, 2016

Eamon Galligan

Wbridge5 and Bridgez website

This morning while searching thru my email folders I found an email from Bridgez.net saying I had not played on the site for a long time. This is a site that allows one play 0-16 hands per day and I think at least hand 1 is a technical effort. I had used and advertised the site in the past. However it often crashed back then and sometimes one was frustrated with the non responding message.
People even used to ring me up and say ..Eamon the Wbridge5 is broken and I cannot play my 16 hands. Well that was then.

So the email said new website and new features and new lots of things ... So off I went ..
I was quite surprised to see many of the same usernames playing away and all looking good.
However the old slow site was now lightning fast and sometimes played quicker than my mouse clicked and I nearly lost tricks by accident ..

The only thing was I could not see how many tricks I had in the bag at any point ... Now maybe that's because of Microsoft Edge as I saw some mention on the start up screen about Edge but failed to read it.

I messed up a few deals and did not extract the maximum so only got about 61% average for the 16 boards today .. Still it was 1.5% more than my great bridge enemy Elvis who only got about 59% and he is an expert but I am only a tournament director.

http://bridgez.net:3002/

Hmmm now I see something about 15 euros a year which is only a small amount but I won't be paying it for the moment as I have not been on this site for about 2 years but maybe I might in the future. However the site has certainly improved enormously but has a long way to go to compete with the likes of BBO or even okbridge if same still exists.

http://www.wbridge5.com/

You can also get the free bridge program WBridge5 at the above website ..

Thanks
Eamon Galligan


by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 26, 2016 02:53 PM

Lady Milne Pairs Trials 2016





Betty Cotter, Jean Kelly.................................................1
Marian Croke, Catherine Lonergan..........................2
Carol-Anne Cummins, Sandra Newell.......................3
Jeannie Fitzgerald, Emer Joyce  .................................4
Dolores Gilliland, Brid Kemple...................................5
Cathy Bearpark, LizAnne O’Reilly.............................6

Joan Kenny, Teresa Rigney.........................................7
Brid Kirby, Maureen Pattinson  ...............................8
Jill Kulchycky, Petra O’Neill.......................................9
Antoinette McGee, Aoife McHale...........................10
Louise Mitchell, Lucy Phelan....................................11
Eileen O’Donovan, Maria Whelan...........................12
Liz Taaffe, Kathleen Vaughan...................................13


This year we have 13 pairs hitting the floor for the Lady Milne Pairs. I doubt if there is any vugraph
as the ladies would be wary about being spotted on vugraph. Still though we ran the Camrose Open Trials on vugraph so one never knows. However its Bank Holiday weekend and only a masochist would want to watch bridge all weekend or a selector or maybe an international committee.

Hopefully we will have the live show from Ferghal O'Boyle Enterprises ..

So who will win on the weekend

I think Pair 27 and Pair 29 and Pair 32 will make the team .. but only I know my code I hope.


by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 26, 2016 02:34 PM

Peg Kaplan

Eight is Enough!

Eights

 

The Minneapolis Grand Slam Club has aimed at having top competition in a local duplicate game. Since 1937, the MGSC has done just that.

In addition, however, to having great competition, the MGSC wishes to promote our great game! To that end, on Friday, October 28th, the Twin City Bridge Center and the MGSC will collaborate at 6045 Nicollet Avenue to have an Eight is Enough event.

Grand Slam Club members will team up with non- and recent Life Masters to form teams with balanced experience and skill levels. After the game, the hands will be discussed in a relaxed and enjoyable format with hand records available.  You can sign up as a pair - or a single. 

We hope that many can attend. And - as we plan on enjoying yummy food along with fun bridge, we invite you to bring a treat to share for the game and discussion.

A flyer is below. Look forward to seeing you Friday night!

Download Eight is Enough

 

 

by Peg at October 26, 2016 11:57 AM

October 25, 2016

Bob Mackinnon

The 50-50 Rule

The first principle of matchpoints is simply stated: choose the action most likely to succeed. This is the 50-50 Rule and it doesn’t change with time, but it is very difficult for a beginner to apply it. With experience one gains the ability to judge the probabilities of success for various actions. This ability distinguishes the experienced from the inexperienced and the good from the mediocre.

 

Not having been made aware of the 50-50 Rule many feel their best strategy is to go with the field. They continue to play the majority’s choice of bidding system, 2/1, and rely heavily the point-count method of evaluation that they were taught as beginners. To gain an advantage they adopt an amazing array of gadgets that incrementally improve their chances of coming ahead of the crowd. The proliferation cannot be stemmed which has the adverse effect of making a basically simple game more complicated than it should be while deflecting attention away from the fundamental guiding principles.

Differences due to system are most strongly felt in the bidding of slams. In a mixed field many players are content to end up in 3NT rather than in a minor suit slam simply because the field will not be confident enough in their methods to attempt the higher scoring contract. This approach feeds upon itself, as even superior players will play down to the field. Slams are becoming rare, whereas previously the bidding of slams was considered to be the keystone to good bidding practices. Now failing to bid a cold slam may result in only a small loss as the vast majority will be stuck in the same boat. Using Precision on the following hand I am ashamed to relate that I fell into the trap of bidding down to the level of the field.

W
Bob
AQ5Q1073
10
AJ10
AQ10852
 
E
John
K10876
K8432
3
K4
West
East
1
1
2
3
3
3
4
4
Pass
 

The initial response to the Precision 1 showed a game-forcing hand with 5 or more spades. Using a series of asking bids I was able to discover that partner held at least 5 spades to the king, 3 high-card controls, and second round control of the clubs. By bidding 5 I could find out whether the club control was a singleton or the K. If John held a singleton club I would stop in 5 with work to be done with the field stuck in game with 17 HCP opposite 9 HCP. If he held the K I would bid 6 with good chances of making 5 spade tricks, 6 club tricks and the A. Playing to minimize my loss if I were wrong, I stopped abruptly in game when it would have been better (although not optimal) to go directly to 6 over 4 because the odds were greatly in favour of finding the K opposite. In a field of 11 pairs, fully 10 pairs stopped in game so ostensibly I was not punished for my bad bidding. Nonetheless it was a mistake to defy the 50-50 Rule by rejecting an action that was more likely to be right than wrong.

Maximize the Gain or Minimize the Loss?

There are two common approaches to decision-making: minimize the loss if you guess wrong, or maximize the gain if you guess right. Let’s consider the scores one would receive by bidding for the higher score regardless of what the field is doing. Assume 11 tables with eight pairs in game, two in slam. Here are the splits in matchpoints resulting from the decision on whether to bid slam or stay in game.

Bid slam and it makes 9 Bid game and slam makes 4

Bid slam and it doesn’t make 1 Bid game and slam doesn’t 6

With 10 matchpoints available there is greater variability when one goes against the majority and bids the slam. There is less variability when choosing to bid with the majority, even if they are wrong. Say P represents the probability that the slam makes, M represents the number bidding slam and N, the number resting in game. The average score for bidding slam is (M+N) x P/2 and the expected score for bidding game is (1-P) x (M + N)/2. The average score for bidding slam will be greater than not bidding it, if P>1/2, regardless of how the field has split. This is the origin of the 50-50 Rule.

A probability of ½ represents a state of maximum uncertainty. It follows that if one has some reason to suspect slam will make one should bid it. Trust your instincts, especially when they are right. Clearly, I was wrong not to bid 6. I might excuse myself by saying that near the end of a successful run I was happy to minimize my potential loss knowing I would have lots of company in game. In the long run this thinking is bad. How would my partner have felt if we had come in second overall by a couple of matchpoints? Not good.

The Matchpoint Finesse

The 50-50 Principle applies equally when making a play decision. Very often this reduces to fishing for a queen. Many feel they must take all the tricks available in a common contract, so will finesse at every opportunity. Play may degrade into a frenzy of finessing, declarers being unwilling to forego the extra trick obtained when the finesse happens to succeed. They are playing to maximize the number of tricks taken, and if the finesse fails it won’t cost that much with most playing in the same manner. However, one shouldn’t take a finesse that is more likely to fail than not. The following hand recently played at the local club represents a situation where declarer does best by taking an anti-finesse.

W
 
KQ
K543
J8
AKJ103
 
E
 
A843
87
A10543
52

West overcalled the opening bid of 1 with a call of 1NT, not everyone’s choice. Partner evoked Stayman then left him in 2NT. The opening lead was the T and questions were raised at the table as to why East didn’t raise to 3NT. However, it appears his caution was justified as 8 tricks may be the limit as the cards lie. South took his A and continued a low heart to the K, LHO following with the 9. At this point South had 3 heart tricks to take if and when he gets in again.

One of the main advantages for declarer is that upon seeing the dummy he immediately knows the division of sides. When the division of sides is 7-7-6-6 it often pays declarer to go passive and give up the obvious losers early rather than trying to create an additional winner by force. Sometimes pressure is applied in this manner. The active approach is to overtake the Q in dummy in order to take the club finesse. If it wins, continuing clubs will create 9 tricks provided the RHO holds Qx(x). If the finesse loses, there is still an excellent chance for taking 8 tricks, via 2 spades, 1 heart, 1 diamond and 4 clubs.

The question to ask is whether or not the club finesse is likely to succeed. By overtaking with the A the number of spade tricks is reduced from 3 to 2, so declarer has to make an extra trick in clubs to make up for the loss. What are the chances the finesse will succeed? For his first seat opening bid South needs the K and at least one minor suit queen. With 15 HCP he might have opened 1NT. North has 11 vacant places to South’s 7, so the chances of North holding the Q is greater than 50%. That indicates declarer should avoid the finesse. Let’s look at the most likely division of suits.

The two main candidates are North 4=2=4=3 opposite 3=5=2=3 and North 4=2=3=4 opposite 3=5=3=2. If clubs are split 3-3, it is 50-50 whether the finesse succeeds or not. If the clubs split 4-2, the finesse will probably fail. As the shapes are equally likely, declarer is unlikely to maximize his score by taking the club finesse.

What is the alternative plan? Declarer can cash the KQ and play the J hoping that North must take the Q. If so, declarer has 9 tricks easily. North must duck the J if he holds four to the queen in order to destroy the communication with dummy and hold declarer to 8 tricks. But some might win at the first opportunity and exit ‘safely’. That is an edge that can be exploited. On the other hand if South has the Q, declarer is held to 8 tricks immediately. It would be a cause for general merriment at the table if South held a singleton Q, nonetheless 8 tricks would still be taken with declarer’s communications still intact.

What was the situation at the table? Not surprisingly North‘s shape was one of the two most likely candidates, 4=2=3=4, and he held the Q as expected in that situation. This is exactly what declarer might have expected at trick 2 following the suggested line of reasoning. By not taking a losing finesse West might still have scored 9 tricks on the extra chance of bad defence. It is hard to guess how many matchpoints the overtrick would be worth, but we do have the results for this occasion.

The 14 tables in play produced 8 different contracts and 9 different scores. Only 3 pairs played in 2NT, 2 making 120, one making 150. Making 9 tricks in 2NT instead of 8 would have added 5 matchpoints to the score raising the percentage from 42% to 80%. That shows one needn’t bid a close game to be successful at matchpoints, even if you would have made it if you had bid it. Two pairs were in 3NT, but both declarers failed, as they should have done, for a shared bottom, the highest EW scores were got by defending against a vulnerable 2*. The Law tells us it doesn’t pay to stretch on 13 total trumps, one of the most neglected rules in bridge.

Sometimes when the dummy first appears declarer realizes he is in a minority and is pretty sure that this is a very good contract or a very bad one. Don’t be too happy or too displeased when you find yourself in that situation. It’s silly to hope to gain matchpoints by playing against the odds. What little you may lose on the play in such situations could make a difference in the final standings.

Most play bridge for the fun it provides, and the most fun comes from the quick thrill of a lucky play. That’s a dangerous approach in the long run, so don’t say I didn’t warn you, but, hey, missed opportunities are just as bad, even though you don’t feel them as acutely at the time. To pursue immediate pleasure or to avoid future pain? As with so many philosophical questions, the answer is up to you. There is a third way, play with equanimity and always follow the 50-50 Rule applying the a posteriori probabilities at the time of decision.

by Bob Mackinnon at October 25, 2016 10:00 AM

October 24, 2016

Bob Mackinnon

A Brief Bridge Sermon

Here in Victoria, BC, every week men and women of many faiths and many races gather together in a church hall to play bridge in the spirit of fair and friendly competition under a policy of intolerance to rude and demeaning behaviour.

Faith, Hope, and Probability

Dear friends, as we gather here to embark upon a game of bridge, we should strive to keep foremost in our thoughts these three fundamentals:

Faith, that our bidding system can get us to the right contracts;

Hope, that our partner is going to have one of his better days;

Probability, that the cards will sit where we want them to sit.

And the greatest of these is Probability for it provides us with our best advantage during the play and our best excuse when we are called to account during the hereafters. Probability knows not Seasons. A player who hath Arithmetic but hath not Probability steers by the moon without benefit of the stars.

As for Charity – we look neither to give nor to receive undeservedly, although the law dictates we humbly and gratefully accept all gifts unwittingly given. Blessed is he who is niggardly by nature, for a man may hold great cards, but he who giveth away tricks will not profit thereby. He is like unto a caravan bereft of camels, cast into the wilderness without teammates, without partners, without masterpoints.

The Lesson – Evolution

My friends, evolution advances in mysterious ways not always to the end one would wish. Recall the 19th century missionaries who sailed to Hawaii and inadvertently promoted the expansion of the American textile industry by persuading the natives to wear clothes although the weather did not require them and the natives hadn’t the wherewithal to pay for them. The unforeseen consequences of their invasion are apparent to this day: the colourful Aloha shirt celebrating an overabundance of nature and the graceful Hula dance where the hands tell a story and the hips deliver the message.

In the beginning of bridge each partner naively bid what he or she had going up the ladder until they reached the right contract at the right level. There they rested. This was not always easily accomplished, but at least declarer could blame only himself if he couldn’t manage taking the required number of tricks he himself had committed to. Naturally bidding was on the cautious side. Overtricks were taken as a sign of good declarer play or of poor bidding. Let’s look at a hand and how it has been bid through the ages. First, in the early days just after WWII, when Tim, after surviving time sweating in the jungles with nothing to show for it but a Filipina bride and her baby, returns to the bridge table with his old chum, Sid, who is introducing him to duplicate.

W
Tim
AQ642
9
A754
KQ9
 
E
Sid
106
AKQJ84
KJ32
3
Tim
Sid
1
2
3
4
4NT
5
5NT
Pass

Their bidding was entirely natural. A club was led to the A and a spade returned to North’s K. Exactly 11 tricks were taken. No problem.

Tim: Pinpoint bidding, pal. We beat everyone of those suckers who stopped in 4NT.

Sid: well… actually, Tim, anyone who makes 11 tricks in 3NT, 4NT, or 5NT, scores the same. So under the new scoring it’s a tie for top.

Tim: You’re kidding! You’re telling me there is no advantage anymore for reaching the right contract? Man, that really cheapens the game.

Sid: I know, I know, but you got to appeal to the masses. Maybe in a few years when everybody gets to be a Life Master they’ll toughen up the scoring rules.

Tim stayed in the army and got to participate in the Korean War, spending 2 years as a PoW. Try as they might the Commies couldn’t brainwash Tim into believing that everyone should work hard for the common good. One of his Red Cross care packages was lined with a stained New York Times containing a bridge column devoted to the Blackwood Convention. Anxious to demonstrate his newfound toy, as soon as he returned home, Tim invited Sid, who now owned his own appliance repair shop, to another game of duplicate, during which a very similar hand arose. Upon discovering Sid had an ace and two kings, Tim bid slam – because he found he couldn’t stop in 5NT.

Tim
Sid
1
2
3
4
4NT
5
5NT
6
6NT
Pass

A club was led to the ace and a low spade returned. Tim won the A, ran the hearts pitching 4 spades and a diamond, returned to hand with the A and eventually took the winning diamond finesse for 12 tricks and a top.

Tim: Phew! If they’d led a heart I might have taken the wrong finesse. This Blackwood is a good idea, getting us to 6NT ahead of all the comrades in 6.

Sid: Errr.. well no one will be in 6. Blackwood is supposed to keep you out of bad slams, not get you into them. How many points did you have? I had 14.

Tim: Points? What’s points?

The years sped by and before they realized what was happening, Tim and Sid were greybeard Life Masters playing a 2/1 system that was designed to keep the bidding safely below 4NT. That required making bids that were forcing but not leading in any particular direction. The minor suits had become largely vestigial.

Tim
Sid
1
2
2
3
3NT
Pass

Tim: Tied for top, old chum – many will be in 4. Nice pass.

Sid: You know what they say, better to pass than to bid the same suit three times in a row.

The first lesson of evolution is this: as time goes by, entropy increases. This means that fewer bids must cover more ground, thus losing definition. The trend follows the second law of thermodynamics, which also predicts a further increase in the number of chaotic preempts and meaningless overcalls. So, although we must accept the laws of nature as scientific facts, that doesn’t mean we approve of them.

Thus endeth the lesson.

by Bob Mackinnon at October 24, 2016 06:36 PM

Paul Gipson

Premier League day two

Our first match on the Sunday was against Fegarty, one of the newly relegated teams after some years in the top division. It was a very quiet match with only one big swing when Alex and I got pushed a level higher than most, so we lost by 12-27 imps.

The second match was against Dixon and five of our boards ended with doubled contracts, but we were on the right side of all of them. One of them was another weak no-trump where we were able to extract a decent penalty. But we lost a big swing when I held this hand:


This did not go well when North led his singleton heart and eventually got a ruff. Our transfer responses had backfired, since it was very unlikely that South was leading hearts. A random swing. Chris and Andrew sacrificed in six clubs for -300, a good result as East was playing five spades at their table.

But we still won the match 29-23 imps.

The final match of the weekend was against Gillis, confident from his Gold Cup win earlier in the month. Although he has a different line up for this event, his team still consists only of Gold Cup winners and they are a strong favourite for promotion.

We played our friends, Simon and Peter, who'd suffered a similar fate to us on the hand above. It was a fairly quiet set. I made a light vulnerable overcall which caused Alex to try for a thin game, the only good thing was that we sounded confident and escaped a double to lose 7 imps when we had just too much to beat their game. I probably misplayed a three no-trump contract but found a way to recover, but all the swings occurred at the other table. Chris and Andrew were doubled in game and made two overtricks, and Chris made four hearts on a favourable lead (but still needed some playing) that no-one else did. At our table, I was on lead against against three no-trump:


This might not have been the precise auction, but you know that NS have a 5-3 heart fit but have decided to play in three no-trump. North would open one club whatever his distribution in the minors, even with longer diamonds than clubs. South has shown no interest in spades, North may or may not hold four spades.

What do you lead?

We ran out winners by 27-10 imps to finish the first weekend average. I felt we all played reasonably well without a great deal of luck except in that final match.

We'll try it all again next weekend in Manchester.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at October 24, 2016 05:32 PM

Premier League day one

The first weekend of the English Premier League was held at Richmond Bridge Club for those of us in the second division. There are ten teams in the division, so six 16-board matches on each of the three weekends will mean a double round-robin.

Although it's hard to think of another format for this number, we all thought that the 60-board matches from an earlier season were our favourite.

Alex and I are playing with Chris, Andrew, Nick, and Alan. Chris and Andrew played this weekend with Nick and Alan playing the next, with Alex and I playing throughout. The third weekend will probably be shared amongst the six of us, but we'll decide that at Manchester in a few days time.

We started against the England Juniors, a team we normally sit out against and Andrew rarely beats. Alex and I played against Michael Alishaw and Stephen Kennedy: although juniors they'd won the Four Stars teams at the Autumn Congress the previous weekend and have an impressive record since partnering up.

We had slightly the better of things at our table, making some good games and catching them for a penalty when they opened a weak no-trump. One swing was caused by the choice of opening for this hand:


I opened two no-trump (20-22 balanced), a little nervous that it might be too good but K&R says 21.6 points. Alex bid three no-trump and we played there. At the other table one diamond was chosen, allowing South to interject with a weak jump overcall in spades. When East rebid three no-trump, Chris decided that leading his ace of hearts was a better idea than his spades, hitting Andrew with KQJ to six hearts and a swift two down. Against us the normal spade lead gave us 10 tricks.

We would have won the match handsomely if Alex and I had not missed this slam:


With spades breaking and the king of hearts onside, declarer did not have to worry about how to play the clubs. Even so, we won the match by 35-19 imps.

Our second match, against Harris, didn't go well. Our opponents found a good vulnerable sacrifice at the five-level, loss of 11: we failed to give declarer a losing option in game, another 10 imps; we bid aggressively to a normal looking game to lose another 8; finally you needed to find a lead:


Your choice?

We lost the match by 32 imps. It felt a little unfair, but losses often do :)

Our final match of the day was against Bowdery, who would finish the weekend at the top of the table. An unusual occurrence in this match was that North passed throughout the entire 16 board set at our table. Aside from us doing all the bidding the set was fairly quiet with the biggest swing when we bid an excellent slam holding:


Although my final call looks a little wild, we cue bid aces before kings and, because we open light, our limit raises can be quite good compared to some. The key to gaining the swing though is how to play trumps after South leads the five of heart as the spades are 5-0! Do you lead the king or towards the ten?

We won the match by 20-18 imps.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at October 24, 2016 04:51 PM

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 - September BOD Minutes

Keeping up with Unit 178 BOD activities - and - a bit "thanks" to those who serve and volunteer, too!

See below.

Download Unit 178.MeetingMinutesSept24

by Peg at October 24, 2016 03:14 PM

October 22, 2016

Eamon Galligan

Moran team prevails in Camrose Trials eventually

Last weekend in Limerick 4 teams competed in the Camrose Final trials.
Myself and Nathan Doyle attended in order to operate the vugraph so the event could be witnessed by many people live around Ireland and anywhere else in the world who wished. We hoped to spread the BBO around all the teams but on our first effort of non-Moran BBO we found Johnny Phelan playing poker against Ciaran Coyne and Donal MacAonghusa so we reverted back to Moran versus the field.
In hindsight this allowed us witness what looks like at first glance a dominant performance by Hanlon McGann. However on closer inspection of just one board so far one finds Hanlon McGann gathering in 39 cross imps when luckier play and bidding at 3 other tables would see them concede 50 cross imps. One guy in front of me just did not draw 2 rounds of trumps before pitching his loser and was no longer able to make when diamonds broke 6-2 and an opponent could ruff. Another pair bid 6NT for some reason with a 9 card spade holding and the final declarer also went down in the makeable 6S contract.
I know of at least one other board where Hanlon McGann rolled home a 7S contract that the declarer at the other table declared in 7NT for a long time before realising the contract was spades. Eventually he went down and that was 28 more cross imps in the bag instead of a more modest 10 imps for 7S making. One pair declared 6NT making. Following this 7S disaster Hanlon McGanns opps chose to declare a 9 card heart fit in 3NT for some reason and there was only 8 tricks available. Another 29 cross imps for sitting there smiling. And that's only 3 boards I have examined.
Still 10 sets of 12 boards producing plus imps on every set is a dominant position.
I show below the results
With 30 boards to go the Moran team was on the ropes as O'Gorman had eased into a 20 imp lead in the direct match and moved to the top of the table and would just require a small win against MacCormac in the final match. However Moran rallied and 3 game swings materialized and Moran took the match by 9 imps and more importantly a lead of about 6 VPs into the final match. This all meant that 14 VPS would guarantee Team Moran success. However they beat Phelan by 16-4 and the deflated O'Gorman team could only managed a losing draw against MacCormac. So the favourites took the win but not without a good shaking from O'Gorman.



by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 22, 2016 01:43 PM

Mixed Weekend 2016

This weekend sees the two National Mixed events take place in Templogue County Dublin Ireland.
One notes the presence of one Grainne Barton in the field partnered by that capable bridge player Thomas Hanlon. The pair also team up with Fiona Brown and Hugh McGann in the Mixed Teams. However it is hard to win a pairs event of 104 pairs when you only play about 26 of the pairs in direct opposition. Hopefully some good seeding is done before the event.
I also note the looming presence of Barbara Seligman and Nick Fitzgibbon.
Barbara showed up earlier this year at the Jim Cahill Irish invitational pairs for the 3 sessions
and did the vugraph commentary with Grainne Barton. Don't be surprised if Barbara and Nick are on the podium. The Kenny Glynn partnership have also played many boards on BBO in the past so will be well practiced. Any pairs competing mentioned on any of the below teams would also expect to be competitive.

I see Sean and Brid Galligan are listed to play in the Mixed Pairs. Sean attempted to teach me bridge
when I was 15 but I failed to grasp it. So I had to wait until college in Limerick when Miles Podmore finished the job.

In the Teams the above mentioned quartet should prevail but there are some capable teams in the field which catch the eye. Casting an eye over the field in the order on the CBAI website.
I will list the teams which catch my eye

7. Newell
8. O'Hara
9. Hand
18, O'Connor
23. Taaffe
25.Trench
30.Pattinson
31.Dillon
33. Lillis
38. Barton
47.Lennon
48. Rigney
53. Phelan

Teams 10 and 24 could also feature as they have plenty of experience

The teams listed above are generally made up of very regular partnerships or established international players. Its unlikely that an unlisted team could get past all of the above teams to win in a Swiss event. However we will see.

However one little known record will hardly be broken. Back in 2001 Eamon played on a Mixed Team in the Coen Trophy in Mullingar. At the time this was confined  to above intermediate level.
19 teams entered and after session 1 of 30 boards Team Galligan was placed 19th. In the 2nd session we got some wins and progressed to 13th place overnight.
On Sunday morning we started with a 25 and a 23 (25 max score at this time) .. Two more 25s followed and we were up around 3rd place. We finished with another pair of 25s for a session total
of 148 VPs out of 150 VPs. That was Dario Filjar Iva Lancar and Diane Greenwood. We arrived in 1st place at the end.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 22, 2016 01:25 PM

October 21, 2016

Claire Martel

Bob Crosby

Je suis une fan de Bob Crosby, photographié ici après la victoire de son équipe féminine du Canada en 2002.  Sur son site , il a mis à disposition  plus de 2000 articles, sous forme de notes brèves, à l'intention de son équipe.Quand je cherche à dégager l'impression générale  ressentie après notre dernier week end de compétition en IMP, je pense à sa phrase sur l'importance d'être discipliné en Match par Quatre.
Si je fais le bilan des 70 donnes jouées, nous n'avons rencontré aucune convention. Ni  Roudi, ni Drury, ni DONT, ni Truscott. Rien, absolument rien, Stayman et Blackwood mis à part. Ce qui a été omniprésent,  ce sont les conventions d'entames, les compétitives, les évaluations de main et la discipline, notion intimement liée avec le respect du Partenaire. Quelques donnes parmi d'autres . Tous vulnérables, en première position, vous relevez la main suivante :
ªx  ©Ax  ¨ARDxxxxx  §Vx
9 levées de jeu. On peut penser ouvrir de 2§et redemander à 3SA* ce qui montre une mineure affranchie avec des arrêts extérieurs. Mais le carreau est 8ème.... Après quelques hésitations, j'opte pour 2¨* et le plateau revient avec 3SA* (= 2As) ! 11 levées de tête.... les enchères se poursuivent , 4¨ et 5¨ chez le Partenaire.5¨ semble traduire le message qu'il n'y a pas de levées annexes. Il me suffit pourtant de la D§  dans un résidu Trèfle 3ème pour trouver la 12ème ou de la Dª ( où le chelem se joue au pire sur une impasse). Je lutte pour ne pas placer une de ces cartes chez le Partenaire et la mort dans l'âme , je passe. Le Mort était bien conforme à l'enchère. Il n'y avait pas plus de 11 levées, le Roi de Pique étant mal placé.Ouf ! Dans l'autre salle, une séquence qui ne passera pas à la postérité :1¨ 3¨ 3SA.
La main du PartenaireADx ©xxxxx ¨Vxx §Ax

Personne Vulnérable, le Partenaire ouvre d'1©, vous répondez 1ª, il dit 2§... .Votre main:
ªAVxxx ©xx  ¨xxx  §RDx
Les Honneurs Trèfle revalorisent la main mais que dire ? 2¨,* risque de nous propulser à 3SA un peu trop poussé, 2SA sans arrêt Carreau n'est pas engageant et 3§ ment sur les longueurs espérés. Je me résigne à dire 2© . Bien m'en a pris. les Coeurs étaient 5/0 et tout contrat plus élévé chutait.

Tous vulnérables, vous passez à l'ouverture avec  ªAxxxxx ©Rxx ¨Dx § xx, la qualité médiocre des piques, et les petits Honneurs extérieurs vous dissuadant d'ouvrir d'un 2 ª faible. 
Passe Passe Passe  1©
1ª     1 SA  Passe  Passe
?
Il ne faut pas craquer. Oubliez le TPP. Ne pas ouvrir était une décision cohérente avec l' évaluation de la main. A présent, ne pas répéter les Piques dans cette situation , surtout après le SA adverse est une décision disciplinée obligée. Pour la petite histoire, le déclarant avait RDVX à Pique ....

Tous vulnérables, vous ouvrez cette main (Zar !?) d'1¨
ªVxx © -  ¨ RDxxxx  §RVxxx

1¨ 2© 2ª 4©
4ª 5©  x   -
?
RD et RV sont des levées de défense et le Partenaire a des atouts bien plaçés. Cohérence avec la décision d'ouvrir, il faut passer et ne pas courir au palier de 5, sous prétexe que l'on a ouvert un peu faible. 5C*-3 et 5P chuté d'une dans l'autre salle.
Zar nous a encore valu cette fois ci quelques manches amusantes: 3SA juste fait sur entame coeur avec
ªx   ©A10XX    ¨AV10xxx  §xx   face à    ªVxxx ©Dx ¨RDxxx §Rx. Le Roi de Coeur et le Roi de Trèfle étaient bien plaçés.

Dans une brocante, j'ai trouvé un lot ancien de Revues française de Bridge ce qui m'a permis de scanner une interview de Pierre Jais et de tomber sur cet encart concernant notre future Championne du Monde,dans les nouvelles des Comités.

I am a great fan of Bob Crosby, NPC of Canadian Women Champions 2002 (see the picture above). On his  site , he has posted more than 2000 articles on various bidding subjects .His recommandation on being   disciplined   as far as IMP is concerned  comes to my mind when I think of our latest competition, this past week end. .We played  more than 70 hands and did not come across any of the usual conventions. No ROUDI, NO DRURY, No Truscott, no DONT. Exception made for Stayman and Blackwood. What prevailed was lead conventions , competitive auctions, hand evaluation and disciplined decisions.  Being disciplined  is just a way of  respecting  one's Partner.. .

Game all, in first position, vous pick up this hand
ªx  ©Ax  ¨ARDxxxxx  §Vx
9 tricks. One could think of opening a strong 2§et bid a conventional 3SA* but it does not show 8 tricks in diamond ...... Finally, I decided to open 2¨* (Forcing to Game). Partner bid a conventional  3SA* (= 2As) ! 11 tricks .... Bidding goes 4¨ then 5¨ from Partner. 5¨ seems to express the fact that there are no other trick  available, at any rate, no Kings. All the same, a D§  with at least 3 clubs would bring me this extra trick needed for the slam or perhaps the Dª; then the slam fate would depends on a finess.I  had to struggle very  hard not to place those miraculous  queens in partner'hand and reluctantly,I passed .The dummy was exactly what  the bidding had said :.and the King of Spade was on the wrong side. What a relief! In the other room, the bidding was 1¨ 3¨ 3SA.(!)
Partner's hand :ªADx ©xxxxx ¨Vxx §Ax

All green, Partner opens d'1©, I bid 1ª, he rebid 2§... .
My  hand:  ªAVxxx ©xx  ¨xxx  §RDx
Clubs honours are of some values but what can I bid ? 2¨,* forth suit forcing can lead quickly to 3SA (not quite the values for this) , 2SA is risky  without diamond stopper and 3§ lies about the promised length . I finally bid  2© . It  was correct on this hand, hearts divided  5/0 and there was no other winning contract.

Game All, you judge that your hand with these mediocre spades and honours outside your spade length does not qualify for a weak two opening. ªAxxxxx ©Rxx ¨Dx § xx, 
Passe Passe Passe  1©
1ª     1 NT  Passe  Passe
?
Now you must not change your mind .Forget about matchpoints! You judged not to open this hand .Now,  pass is a disciplined and must decision, For the record, LHO had  RDVX in spade ....

Game all, you open this hand (Zar !?) d'1¨
ªVxx © -  ¨ RDxxxx  §RVxxx

1¨ 2© 2ª 4©
4ª 5©  x   -
?
RD et RV are certain defence tricks et Partner's trumps are well placed.. Sticking to  your decision to open this hand, you must pass  and refrain from running to 5 ª just because your opening value are seemingly  below average  . 5©*-3 et 5ª -1 in the other room.
Zar evaluation led to 3NT just made on a lead of a small heart with these hands
ªx   ©A10XX  ¨AV10xxx  §xx   
facing 
ªVxxx ©Dx ¨RDxxx §Rx. Both kings were well placed .

Recently, I bought a bunch of old copies of Revue française de bridge . I was able to scan an interview of  Pierre Jais  and read about the young promising Catherine Saul,  future Championne du Monde.

by Claire Martel (noreply@blogger.com) at October 21, 2016 08:37 AM

October 19, 2016

Paul Gipson

Two slams missed

Back to the club for the second round of the Scott Cup, the teams' championship. Everyone was pleased to hear that Brian was back home after some time in hospital, although we all wondered how he was faring given that he was (a) missing bridge and (b) presumably told not to smoke.

LotG and I had a reasonable game but missed two slams, at least according to Pianola. This was the first:


I've run this through the double-dummy simulator and slam makes 23% of the time. This is probably an over-estimate on real life since the double-dummy player will always play the right suit, which a normal player is not guaranteed to do.

In real life we gained 14 imps for making ten tricks, whereas our opponent went down in the same contract presumably guessing poorly.

On the second hand we actually lost a slam swing.


In six clubs, you will lose a trump 75% of the time and then have to find the diamonds and spades lying favourably. This doesn't look a great slam to me, although Deep Finesse will make it double-dummy about 70% of the time not least because it always get the clubs right when possible.

However our opponents were in the less favourable six diamonds. Even Deep Finesse only makes this 35% of the time, but last night was one of those times with diamonds 3-3 with the queen onside. You could pick up the clubs with K10x in the slot, but I expect that their declarer lost a club and then found the spade queen to win 10 imps. If you bid them up, you need to play them well!

As it happened, this slam was one of the two boards we lost on. On the other we beat 1NT when Ros and Janet tried 3NT, so that was 2 imps away. There were three flat boards and on the other nineteen we scored +116 imps. It is fair to say that we all played pretty well and we now lead the competition, but with a lot more bridge to be played.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at October 19, 2016 09:16 AM

October 18, 2016

Peg Kaplan

New Life Master - Jim Snyder!

Jim
Jim Snyder - Bronze Life Master
 

Jim Snyder became a Life Master today. People become Life Masters at various times, often at a tournament.

But becoming Life Master in your home club is fun!

Jim is a busy man. He has an active family life, served as a long-term Credit Union Board President, even served on our club board. He’s a strong intermediate player. But Jim just couldn’t get himself to the Gopher regularly to get that much-coveted gold.

Several years ago along comes the Jane Johnson Club Appreciation month, where players get 5% gold in team games.  Jim got some more gold and was pretty close.

Last year Jim and his wife vacationed in Hawaii during almost all of October. When he returned we said, “You missed all but one of the team games!” He said, “I will play in that last game. I still need .13 gold.”

 

Jim team
Jim achieving Life Master with Team - Karen Peterson, Jim Snyder, Janet Williams & Mary Meinecke.

 

As the day progressed, we watch his team do pretty well. During the last round it looked like second place would do the job. Amazingly, his team prevailed, got 1st in B and 2nd in A, totaling 2.24 black and - are you ready for this - .12 gold!!!

Today, with almost the same teammates as last year, they won the first round of Club Appreciation Swiss.

Thus, Jim Snyder became a Bronze Life Master. Congratulations, Jim!

 

by Peg at October 18, 2016 07:41 PM

Autumn Harvest Sectional - Results

17

From near and far, players enjoyed the beautiful colors of autumn to play at the Maplewood Community Center at our Autumn Harvest Sectional last weekend. Above, we see the smiling faces of Keith Thompson, tournament chair, and other competitors during the Sunday Swiss.

Leading the pack for masterpoints earned was Paolo Ranaldi. Paolo earned an even 27 masterpoints. Tied for second were Kathy and Terry Beckman; just under 24 each.  Others who captured 20 or more were Paul Meerschaert and Carole Miner.  The total masterpoint list is here; results from the weekend are here.

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Additional thanks to head director Brian Weikle.


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Brian was ably assisted by director Kim Hayward, and a new caddy.  Our caddy is not yet a bridge player; we need to get him signed up!

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Lots of smiles and fun throughout the weekend.  Thanks to all who attended - more faces below!

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by Peg at October 18, 2016 12:08 PM

Calling All Non-LM's - Sectional in Rochester

When a player is in the early stages of their bridge career, playing against the Big Guys can at times be daunting.  So - our non-Life Master players are fortunate to have a great sectional tournament opportunity coming up!

Rochester2

We have a non-LM sectional in Rochester, MN on October 22nd.  Silver points, expert speaker and great hospitality!  The flyer is posted below!

http://web2.acbl.org/Tournaments/Ads/2016/10/1610217.pdf

 

by Peg at October 18, 2016 11:50 AM

October 13, 2016

Eamon Galligan

CBAI Camrose Trials Final 2016

This weekend October 14th to 16th we head down to Limerick to broadcast the Camrose Trials Final on BBO. I was down in Limerick last weekend helping out with the Intermediate Pairs.

Now I am going back to Limerick to do vugraph operating .. Its all go ..

4 Teams will take part

  1. Mark Moran, Rory Boland, Tom Hanlon, Hugh McGann, John Carroll, Tommy Garvey
  2. Derek O’Gorman, Terry Walsh, Michael MacDonagh, James Heneghan, Ciaran Coyne, Donal MacAonghusa
  3. Thomas MacCormac, Ronan McMaugh, Marcin Rudzinski, Wojiech Gorcycza, Peter Goodman, B.J. O’Brien
  4. Peter Clifford, Anna Onishuk, Louise Mitchell, Lucy Phelan, John Phelan, Diarmuid Reddan
The numbers used above are from the Fearghal O'Boyle website and were drawn somehow by him or Mairead or the Lotto.

An hour ago Donal Garvey reminded me that this time last year Donal was knocking his son out of the 2015 Camrose Trials. Donal was part of the team which won the Congress Teams in Limerick last weekend with Pat John and Tom.

And there was me thinking BJ got knocked out of the trials last weekend but somehow he has emerged on a different team.

Team 3 led Team 1 by about 63 imps at one stage of last years IBU trials before going under to an 80 imp rush of imps from Team 1 in the last 13 boards ..

Team 2 are the current Camrose Trials holders

Team 4 include two local favourites Diarmuid Reddan and Louise Mitchel although they are not partnering each other.

Team 1 have the experience and knowledge but every player has to play 50% of the hands if they are to be selected for the Camrose Trophy ..
I am supporting Team 1 ... but Teams 2 3 4 will be looking for a scalp ...
I am surprised it is double round robin as a format but makes no difference to me

1600 hours I think the vugraph starts from Limerick tomorrow Friday Oct 14th ... one more sleep to go..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 13, 2016 09:08 PM

Zia Mahmood wins Gold Cup for Hanlon.

Zia Mahmood well known bridge superstar partnered Thomas Hanlon last weekend to win the Gold Cup which is Britain's premier annual bridge event. Also on the GILLIS team were Simon Gillis and 3 Norwegians Broyland Linquist and Erichsen. I don't think I would pass the Norwegian surname spelling test. I think Hanlon was happy to succeed at this event as its another notch on his bucket.

I asked him during the week if it was a good event and he replied "What do you think " ??

I have a book by Hugh Kelsey called "The Needle Match " and the hands are from a load of Gold Cup matches ... I am still trying to make some of them 30 years on ..

From the English Bridge Union website

The Gold Cup has been won by the team of Simon Gillis, Zia Mahmood (both London), Espen Erichsen (Kent), Boye Brogeland, Espen Lindqvist & Tom Hanlon.
The semi-finals and finals of the competition, which is organised by Bridge Great Britain, took place at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club on 8th & 9th October. In the semi-finals the Gillis team beat the De Botton team, and the Brock team defeated the Allfrey team.
The Gillis team went on to win the final against the Brock team - Sally Brock, Barry Myers (both Berks & Bucks) Neil Rosen & Martin Jones (both Middlesex) (plus Robert Sheehan (London) who did not play in the final stages) (see picture here) - by 95 IMPs.
This was a second victory in the competition for Simon and Zia - they won together in 2010 - and a first success for the rest of the team.
The results are available via the BGB website.

The event was shown on vugraph so the hands can be found on BBO archives and downloaded for perusal.


by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 13, 2016 08:26 PM

October 10, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

Through the Courtesy of HBJ…

I want to share with you an impressive view expounding on this much-talked about subject that I stumbled upon on HBJ’s site!!
Howard Bigot-Johnson’s Bizarre World of Bridge

Monday, 3 October 2016

JUST LISTEN TO WHAT BERNARD YOMTOV SAYS ABOUT BRIDGE AND WHY SOME CONTROL IS NEEDED TO REIN IN AND OUTLAW COMPLEX AND CONVOLUTED BIDDING SYSTEMS

Since bridge is a partnership game and chess is not, greater efforts are needed to stop opponents gaining an unfair advantage by having complex and convoluted bidding systems.

“If your opponent in a chess game does something very unusual you can, at least in principle, figure out how to counter it right there at the board. Advance preparation would be nice, but is not required.

In bridge, players faced with complex and unfamiliar systems cannot do that. Any counter requires agreement between the partners, and that can’t be done at the table, by the very rules. Even pre-alerts and the like don’t solve this, because of time constraints, incomplete understandings, etc.

Further, at bridge you will not know all the twists and turns the opponents’ auction might take. In chess it is all right there in front of you, if you can just figure it out.

What I’m saying is that in chess there is no inherent obstacle to countering an unusual move. In bridge there are such obstacles.”

No obstacles, no constraints ……it’s a recipe for anarchy.

by Judy Kay-Wolff at October 10, 2016 10:47 PM

October 09, 2016

Paul Gipson

Road trips

I've probably complained before that any run in the Scottish Cup seems to involve multiple excursions to Glasgow, a 200 mile round trip for me. At least the quarter-final is a 48-board match but it does make it a long day.

Our opponents were Cairns, who we played in the round of 32 last year (super sub). Then I played with LotG, as Jun was on vacation, and we won comfortably after being down at the half.

This time I played with Paul B as Jun has moved to London. It was our first ever game but we had a full system card, most of which we probably knew.

Things did not start well. First we bid to four hearts, down with the trump queen offside, but it looked like 3NT would make. Then we bid a dodgy two no-trump, but Paul found a way to make it. Then I had to find a lead:


Your lead?

Then, on the next hand, we made a helpful lead against a contract that would have required careful play but on the sixth board we talked them out of a vulnerable game so we felt that we were now on the board.The rest of the boards seemed fairly flat in the 12-board set, so it was with a little trepidation that we scored up. 13-13 imps seemed fine for us, with Mike and Arend flattening most of the boards we were concerned about.

The second set started with a discarding problem.


You are sitting North and lead the queen of diamonds. Declarer plays the ace from dummy, partner following with the three (encouraging or odd number) and declarer with the seven.

Declarer plays a spade to his ace and then a heart to the king, partner following with the three. Declarer then plays the small club to his ace, partner playing the six, and continues with another heart towards dummy. What do you discard?

On the next hand we caught the weak no-trump. Although they ran their best eight-card fit, we could still hold them to three tricks and +1400.  A non-vulnerable slam was makeable our way, although not biddable and needed two finesses and two 3-2 breaks.

On the next board our opponents were mildly punished for not pre-alerting (as required) that a penalty double of our 1NT was artificial. I presumed it was penalty and ran, forcing them to bid their suit at the three level which was too high on an accurate defence. If I knew it wasn't penalty, then I'd have probably passed.

Then things started running for us. Paul made a game on a normal, but unfortunate, opening lead and then made a doubled game (one of the many 5-0 trump breaks in the match) by putting our opponent to an early decision which he got wrong, Then I had a decision to make:


Your call: pass or four spades?

Mike and Arend also had a big set, including their own +1400 on a hand where we beat game, and the match was pretty much over as we led by 92-36 imps at halftime.

The third set started with a string of flat boards. Our opponents then bid a poor slam, down two, and we doubled a vulnerable 1NT overcall and beat it by two tricks for +500. We won the set by 16 imps to lead 118-41 imps and our opponents graciously conceded.

It was a slow but friendly match and I was pleased to be on the winning side. In the semifinal we face the Outred team and another trip back to Glasgow!


by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at October 09, 2016 08:36 AM

October 08, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 - Board of Directors 2016

Linda Brammer, President of Unit 178, has provided us with a new list of the Unit's Board of Directors, other key people for the Unit, plus additional information.

The link is below, and will also appear on the left column of MN Bridge.

Thank you Linda and all of our wonderful volunteers!

Download Unit178Board2016.oct.2016 update

by Peg at October 08, 2016 05:26 PM

Autumn Harvest Sectional - Oct 14-16

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What a glorious weekend to enjoy all the beauties of autumn! And - next weekend, we can enjoy the last days of fall plus a marvelous St. Paul sectional, too!

Unit 103 is hosting the Autumn Harvest sectional Friday October 14th through Sunday, October 16th at the Maplewood Community Center. The flyer, schedule and other details can be found here.

For those who are unsure as to what "pair-team games" are, we are providing an explanation below.  My thanks to Keith Thompson for providing it - and for all those who are contributing in so many ways to our fine upcoming sectional.

Come one - come all - and have a great time at the sectional!

The Pair/Team game is an exciting event for players at all levels of experience. Players have 2 ways to win! The pair portion of the event runs as a regular match point game. In the team portion, the players starting at your table will be your teammates. Who is on any team is determined by the computer. The game starts after your teammates move to the next table so you never play against them. Each pair will receive a score for the pair portion of the game and a separate score for the team portion. Players receive the higher number of points they earn, either as a pair or as a team. For example, if in the pair portion a pair earn 1.12 MPs but in the team game they achieve 4.5 MPs, they get the 4.5 --all for the price of one event

At the Autumn Harvest Sectional, both Open sections and I/N sections will be pair/team games. So, irrespective of the sections in which you compete, you will have an equal opportunity for extra points!

Carol Rynders, our partnership chair, will have pairs on call for both I/N and Open sections to best insure we have full tables.

 

 

by Peg at October 08, 2016 04:53 PM

October 03, 2016

Paul Gipson

Not our day

It was not our day at the National Swiss Teams yesterday. None of us seemed to play that poorly, but most of our opponents seemed to bid poor games that rolled in and just stopped us building any momentum. Even worse, my team of juniors finished with two maximum wins and finished a place above us :)

LotG and I bid a good low point-count slam on board 26, despite a non-systemic call in the auction.


Three hearts is an impossible transfer break, since we are supposed to leave it available for a re-transfer. But I was confident that LotG has good spade support and the most likely explanation was that she'd forgotten our methods and had hearts too as we break to good 4-card suits, so I pushed to slam. The queen of spades was doubleton and the slam made. Our opponents, Tony and Bob, also bid the slam.

There was a fun auction in our penultimate match:


I think my LHO thought that my two spades response was weak. It was unalerted, so could have been intermediate or strong, but I guess it never occurred to her. In fact it was a strong jump shift and I know one of my future team mates will appreciate my redouble. The odds on the redouble are worth reflecting on:

  • Assuming I go one down, then I'll lose -200 instead of -100. Assuming the same happens at the other table with no redouble, this will lose 3 imps. If team mates do not double, then I would lose 2 imps without the redouble and 4 imps with the redouble, so it is just a 2 imps extra loss.
  • If I make the contract, then I'll score +880 instead of +590, a gain of 7 imps. And if team mates do not double, then I'll gain 10 imps.
So basically, if I am happy that I will not go two down, then I'm getting odds of 3-1 on which looks pretty good. Unfortunately our defender found the trump switch after the ace of diamonds to break the contract by one trick. As Brian, sitting North for us, never bid on the hand we lost 4 imps, the only significant swing in the match.

In the end we finished just below average. It was a frustrating day but with nice team mates, Brian and Anne, an enjoyable one.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at October 03, 2016 10:00 AM

October 02, 2016

Eamon Galligan

Camrose Trials Weekend 1 CBAI Final Round

After 8 rounds (of  9)  of the CBAI Camrose Trials Weekend 1 we have 2 teams qualified Thomas MacCormac and Derek O'Gorman. The final place for Weekend 2 goes to Clifford or Elvin. Elvin sits out and earns 12 VPS and now has to hope the floundering COYNE can dispose of CLIFFORD.
COYNE was in contention this morning with a decent win over the youthful BARR team but suffered a painful loss to the McAulliffe team powered by more juniors SYNNOTT GORMALLY and BOLAND along with their captain the ageless Michael McAuliffe.
McAuliffe was playing bridge with Mamie MacCormac when I was a boy..

So BJ O'Brien tramps the sidelines as he hopes for some COYNE magic to enable his team to head for Limerick for next stage of trials.

http://www.fob.ie/events/results-20160930_055852PM.php

Live running scores are at above link

All information is at top of
www.fob.ie

Thanks
Eamon Galligan

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 02, 2016 02:46 PM

September 30, 2016

Eamon Galligan

NIBU CBAI Camrose Trials.

The NIBU Camrose Trials take place this weekend in Kelvin and Malone. The strange thing is that the winners might not be on the Team according to the conditions of contest.

Quoting the NIBU website

"The Selection Committee will meet immediately after the final results are available but there will be no team announcement until the following day. The selectors reserve the right to select the strongest possible team – in their opinion - regardless of final placings. "

This is like if Mayo defeat Dublin on Saturday in the GAA Final the GAA will give the trophy to Dublin as they are deemed the best team by the media.

..............
Meanwhile Down South we are getting near Camrose Trials for CBAI. I don't know the full details of who is playing but I believe one junior team at least will be allowed enter. Entry for Camrose Trials are regulated by "B" points. This means juniors who are locked into Degrees and Masters and so on won't be allowed enter until they get older and have time to build an attendance record at "B" point earning events.

.........
I don't play much bridge these days but I can play in Camrose Trials due to my "B" point earnings in the past but the current crop of very keen junior bridge players might not be able to play due to not having enough attendance record.

..........

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at September 30, 2016 12:38 PM

September 27, 2016

Judy Kay-Wolff

Breaking News We Have Been Hoping For!

The following series of corrrespondence (in reverse order) will inform you of what persistence can achieve… meaning Try, Try and Try Again!


September 27th

Dear Gianarrigo,

Sincere congratulations for allowing bridge to gain entry into the Asian Games in 2020.

This could very well be the great opportunity our sensational game has needed and your work in getting it done is monumental. All of your many admirers, including Bridge itself, rise as one, in support of your colossal achievement.

Your great friends,
Bobby and Judy Wolff


Tuesday, September 27, 2016 6:24 AM, (from Alvin Levy)

Great news. Kudos to Gianarrigo and all who made this happen. This may help in our pursuit of a future Olympic Games acceptance.

Best regards,
Al


On Sep 27, 2016, at 4:54 AM, (from WBF President)

Dear Friends,

Great News: Bridge has been admitted at the 2018 Asian Games. Hereunder the info BR received from Bambang and attached the news to be publish on the web.

It’s a great day for Bridge!

In abbraccio
Gianarrigo

World Bridge Federation
Gianarrigo Rona
President


Subject: RE: Bridge in Asian Games
From: Michael Bambang Hartono
Date: Monday, 26/09/2016 7:38 AM

Dear all,

At last, the big news we all had been waiting for, realized last night, September 25 2016.

In a decision made by the General Assembly of OCA in Da Nang Vietnam, Bridge was finally included to be competed in the Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia.

I will take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continuos support and effort to make this possible.

Especially I would like to mention the “Arm Twisting” effort of our WBF President to all Zone 4 and Zone 6 members that if we fail this time, there will be no more chance in the future “It is now or never” he said.

I would like to remind Nakatani your promise after bridge was accepted in ASIAN Games to include (try) Bridge to be competed in the Olympics in Tokyo Japan 2020.

I also like to remind all Zone 4 and Zone 6 members of their promise to send their teams to participate on this event.

Sincerely Yours,
Michael Bambang Hartono
President SEAB

by Judy Kay-Wolff at September 27, 2016 08:32 PM

September 24, 2016

Paul Gipson

Next summer

For me the EBU Summer Meeting has always marked the end of the season and I start thinking about which events we intend to play in next year. Of course some plans have already been made, with the English Premier League (three weekends in October-November), SBU Winter Foursomes (27-29 January), and the EBU Spring Foursomes (28 Apr-2 May) always the first in the calendar.

The big decision is what to do next summer. I'm pretty sure what we'll do, but I thought I'd outline the various options if others are interested in playing outside the UK.

North American Bridge Championships

The ACBL Summer Nationals will be in Toronto from 20-30 July. With cheap direct flights from Glasgow this may be attractive to Scottish players despite the fall in sterling. General information on NABCs is available on the ACBL website but I can provide a lot of information if you ask. Alternatively read this blog (Toronto 2011) which covers the last time we went and includes a full guide for aliens travelling to an NABC.

European Open Championships

The 8th European Open Championships will be held in Montecatini, Italy, from 10-24 June. This is the EBL's money-grabbing exercise that is supposed to be the equivalent of the ACBL event, but at a higher cost for less bridge. If all you want to play is Mixed Pairs and Mixed Teams then the costs tend to be more reasonable, but for the other events it seems extortionate. The EBL will probably provide more information on its website at some point. A discerning reader may suspect this is not my preferred event.

World Transnational Open Teams

This will held alongside the Bermuda Bowl and other events of the World Teams Championship. The Championships are to be held in Lyon and the Transnational Open Teams will be from 21-25 August: it starts with a three-day Swiss followed by two days of knockout play, and I believe there may be a two-day side event for non-qualifiers.

To my mind, the WBF events are just too expensive, especially when you can lose 20% of a day's bridge if there is an odd number of teams.

Swedish Bridge Festival

Scotland has sent representative teams to this event for the last couple of years and the feedback has been uniformly positive with many now going under their own steam. It is a high standard, organised unbelievably well, with lots of events and the friendliest environment. Scotland even installed its own translator into the country, although she seems to be going native.

The dates for the Swedish Bridge Festival 2017 are Friday 28 July to Sunday 6 August. The Chairman’s Cup is played Saturday 29 July to Thursday 3 August. More information will be published in the end of 2016, but there are already flyers available on its website.  Mike Ash and Jim Hay are an excellent men to talk to if you are interested in this.

Other European events

Greek Islands Bridge Festival was on 20-27 August this year. I don't have dates for next year so keep an eye on bridgefestival.gr

The Pula Bridge Festival is reputed to be the largest in European and is on 2-10 September. I don't have dates for next year so keep an eye on its website - pulabridgefestival.com.

Tom Townsend says there is also the 57th Baltic Bridge Congress in Sopot, Poland around the end of July - details will be on the Polish website.

Stay at home?

And for those who prefer to stay at home, there is the SBU Summer Congress in Peebles on 14-16 July and, earlier than usual, the EBU Summer Meeting in Eastbourne on 4-13 August.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at September 24, 2016 09:35 AM

September 23, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Colin Kehe - 1943 - 2016

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Too soon again, it is my painful duty to report yet another loss in Minnesota's bridge community.  Please join me in saying goodbye to one more of our long time, excellent players:  Colin Kehe. In today's world, at 73, Colin leaves us way too early.....

A beautiful obituary for Colin appears in today's paper. You may read it here.

Colin.1

 

Colin is survived by his lovely wife and bridge partner of 27 years, Theresa. And, as bridge players, we know that special, long time partners such as Evan Sachs will be grieving, too.

Please note that tomorrow, Saturday, a memorial service shall be held for Colin.  It will be at 2PM at the Lakewood Cemetery Chapel, 3600 Hennepin Avenus S. Minneapolis. Visitation begins at 1:30.  The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Doctors Without Borders.

Every player in our bridge community is so valued.  Colin will be greatly missed.

 

by Peg at September 23, 2016 04:26 PM

September 20, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Celebrating Jonathan

Jonathan family
Jonathan and his Beloved Family

 

Monday evening, September 19th, a large gathering of family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and - of course, a great many bridge players - met for a memorial service honoring Jonathan Cohen.

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Wonderful stories were shared by Jonathan's brother Harlan, colleagues of Jonathan's from the University of Minnesota, neighbors....  And Charlie Nauen, long time friend and bridge partner, expressed thoughts about Jonathan that were moving, complimentary - and funny.  

It still remains difficult to know that Jonathan will no longer be giving the rest of us a tough time at the table, nor attempting to share his baggie full of vegetables and rotting fruit to others.  Still, sharing memories of Jono with one another was comforting.  Tears - and smiles - were clearly both in evidence.

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As the Minnesota bridge world celebrates years of friendship and competition with Jonathan, we also send our deep condolences to his family; wife Barbara, daughter Ilana and her husband Craig, grandchildren Nolan and Clara and others.

As a final remembrance, we will share thoughts from Dave Anderson. Though it has been many years since Dave has lived in the Twin Cities - no one who knew Jonathan could forget him. 

 

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Jonathan was a 30+ year participant in Light Entertainment and its lunch time Fridays precursor.

He was to many the stereotype of a perfect nerd.  He would rarely use a 50 cent word when a $5 hypersyllable was available.  And he had an enormous supply of them.  He grew up in New York City the son of a Superior Court judge and brother of an eventually high ranking foreign service officer.

Jonathan dressed like a flood victim and always wore a plastic shirt pocket protectors which held four pens of different colors, to every bridge game and tournament. At two session events he brought plastic bags full of carrots, celery, tomato and stuff that looked suspiciously like what the rest of us sprayed on our lawns.

He had a Ph.D. in chemistry and four years of post doc research at a Canadian University, prided himself in always driving slowly in the left lane, drove down entrance ramps and slowed or stopped at their end to assess the best time to merge and was a polymath of the performing arts.  He would refuse any and all bridge events whenever there was a noted opera, symphony, play or ballet available.

Despite being the worst and most dangerous driver I've ever known, he would put chains on his tiny Hondas and drive to high brow venues on Minnesota winter nights when even the snowplow drivers wept.  

He was as socially inept as his brother the state department counsel was ept.

I loved him.

We all had nicknames back in the day.  Given Jonathan’s taste in entertainment, and soft spoken nature, I hung Cohen the Barbarian on him.  I knew he liked it, even though he would never admit it.

I probably won 10-15% of the master points I earned in my 17 years in Minnesota playing with him.  More often than anyone but Nancy. He had an eager willingness to learn all the conventions he could and even new systems.  He never lost his composure in competition.  He was a delight to play with.

He played so slowly and carefully he probably drove 100 people away from the game.  Having finished most hands two or three minutes after the time limit, he would take laborious notes, in four colors, with his pens.

He quickly came to appreciate the politics, quality of life, customs and mores of Minnesota.  In mid life he joined a hockey league, had the bruises to prove it, and took up cross country skiing.  On the hideously coldest days, he would often come out to our house on Lake Minnewashta to ski the 20 ft. slope and 300 ft. run down to and out onto the lake, so he'd have a place to come into and warm up.

After this tough guy choice of the additional hobbies, partner Peg Waller amended his nickname, more accurately, to Jono.  Maybe he got the taste for those manners of punishment from his decade in Canada.

Jonathan developed in a few short years a curious accent; the Bronx and Brooklyn of course, a twinge of Canadian from his decade there, and a Minnesota edge.

The year I wrote the MGSC club newsletter I appointed him copy editor, to correct my grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and subject matter.  But only after it was published and distributed.  He loved the job carefully editing every issue.  I often published his corrections in subsequent issues.

If he were writing this he would bid himself a fond adieu and bon voyage.

                        Dave Anderson

 

We are pleased to be able to add the thoughts of Jonathan's brother, Harlan and Aliza, Harlan's daughter, as was shared with everyone at the memorial Monday evening.

Download Jonathan-Harlan

Download Jonathan-Aliza

by Peg at September 20, 2016 11:15 PM

September 17, 2016

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 - Upcoming BOD Agenda

Unit 178's Board of Directors will meet at the Twin City Bridge Center on September 24th.  Details of the agenda are below!

Download AgendaSept24.Unit178

by Peg at September 17, 2016 04:40 PM

Jonathan Cohen - 1947 - 2016

Jono.3.10

 

Your blogmaster so enjoys reporting our triumphs, promoting our game, photographing our parties and tournaments, plus so many other bridge activities. Just like you, I love our game and our people!

Yet, one activity breaks my heart. Reporting when we have lost one of our own is painful.

Today, I am sad to share that Jonathan Cohen passed away on Tuesday, September 13th. Many are aware that Jonathan had battled Parkinson's for some time. Now, Jonathan's fight has ended.

Good friend and partner Charlie Nauen shared this information with me:

Jonathan had not been well the past few months. Yet, this timing came as a surprise to his family and friends. Jonathan played bridge just a bit over a week ago with long time partners and friends Mark Krusemeyer and Patti Stuhlman.

Jonathan was an iconic member of our bridge community. He will be dearly missed.

A memorial service will be held Monday, September 19th. An obituary will appear in the newspaper this weekend, with details and location

We will be updating the website as we have more information, and stories about "Jono."

Please note.  Patti Stuhlman, broken hearted to have lost her friend and partner too soon, shared with me that Jonathan's service will be held at 6PM, September 19th, at the Cremation Society in Edina, 7110 France Avenue South.

Jonathan's obituary can be viewed here.  A great photo of our friend, along with memories and description that capture Jono so very well.

Deepest sympathies to Jonathan's family and his many friends.

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

by Peg at September 17, 2016 04:32 PM

September 15, 2016

Paul Gipson

End of the run

When they started playing twelve days ago, I'm pretty sure none of the Scotland Women team at the World Bridge Games imagined that they would be playing in the semifinal. With an array of world-class teams at the event, the realistic aim was to qualify for the knockout stages and then, hopefully, give a 'good' team a fright.

So it is a mark of their achievement that they were in the semifinal, losing by 1 imp with 8 boards of the 96 to play, against one of the strongest teams in the event. I know the fact that they finally lost by 19 imps will be heartbreaking for the team, but once they stand back I hope that they will appreciate their achievement and how proud not only their Scottish supporters are but also the level of support that they got from a huge number of British players.

Like their round of 16 match, they started the semifinal poorly as France sped to a 27 imps lead. Given the relative experience of the teams, and France have multiple world champions in their team, it would have been no surprise if the match had been over at half-time, but the Scots came back strongly to lead by 14 imps overnight. France responded in the first two sets today to go into the final sixteen boards leading by 11 imps, but Scotland reduced this to a single imp with eight to play. Two late swings meant that the final result really didn't reflect how close, and tense, the match was.

France played consistently well throughout the match and they will now face USA in the two-day final. Scotland will play China in a 48-board match for the bronze medal.

The match was not the closest of the semifinals. Spain, including fellow BBO Forums and Bridge Winners contributor, Gonzalo Goded, were level with Monaco in the Open Series with three boards to play. An overtrick and then a partscore swing gave the match to the favourites, but it was an incredible performance by the Spaniards.

Like the Scots, the Spanish performance was way above original expectations. Both teams are largely amateur players in a sea of professionalism. Interestingly both teams did poorly at the European Team Championships last June. I wonder if this championship, where the top teams are just as impressive but there is a sprinkling of weaker teams, gave both teams the opportunity to build up confidence and momentum with some wins that they rode almost all the way to the final.

Good luck to both teams in the bronze medal games. Again neither will be favourites, but that hasn't bothered them up to this point.


by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at September 15, 2016 07:57 PM

Judy Kay-Wolff

Never Lose Your Sense of Humor

…especially when it comes to our unique game.This appropriately pertains to the huge realm of bridge players’ leanings from all parts of the world. I was fascinated by the post below which doesn’t make any effort by the author to restrain this individual’s strong views on recent changes to ACBL policies.The writer’s solution is quite humorous but I must confess the game has been so desecrated by so many recent happenings, I would not attempt to disagree. See for yourself!!

What Are We Buying?

Defending the indefensible, David Sievers writes to the ACBL Bridge Bulletin (“Pay Up”, July 2016 letters) in support of the ACBL’s new policy to charge five-member teams 25% more and six-member teams 50% more than four-member teams at national tournaments, on the grounds that everyone should “pay the same the same amount per masterpoint earned.” Of course, the ACBL could achieve the same kind of equity by awarding masterpoints to teams, for apportionment among teams members according to number of boards each plays. To adopt this view is to claim (I would say, confess) that the ACBL is in the business of selling masterpoints. I demur. In my view, the ACBL is in the business of providing fair sporting competition.

Saturday summers when I was a kid, I would go to the park and play ball (well, actually, spend most of my time out in right field watching the dandelions grow) with the other boys. Then everybody grew up and spent time studying, working, and raising families. Now I’m an old boy, and decades after the demise of the last rubber bridge club in town, I go to a local duplicate bridge club, or an ACBL-run tournament, to play with other (mostly old) boys and girls. What I buy are an abundance of playmates, playing cards and other equipment, interesting deals with hand records afterwards for further study, umpires to call balls and strikes (well, actually, rule on revokes and insufficient bids) impartially, and some recognition when luck and the performances of partners and teammates (well, actually, errors by my opponents, for without them I could never win) favor me with success.

To accommodate those with the views expressed by David Sievers, I suggest that the ACBL set up kiosks where kibitzers and surplus sitting-out members of teams can purchase masterpoints for cash, preferably at a discount, as the cost to the ACBL is lower than for players who actually participate. My roommate kibitzes but does not play bridge. She sure would like a plaque honoring her to hang alongside the ten stuffed heads in our trophy room right now; perhaps it could be inscribed with her name and a new category of Life Master, Cubic Zirconium, that I now modestly propose for those who acquire their masterpoints the simple way, by direct purchase.

Jonathan Slow

by Judy Kay-Wolff at September 15, 2016 01:38 PM