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October 19, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Lady Milne Match 4 ..board 7 killed me

I am just after finishing Lady Milne trials match 4 and thought I did pretty good although missed a few chances near the end on boards 9 and 10. However there are no mulligans allowed so we don't go back and replay any board.
On scoring up I find out I got killed on Board 7 where the Jack robots East West bid and made 4H against me. Going to look at this board now and see if I butchered the defence or it was a bad lead or what. I am losing 11 imps on the board against the Ladies datum. That's like half a match.
Just like the slam on board 30 of last match.

There is nothing I can do against 4H no matter how I defend.
Simple and maybe double dummy line of spade towards QT7 and playing 7
or running the 8 eventually set up the spades for a diamond discard. However we won't suffer on that simple line that works. Also after my 1!C opening and Heart King appearance any declarer is in good shape regarding the big cards..
Finally the line of play which would produce a fine burst of energy ...
There is some kind of guard squeeze which operates ..
On the run of the Hearts even after playing a spade to the 10 (a lesser play)
South gets squeezed out of his(in my case) 3rd diamond or 3rd spade..and the spade Queen is up for a diamond discard ...or the 3rd diamond in declarers hand grows up.
No problem Eamon loses 11 imps to the Ladies field ...

I guess Jack can play a bit of bridge ...

Somebody on 5H-2 ..Somebody in 4S-2 Two folk down in 4H.
Its just impossible to go down in this contract of 4H.

Eamon is the poor sod in the 17v 18 pairing losing 11 imps 

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 19, 2017 01:54 PM

October 18, 2017

Paul Gipson

I see everything

We did not perform well in the first round of the Scott Cup last month as we started the journey to try and win the club's team championship for the third successive year. A third place was not what we were looking for.

So we did what every Scottish football league team does every other game and replaced our best player from the evening for the next match. Or, in other words, Ros was unavailable and Margaret stepped in to play with Janet in last night's second round.

We won comfortably with a score of +78 imps, well ahead of our main rivals who were second with +28 imps - considering we gave them +22 imps in three boards, our win could have been a lot more convincing. Janet and Margaret were unstoppable and any team would have won playing with them. LotG and I had some successes, and failures, but it really didn't matter.

I thought I had a tricky decision on board ten and it contributed to our defeat to our rivals when I got it wrong:

My options were to bid three spades, showing 4-4 in the majors, or a direct three no trump. LotG's two no trump showed any balanced 17-19 points without four-card heart support; she has not denied four spades.

Any preference?

I thought LotG and I did well on board 15.

It's a reasonable game, despite the lack of high-card points, with the double fit and makes comfortably when spades are 2-2; and even more comfortably when the queen and jack of clubs are doubleton, so I made eleven tricks.

The field at the club did well as three other pairs also bid the game, although one fell from grace when they failed to double the five hearts sacrifice. Everyone who bid the game got a big swing.

However, as most readers know our club use Pianola and the pianolaplus feature provides an analysis of your session. It's all-seeing and can be very harsh at times; its verdict on our performance on this hand was:

There was a makeable small slam available but you failed to bid it.
It can be a tough game at times!

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at October 18, 2017 09:23 AM

Judy Kay-Wolff

A Milestone — With Continual Surprises!

Much against my better judgment (as Bobby deliberately shuns the limelight), I arranged a double Birthday celebration at the Las Vegas Bridge World for my dear friend, Carol Pincus (let’s say — her 39th), and Bobby's 85th! The Birthday Greetings were memorable and the delicious cake fattening.

On the following day (October 14th), Bobby received a touching flow of good wishes and tributes on his Aces on Bridge daily bridgeblogging site for his incomparable accomplishments at the table, his administrative role as Chairman of both the ACBL and WBF… but most importantly to him… from his friends and followers who lauded him… for his unselfish dedication to his readers and to the incredible game in which he has been involved since he was a wee lad.

However, the icing on the cake and one more shocker was a hand from Steve Becker's bridge column which coincidentally appeared in two hundred newspapers on October 16th… which was reported by one of his regular ‘commenters’. We had no clue! It was included in a classification christened “Great Hands”. Bobby was surprised and overwhelmed that his performance from 1985 was resurrected under the captioned category. You can read it below.

Bob Hamman
Bobby Wolff
All Pass

One of the marks of a great player is that he occasionally brings in a contract that seems impossible to make. Consider this deal from the 1985 world team championship between Austria and the United States.

North-South were the many-times world champions Bob Hamman and Bobby Wolff of the U.S. After a strong and artificial one-club opening by Hamman and a one-diamond response showing a fair hand, the Americans took six more round of bidding to reach six diamonds, a seemingly hopeless assignment. Even if diamonds and hearts divided favourably, Wolff appeared to have only 11 tricks — five diamonds, four hearts and the two black aces.

But Wolff proceeded to demonstrate that this analysis left something to be desired. He won the opening trump lead with the ace, ruffed a spade, led a trump to the queen and ruffed a second spade. he then cashed the king of diamonds — his last trump — discarding a low club from dummy as both opponents followed.

Next came the K-Q of hearts, and when the jack fell, declarer continued with the ace and 10. At this point, dummy held the A-Q-9 of spades and the ace of clubs, so Wolff simply played the ace and another spade. After East took the king, he had to return a club to the ace, and dummy's queen of spades took the last trick to give South his slam.

Although the final contract was unquestionably a very poor one, Wolff did what all successful players do in such situations — he assumed a lie of the cards that would allow him to make his contract. He then proceeded on that assumption by ruffing two spades early in the play, and Dame Fortune took care of the rest.

by Judy Kay-Wolff at October 18, 2017 01:57 AM

October 16, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Playing the Lady Milne trials

I am currently playing the Lady Milne trials as North South using my Jack computer bridge program as partner and opponents. After 30 boards and thus 3 10 board matches I am holding down 10 place of the 15 pairs plus myself and the Jack pair. I lost heavily on board 30 where my Jack partner roared into a failing slam.

Oddly enough my robot found the Heart Queen lead and this left me in a making position
but playing honestly I tried for some sort of Spade King Heart Jack squeeze before taking the spade finesse and going down. Only one other pair ventured into the slam. I even told my robot NO HEART FIT AND NO CLUB FIT but there was no stopping it. Still if I had known a HEART QUEEN from Qx was possible I would have gained some imps instead of losing imps.
One working finesse can meant 15-5 win or 5-15 loss. Still I am ahead of 6 pairs after 30 boards.

1     6 Anna Onishuk & Lucy Phelan                   39.79
  2    10 Joan Kenny & Teresa Rigney                   38.44
  3     3 Dolores Gilliland & Sandra Newell            35.93
  4    12 Cathy Bearpark & Liz Ann O'Reilly            35.53
  5     9 Marian Croke & Catherine Lonergan            33.57
  6    11 Aoife Mac Hale & Antoinette McGee            33.05
  7     1 Jill Kulchycky & Avril Whelan                32.99
  8     2 Eileen O'Donovan & Maria Whelan              32.36
  9     8 Hilary McDonagh & Gilda Pender               31.10
 10    17 Jack & Eamon Galligan                        30.08
 11    18 Jacky & Jackie                               29.92
 12    15 Jeannie Fitzgerald & Emer Joyce              28.82
 13    14 Valerie Burke-Moran & Ann O'Connell          27.04
 14     5 Liz Taaffe & Kathleen Vaughan                26.17
 15     4 Louise Mitchell & Maureen Pattinson          23.28
 16     7 Betty Cotter & Jean Kelly                    22.21
 17    13 Bernie Lodewijks & Mary Stanley              21.72

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 16, 2017 09:42 AM

October 15, 2017

Eamon Galligan

invitational Pairs Sunday Indo article

Today in the Sunday Independent weekly bridge column John Comyn indicated the Jim Cahill Invitational Pairs would have provided suitable practice for this years Lady Milne squad. The top end of the Jim Cahill Invitational included several  European Class pairs (as opposed to World Class). Some of the players on the top 7 pairings could have claims to be world class but that is another argument for another day.
As this years Lady Milne squad involves 6 pairs is John really suggesting that all 6 pairs should have been invited or allowed entry in some way to the Invitational Pairs. At the bottom end of the Invitational Pairs we have Donal Garvey Pat Quinn Terry Walsh BJ O'Brien Karel deRaeymaker Kelan O'Connor. In Tier3 on the overall results we have John Carroll Mark Moran Wojciech Gorczyca & Marcin Rudzinski Eddie Fitzgerald & Michael McDonagh.

I don't know how to run a comparison but I would expect if 3 teams of the above mentioned 6 men played a 2 session teams event against the Lady Milne squads 6 pairs we would see a comfortable victory for the bottom half of the Invitational Pairs.

Some years ago we ran a weekend session where the Senior over 60s squad took on the Irish Open team in a 3 pairs versus 3 pairs training session. The Open Team won by average of 14-6 per match of 16 boards. That senior team included Adam Mesbur Nick Fitzgibbon Pat Barry Rex Anderson and I cannot recall off the top of my head if it was BJ+1 or the O'Briain brothers who filled the 3rd slot that weekend.

If the Lady Milne squad feel the need to check their strength against some opponents they could issue a challenge to for example The Regent Bridge Club or the Bankers Bridge Club. I suspect either of these clubs could field capable teams up for the challenge.

The above named 12 players would be who the Lady Milne squad would replace in the Invitational Pairs if it came to it. Some other capable pairs such as McMaugh MacCormac , the O'Briain brothers, Tommy Garvey John Phelan Diarmuid Reddan Rory Timlin Michael McGloughlin James Heneghan and a few Northern Ireland males and maybe a few Junior Camrose current players could also be considered for inclusion in the Invitational Pairs ahead of most Lady Milne squad members.

Recently the Lady Milne squad have been receiving some training from one Michael Byrne a fine English international player and coach of many English youth teams over the last decade or so.
This should enable a placing of at best 3rd to be achieved in the Lady Milne Trophy.
Currently Scotland and whatever combination England will send are too strong.

My only aim is to encourage all Irish teams to more training and dedication and eventually more successes at international level. The 2 recent Irish Open formations have had lots of success to a European extent. The Bermuda Bowl proved a "Bridge Too Far" in 2007 but getting there was an achievement in itself. I saw Thomas Hanlon's happiness at reaching that goal along with the rest of his team and NPC David Jackson. Paul Porteus even threw us a party at the Airport.

So to more Irish success and no more Lady Milne wooden spoons. We might win the Junior Camrose as well if we sneak up on England.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 15, 2017 08:09 PM

October 12, 2017

Paul Gipson

InterCity League first match

The 28th edition of InterCity League started tonight and will be played over the next few Wednesdays.

The InterCiry League is the BBO international online Team Championship established in 2004 by the late Tonci Radelja, a Croatian professor of mathematics who loved bridge and used it as means to make friends. As he wrote several years ago:

"Think of this as a night in your local club: be friendly and enjoy meeting old/new friends at the table".

I've participated in many editions but missed the last few with other commitments. It has always been well run and a friendly event.

I'm running the Edinburgh team, which contains a mix of juniors and more experienced players, with many partnerships using it as practice for the forthcoming trials season.

Our first match was against Sigulda, a team from Latvia and most of whom have played for the country's Open team recently. Not an easy start for Abi, Sheila, Glen, and Botond.

The first eight boards were wild. This was typical:

It's favourable vulnerability. What do you call now? If you pass and five hearts comes back to you, what do you do?

The score after eight boards was 20-49 IMP and things were not looking promising, but the team held its nerve and competed well to hold the final score to 27-59 IMP. Naturally there were still difficult decisions to make:

Your call?

We'll be back next Wednesday on BBO for the second match in our group. Results and tables are available on Willem's website.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at October 12, 2017 07:48 AM

October 11, 2017

Peg Kaplan

District 14 NAP Finals 2017-2018 - Our Representatives



Be sure to check out results and representatives for District 14 at the Spring NABC in Philadelphia!  Posted at District14Bridge.org.

by Peg at October 11, 2017 09:04 PM

Alert! Autumn Harvest Sectional - Change of Venue



Due to circumstances Beyond Our Control, the hotel where the Autumn Harvest Sectional was originally scheduled can no longer accommodate the tournament.

Instead, the sectional, which runs from Thursday, November 2nd through Saturday, November 4th, will have a new venue at the Oak Marsh Golf Club, 526 Inwood Avenue North in Oakdale.

A round of applause for Kerry Holloway and other volunteers who scurried to find an excellent alternative spot last minute. Due to their hard work, we're sure that now the tourney will be even better!  We look forward to a fine turnout during November's sectional!

The new flyer is below and at the tournament sidebar on the left.

Download 2017MNStateAutumnHarvestSectionalMarsh


by Peg at October 11, 2017 05:09 PM

October 10, 2017

Linda Lee

We will miss you David

David Silver, (our friend since adolescence and that is many years!) died this winter. Recently  we visited his grave as his tombstone was unveiled.   I thought about how much I would miss David, his humour and also the wonderful bridge stories he told.

David would come over and sit in Ray’s office for most years conveniently located in our basement. I would listen from my next door office as he regaled Ray with the politics and events at his job and usually he managed to tell these events as humorous stories.

David was a fine writer and over time he started to write humorous books with a bridge setting.  In the early years many of his stories take place in a thinly disguised Seneca College, a community college in the north part of Toronto where David worked.

Many of David’s books starred his alter ego Professor Silver and were loosely based on his own experience as an English professor at Seneca College.  As in many such places there was a lot of politics, a lot of students who didn’t much care about English literature and just wanted a credit and a lot of experimenting with different approaches to teaching and running an institution like that.

One of my personal favourite Silver stories  (and one I often quote) is called A Board for the Board which from  David’s first book “Tales Out of School”. In this story, Professor Silver  is describing the play to board of directors members of a specific duplicate board as it makes its way around the room. As they watch Professor Silver describes how duplicate is scored.  Unfortunately, he explains to the board members the board they are watching is a “flat board” and he wouldn’t expect much variance in the results.

Of course it turns out to be exactly the opposite. The story ends with a funny punchline. But as I reread this classic Silver story I see how almost every paragraph is humorous in David’s special way.

I find that David Silver’s stories still make me smile or laugh out loud.  I remember being in a discussion with David when he brought up the idea for his last bridge book Canterbury Bridge Tales. David came up with the idea of using the format of the classic Canterbury Tales written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer in the fourteenth century.  In Chaucer’s book the pilgrims held a story-telling contest as they made their way to visit Becket’s shrine in Canterbury. It was hard for me to understand how this was going to become a “bridge book”.

In David’s book the bridge “pilgrims” were driving from Toronto to a tournament in Canterbury Florida. David then treats us to a set of bridge stories told by fellow travelers to the tournament. The chapters have titles like “The Kibitzer’s Tale” and  “The Bridge Pro’s Tale”.

I have many other favourite stories and many other memories. I am grateful that I can still have a dose of David’s humour by reading his wonderful stories.

by linda at October 10, 2017 09:24 PM

Bob Mackinnon

Deception in Plain View

Greetings from stodgy old Blighty! What exciting lives you and Betsy must be leading, if I read correctly between the lines. Thanks for the thought re the yellow necktie, but I can’t imagine an appropriate occasion for wearing it, unless The Queen were to declare a National Holiday, call it Baboon Day, where people could do anything they liked as long as they did no harm to others. Bankers could rub soot on their faces, put on head lamps, and fulfill a boyhood dream of working in a coal mine without wage. Shopkeepers could close up shop and go shopping themselves to their heart’s content, although I’m not sure how that would work out. As for me, picture the headlines in the News of the World: Naked Man on Blackfriars Bridge Wearing a Yellow Necktie. On page 3 there would be a photo of me (backside view only – not my best side, I hope you agree) with an insert of the yellow tie you gave me, and besides that a close-up shot of Dianna Dors feigning a shocked look. As usual the NOTW gets the details wrong, for I would be wearing also a bowler hat and would be carrying a brolly in case of rain, as we always must do.

I have asked Sensei for his advice to Betsy in her time of confusion. In short, he advises she should press the snooze button on her biological alarm clock. Here is how to go about doing that. Find a hot spring hotel that allows you to bath naked, that last part is most important. (It seems obvious that bathing with your clothes on is a bad idea, but there are spiritual implications as well.) Book for three nights during a full moon. Around midnight soak in the waters up to your neck and watch the moonlight play on the rippling waves. Reject all interruptions of the sort, ‘Hi there. I’m from Toledo and I couldn’t help noticing you tattoo.’ No, concentrate on the shimmering light patterns for several minutes, then close your eyes and try to recall the scene for several minutes more. Repeat the operation for an hour over three days. After you return to New York take the time to get off by yourself, close your eyes, and imagine the moonlight. You can do this at any time during the day when the stress level is high, but not, of course, when you are driving in heavy traffic.

Sensei continues to teach me bridge tactics, especially on topics you won’t find in the bridge books, like deception. I don’t know how he gets away with it. Here is a hand to think about.

All Pass

I don’t often lead an unsupported ace, but, as they say, it looked like a good idea at the time. I was not happy with what I saw in the dummy, but I continued with my 2 for lack of anything better as the damage had already been done. Declarer took the K and decided that he would try to make as many small trumps as possible, it being a pairs game. He cashed the K, played the top diamonds, and ruffed to hand (Hisashi playing the Q an obvious false card.) The 6 went away on the A, and a club was ruffed in dummy with the 3, overruffed by Hisashi with the Q. He could have given me a heart ruff at this point, instead he led his last diamond. Here was the position.


Declarer ruffed with the 7 and cashed to A, Hisashi following with the 2 which seemed to satisfy declarer’s assumption that he had started with Q2. Ronald led his last club ruffed with the 6. What a shock it must have been when Sensei over-ruffed and led the Q promoting my T for the setting trick, and a top score.

It shouldn’t have happened, but it did. Mankind is not prepared to face the unexpected.

Terrence Reese was right when he said that stolen fruits are the sweetest, or was it stolen kisses? No, I’m sure it was fruit. Anyway, we British prefer not to act underhandedly, unless as a last resort when it’s necessary in order to achieve our ends. Here is my deceptive play made in plain view of everyone, but effective nonetheless.


It appears the bidding got somewhat out-of-hand on this one, as it often does playing with Hisashi. He could hardly have been thinking of a possible 3NT, and as for the possibility of South balancing over 2, forget it, as the Reverend Forsythe is not the forgiving type when things go wrong.

The J was led to A and a diamond returned to the K in the dummy. The situation was critical but not hopeless. With nothing better to do I led the J. Margaret gave count and the Reverend gave this much thought.

‘What sort of play is that, Jack from King-Jack-Ten?’ he demanded.

‘It’s either stupid or clever,’ answered Sensei, ‘or so very stupid it’s clever.’

The Reverend was displeased as he was not accustomed to having his rhetorical questions answered. After a considerable pause, he ducked. Now I had the timing to make 10 tricks on a hand where I should be held to 8. Of course, it was Margaret who accepted the blame, apologizing profusely for not covering the jack with her queen. As my hope had been to steal a trick by looking like a man with the A doubleton, I don’t see that she could be held to account.

So that’s British-style deception made in plain view giving everyone a fair chance of getting it right while maintaining the capacity of misleading the gullible. The Japanese are more subtle. From feudal times they have been taught to avoid public confrontation as many truths are necessarily unpleasant. Imagine this conversation taking place in 1944 when it was obvious to most that the war situation was hopeless.

‘Good morning Mrs Sato. I hear our navy has won a great victory in the South Pacific.’

‘Good morning Mrs Kato. Yes, and our army continues to advance into Burma.’

‘By the time of the Emperor’s birthday, the Americans will be begging for mercy.’

‘I am looking forward to a joyful celebration with meat and soba to feed my family.’

‘I think of all the money I’ve saved by not being able to buy kerosene and sugar.’

‘It’s a blessing in disguise. Lucky for us Prime Minister Tojo is in total command.’

That’s the way they would obliquely communicate their complaints without the danger of having their heads chopped off. Sometimes Japanese actually tell the truth as protection knowing they will not be believed. Well, I suppose that’s not much different from false carding. If you false-card every time, the opponents will soon catch on, thus sometimes you must give the correct count so you won’t be believed. Maybe the mild-mannered Margaret is not as reliable on the count as one would assume and that’s why the Reverend didn’t take his ace, thinking she held a doubleton although she had played the lowest card available. Interesting hand.

Bye for now. It’s late and I’m off to spend the evening in Piccadilly and Leister Square.

God, I wish you were here to come along so I wouldn’t be licking stamps in the cab on the way.

Yours always,


by Bob Mackinnon at October 10, 2017 01:31 PM

October 08, 2017

Bob Mackinnon

Betsy in Turmoil

James Woolwich had just that morning received another letter from Heidi Heinz, the billionaire’s daughter who was promoting a woman’s professional bridge team with a view to winning a world’s championship for the USA in 1970. The newest member of the team was the vivacious and inventive Princess Elizabeth von Stollenberg, known to her friends as Betsy.

Dear James:

Hello from New York. I loved you last letter more than all the rest. More please. This time I have exciting news: Daddy has asked Betsy to marry him. Wow! That would mean my mother would be younger than myself. Sounds like a miracle, doesn’t it, but I bet it’s happened before, lots of times. Marrying Betsy would make Daddy happy as a clam as he has a bad case of l’Amour à la Papa, as the French call it. He says that children can wait as she pursues her ambition to be a world champion. Guess what? – I approve. We can continue to be just like sisters – my inheritance is already locked up and my fashion businesses are doing great.

The trouble is that Betsy is involved with Guido Amoroso, a Beat poet she met in Greenwich Village. He says he doesn’t believe in marriage although he is already married to his high school sweetheart whom he knocked up in grade 10. More accurately one might say he doesn’t believe in marriage and she doesn’t believe in divorce, especially since she is postgraduately pregnant again. Guido calls Betsy ‘my Nazi bitch’ and wants her to quit bridge and spend more time with him expanding their consciousness with LSD. So naturally poor Betsy, madly in love, is in crisis mode and doesn’t know what to do. What does your guru say? I will pass it on.

James read this passage to Hisashi-san, his flatmate and spiritual advisor who, as usual on a Sunday morning, was knelling on the floor writing with an ink brush large black Japanese characters on a sheet of paper spread out before him. He continued to write in silence until a long wiggle had been completed, then straightened up and gave a sigh of satisfaction before replying.

‘James-san, everyone knows, better a rich man’s toy than a poor man’s doormat. Now let’s enjoy the silence together.’

‘Sensei, the poor woman needs help. We can’t just remain silent.’

‘This Betsy will do what she wants to do. We see the same at the bridge table. Bridge players repeat their mistakes many times – it defines who they are. They take advice as personal criticism. However, if you must reply, tell her this, “Noise hides the Truth,” or “Seek Truth in Silence, the Great Teacher,” or “A life engulfed in noise is a life lived with confusion.” Take your choice.’

‘“Seek Truth in Silence, the Great Teacher,”’ repeated James as he wrote it down. ‘Very good, I’ll go with that.’

As Sensei obviously wanted to get on with his morning calligraphy, James proceeded to read the rest of Heidi’s letter without further comment. It went as follows.

With regard to our bridge, things are going well and we continue to win the women’s events with some ease – but not without some scary moments. With Betsy I have learned to take the triumphs with the disasters, the one following the other in quick succession.

Here is a recent example of a triumph.

All Pass

Rhonda opened a strong 1NT. We play Landy and I didn’t have the majors, so I thought that we didn’t have enough to make a game. I passed. Wrong. Audrey expected her hand would play better in hearts, so she transferred. Betsy made a crazy overcall with only 1 HCP in her hand. Support with support, they say, so Rhonda and I did our duty and guess what, Betsy bid game! The lead was the K, won in dummy. A heart was discarded on the A and a club played to Rhonda’s Q. She switched to the K! Crazy, wasn’t it, making 12 tricks on a spade finesse. The funny thing was that Betsy’s hand was the only one that had a singleton or a void, and she had both. I guess that’s pretty unusual.

I have found when Betsy does something crazy, well maybe not crazy, but outside an opponent’s normal expectation, the opponent gets confused and often can’t cope. It’s like they are running back into a burning building because they forgot to turn out the lights. Of course, it works both ways as I am often confused as to what’s going on. So I asked Mel what I should do about it.

‘Don’t do anything, Heidi,’ he advised, ‘Just keep putting down those great dummies. Betsy’s wild guess it often better that a normal player’s reasoned deduction.’

‘I think I should have doubled 3,’ I observed.

‘Could be,‘ he agreed, ‘that might have gotten you to 4 , a better contract. But tell you what, as you are reluctant to double 1NT with an equivalent hand, why not play Brozel over 1NT where double shows a one-suited hand? So you will pass 1NT systematically and when Audrey shows hearts, Betsy can bid 2 to show a black 2-suiter. That way you will easily find your spade fit.’

That makes sense to me: fit your methods to your natural tendencies, mine to pass, and Betsy’s to bid. Now everyone is comfortable and we don’t stumble over our own constructions.

Often we go out to play high stakes Chicago against Wall Street hotshots. The old guys are nice enough, and try to teach us things, but I don’t know what puts me off more: their gold wrist watches, or their gold teeth. Gross. There are two younger guys, gorgeously dressed in matching paisley pink shirts, canary yellow ties, and Aegean blue suits, who we would like to get to know better, if only they weren’t so uptight. (I would send you one of those ties, James, if I thought you’d ever wear it.) Rather than be nice and friendly, maybe going for refreshments after to discuss the hands or whatever, they treat us like we’re the enemy. They open light and stretch to 3NT on inadequate values in an attempt to dominate. Why can’t they be cool, like you, James? We won’t bite (or maybe we will!) I sorta go into my shell, but they can’t push Betsy without getting pushed back. She fits right into the New York scene, where pushy is the norm, even for waiters.

Betsy says that the spade suit is the key to most auctions.

‘If you’ve got ‘em, you have to bid ‘em. If I jump to 2 it’s all about what they’ve got, but if I jump higher it’s about what I’ve got.’

Here is an example of the mysterious single jump from an early board.


Greg: what does that 2 tell you?

Me: It’s a preempt.

Greg: I know that. What does it tell you?

Me: It tells me she is offering to buy you out cheap.

Greg: Right. 3NT.

He won the second round of spades and started the hearts with A and low to the dummy. Surprised that I showed out early, he tried the clubs leading from dummy. When Betsy showed out he went into shock. He tried to endplay me in clubs, hoping I would have to lead away from the K. That way he managed to go down 300.

‘Some preempt,’ he commented sourly, ‘6-5 in the majors.’

‘With 7-7-7-5 you should have taken my generous offer,’ suggested Betsy sweetly.

She ended the match in typical fashion by making a game she shouldn’t have bid.


I bid 1NT to show my spade stopper and point range thinking I might get to play this one, but Betsy had other plans. 3NT would have been best (I would get the clubs right) with 4 down 1 on good defence. Greg led the 9, Rex winning the AK and leading a third one. Betsy ruffed with the T, over-ruffed by Greg with the Q. Sometimes it’s not good to get your wish. He got his ruff but it was a big mistake. Betsy won the Q exit with the K in dummy and led my heart, finessing the 9 successfully. After drawing trumps she could discard her losing club on the established J. As Betsy says, if you want to win more often, you can’t afford to wait for the cards to be right – you have to give the opponents chances to go wrong, which is frequent.

‘Nice finish, Ladies,’ said Rex graciously, ‘I think you can afford to buy us a drink.’

‘We don’t drink,’ replied Betsy, ‘we smoke.’

‘I bet you do,’ observed Greg with a big smile.

Now that was more like it, but too little too late, as they say.


by Bob Mackinnon at October 08, 2017 01:23 PM

October 07, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Ireland Invitational Pairs Session 1 extra

Yesterday in the Regent Bridge Club I witnessed some fine bridge plays. I saw Adam Mesbur bring home 2HX by enlisting some help from the opposition to take a finesse. I saw Nick Fitzgibbon deem a lad held JT8x in a side suit ...and play the suit for no loser. I saw Cian Holland roll home 3DX against Adam Mesbur and Nick Fitzgibbon. It was unbeatable but one still had to make it with KQTx of trumps against you. Cian took about 7 minutes before touching a card at trick 1 ..making his plan.

Starting today Saturday October 7th we will have current leaders Ciaran Coyne and Donal MacAonghusa on one of the vugraph tables Play starts at 11am.


One can find the schedule by examining the above link.


One can fnd the results above but might need to do a little work.


One can find the venue here ....well at the above link ... or 25 Waterloo Road Dublin 4

Eamon Galligan

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 07, 2017 07:37 AM

Irish invitational Pairs Session 1

Yesterday October 6th I attended the Irish Invitational Pairs organised by Jim Cahill and Ann Tuite.
This is a fantastic event but one has to be quite good at bridge to make the roster or else own a good partner.
Today we played 64 boards and we vugraphed 2 tables all day.
Not too many spectators turned up on site but that meant more of the wonderful sandwiches for the lads. I had no need to go for any chipper or anything all day. oranges cups of teas fantastic sandwiches and loads of chocolate things and grapes too .

has all the results but focus on the one that mentions 64 boards .. .

Tomorrow Saturday we have a full day ... at least 64 boards .. .
Sunday we have whatever is left of 176 boards .. maybe 44 boards ..
Spectators are welcome all day .... Come in and have a look.

Venue ... Regent Bridge Club ..

Regent Bridge Club has been the Premier Bridge Club in Ireland for as long as I can remember..
and maybe Declan Byrne the club manager have nurtured that ... He has a tough job negotiating
all those club members and now Declan has to negotiate Academy members too.
Younger but braver maybe

Anyway here in the Premier Invitational Pairs ...I saw this board ..

Now a couple of great bridge players expressed horror when they spotted this result.
They were expecting a fine score for making 5D doubled .. .but noted 2 episodes of 6D making on the board. The general indication was IMPOSSIBLE ..
However Thomas Hanlon made it ...
Now any old dunce knows that only other dunces bid slam off 2 cashers .. 
so slam off 2 cashing Hearts and you got KQx of clubs is serious ..
So you get serious and win a HEART trick and you bang out King of Clubs.
How bad can it be ...dummy has one HEART ...so do something ..
Anyway some heroes decided to bang a LAZY HEART ...
and HANLON done the squeeze ...same way as Eamon would have done it ..
Eamon loves squeezes ...and this might be a PUN ////

The legendary Charlie Cullen ...former Regent member and partner of Joe Walshe...
carried a battered and torn copy of CLYDE LOVE squeezes in his pocket.
Eamon also owns a copy but my copy is cleaner and less torn.
KING of Clubs ...break that looming SQUEEZE ...
because you don't want Hanlon doing you like SEABISCUIT .....

or maybe it was HMG2 ....the lad who used to have 4 books of KELSEY squeezes in hard back on his FERMOY bedroom floor back in late 80s ... I saw them there ..

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 07, 2017 02:22 AM

October 06, 2017

Bob Mackinnon

Love Letter from Huntsville

Dear James:

We miss you, Betsy and me, both. We miss London, too. Good, old, cold, crazy and damp London with all its quaint customs. Remember that funny little man in the big hat who carved the lamb? We all thought he was French but it turned out he was English with an unbelievable cockney accent. Those were great days….and nights!!

Yesterday we arrived in Dallas and were driven around topless downtown. The Caddie was topless, not us, Silly. Texan men are tall and handsome and show you lots of straight teeth when they greet you, but they make me feel like the only hamburger at a dog show. I like suave and they don’t have it, not like you, James, who is very suave.

This morning we flew in Daddy’s Lear Jet to Huntsville where the prison is to play a match against the Texas All Stars, a team made up of male inmates, who compete against prisoners in maximum security facilities in other states. The rivalries are quite intense with Oklahoma Lifers being the current champions, I understand.

Before the game we were introduced by the guard (Elmer, who was the fattest man I have ever seen in a uniform) to our opponents, two men wearing numbers across their chests, one called Mike, kinda dreamy and handsome, like Davy Crockett, and the other Sonny, sorta bald and wrinkled, like Sam Houston. Eat your heart out, Truman Capote.

‘Do you play often against women?’ I asked pleasantly enough as they were looking at us rather suspiciously. Imagine that! They were suspicious of us!

‘Not often,’ says the short one called Sonny (104375). ‘They play us sometimes, but women don’t show enough initiative. Did Bonny Parker ever rob a bank on her own? No. Have you ever heard of a female prison break? No. They settle in and make friends with the guards and tell them everything hoping to get themselves a little time off for good behaviour.’

‘I once broke out of a county jail with a woman,’ says Mike (106783). ‘We had a fast getaway car filled with gas, fresh plates, a good head-start, some cash, and we were burnin’ it across the flatlands before the sun come up, when she says she’s got to go pee. So I says, I’ll stop the car and you can pee at the side of the road. And she says, no, there might be rattlers out there in the dark, and we have to stop at the next roadside café. So we keep going and she holds out until sixty miles later we come to this 24-hour café where we stop. I order a cup of coffee, but she takes so long I decide, hell, I might as well have breakfast. So we had breakfast and guess what, the cops arrest us in the parking lot. You know what she did? While I was having my coffee, she phoned her mother to tell her not to worry she was safe, and said where we were. That’s women for you.’

‘Hey, take the responsibility and stop bitching about your girlfriend,’ says Betsy. ‘You made the mistakes. First, you should have stopped the car right away and ordered her to get out and either pee or start walking. Second, you’re the one who decided to stop at the café, not taking into account that it’s a daughter’s duty to keep in touch with her mom who’s bound to be worried.’

‘Absolutely!’ I chirped in. ‘Those may not be the sound of wedding bells in the background, but police sirens are totally major for sure.’

‘Be The Man’ says Betsy. ‘Treat your women right and the dancers will dance, the singers will sing. I don’t know about Texas, but that’s how it works in Chermany.’

‘Can’t we cut out the fuckin’ song-and-dance and get on with the game?’ asks Sonny.

‘Just a reminder, Boys,’ says the guard, ‘this is Friday so there’s demerit points for every time you use the F-word. The demerits will be doubled if you use the F-word in front of our guests here.’

‘I hereby officially protest,‘ says Sonny. ‘First: the F-word is not word, because it’s not found in Webster’s Dictionary and it’s not in the Bible, either. Second: this is a clear violation of our right to Freedom of Speech.’

‘What are you, a fuckin’ lawyer?’ asks the guard. ‘The Warden has been clear on the point – it’s one of his ten commandments. Even Charlton Heston hisself can’t change them. So that’s 4 demerits for you, 1-0-4-3-7-5. I am adding blasphemes to the list although it ain’t Sunday yet.’

‘Jesus Christ!’ exclaims Sonny.

‘Two more,’ says Elmer, writing it down.

We had what looked like a shaky result coming out of the box.


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

Maybe Sonny’s criticism about women not showing initiative applies to me. I prefer to bid out my hand and let my partner decide the best contract from her side. So I just bid where my points were and she decided on 3NT. Mike led the 6 won by Betsy with the king. She ran the diamonds, pitching hearts then the K, winning, and a low club losing to the stiff jack, holding herself to 9 tricks. Of course, Sonny had to gloat over the result.

‘See that, Mike: 6NT is cold. I can lead a heart, but you can never get in to cash your winner. I bet Frank and Larry get there.’

Golly! 6NT on 26 HCPs? Are these guys Italians, or what? I thought.

‘I’d like to meet these Larry and Frank,’ says Betsy.

‘Take my word for it, Miss,’ says the guard, ‘you really don’t.’

Later we found out Frank and Larry were in 4, going down on the bad trump split. So my aversion to weak 3-card raises and preference for 3NT were justified yet again. 10 IMPs for the good guys.

Betsy was still fuming when this hand came up soon after. They tell us, there’s no right bid with an 8-card suit, so as usual she went for the max. The lead was the Q followed by 7, to the A, followed by the J.


Betsy ruffed with the A and could count 10 tricks off the top, one short of game. She starts playing off a string of trumps and Sonny’s face gets all red and he starts blowing through his nose, so Betsy catches on that something is up. She stops to think. With nothing to lose and something to gain, she plays off all but one of the trumps to this 4-card ending with 104375 still to play

Dummy (Me)

He throws the 9, so Betsy plays a diamond to the A dropping his K and setting up the Q for her 11th trick. You’d think they would congratulate her on her triple squeeze, but this Sonny character starts whining about his partner’s defence.

‘What knucklehead defence was that!’ he practically screams.

‘Why did you play the 5 on my Q? I thought you had 6 spades.’

‘That wasn’t count that was The Obvious Switch Signal asking for a diamond.’

‘Why a diamond? You’re the knucklehead. Just play bridge.’

‘Whoa,’ intervenes Elmer. ‘Boys, the game is cold after any spade lead. Tighten up your inner defences and stop acting like assholes in front of these nice, young ladies. Pardon my language, Ladies. Remember without discipline and teamwork, we can’t ever hope to beat them Okees.’

It turns out this Sonny is a bit of a blank cartridge, and after some more good results I tried to lighten the atmosphere. ‘What do you guys do for fun when you’re not playing bridge?’ I ask.

‘I play backgammon with Billy Crapshoot who is teachin’ me the finer points,’ says Sonny sourly. “I’ve got 5 years left to break even.’

“And at the rate he’s losing money, to pay it back we’ll have to rob a big bank as soon as we gets released,’ adds his pal.

‘Is there any weed around these parts?’ asks Betsy sweetly.

‘There’s ragweed galore in the desert,’ Sonny informs us, ‘if you can get to it.’

‘Do you smoke it or chew it?’ inquires Betsy hopefully.

‘Stay away from ragweed, as it really f-f-f-f-messes up your brain. The wetbacks use it a lot,’ says Mike.

‘They get high even on cactus juice, but Mexico has never won anything in their whole history, so who needs it?’ says Sonny dismissively.

‘They won the Battle of the Alamo, I believe,’ Betsy reminds them.

Well, that pretty well wore out our welcome and even Elmer finally got hostile. So they cut it short and as punishment we never got the tour of the execution facilities, thank God for that. I enclose a Polaroid snapshot of Betsy and me and the rest of the team in front of the Sam Houston memorial.


I really miss you, and I hope there is one of your letters, or two or three, in my postal box when I get back to New York next week.

LYFH (Love, Your Friend, Heidi)

PS We won! It wasn’t even close. As Daddy says, the smart ones don’t get caught and the rich ones don’t get convicted! (He’s joking, I think.)

by Bob Mackinnon at October 06, 2017 01:15 PM

October 05, 2017

Peg Kaplan

This Amazing Game



As I mentioned to the Carleton College students, bridge is the most amazing game. And yet - so are its people and our connections throughout the world!

Changlan Wang, one of the Carleton Bridge Club members, appears above from Saturday's gathering. When we met, she asked me:  "Do you know Dunga Liu?"

I did!





Here is Dunga, playing at the most recent NABC in Toronto, and competing in the prestigious Reisinger 2014. When I wrote to Dunga through Facebook, he told me that Changlan was a student of his, and a "very smart and talented player".

I ask you this. What other activity could connect two young people from China with "a fossil" (as Hamman likes to call me!) from Minnesota?!

Only the greatest game:  bridge!


by Peg at October 05, 2017 12:01 PM

October 04, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Bridge at Carleton College



Forty something years ago, your webmaster (Peg!) contracted mononucleosis ... And my life's trajectory changed.

Harvey Friedman, friend and world renown mathematician, taught me "honeymoon bridge" while I was stuck at my U of Wisconsin apartment. Once recovered, I "graduated" to our student union and the math department lounge - back in the day when plenty of people learned our great game while in college. And from there, well...  Bridge became my passion and an integral part of my life.




Many of us in 2017 bemoan that far fewer young people are learning our game than in the past. Yet - particularly in Minnesota - various people and schools are doing their best to introduce students to our game! 


Alexander Frieden, Carleton Bridge Club President


You know about Honors Dean Matthew Bribitzer-Stull and his efforts, along with other bridge playing professors, to educate a new generation at the U of MN. Now, at Carleton College, student and bridge player Alexander Frieden is working with others to promote bridge and a bridge club at Carleton!


Sophia Maymudes, Carleton Bridge Club Vice President


Last Saturday, after an invite I was honored to receive from Alexander, I headed to Northfield to join bridge club participants. For the first hour, I kibitzed and offered commentary as some of the more experienced students - Alexander, Sophia Maymudes, Jackson Wahl, Thomas Scruggs and Changlan Wang - played.




Then, it was my pleasure to address all the bridge club students in attendance. Because I wasn't certain of their levels of knowledge, Alexander and I had judged it best for me to share thoughts about the game itself, along with stories (fun AND tragic) that happened in Real Life. Along the way, I continually highlighted how bridge is the world's greatest mind game - and - that the people who enjoy it are equally as wonderful!

After that, I enjoyed playing some hands with students, again offering opinions and advice with each hand. Then, of course, I had to take some photos!




The students were most appreciative that I'd driven down to spend a few hours with them. Truly, though, I was the one filled with gratitude. To see students having fun, playing and discussing hands, laughing and looking quizzical - depending upon the hand and the moment - gave me joy.




A big shout out to Alexander, Matthew - and the many other teachers and players who are helping a new generation of bridge players join our ranks!

Also - huge thanks and recognition to two very special people. First, Patty Tucker, bridge teacher ten star extraordinare and fine player, who sent the Carleton students a number of her study booklets.

Additionally, deep gratitude to TGBH (otherwise know as The Great Bob Hamman). Bob is shipping hand signed copies of his world class bridge book, "At the Table" to Carleton students! If you are going to learn, then why not from the best!?

More photos from my exciting day at Carleton College's Bridge Club below!








by Peg at October 04, 2017 11:44 PM

October 03, 2017

Paul Gipson

Premier League weekend two

The second weekend of the Premier League was played at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club in London. It's been a very long time since I played at the YC, perhaps twenty years, and their new premises are in a basement in Shepherd's Bush. Unlike their old smoke-filled basement in Earl's Court, this is a well-lit and spacious playing area.

Sarah was playing with Graeme Robertson but there was no change as, once again, we won our first three matches, albeit not the crushing wins this time. In our final match on Saturday we played the U26 Junior team, who were having a good day, and this continued as they beat us by 20-48 IMP.

On Sunday we played Igoe, who were in second place. We lost to them for a second time, so they leapt above us in the table, but it was a closer match this time at 27-38 IMP.  The match featured a lot of slam hands:

Alex did well to lead a spade so we won 12 IMP when Graeme and Sarah played safely in five clubs. I should probably take insurance and bid six hearts.

Two boards later:

I spent some time considering my lead but eventually led the ace of hearts because they could easily be missing two aces on this auction (and I only had four hearts and dummy would have fewer than four). This did not make it difficult for declarer and he made all the tricks when he found the queen of diamonds. A well bid slam, matched by our team mates.

Two boards later:

An excellent auction by our opponents and I expect our team mates were similarly successful. Half the field bid a grand slam on this board and one pair played in a cue bid, so our match was the only one that handled this board correctly.

Of course we only had to wait another two boards:

I don't know the odds of making slam, but you need to pick up the trumps for one loser and find some other good news, like clubs 3-2 or favourable hearts. I passed four spades because Alex would not have serious slam intentions (he would relay rather than bid three hearts) and he did not bid a Last Train four hearts. So I think we bid it quite well, but losing thirteen imps was our reward. The slam was only bid twice, making both times.

Naturally, in another two boards:

Even Deep Finesse can only make eleven tricks and it can see the heart position so this went two down as our opponent could not. Our team mates matched this result as did three of the remaining six tables. Six clubs made with the heart finesse working, but I expect most Wests showed a strong balanced hand and finding clubs now is pretty difficult.

We won our penultimate match and then faced the Junior U16 team. They'd just won their first match by beating the Junior U26 team and they continued to play with skill and luck against us. Alex and I had a dreadful set against Jasmine and Henry, getting every decision possible wrong. We still won the match by 14 IMP, but this was their second best result of the event.

But we finished the second weekend at the top of the table, with the same small lead over Igoe but with Gross 15VP behind us in third place. All to play for in the final weekend in a month's time.

All the results can be seen on the EBU website.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at October 03, 2017 09:13 PM

October 01, 2017

Peg Kaplan

North American Pairs 2017-2018 - District 14 Finals - October 7-8



North American Pairs, gives players the opportunity to aim at being a District 14 representative in Philadelphia at the Spring 2018 NABC - enjoying great competition with other ACBL representatives 


District Finals will be at the Edina Senior Center in Edina, MN Oct. 7-8, 2017 - Six days from today!

 Minnesota Players who have qualified - do not miss out! The NAP Finals are in our own backyard - take advantage of this great opportunity!

Your chances of winning money to help pay for your trip to the national NAP in March 2018 in Philadelphia have been improved, courtesy of District 14. 

There will 11 winning pairs representing District 14 at the spring NABC in Philadelphia.

  •     1st Place winners receive $700 each ($1400 for the pair) plus paid entry fees at the NABC
  •     2nd Place winners receive $500 each ($1000 for the pair) plus paid entry fees at the NABC
  •     3rd Place winners receive $350 each ($700 for the pair) plus paid entry fees at the NABC
  •      4th Place winners (Division B & C only) receive $350 each ($700 for the pair) plus paid entry fees        at the NABC

You only compete against others in your division:  A, B, or C. 

Gold and red points will be awarded at the District Final tournament.

Division A:  Unlimited master points, 1st-3rd place winners

Division B:  Under 2500 master points, 1st-4th place winners

Division B:  Under 500 master points & non-life master, 1st-4th place winners

The flyer for the District Finals, the Conditions of Contest, and an NAP fact sheet are below.

Download DistanceNAP2017flyer-1

Download District14NAPCOC

Download NAPFactSheet 

by Peg at October 01, 2017 10:28 PM

Eamon Galligan

Ireland Premier Pairs 2017

Next weekend we hold the Ireland Invitational Premier Pairs event in the Regent Bridge Club at 25 Waterloo Road Dublin 6. 12 of Irelands top pairs have been invited to play in this prestigious event.
The event is  sponsored and organised  by Jim Cahill and Ann Tuite respectively.


Check the above link for vugraph and playing times thru the weekend.

Mark Moran & John Carroll
Tom Hanlon & Hugh McGann   
Adam Mesbur & Nick FitzGibbon
Eddie Fitzgerald & Michael McDonagh
Peter Goodman & Mike Pownell
BJ  O'Brien & Terry Walsh
Wojciech Gorczyca & Marcin Rudzinski
Donal Garvey & Pat Quinn
Ciaran Coyne & Donal MacAonghusa
Rex Anderson & David Greenwood
Gay Keaveney &Cian Holland
Karel de Raeymaeker & Kelan O'Connor 

Above the list of players ...All of them quite good at bridge. 

We plan to vugraph 2 tables to the outside world and will run a vugraph
room downstairs in the Regent. All are welcome to attend and watch.

Friday October 6th 2017 .. 

12:00-13:30Session 1 of 11 (2 tables)  12 boards 
14:00-16:00Session 2 of 11 (2 tables)  16 boards 
16:15-18:15Session 3 of 11 (2 tables)  16 boards
19:30-22:00Session 4 of 11 (2 tables)
  20 boards

Scoring is matchpoints throughout. 

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at October 01, 2017 04:01 PM

September 27, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Happy Birthday, Kim!



Bridge is THE greatest mind game ever! And - it is also about our wonderful community of people!

Yesterday was director AND competitor Kim Hayward's birthday - Happy Birthday, Kim!

Kim was able to celebrate in St. Paul by both directing and playing.  Congrats to Kim and her partner for earning 1.77 silver points!

AND...... how about this yummy and beautiful cake?  



Here's to our game and appreciating our great members, too!



by Peg at September 27, 2017 12:47 PM

September 26, 2017

Mike Yuen

My Partners

Canada’s Top Players.

Some time ago Andy Stark emailed me that he is writing an article on the top players of Canada. Would like me to contribute I thought it is an over bid, who can we say is the best player when on any given tournament one gets beat up by the most unlikely opponents! I immediately dismissed it out of hand.

But then yesterday Andy challenged me on Facebook to write something. How can I live it down if I turn and run. How can I ever show myself on Facebook again!

I only play with partners that I enjoy going to dinner with so they may not be household names they are my friends. 

So here is my take on the Top Players in my British Columbia world, in alphabetical order : 

Brad Bart : The rising star of his generation just won the 2017 CNTC in Winnipeg. Great partner, Good looker and prolific writer. If you ever need someone to work on your website he is the guy.

Brad Bart

Guy Coutanche : Hails from Thunder Bay, winters in Victoria. Beside playing a mean game of Bridge he is also a Chess Master and Poet. Enjoys the finer things in life: his heart was broken when they closed the Bengal Lounge at The Empress. The only place on the island that knows how to make a perfect Martini. Writes for The Bridge World when the spirits moves him.

Brian Fraser, Keith Dowdall, Guy Coutanche.


Keith Dowdall : Winters in Victoria, summers in Sioux Narrows. Victoria BC is on a small island-nowhere is more then 10 minutes away-but without his GPS he is lost! He was one of my first Bridge partners from Winnipeg. For some reason he named his first born Michael. Keith is also the reigning Pickleball Champion of Sannich BC and has a Black belt in Karate.

Les Fouks : One of the fastest player in Vancouver, that may not be a good thing as he oftentimes claim for the defence. Les and I did well in a few Blue Ribbon events together in past years. 

Les Fouks

Brian Fraser : Transplanted Montrealer when he could not stand the cold, pun intended. Loves to play seven days a week if possible. Was an accountant but don’t depend on him to keep score. Lives like a King at the Wellesley.

June Keith (Pocock) : We had a great partnership till she changed her name. Can I buy a vowel? June has her ways with words. Still nursing and not able to play as often as she would like. Has a big bridge following in town. She once went to the island to play money duplicate rubber bridge. You guessed it, after winning lots of money was told never to come back!

June Keith (Pocock)

Joel Martineau : Retired from teaching at UBC so he could teach bridge instead. Very involved with Vancouver International Film Festival. A good cook and wine connoisseur. Master Point Press will publish his “Hand of the Week: 52 Bridge Tales” in January 2018. 

Joel Martineau


Cary Salmi : A early riser from years of working at Bombardier in Thunder Bay. Another that saw the light and moved to Victoria. Strict and narrow guy-if you need an IMP player he is your man. Lately he is not the one on the team to take the drug test.

Kieth with Cary Salmi


Julie Smith : One of the wiser Americans that found paradise in Vancouver. We played three events and won them all. I should have stopped but the fourth was fun. Julie was a special needs teacher who now especially needs to teach bridge and very successful at that. At the recent Toronto Summer NABC Julie and Susan Humphries won the Wagar Women’s Pairs.

Julie Smith

Nickolas Stock : Another teacher in the group, just retired this year. Formerly a software guy. Recently taken on the thankless job of being Unit 430 Bulletin editor. Carried me to Reno for the NAP. Great and thoughtful player but sometimes I can make a three-minute egg faster then him calling for his first card. 

Nick Stock

by Mike Yuen at September 26, 2017 07:24 PM

David Smith

Bridge not succesful

Above: The Metro Toronto Convention Centre is the venue for the North American Bridge Championships. This is the view from the south.

My two teams played in the Senior Swiss and the Mixed Board-a-Match. We advanced to day 2 in the Seniors, but lost our seventh- and eighth-round matches to fall just out of the overalls. Our BAM just missed qualifying for day 2. I also played in the Online Individual and placed 240th, oh well.

My touring has been more successful. I went to Niagara Falls last Saturday and rode one of the hop-on/hop-off double-decker buses on Sunday, both of which were fun. Today I went to a Blue Jays' baseball game (vs. the Angels). Not sure what I'm doing tomorrow and then Monday I'm heading home.

Above: The Rogers Centre used to be called the SkyDome.

Above: The iconic CN Tower can be seen from anywhere in Toronto, even inside the Rogers Center.

Above: Note the reflection of the CN Tower on this handsome office building.

Above: The American Falls is on the left and the more famous Horseshoe Falls is on the right. Together they (with smaller Bridal Veil Falls in the middle) make up Niagara Falls. Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (see here).

Above: This shot of the Horseshoe Falls portion of Niagara Falls was taken from above. I'd hate to slip and fall in. I'd be swept over the edge and end up like my bridge was.

by Memphis MOJO (noreply@blogger.com) at September 26, 2017 03:39 PM

Judy Kay-Wolff

From the A C B L

Today, I (and as I understand .. all ACBL members via the Internet) received a list called ‘10 BIG IDEAS’ expressing ways to promote the game and suggestions how to reach that goal via their promotion. Bobby and I have already received a few emails and reactions. If it has reached you (and you've had an opportunity to absorb it), please share your views with me before I give you my ‘take’ on the subject.

by Judy Kay-Wolff at September 26, 2017 12:35 AM

September 22, 2017

Peg Kaplan

IMP Competition!



Many world class players believe that team play (IMP scoring) is the finest test of a player's mettle. 

Unfortunately, however, too many places in ACBL-land today have few to no team play left.

The MGSC Club would like to change that trajectory!

Mike Cassel (the fellow reaching for a board during the Spingold at this summer's NABC - one of the most impressive team games around) has worked to set up an excellent opportunity for Flight B and C players to learn and enjoy IMP competition.

The details are below; please consider taking advantage of these IMP games!

Download MGSCIMPLeagueovertureblog

by Peg at September 22, 2017 02:13 AM

September 21, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Gold in EVERY Way!



Some people in our bridge community are excellent players. Some are devoted volunteers. Others are great friends to many.

Patti Stuhlman is all of the above!

Our District 14 Director, Sharon Anderson, sent congratulations to Patti upon reaching Gold Life Master status. A fine achievement, and one to add to Patti's long history of accomplishment at the table and in virtually every aspect of bridge in Minnesota. Patti has long been following in the path of her mom, Nelsine, who masterfully managed our Gopher Regionals and other tournaments for decades. Yet Patti also excels at the table. In 2004, Patti's team placed 2nd in ACBL's Grand National Teams Flight B!

We are so fortunate to have Patti in our bridge world. Congrats, Patti - and - thank you for sharing your bridge history with us - along with all the rest of your talents!


Thanks Sharon for the note of congratulations for becoming a Gold Life Master. 

I have so many people to thank for my bridge achievements.  First, my mom – she got me the job of caddying at tournaments when I was 13.  I worked for Reine Sewald, Dorothy Buchanan and my mom at Regionals and Sectionals and knew wonderful Directors:  Dale Egholm, Paul Stahley, Phil Woods, Chris Patrias, Mike Flader and Peter Wilke to name but a few.  

I really didn’t start playing until I was in college.  I saw too many bridge “bums” who didn’t finish college because they were in Coffman Union playing bridge. I read:  Five Weeks to Winning Bridge by Alfred Sheinwold and Play of the Hand by Louis Watson.  Joyce Dodson (Miller Anderson) took me under her wing and encouraged me. Howard Weinstein gave me many of his books when he moved to Chicago. 

I played with Kerry Holloway, Joyce, Cindy Balderson, Dave Skillingstad, Tom Holzer, Jonathan Cohen, Mark Krusemeyer, and lately, Scott Hiller, Sharon Anderson, Sharon Christenson, Glenna Shannahan and now my mom, Nelsine Christensen.  I have so many great memories of bridge tournaments and going to Nationals with Mark, Jonathan and Charlie Nauen. 

It’s a great game and I have wonderful lifelong friendships as a result of playing bridge.


by Peg at September 21, 2017 03:19 AM

September 19, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Rochester 0-500 NLM Tournament Results



Just about all bridge players enjoy competing in tournaments and earning masterpoints. Non-Life Masters are no exception!

Here are the results from the September 16th two session tournament in Rochester. Remember that one day, some of these competitors will no longer be eligible for this fun event!  But - they will graduate to others!

Our thanks to Director and Tournament Chair, Dr Donna Lombardini, guest speaker Jade Barrett and partnership chair John Ryder.

Well done, all!

by Peg at September 19, 2017 11:57 PM

September 18, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

Fabulous Las Vegas Glitter Gulch October Sectional — Coming Soon!

We are delighted to return to the
(1 South Main Street)
Downtown Las Vegas, NV 89101
702-386-2110 800-634-6575

10 a. m. and 3 p. m. daily.

$39.00 PER NIGHT (PLUS $18 RESORT FEE AND TAX) (Includes free parking for hotel guests)

Plaza Attendees at the last Sectional will be pleased to know the site is even more enjoyable .. with new carpeting and improved lighting .. and as before .. the restrooms are quite close to the playing room. Easy access to site by elevator.

Great attractions are the multi-game casino PLUS TEN convenient ON SITE EATERIES at very affordable prices. Specifically…

Hash A Go Go Beer Garden Pop Up Pizza Omaha Bar
Race & Sports Book Bar Zabba’s Mexican Grill Cafe Latte Sunday’s

AND… if you are in the mood for a relaxing luxurious dinner, you won’t want to miss one of Las Vegas’s top dining spots! Make a reservation at OSCAR’S STEAK HOUSE.


TOURNAMENT CHAIR: ANGIE CLARK (angieclark@comcast.net) (847-764-1060)
PARTNERSHIP: GARY McGOUGH (garymccgough@hotmail.com (702-741-9044)

The link to the Las Vegas Website for the sectional is:

by Judy Kay-Wolff at September 18, 2017 09:08 PM

September 17, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Minneapolis Grand Slam Club - 2017-2018 Season



MGSC President David Neiman, helping with treats at last May's season end party, invites long time members and new players to the Minneapolis Grand Slam Club 2017-2018 year!  Details from David below!

How quickly the summer has flown by! Kids are back in school, Labor Day is here, and the State Fair is in full stride.  That means that September is coming up quick, and with it, the return of the Minneapolis Grand Slam Bridge Club. 
This is just a quick note to let you know that our first game of the season will be Friday, September 8th at 7:15pm at the Edina Senior Center.
More information and an updated web page coming soon.
See you at the table!
Oh, if you would like to bring treats to our first bridge night, that would be awesome!  Just let me know by email.  Thanks!
David Neiman
MGSC President 2017-2018

by Peg at September 17, 2017 01:30 AM

September 15, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Jon Weinberg - 1934-2017



With great sadness, our community has lost another of our long time members. Dr. Jon Weinberg passed away on Tuesday, September 12th. We remember Jon competing with and against friends for many years, in addition to having a distinguished career and fine family.

Jon's son, Scott Weinberg, kindly sent us an obituary about his father. You can read the remembrance below, along with information about an upcoming Celebration of Life for Jon, and memorial donations.




Scott also shared the photo of his dad above, as he and Jon enjoyed a Twins game.

Our condolences to Scott and all the rest of Jon's family. And we will miss seeing Jon at the table.

Dr. Jon R. Weinberg


Age 83, of Minneapolis, MN and Scottsdale, AZ, died on September 12, 2017. Born in Cleveland, OH on April 15, 1934. Preceded in death by parents Alice and Larry, brother Robert. He earned a B.A. Degree from Oberlin College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Moving to the Twin Cities in 1958, he considered himself a Minnesotan ever after.

In his career as a Clinical Psychologist, he combined private practice with public service. He worked at mental health centers in Rochester and St. Paul, serving as director at the latter. From 1970 until retirement in 1997, he was with Hennepin County's Chemical Health Program. He served as a Clinical Professor in the department of Medical School Psychology at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Weinberg was an author of publications aimed at educating professionals about alcohol and drug issues, which appeared in medical, legal, and social work journals. He authored self-help booklets for recovering people and their families. He served as editor and chief writer for the quarterly publication of the Minnesota Association for Chemical Health, for which he also served as president.

He received awards for his 25 years of work as a volunteer for the Walk In Counseling Center. As a volunteer for Robbinsdale School District #281, he tutored English language learners. Jon was a member of the Twin Cities Oberlin Alumni Club and served as president.

Jon greatly enjoyed a wide variety of music, from pop to rock (Beatles, Bruce, R.E.M.); traditional Irish and much more. His clear favorite, however, which he fell in love with at first sound in 1955, was the great classical instrumental music of north India. He acquired a tabla (drums) in 1958, finally getting proper lessons in 1972. He was privileged to know the late Sitar Master, Ravi Shankar, for 50 years.

He loved theater, and acted in community theaters for 25 years. Of 30 roles, several won acting awards and positive reviews. He most treasured the role of George in “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Jon was a duplicate bridge master; tournament bridge was his passion. He was successful, winning 3000 ACBL Master Points, of which 1,000 were gold. 

As an avid admirer of art, he acquired an extensive collection: paintings, prints, and fine arts and crafts in clay, wood, glass, metal, and photography. The great majority of all these works were purchased directly from the artist, many of whom became his friends.

Jon was a whiz at table tennis and bicycling until mobility issues after age 80 forced curtailment.  He will be remembered by many for his humor. His dry wit produced endless streams of spontaneous wordplay, puns and facetious remarks, all delivered deadpan.

Married for 30 years to Barbara McKernan. Also survived by sister, Carol Small, of Cleveland, OH; children Scott and Elise Weinberg; stepchildren Julie Meyer (Tony) and David Meyer (Jill); beloved grandchildren Rashaun Kartak, Matthew and Anna Thal, and Hannah and Andrew Meyer; nieces and nephews.

Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, September 22, 2017 from 10 am to 1 pm at the Cremation Society of Minnesota. Located at 7110 France Ave S, Edina, MN. Memorials preferred to: Second Harvest Heartland Foodshelf, Planned Parenthood, or donor's choice.

by Peg at September 15, 2017 09:05 PM

September 14, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Rochester Chat Bridge in the News!



We know that Minnesota is the happiest state in the nation

Is it our love of bridge that contributes to that?!

Great article about Chat Bridge in Rochester - and how players there feel about our game!

(Thanks to Greg Caucutt for the article!)

by Peg at September 14, 2017 01:30 AM

September 13, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Youth WILL Be Served!



Last Friday was the first night of play for the 2017-2018 season of the Minneapolis Grand Slam Club. Lots of "regulars" came out to compete.

Of course, great to see familiar faces and long time competitors at the MGSC. Yet also a great treat to see some new - and younger - faces, too!

Sean McNally and Morgan Johnstone, students who participated at Dean Matthew Bribitzer-Stull's Honors Bridge class last semester, were in attendance, battling away. From the look of their broad smiles above, it appears they had a fine time!  We sure hope that they - and others - return throughout the season.

Check out the MGSC's web page. This coming Friday is "Win-An-Entry." Perhaps it shall be YOU!

by Peg at September 13, 2017 12:14 AM

September 10, 2017

Paul Gipson

Premier League weekend one

The Premier League is one of the few English events that Alex and I play in and it is one of our favourites. Our team from last year disintegrated without rancour and we teamed up with Sarah Bell and Simon Creasey. It then transpired that the EBU had chosen the only two weekends in the year when Simon could not play, so we added Alex Roberts and Graeme Robertson to the squad.

As we had not maintained team continuity and a lot of teams entered, we were at the mercy of the Selection Committee with respect to where we played. When you look at the teams in the Second Division I can understand why we were put in the Third and we'll just have to try and prove them wrong - as I expect three or four teams in the division also feel.

For this first weekend Sarah was playing with Alex Roberts. Our team started really well with four big wins on the first day, dropping only 5VP. The second day was less good as we had two big defeats and one big win, so we finished the first weekend leading the division by 3VP. But it's only a start as there are two more weekends to come.

There were only two game swings in the first match but we won 51-8 as we got all the part score swings.

Your lead?

Good technique was rewarded on the following game:

You may not like the auction but how would you play this on the lead of a small club?

Our opponents did well on one of the wilder hands of the weekend in match 6.

We took our three tricks for the par score of +800, but of course some were allowed to play in a black suit slam and a few played quietly in game.

There were quite a few other interesting hands: one in the first match where the auction, defence, and declarer play are just not suitable for public viewing or dissection; the hand where it was easier to play in the small slam than at the five-level; and the hand where Alex and I tried to doubled two clubs for penalty when our teammates were undoubled trying to make five clubs, played well to only go two down :).

We get a weekend off and then we'll be back in business, playing in London again which is convenient, even for me. Full results on the EBU website.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at September 10, 2017 09:50 PM

September 05, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

Where Is the Elegance of High Level Bridge Going?

Pardon my direct and somewhat crude response .. but as it appears obvious to me .. into the crapper. Before I elaborate on my sad reaction, let us examine the following truths:

There are many contributing factors.

Obviously, one of the reasons (despite increasing longevity) is .. there has been little effort to replace the disappearance act (ala death), by failure to go all-out to get bridge into Zone 2 schools as exists in eleven European nations (and more so in Asia) where shockingly 200,000,000 children are learning bridge as I write .. with plaudits from children, parents and faculty! Look on line in our recent ACBL re Toronto at the successes especially in China where the eyes on the winning faces of the juniors say it all!

Before I progress to the next factor (IMO) .. let me preface my thinking by reiterating my non-debatable view that no doubt the greatest modern ingenious contribution into the realm of bridge was the introduction of BBO to bring this geographically huge bridge universe together. I can think of ‘no close second.’ I repeat .. no close second!/p>

However, with the introduction, initial appreciation, recognition and applause of the robot system .. it may/will have a devastating effect on the future of serious high level bridge. Normal on-line bridge serves as a sensational venue for people practicing with partners either for sociability or to pass the time of day. Admittedly, the robot system solves the problems of recruiting one, two or three to complete a table and afford enjoyment to those who want to play for fun but has little to do with enhancement of the learning process and preserving the high level game. No denying .. it does offer huge joy and strong satisfaction to many.

I am focusing on the continuance of the high level game and my realistic fear and trepidation that the majesty of the world’s most mind challenging game will fade away into nothingness! Can you blame me? Playing bridge for pure fun is marvelous. On the other hand, our top administration (the ACBL) should turn their minds and objectives toward preserving high level bridge rather than zeroing in on flooding the market with meaningless master points and robot tournaments!

Just one candid old fashioned woman’s disappointment stemming from her introduction in the 1960s to the regal, exciting, mind-boggling, challenging experiences of watching America’s greatest .. despite their being subjected to the cheating ploys of others recently exposed over half a decade later. My regrets to serious future bridge enthusiasts!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at September 05, 2017 08:32 PM

Peg Kaplan

Fifty Years of Bridge - and Friendship


Pretty much most of us play bridge because of the game itself. Fascinating, intriguing, never-able-to-be-mastered, confounding ... All that and more is why we play.

Yet, the game itself is not the only reason we keep on returning - year after year - decade after decade!

It's the friendships and the partnerships that we develop.  And sometimes - for half a century!

Bill Voedisch tells his own personal tale of partnership and bridge. Thanks so much, Bill!


image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-09-05/e478f5ab-4753-4efe-915c-f298339c112a.png
Bill and Denny


“Bridge with Denny” …  A 50-Year Partnership


I played my first hand of bridge with Denny Cerkvenik in the summer of 1967.  We were newly hired computer programmers at Cargill in Mpls, and it started with just a casual lunchtime game with Denny and I paired against two other programmers.  Although we had all played the game for a few years, we knew one thing; there must be way more to bridge than the game we were playing.

Our first duplicate game

Denny and I played our first duplicate game in the fall of ‘67 in the Minneapolis Industrial League.  I recall two teams from Honeywell, one featuring Stoop Chamberlain.  By 1968 two partnerships were forming; Denny began playing with college friend Arnie Ullevig as I formed a partnership with Kurt Dahl of Cargill.  But we would also mix the partnerships up, and starting in ’68, Denny and I would occasionally try the Bridge Studio on Nicollet in Mpls.

We formed a team … Denny and Arnie, Kurt and I … for the first Swiss event ever played in Minnesota, held at the Calhoun Beach Hotel as I recall, in the fall of 1968.  We were ecstatic to finish 5-3 in this open event, holding about 10 total master points among us.  I remember the chaos of the event, perhaps only a person or two in the room who knew how to organize the thing, trying to explain IMP scoring to the uninformed mob.  In talking to Ron DeHarpporte and Larry Oakey this past year, both confirmed they were there. 

The early players 

Some of the players and pairs of the day:  Dorothy Kanter and Hugh McLean, David Clarren and Newt Dochman, Morrie Freier and Ethyl Dayboch, Essie Mersky with Larry Oakey or Arlene Hill, Jack Rhatigan with two Mike’s ... Myers or Hoffman, Beulah Schockett and Margarite Grue, Irv and Roz Steinfeldt, the “Rangers” (Dave Lehman and Dick Melson, Howie Weinstein and Steve Garner), Dave Nicklasson with Jim Leary or Chuck Stegeman, C. Milton Shefchek and Dorene King, Jon Voedisch and Terry Beckman, John Larson and Gary Krook, Ron and Joyce DeHarpporte, and Jim Hall who paired with many top players..  You knew John Larson was in the room if you pulled Braille cards out of the board.           

In the early 70’s we added Roger Heimke and Jim Sundlin as Dahl moved out of state.  We hired Howie Weinstein to teach us the Montreal Relay system.  We all adopted that system allowing us to interchange pairings.  As a team we were known as “the Polish Army,” a tag given to us by Oakey.  While Denny and Arnie dabbled in Precision, Denny and I stuck to “Standard Howie.”  We would travel to a few local tournaments and one National, Chicago in ’72, which is an insane story on its own. 

Along the way we earned enough points for Life Master, Denny in ’78, me in ’80.  In those days our gold points often came playing against the top players, who we would beat occasionally.  Over time Arnie moved West, Roger moved South and Sundlin sort of vanished.  Denny and I continued to play but in the early ‘80’s I pulled away from the game and played very little as Denny continued to play with others.  My occasional games were with Denny.

Sometime in the ‘90’s he said I needed to get serious and start playing more, and we did.  I am grateful to this day for his prodding.

Neither of us has ever been a frequent player.  Family and other priorities were a factor for both of us. We don’t travel to tournaments or go to Nationals unless we are there representing District 14 in the NAP or GNT, something we have been proud to do seven times.  Our biggest wins were five District Championships in those “grass roots” events.  Alas, our best finishes at the national finals were 6th in the NAP and 5-8 in the GNT. 

If you get a chance to play with Denny, count yourself fortunate.  An excellent and steady player, his decorum at the table is exceptional.  Never critical of partner or opponent, and hands are discussed away from the table.  Sometimes his golf shirts are so loud they blind me, but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

So thank you Denny, for a half century of modest success yet total enjoyment at the bridge table.

Bill Voedisch

Marine, MN

by Peg at September 05, 2017 04:24 PM

September 04, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Paul Bunyan Tournament - Sept 8-10


The Paul Bunyan Sectional starts this coming Friday! Kick off the beginnings of fall with a beautiful drive to Duluth and then great bridge!

The schedule is here.

Enjoy Minnesota's autumn beauty with your favorite partners and teammates!

by Peg at September 04, 2017 03:33 PM

September 03, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Minnesota's Newest Diamond Life Master: Greg Caucutt!


image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-09-02/384393e7-d81f-42be-83b5-71d7b134d8ac.png
Long time partner Genny Rice and Greg Caucutt

Minnesota is proud to announce a new title for a fine player.  Rochester's Greg Caucutt just earned Diamond Life Master designation!

Greg's happy entry to Diamond Life Master status (5000 masterpoints) happened at an August club game. Genny Rice, Greg's long time partner, aided and abetted Greg achieving the necessary points. 

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-09-02/00d91506-2357-4696-84e7-80bc8b808328.png
Party goers celebrate Greg's new title!


To celebrate the achievement, the Rochester Club threw a happy hour following the August 30th game.

For many years, Greg has been a mainstay of the Rochester Duplicate Bridge Club. Teacher, mini-lesson presenter, lead director, dealer, partner - and friend to many, including Sue Greenberg.  (Sue kindly sent us all this information about Greg's exciting news!)

Greg is always willing to help, advise and encourage players in the Rochester Club. And at the table himself? A winner! Greg's competitive spirit and technical skills, combined with fine teammates Carol Cummings, Pat Burrows and Dave Hoffman all contributed to a big win with the Jim Hall Knockout at the 2016 Gopher Regional.

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-09-02/1871dff8-32f9-4903-8d95-b64127194301.png
Greg and Layne Vinje, Rochester President

We all applaud Greg, Diamond Life Master - and send him big thanks for his many contributions to bridge in Minnesota!


by Peg at September 03, 2017 12:35 AM

August 27, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Bermuda Bowl 2017

Bermuda bowl winners


Six year ago, Joe Grue and team qualified to play in the Bermuda Bowl as USA2. His team did not win the title then. But, in 2017, after 2 weeks of competition against top teams from around the world, Joe Grue and partner Brad Moss, Marty Fleisher, Chip Martel, Michael Rosenberg, Jacek Pszczola ("Pepsi") and Captain Jan Martel did win the highly prestigious Bermuda Bowl!

In a terrifically tough and hard fought battle against an exceptionally strong French team, scores seesawed back and forth through the 2 and a half day finals. Joe and Brad might have thought the title was out of reach when they bid to a grand slam in spades that failed by one.

Yet, their lead was enough that when the final tally was in, USA2 was the victor by two IMPS!


Bermuda bowl winners 2


Joe grew up in the Twin Cities and began playing bridge here. Under the tutelage of his talented grandmother, Marguerite Grue and parents Tom and Sue Grue, along with mentors such as Jerry Lee, Kerry Holloway and Larry Oakey, Joe swiftly learned the game. Rapidly, Joe progressed from new player to a clearly most naturally talented and successful competitor - and then top level professional.

Though Joe has not lived in Minnesota for some time, I know that we here still consider him "Minnesota's shining star"! 

Congratulations to you, Joe, your partner Brad, your other teammates, Captain Jan for a fabulous victory. And our sympathies to the superb French team. Such a thrilling and close battle, many commented at Bridgewinners and on social media that it was unfortunate that only one team could win. A battle of titans, and we are thrilled that USA2 was victorious!


by Peg at August 27, 2017 11:59 PM

August 23, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Bermuda Bowl in progress in Lyon France

Meanwhile out in France the various World Bridge championships are in progress. Ireland has no teams qualified for this prestigious event. In order to qualify a team has to be in the top 6 or 7 countries in Europe and that is beyond Ireland at the moment. It was also beyond England and Poland so that's how tough it is.
However despite not being present at this fantastic event I took the opportunity to take on the Worlds best by downloading the BBO files for Match 1 of the event. BBO provides vugraph coverage so I was able to download files from 8 matches across Ladies Open and Senior.
I joined the 8 files together giving me about 8 replays of each board. I then used Jack bridge program to make an imps pairs tourney and sat down to play with my Bessie partner Jack.
16 boards later after a bright start I lost heavily on 2 boards and ended up on minus 5 imps.
This is not so bad as the legendary Eric Rodwell and Jeff Meckstroth were 2 imps behind me.
Brown and Brock the great English ladies pair were on plus 6 imps thus 11 imps ahead of me.

Other software programs can also be used to do the same job as far as I know.
Meanwhile there is also 

Finally if you go on 
you will find links to the World Bridge Championships pages and bulletins.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at August 23, 2017 12:01 PM

August 20, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Gopher 2018 News!


The Minnesota Gopher Regional has a new location in Bloomington
near the Mall of America and Airport!
Crowne Plaza AIRE
3 Appletree Square (I-494 and 34th Ave)
Room Rate:  $95 Sgl/Dbl 
$125 Suite
For reservations call 952-854-9000 ask for the MN Gopher Regional Bridge Tournament rates
Team Games, Pair Games, Gold Rush, Intermediate/Newcomer Games every day!
Join the fun at the MN Gopher Regional!

by Peg at August 20, 2017 09:02 PM

Eamon Galligan

Bray Bridge Congress Sept 01 2017 ..Go there to play bridge

Greystones and Bray were my first 2 places of residence when I was very young.
Sunbeam Cottage Greystones  beside the railway and near the beach.

Bray Congress 2017
Friday 1st September to Sunday 3rd September
Royal Marine Hotel, Bray

This event will not be possible without our sponsor Revive Active!
Please visit the Revive Active! site for a brief 20 second survey to retrieve your discount code.

Last year, our Congress sold out, so get your entries in to
Anne Daly 086 2596889 or

Friday 1st September
7.30pm Mixed Pairs
7.30pm Gala Pairs
7.30pm Intermediate B Pairs
7.30pm Novice Pairs

Saturday 2nd September
1pm Congress Swiss Pairs (2 sessions)
1pm Intermediate A Pairs (2 sessions)

Sunday 3rd September
11am Congress Swiss Teams (2 sessions)
11am Intermediate Teams (2 sessions)
Currently I am playing the Bermuda Bowl hands. I make tourneys for Jack from the BBO records.
If anyone wants them send email to eamongalligan@eircom.net

 That's after 9 boards of Match 1 of round robin. Levin and Weinstein are beating me so far.
However I am beating Fiona Brown and Sally Brock so I would have good chance in Womens event.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at August 20, 2017 12:05 PM

August 19, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Unit 178 - Board June Minutes and August Agenda

Unit 178 Board - working hard for great bridge in the Minneapolis area!  

June minutes and August agenda below.

Download June24minutes

Download Unit 178.August 26 Agenda

by Peg at August 19, 2017 12:19 AM

August 15, 2017

Peg Kaplan

Upcoming Schedule and North American Pairs


Diane Henson does a marvelous job with an "Upcoming Events" schedule for Minnesota. Please see below for the wide variety of bridge activities that are available in the coming months.

Of particular importance is qualifying for North American Pairs. The NAP is held at every Spring NABC. In 2018, this will be Philadelphia; a fine site for a nationals.

NAP presents a super opportunity to compete at the national level, in your own flight against your peers.  You receive a subsidized trip in addition to the opportunity to win a national title!

Please note that there are still many dates available for games, and in different locations. But - the qualifying period ends at the end of August!  If you want to play and have not yet qualified, you need to do so soon!

This is a great event and loads of fun!

Of course, many other excellent bridge events coming up, too. Avail yourself of as many as possible!


                                Newsletter for Minnesota Bridge Players


MN Sectional, D14 Regional and NABC tournaments with links:

  • August 29-Sep 3 Fargo Roughrider Regional Fargo Regional Flyer
  • Sept 8-10 Paul Bunyan Sectional at Black Bear Casino Paul Bunyan Sectional
  • September 16 - Rochester Non-Life Master Sectional Rochester NLM Sectional
  • Oct. 7-8 NAP District Final at Edina Senor Center.  Make plans now to play in the district finals for a chance to represent district 14 in the NAP national event in Philidelphia in March and get money to help pay for your travel expenses.D14 NAP final
  • Nov 2-4 MN State Autumn Harvest Sectional.  New location this year at the Hotel Metro St. Paul ( formerly Holiday Inn 3M) and new days (Thursday through Saturday)  MN State Autumn Harvest Sectional
  • NABC in San Diego - Nov 23-Dec 3

Other Events

NAP (North American Pairs) Only 2 more weeks to qualify.  Qualifying sessions, (extra point games), at local clubs start June 1 and go through the end of August.    The NAP District Final will be Oct. 7-8 at the Edina Senior Center. District 14 NAP flyer

Pre-registration - you can pre-register at any time by email to either sjackson@smumn.edu or diane.henson@gmail.com.

Scheduled Club NAP Qualifying games.  Please check with clubs for additional NAP games.

Bridge Center of St. Paul- August 22, 28 and 30 at 10am, Aug. 20 at 5:30, Aug 30 at 6:30

Twin City Bridge Center  August 15 at 11am (open and C level) 16, 18, 21, 24, 29, 30 at 11am, Aug 26 at 1pm and Aug 28 at 7 pm.

Plymouth at Edina Sr. Center - Aug 15 & 29 at 6:30, Aug 31 at 7pm.

Metro Bridge Club in Maple Grove- August 31 at noon

Rochester- Aug. 16,18, 21, 25, 28 at 12:30 

New:  Fall Defensive Workshop- Sept 24th and Oct. 1st at the Edina Senior Center - taught by John Koch and Tony Ames.  $100 for both sessions.  See attached flyer at the bottom of the email for more information or call Judy Nassar at 952-474-3653.

GNT qualifying games will start September 1st; please check for games at your local club.

 Links and information are also available at www.mnbridge.com  or www.ACBL.org

Diane Henson

by Peg at August 15, 2017 10:05 PM

Minnesotans in the Spingold!

In the olden days, excellent teams making it out of the first day of the Spingold was the proverbial piece of cake.

But; that was then.  This is now.  

In 2017's world, even the best of the best don't have a guarantee of getting to Day #2 of a major team event.

Three Minnesotans proved that their team had the Right Stuff to make it to the Round of 64.





Keith Connolly, along with teammates Pamela Nisbet, John Laufer, and Dennis Ryan, earned the right to play the tough Jacek Pszczola "Pepsi" team.




Mike Cassel also made it through to the round of 64, with teammates Howard Kahlenberg, Andy Kaufman and Donna Morgen. Mike & Company also had to face a star studded Mahaffey team on Day 2.

While Keith and Mike's teams did not survive to Day #3 - believe me, some pretty impressive teams failed to survive more than one day.





In yet another match, Duluth resident, junior Ben Kristensen played with partner and teammates Kevin Rosenberg, Adam Kaplan and Christian Jolly, the original 93 seed.  And they faced one of the top teams in the world:  Monaco.




At the end of the day? It turned out that it was Monaco who got the tough draw; the Jolly team moved on and Monaco was on the sidelines!

Jolly, too, did not survive to the Round of 32. Yet, beating such a world class team was a huge accomplishment and a great thrill for all these young players.

Congratulations to all these Minnesotan players who did us proud in Toronto!


(And my apologies as Webmaster for tardiness in posting.  Having the Nebraska Regional following the Summer NABC so rapidly presents its own challenges!)


by Peg at August 15, 2017 12:00 AM

August 11, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

Great Misconception:       “ Bridge is Just Another Card Game! ”

HARDLY!!! I know my serious followers will agree!

Bobby has always heralded the numerous areas of our lives, outlooks and achievements (logic, reasoning, predicability, etc.) which have strengthened our thinking trends! I wanted to share with you the following tribute to the many assets of bridge learning with those who do not read Bobby’s daily Internet Column Aces on Bridge which appears on the same bridgeblogging.com site as mine (courtesy of Master Point Press).

The following was his thinking and reflections upon the learning process.

…. While some people feel that card playing is, at best a waste of time, in truth and at least as far as bridge is concerned, becomes a tremendous exercise in psychology; it delves deep into what adversaries (whether it be cards, business or even love) are thinking and so (in old times during wartime) hastened the building of walls, moats, mined areas and barbed wire fences as well as developing whatever amounted to counter espionage during those time periods.

I believe what he is alluding to is .. one must consider the many possibilities in bidding, declaring and defending! Bridge is an all-consuming game if we want to succeed!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at August 11, 2017 01:53 AM

August 09, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Bridge-Now ratings to August0217.. Dublin Summer Congress

Here are the ratings calculated from http://bridge-now.com up to August 02 2017.
A 2% decay is included for anyone missing a week. Also it takes several weeks of play to build up
a rating from the 1500 points starting point. The formula includes a small adjustment for number of boards played and also bases improvements on current rating. Thus a 1400 player scoring 65% on 70 boards will increase more than a 1900 player scoring same 65% on same amount of boards.
So the image above has the top 130 players or so of 1800 who have played sometime this year.
About 750 folk play 20+ boards each week.
The Great Mullall has dropped out of the rating list due to lack of dedication to the cause.
Declan the Donplayer remains with plenty of work to do on 1444
Shane the Unblocker is further back on 1333.
Great Mullall is on 1676 and decaying at 2% per week.
The magical BJ O'Brien suffered a 49% week and missed a week also to decay his rating somewhat but he will return to the upper echelons shortly no doubt.
BJ won the bumper prize in the recent Dublin Summer Congress Home Instead sponsored Bridge Congress Pairs. Nobody was ever going to defeat the star pair of Adam Mesbur and Michael McGloughlin. Thus I term 2nd place as the bumper prize.
Links to all Dublin Summer Congress events are at
and this link sends you to Diarmuid Reddans Bridgewebs for some results.
Some world bridge championship starts shortly in Lyon France. 
I will watch out for Australia Open Team as I made them some hands for bidding practice.
The Mark Moran led Irish Open Team will also participate in the Transnationals.

Meanwhile the well known bridge teacher Thomas MacCormac is on tour in Omaha. 
Look on Facebook for "Great American Bridge Tour" and you will find information about the gang Thomas travels with. 


by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at August 09, 2017 04:37 PM

August 05, 2017

Paul Gipson

EBU Summer Meeting

For the first time in a few years Alex and I will not be playing in the EBU Summer Meeting, mainly because I never returned from Toronto and am currently touring eastern Canada.

All the information about the event and the latest results can be found on the EBU Summer Meeting Hub.

The pairs event started yesterday and the best placed Scottish Junior, Jun Nakamaru-Pinder playing with Paul Barton, is in 20th place overnight. There seems to be fewer entries from north of the border, I expect a result of people attending Montecatini, Toronto, and Orebro (Chairman's Cup) instead. Time and money are major factors for non-professional players. Perhaps more will venture south for the teams next weekend.

I also wish to say good luck to my friend Robin Barker, who is the Director in Charge of the event for the first time I believe. Like most top directors, Robin has a quiet authority and is well respected by the top players and can handle those who don't fully understand the laws but feel that they are losing out.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at August 05, 2017 12:18 PM

July 31, 2017

Judy Kay-Wolff

Congratulations to The Winning DIAMOND 2017 Spingold Team

It was an exhilarating well-played, grueling week-long national Championship that was contested to the bitter end! The popular victors were Captain John Diamond and longtime partner, Brian Platnick with world renowned Norwegian celebrities Boye Brogeland and Espen Lindqvist. You might enjoy getting your hands on a copy of “The Lone Wolff” and checking out page 259. The chapter is entitled “What’s to Become of America’s Talented Youth.” You will see some familiar names that Bobby spotted back in 1991. A true bridge Clairvoyant!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at July 31, 2017 07:26 PM

Paul Gipson

Playing with a winner, Roth ups and downs

I've been a little remiss in my reporting as eating, playing, and socializing have taken priority.

The big news was that the Paske team won the Mixed BAM on Thursday.

Marusa, Sarah, Tom, and Alex were fourth in qualifying and then completed a hard-fought win by just over half a board: an incredible result for players who rarely play BAM.

This left David and Mike needing to win the Spingold to catch up with the national title earned by their better halves. They too had a great week, narrowly losing the semifinal to Lavazza by 10 imps.

On Friday we played with Sarah and Christophe Grosser in the Roth Open Swiss. Naturally she never stopped smiling. We lost our first match but played better after that to qualify for the second day with a match to spare.

On Saturday we did not play well in the afternoon and needed a good evening to qualify. It was disappointing to see Verhees and van Prooijen sit down at our table in the evening and our small win was not much use to either team. We improved but fell a tantalising 1.7VP short of making the final day.

On the final day we played with Alan and Rick in the last A/X Swiss. None of us impressed but had an excellent meal afterwards.

Toronto is a great venue for the Nationals: the venue, hotel, organisation, and food options have all been excellent and a model of how to run an event. We'll be back.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 31, 2017 03:07 AM

July 30, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Thomas Hanlon exits Spingold in wooden box

Early this morning Irish time a battered and bruised Thomas Hanlon was placed in a wooden box after being exited from the Spingold. Poor chap did not even make the finish line.
However his team provided great entertainment and went 3 matches deeper than expected of an original 17th seed.
Early on we noted a lad signing off in 4S and 2 rounds of bidding later same lad on the same board launches into 7S. Something went wrong with the bridge algorithm.
I did not watch all of the match but reports indicated that most of the 6 members of the Mittelman team produced some howlers ...
Here is a screen grab of the 3rd stanza where Team Diamond was nailing down the coffin lid.

All hands and records can be found on BBO vugraph project.

Meanwhile out in Westmanstown the elderly gentlemen destroyed their field in the Rory Egan Congress Pairs. Well done to Adam Mesbur and Michael McGloughlin.
A near 70% first session set them up for a good dinner and a second session of 62% was enough
to gather in the shillings. The legendary BJ O'Brien was in a distant 2nd place with his partner David Jackson keeping the stats.
Meanwhile another Irish player Thomas MacCormac is these days attending many US Nationals.
This is a great game to be attending. More Irish should go to a US National.
If interested talk to Thomas as he would know all relevant details and issues to sort out.
Sometimes a lesser player needs a waiver to enter the big USA events and stuff like that.

Today the Kieran McGarry Memorial Teams event take place in Westmanstown.
I recall seeing Kieran and Rory Egan on Prime Time marching into the Red Cow to confront
an alleged scammer back in the days when scams were only beginning. Kieran also was heavily involved in the physical end of recent Dublin Summer Congresses in CityWest.
Those tables and all the other equipment don't put themselves out or put themselves away.
Kieran was also a very capable player at times. Kieran won 3 Wednesdays in a row in the Regent back in the day and at that time even one victory in the Regent Wednesday night game for a non-international was an achievement.

All results and running scores at

My understanding is that Rory Egan leads the group that organises this Dublin Summer Congress.
In the Congress Teams its hard to look behind the Mesbur Fitzgibbon powered BJ team or the Goodman team both of which are pretty power packed.

One also notes the presence in the Pairs and Teams field of the well known bridge teacher Peter Pigot junior. One understands he runs some good bridge seminars. I presume he has a website somewhere.

Just to be clear ..Hanlon reaching the semi-final of the Spingold is a massive performance.
Especially given he was not in a team of all professionals.
Thomas partnered Leslie Amoils from Toronto and this is not the same as when operating in his 30 year partnership with Hugh McGann or if partnering another bridge peer.
The problem is to be counted as a winner of any major event a player has to play 50% of the boards.

The 30th anniversary of the Hanlon McGann marriage must be coming up shortly.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 30, 2017 02:41 PM

July 29, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Thomas Hanlon arrives in Spingold semi final

Early this morning Irish time ... like at about 430am the Mittelman NPC team qualified for the Spingold semi-final in a nail biting finish to their Spingold quarter final.

Having started out with 3 double digit losses on Boards 1-3 many hours before and thus trialing by about 34 imps to 0 Team Mittelman got the train rolling and trundled along into a 6 imps after 54 boards of 60. Board 25 (55) saw Zia take the low road in 3S and making 12 tricks ... 5 imps to Hanlon and a lead of 11 imps. Board 26(56) saw Hanlons team mates make 2NT+1 and Hanlon was allowed declare 2C... Hanlon played well to guide home 9 tricks and another 6 imps in a double part score swing leaving Hanlon ahead by 15.

Board 27 looked like an action hand

1H from Zia and Hanlon found 2H michaels and after long thought Les Amoils left him play there.
Hanlon played like BJ O'Brien and steered this home for another 2 imps ..
Now leading by 18 imps ... the end of the tunnel was in sight and some much needed sleep for myself ,,Michael O'Kane and I understand Rory Boland was watching on the big screen down in Carrick. This was past 4am Ireland time ..

Board 28 landed on the screen ...
We expected Hanlon in Heat 4 at the moment to steer this hand safely into the 6NT port.
However the bidding took unusual turns ..

2C 2D
2N 3D
3N 4D
4H 4N
5S 6H

And they were in the wrong slam ...
What went wrong ...
Did 3NT throw Amoils
Did Hanlon think 4D was retransfer
Why did Hanlon answer 4NT in HEARTS Keycard
Did Hanlon think he had told his 2 card HEARTS story with 3NT

Anyway 6H had to go 1 down and the lead shrank to 4 imps with 2 boards to go.
Board 29 was a push in 2S ...Still 4 imps ahead ..

And the final board of this fascinating battle hit the table in both rooms. At this stage I was logged in twice on the web based BBO and the old client ..Upmark in the West seat put the DOUBLE on 4S by our team mates .. This was booked for 2 off and 300...and the Diamond 9 was tracked.
Meanwhile in our room Amoils passed as dealer and Zia Jansma arrived in 4S unmolested ...
This was booked for down 2 .....same D9 was tracked ...

Neck and neck ...it looked like a 1 imp loss for Hanlon ...

However both Wests contributed the Queen and the Diamond RUFFS were GONE ...
plus 100 for Upmark and plus 50 for Hanlon ...
2 imps swing ...

Hanlon and Mittelman NPC survive to fight in the Spingold semi finals ...

Now eventhough the Spingold is one of the 3 Main Annual ACBL events ...many of the teams feature a lesser player who hires 4 or 5 stronger players to help him win one of these prestigious events.
These lesser bridge players are generally very high performers in their workplaces and businesses but have not spent the time to reach expert in bridge. However they allow bridge professionals a living.
I guess its like an investment in Bridge but otherwise playing bridge all over the world would be too expensive for many bridge proffessionals.
All of these lesser players have a great interest in bridge and are very capable players but just not the extra piece that the proffessionals have. Thus many professionals in these client partnerships seem to do what looks like bad plays but usually these "bad plays" can be connected to a carding error or bidding error by the client. Real small things to the ordinary bridge player throw a professional off much easier. It might be the play of a 7 instead of a 6.
Also the lack of long hours of partnership practice are lost to the professional so his or her regular partnership agreements are gone.
Thus a del Monte or a Hanlon might look to have done something stupid as they are not playing with their regular partners of 20 plus years. Hanlon might have presumed he had told his story with 3NT and thus Amoils must have 6 card hearts to insist on HEARTS..
Now Les Amoils in a damn good player and has played for South Africa in Bermuda Bowl I think ..
He seems to be Hanlons partner at the moment for North American Bridge events.
Del monte partners Bercuson who I had not come across before but that's due to my lack of attendance of NABCs since the last time in 2007 in San Francisco.

Anyway well done to the Mittelman team ...so far ... The Diamond team is a ferocious opponent though.

When I was in San Francisco I was out on a smoke break outside the Marriot and I was George Mittelman in a group of bridge players. They were approached by a beggar guy and as George searched for a small note ...he dropped a 10 dollar bill and quick as a flash the beggar guy bent down and made off with it ....gleefully thanking Mittelman as he moved quickly away ...
Mittelmans bridge friends clapped him on the back and indicated ... Thanks Mitt ..you paid for all of us or something like that. November 2007 that was...

I have been asked why is Mittelman NPC ... The answer is I don't know ..
Maybe its just cos he is from Toronto ..
Mittelman used to partner a young Fred Gitelman ... they were known as THE MEN.

NO OFFENCE is intended to any Hanlons or others mentioned in this article.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 29, 2017 02:16 PM

July 28, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Thomas Hanlon v Nickell

Early this morning ...as early as 440am myself and Michael O'Kane from Northern Ireland witnessed a treat of bridge. Our man Hanlon plus 5 took on the bridge juggernaut that is number 1 seed Nickell who featured Meckstroth Rodwell Levin and Weinstein... arguably the greatest foursome ever assembled at bridge.

Stanza 1 Mittelman got our to an early lead of about 40 imps ...57 plays 16
Stanza 2 Mittelman added to that lead to build I think a 90-17 lead but lost some late imps to lead by 47 at the half ..
Stanza 3 .. Nickell powered back with a 53-5 set to lead by 1

Stanza 4 is above  ..

You can find it here

Some great bridge in there .. Really worth a look ..

Now maybe some will say Team Hanlon played in luck .. but you need an awful lot of luck to defeat
a power packed team of bridge legends.

Also bridge at the table is not as straight forward as replaying a vugraph later.

Its like the tennis ... Wimbledon looks serene ...two lads batting a ball over a net ...
However that ball travels at something past 100 mph but TV gives no indication.

Sometimes in Fitzwilliam when I am bridge directing I see ordinary decent tennis players playing and I am shocked at the speed of the ball.
Yesterday I stopped for a look ... Some lad Barry from Ireland was playing a Storrie guy from England. This was not Wimbledon ..

1 chair umpire
2 end of court umpires ...one of who doubled as scoreboard operator.

The Irish lad served and added a shout to send the ball on its way.
The end of court umpire had to mind himself as that ball came hard and fast.
The umpire has nowhere to go ..he is up against the boundary wire.
No ball boys here or soft towels between games.
Nobody picking up the balls ...the players themselves did that.

It went 15-0 30-0 40-0 and game Barry who leads 5-3 ..
Then it was 5-4
and by the time I got upstairs to move the boards ..it was all over .. 6-4 to Barry and 2-1 win.

Now the Wimbledon lads probably are hitting 30% faster than last night ...
It is something like trying to catch a golf ball hit by a driver.

Meanwhile on the next court a large crowd was watching in the gallery between the courts.
My guess is Simon Carr son of legendary Dublin GAA captain was playing ..
I did not venture down there as it was a little far from the bridge room.

Sometimes the bridge is played in a room that opens out into the stand and I can watch more easily but last night there was a meeting in progress until near 11pm so I could not access the stand.

Still the lad called Sam Barry was picking up tennis balls 12 inches away from me as this non-tennis player had a look. I saw Phil Collins in the Aviva I think ... he was about a quarter mile away in a wheelchair.

I was also watching the early stages of the above vugraph as well and moving the boards in the bridge room.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 28, 2017 10:34 AM

July 27, 2017

Eamon Galligan

Hanlon+5 make Spingold last 16

Last night or early this morning Irish time Irelands apparently finest bridge player reached the last 16 of the Spingold Vase. The Spingold is arguably one of the strongest events of the bridge calendar.
This year 102 teams hit the dance floor and at least 90 of those teams would win or go very close in the Holmes Wilson.
The multi championship winning Monaco team with Helness and Helgemo and Christy Martens on board got ambushed before the main event even took off. Seeded 14 they ran into a JOLLY team seeded 93rd. However JOLLY was kind of decent featuring 4 of the best American juniors including some Rosenberg prodigy. So it was goodbye Team Monaco probably the heaviest funded bridge team in the world.
Anyway back to Hanlon .... and a bid I found disagreeable.

Anyway this match was on vugraph and myself and Declan the Donplayer were nearing the end of our few late pints in the local speak easy. Declan having learned the bridge and got the bug always keeps a passing eye on my laptop just in case some transfers or other might appear.
I had pointed out to Declan about Hanlon up top being the best player in Ireland and I headed off to the loo. On my return for the final board of the set Declan greeted me .."Eamon are you sure this is the best bridge player in Ireland" .. I said "Oh yeah " .. Declan the Donplayer replied .." Well if I painted like he is bidding on this hand then I would not get many decorating gigs"
I had a look and I said ... "That's not too good .. Passing 4DX seems normal.
"Yes " says The Donplayer ...and he might even turn vulnerable by the end of the hand ..
"Eamon how does that vulnerable work anyway ?? Is it like the power play in cricket ? "

Anyway there goes Hanlon bidding 5 Clubs and going down for a flat board ..
The Donplayer who has only twice attended a bridge club recommends PASSING..

Partner is a passed as dealer hand and we have a 13 count. Well 15 but if our Diamond Queen is not eaten up then even more reason for passing as we get some uncounted TRUMP tricks.
However no doubt yer man will ask some of his expert buddies and they will all pat him on the back for lulling the other team into a false sense of security. However it beats me .. One down is normally good bridge.

Mind you one also notes the loss of 23 imps for not bidding on ...both doubled in other room but its 2 missed games and some imps could have been saved. Several ways to save some imps on boards 26 and 27 for Hanlon table.

However TONIGHT from 5pm we might get the chance to watch again .. 5pm 7pm and later midnight and 2am approx.

"Eamon I am from Sherriff Street .. I got baptised 9 times ..3 times as a girl .."

Anyway later on in the small hours Irish time when the pub was long closed Team Mittelman backboned by Thomas Hanlon won the final 2 sessions and qualified for the last 16.

I expect Nickel versus Mittelman to be on vugraph this evening but depends on the voting for the matches. Also if not on vugraph at the start then it depends on the players as North American vugraph folk put on the closest matches for sessions 2 3 4 ..

Anyway no matter who is on vugraph ... www.bridgebase.com and make an account and watch some great live bridge with 96 of the best players in the world in action ...including Westmeaths own Thomas Hanlon.

Hanlon is on the bottom right team .. Mittelman NPC. Seeded 17 and they will play the Number 1 seed Nickell in the next round. Last year we had the Irish juniors play Nickell in a similar event called the Vanderbilt. The Irish juniors failed to get over the line but they stayed to the end and were still running on after the last board .. However it was in the next field.

https://bridgewinners.com/     plenty of information on this and many other events on the site to the left.

Now its time to bring the dog for my 10000 steps

Might get to see a little Irish Open Tennis tonight in Fitzwilliam .. I direct the bridge in Fitzwilliam most Thursday nights and normally the bridge room opens up to the GODS seats in the stand.
Last year I saw Tommy Carrs son Simon play a match.

by Eamon Galligan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 27, 2017 03:39 PM

Paul Gipson

Old friends

We've had a quiet couple of days.

One of the large playing areas

On Tuesday we played with Iain and Sarah in a one-day Swiss. In the first round we played Sam Dinkin, also a Spingold casualty. Sam is always pushing the boundaries of the systems chart, playing a system that is legal according to the chart but probably against the intention of the regulators: of course it is their fault that they can't express their intentions accurately.

Sam also mentioned that we could not play our Mid-Chart system in this event. He said he didn't care in this first match but we should probably change after it. So we reverted to a system that we played about 15 years ago for the remaining matches.

Sam's team all play his unusual system and this tends to generate lots of imps. So it was some surprise that we lost 2-3 imps, a low scoring affair.

At the end of the day we finished above average but just missed the overalls. Bob McKinnon's team finished well up in the final standings.

Today we played in the Daylight Swiss with Judi and Sharon from Buffalo. We first met them at the Chicago Nationals in 2006, playing with them there and once or twice since. We had a lot of fun but most of the bridge was forgettable and we never threatened the middle of the table.

Tomorrow we'll probably look around the town and kibitz the Spingold.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 27, 2017 01:46 AM

July 25, 2017

Paul Gipson

Not meant to be

Our match against the #24 SILVER team did not start well.

On the first board they bid a 50% slam against us to win 11 imps. Then they bid a grand slam on the second board and Alex's normal lead did not remove the vital entry from dummy: a very different auction in the other room meant that the normal lead was a killer and we lost, a little randomly, 20 imps.

This was most of the 22-56 deficit after the first set.

We came back in the second set when Paul and Graham bid a good slam as our opponents played in an asking bid, for 17 imps. So at halftime it was 77-92 imps.  We had a good third set where the biggest swing was caused by your choice of opening bid with:

Game all, first in hand?

Suffice to say that Paul's choice worked out better than Joey's and we gained 14 imps.

So with 15 boards to go we were now leading by 125-119 imps.

They played a couple of hands better in the final set and judged a couple more successfully. The biggest swing was caused by a rebid decision after you open one spade, partner responds with a game forcing two diamonds and you have a nice 6-4 in the majors. They rebid three spades, as it was a nice suit, and then got my natural heart lead to pick up their second suit to make the spade game. We rebid two hearts, which looked very normal to me, and so a heart was never led and the game went down. The mildly random swing you need to go in your favour when playing a high seeded team.

In the end we lost by 138-153 imps.

It was a very friendly match and both teams played well. The luck was probably fairly spread, unfortunately. Thanks to our teammates Sarah, Paul, and Graham for making it such a close contest.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 25, 2017 02:15 PM

July 24, 2017

Paul Gipson

Spingold starts today

While Alex and I have been adjusting to jetlag and playing unimportant events, Paul and Graham have been storming through the Life Master Pairs. They eventually finished in a very creditable 15th place, an impressive performance.

On Saturday we played with Sarah and Marusa in a bracket KO. Both pairs could've done better as we experienced the KO bit of the event.

Yesterday we played with Iain and Gene in the Daylight Swiss. Three huge wins and three small defeats meant we were +99 imps but barely above average on the 30VP scale, but we just finished in the overalls (6th).

Today we play in the Spingold. Us, Iain and Gene, and Peter Hodgson's team were all in the 65-80 bracket of seeds and then drawn randomly. Iain is #65 and theoretically the easiest route to tomorrow (when they would face #1 Nickell). Peter is #66. We are #79 and face #28 Stansby over 60 boards.

As I always say, there are no easy matches and the seeding only has a small affect on your chances of reaching the second day. Our opponents are well seeded but I think we stand a good chance of winning.

Good luck to everyone today.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 24, 2017 12:40 PM

July 21, 2017

Paul Gipson


I'm in Toronto for the Summer Nationals. We played here a few years ago and loved the city and it's even better now that I can fly here direct.

Alex and I only arrived today so most of our friends are already at the table playing in the Life Master Pairs. They've all given themselves a chance of making the cut after their first session.

We will be playing in the Spingold on Monday with Sarah Bell, Graham Osborne, and Paul Barden. Before that we'll look for some teammates over the weekend to warm up and get used to playing in North America again.

The size of this event always amazes me. This is just one room of I/N (intermediate/newcomers) playing at 10am.

by Paul Gipson (noreply@blogger.com) at July 21, 2017 09:34 PM

Sally Sparrow

Announcing the 2017 ABTA Book of the Year Award

The ABTA convention Awards banquet is a wrap for another year. It was a particularly exciting one for me, as a Master Point Press book won this year’s ABTA Book of the Year award for best Beginner/intermediate book. 

First, check out the amazing decorations for the night, all planned and executed by Barbara Seagram. Her team transformed the pub at the Strathcona Hotel into a bridge-themed fancy dining room. The food was amazing and the staff incredible. Here are some photos of the decor:

By far the best part of the evening for me was when we were able to surprise author Bill Treble with the news that he’d won this year’s ABTA Book of the Year award for his book, Defending at Bridge: A first course. He had driven to Toronto from Winnipeg, just arriving this afternoon, to play in the NABC. With some help from his wife Sue, we had convinced him to come a day early and to attend the banquet and meet some of the teachers. He and Sue are teachers themselves. His friend Michael Leighton, also a bridge teacher, had driven up with him, and Sue had to stay behind in Winnipeg to run the games Bill was missing.

When the award was announced, the look on Bill’s face was priceless. I was sitting right beside him, so of course I took a photo.


He was happy to accept his plaque and though mostly speechless, he thanked the committee, Sue and Mike.

The event was followed by great food and a wonderful panel of teachers and experts, moderated by John Rayner, and including Haig Tchamitch, Andy Stark, Barbara Seagram and Bob Morris. A wonderful end to a special night. 

Here’s the cover of the winning book, look for it in bookstores!

by Sally Sparrow at July 21, 2017 03:44 AM

July 20, 2017

Sally Sparrow

ABTA Master Point Press Teacher of the Year award 2017

This year’s American Bridge Teachers’ Association Convention is happening right now in Toronto, Ontario,  my home town. Over 100 teachers (I think the actual number is 107) are here, the largest turnout in a few years! It was a very hot day yesterday, not usual for us, but today has brought cooler weather, thank goodness!

I had the pleasure this morning of attending the presentation of the 2017 ABTA Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by Master Point Press. Here’s my photo gallery of the events as they unfolded.


Joyce Penn introduced each of the nine finalists for this year’s award: 

Robert Barrington, New York, NY
Joann Glasson, Pennington, NJ
Bruce Greenspan, Bonita Springs, FL
Josee Hammill, Toronto, Canada
Henry Meguid, Durham, NC
Jim Ricker, Knoxville, TN
Kathy Rolfe, Lake Winnebago, MO
Enid Roitman, Toronto, Canada
Grant Robinson, Dublin, CA

Each nominee had provided a short video clip, so we got to see their teaching in action! Then… the big announcement. This year’s winner is Enid Roitman from Toronto! We’re so happy to see a Canadian teacher recognized this year, and one from Toronto at that!

Enid Roitman wins the 2017 ABTA Master Point Press Teacher of the Year Award!

Enid was overjoyed and happily thanked her fellow nominees, the committee and sponsors, particularly Barbara Seagram, Josee Hammill and other local Toronto bridge teachers.

Congratulations to Enid and all this year’s nominees.

Now I’m off to the Awards Banquet, so more to come from Toronto later.


by Sally Sparrow at July 20, 2017 10:03 PM

David Smith

My favorite city

Toronto is one of my favorite places. It's weather friendly in the summer, the people are insanely nice, the place offers lots to do, and they have a great transportation system. Have I missed anything? Oh yes, the US dollar matches up well against the Canadian dollar so it's not too expensive for a world-class city.

Toronto is the venue for the 2017 Summer North American Bridge Championship and I'll be there from July 20 through July 31. (See here for more information.)

I'm playing in the Truscott USPC Senior Swiss Teams (Monday and Tuesday) and the Freeman Mixed Board-a-match Teams (Wednesday and Thursday). My partner is Sandy McCay.

I'll be sight-seeing the first Saturday and Sunday. After that, we'll see. Wish me luck.

Photo taken from the ACBL web site.

by Memphis MOJO (noreply@blogger.com) at July 20, 2017 08:29 PM

Judy Kay-Wolff

Changing times — An egregious underbid!

No doubt, the world has fallen from grace. It is obvious from the downtrodden state of the universal economy with skyrocketing pricing everywhere, homeless people .. and even more frightening .. the threat of terrorism .. any time/any place.

There are many venues in life that contribute to fear, danger, disappointment, doom and gloom, sadness and serious concern .. but absolutely minuscule in relation to the above.

Moving on to a much lighter subject (sometimes) .. no one can argue that the scene is soooo different when we old timers were captivated and intrigued when introduced to a challenging game and fascinating enterprise known simply as ‘bridge.’ It opened an intriguing horizon. How little we knew about the unexpected realms of frustration, disappointment, aggravation, glumness and doom and gloom, until the light began to shine. Few are born ‘naturals.’ Most of us struggled at a first. No one ever said it was a ‘piece of cake’! We worked hard until we reached the point where we derived pleasure and satisfaction of recognizing improvement!

For me, that is all history. I will be forever grateful for my exposure to the game and treasure my memories of over fifty years of making treasured friends, attending countless NABCs and World Championships and traversing the globe, seeing many of the wonders of the world with Norman and Bobby. I am one lucky girl!!!

Life in Vegas is good and I am more than content with local duplicates and tournaments. Best of all .. NO airplanes (direct or indirect flights), mandatory security checks, mail or newspaper temporary holds, packing and unpacking et al. Old age is not as bad as one would suspect!

The above interlude was triggered after reading the problems being faced (and reportedly well-handled by the tons of capable volunteers) for the upcoming Toronto Nationals. Believe me, these events don’t just happen on their own. I was active in Philadelphia for forty years and can testify it is an all-consuming job (and more)! I feel for them and hope they will be rewarded by tremendous success! Aces all the way!

by Judy Kay-Wolff at July 20, 2017 02:04 AM