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Friday, May 27, 2016

Ireland Invitational Pairs 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Two hands in Malahide last night (underdeclaring)

Hand 12 above was declared in 3N and 4NT many times . Now 12 declarers out of 30 managed less then 12 tricks. I don't get this at all as there seems to be 5 diamonds and 5 spades and 2 other tricks depending on the lead. All declarers in the room sat in West. So club or heart lead means 12 tricks.

Board 12 mainly declared in 3NT or 4N and 11 times out of 29 the declarer made 11 or less tricks.
Declarers were always West and there seems to be 12 tricks available via 5D and 5S and 2 other tricks. So I don't understand how these declarers shrank the available tricks. Clearly something is wrong. I was drawn to this hand while examining some pairs results and seeing them score badly despite their opps making sub-optimal number of tricks ..

Seems hard to make less than 12 tricks

On Hand 18 we come to a lesson I learned from Denis Dillon (RIP) one time in a Teams match.
I was declaring a 4H contract and it seemed fairly safe to make 10 tricks but I felt its a good chance
for overtricks .. So I left a spade lead run to my QUEEN ...
So Denis pipes up as he wins the King ..."Eamon I would not have done that now .. a bad thing might happen .. " ..
And two spade ruffs later and Eamon was gone down in the cold 4H ...
Now Denis was not unethical in any way .. He held singleton Heart Ace and was getting in by force
Its not like he was telling partner take your ruff and get back over to me in a side suit ..
The only problem was my greedy declarer play ..

Anyway last night I heard some mumblings around the room about some people letting a trick run to their queen and then berating themselves as they lost a ruff with a possible 12 tricks on top ..

Some were even in 6H and blew it on trick 1 ..
Others were in 4H and only missed an overtrick ..

About 12 declarers out of 29 managed to condense the tricks to 11 or less ..
Meanwhile we have one of our Rivervalley Club superstars ...Shane Maxwell who to be fair has never played bridge with real cards in his hands. Shane has played various games of cards since he was about 6 years of age. However one night he had a few too many beers and challenged me about DON and Bridge in the local beer place. So I taught him DON for 10 minutes and Bridge for 15 minutes ..starting about about 1150pm ... By 1am he was at home logged on to some website and playing Bridge ..

Fast forward about 1.5 years and yesterday we found Shane with time to spare during his college course and it became clear he was having a few games of bridge  to pass the time ..

So Shane declared 3NT and managed to gather in 6 tricks .. The opposition took the first 4 heart tricks and Shane had the Heart 8 as a winner. However he somehow erred and failed to gather in the
5 diamonds 1 heart 2 spades and a club ....making 9 tricks
Shane ended up with 6 tricks

I spotted all this after playing the hand myself in 3NT and making the 9 tricks ..
So I asked Shane on social media about the hand ..
" I misrepresented my hand and I learned a lesson " ...
Now this is a poker term .. misrepresented .... but Shane failed to gather in the 9 top tricks ..
I will have to teach him a little more

However he is playing on

And this is a fine site to play bridge for free .. It gives you a percentage after each hand and it gives you a weekly ranking ..
Declan McKenna will be watching over his shoulder for Shanes rating this week ..

So if you want a free place to practice and compare yourself with the legendary BJ O'Brien a multiple
National champion or else with online learners Declan and Shane you go and signup for free.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

IBU Trials Final ... The Final 20 boards

Back on January 31 2016 the IBU trials had been turned upside down. The underdogs known as Team O'Brien had doggedly hung on for 60 boards and on boards 61-80 on Sunday morning they suddenly opened up a 52 imp lead.
So what if anything could Team Moran do ... Well they started with a team talk from Hugh McGann out the front of the Regent Bridge Club

We lead well We defend well We bid well and we just hope the boards contain the IMPS..

And so it began

We setup the vugraph and retired down to the Regent Bar and the big screen and we also had
a few laptops

We started watching the Closed Room where Ranald and BJ as North South battled John Carroll and Tommy Garvey ..

Board 19 was a quiet 2S down 1 by EW looking like a gain for Moran as up to 10 tricks were available for NS in a no trump contract ..

Board 20 came on the screen and showed North South declaring 3H with Garvey Carroll taking a cut at it... so 3HX by BJ OBrien

From the off to us kibitzers it looked like 3 simple clubs a diamond and a HEART for down 1 ...
However Carroll and Garvey had other ideas and a clu and two diamond plays later the gallant BJ had a plausible play for 10 tricks ... However like all good players he guaranteed his contract and made 3H for 730...
This looked like about 15 imps out for Team Moran and a deficit of 67 imps ..

At this stage Declan Byrne the Regent Club Manager approached and glanced at the score and indicated we can make better use of our time. He wanted to know about setting up vugraph and some
Pairs Scorer stuff .. so off we went to his private kitchen where the Regent Club computer and other tools reside. For the next 40 minutes we did some computer bridge techy stuff and there was little sound from the battlefront..

When I emerged from Declans Den ... the BJ Milne room was starting board 5....A light 1S opening by McGann caught Wojech with a strong NT without a spade stop so he was confined to DOUBLE and Ruzinski holding a 2452 8 count bid 2H and there they played.
With no opening in this room Garvey Carroll sailed into the cold (as cards lie) 3NT and it was 6 imps for Moran

Board 6 saw a flat 4S

Onto Board 7 Both played in 3NT

Milne chose an attacking spade lead and that sort of was a comfortable 9th trick for Carroll ..
In the other room Hanlon found a safer Diamond lead and Wojech had to sniff out a 9th trick.
He tried for 3-3 HEARTS eventually and down he went .. 12 imps

The gap was 32 imps but the 15 on board 20 still loomed so call it 47 imps

Board 8 and 6C contract flashed on the screen as the Hanlon result in other room
O;Brien Milne stopped off in 5C
Hanlon McGann with slightly better methods were able to indicate DIAMONDS on the way
and Hanlon bid the 6C ... No problems in the play .. ruff out some diamonds ...

11 imps to Moran ... and now its 191 played 170 and the gap is closing but 3HX is still in the bag for Team O'Brien

Board 9

Hanlon sent over 4H in the North for 420 ..
Garvey Carroll found an unfavourable  5D sacrifice doubled off 1 to gain another 6 imps
These guys wear IRON trousers ... 191 plays 176 ...

Meanwhile Rory Boland sitting beside me is looking ahead and analysing the future boards as the mainly pro O'Brien audience look on ... He thinks a small imp win is possible despite the 3H heavy loss looming on board 20

Onto Board 10 Wojech Marcin drop 200 for off 2 vulnerable in 2S

Meanwhile in the other room Carroll also declares 2S and gets the H10 lead
Anyway Carroll got home in 2S for 6 imps and the score was O'Brien 191 Moran 183

 And so we moved to Board 11

Team Moran  declared 4H in one room and were defeated by 1 trick whereas Team O'Brien  stayed lower and played in 3H and were allowed make that contract for another 6 imps
Some respite for Team O'Brien who opened up a 14 imp lead with Board 20 still to score.
197 plays 183

Onto board 12 and the excitement continued

Hanlon McGann as is their style bid a game and hoped someone might allow it make.
Not today boys so down 1 in 4S. Not a good result when you are on the chase and down 1 normally slows down chasers
However Carroll and Garvey attempted the double fit 5D as East West and the defenders failed to find the club ruffs and 5DX came home for 550 and 10 much needed imps
The score .. 197 O'Brien 193 Moran

 And we go to 13 where both sides get to declare 3NT ... Hanlon is quickest and gets a spade lead as opposed to a killing Heart Lead ... Hanlon makes 10 tricks for 630 and the screw is turning ..
Garvey pings out a HEART and that's down 1 and another 12 imps
7 boards to go and the scoreboard amazingly shows Moran 205 O'Brien 197 but more is required to cover board 20
Boards 14 15 16 17 were quiet flat boards played in mostly the same contracts

So we are at board 18 with the score 205 plays 197

O'Brien Milne tried or got pushed to 4C in the Open Room and despite the defense not collecting all their tricks it was 4C down 2 and plus 100 .. In the Closed Room Wojech attempted 2D as a contract on the 4-3 fit. This also went down 1 and the tunnel was open and one could see light and it was not
an oncoming O'Brien train .. Moran 211 O'Brien 197

Board 19 finally came on the screen ...

 Carroll and Garvey stole away in a 2S contract with less than their share of the high cards.
It looked like a NT partcore for North South making about 9 tricks so should be 2 imps to Moran
However Rory Boland in the spectators vugraph room had been touting 3NT by Hanlon McGann since around board 10 when the imps started flowing back ..
He reckoned .. McGann upgrades to a 14-16 and Hanlon drives to game
How right he was

Moran 219 O'Brien 197 and it was onto board 20 with a 22 imp lead

So Congratulations to the Moran team on a terrific comeback. However maybe they need to examine some of the previous 80 boards to find out why they were in the hole

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Ireland Open Team battle to Spring 4s final

The Ireland Open Team backboned  by Mark Moran and Rory Boland sneaked past a powerful Bulgarian squad in Round 7 ....I guess the quarter finals ...

6 once defeated Teams done battle there ..for 3 semi final spots

The undefeated Sinclair Team took a break as per the rules

The Gidman and  Alfrey teams joined Moran and Sinclair in the semi finals this morning

Alfrey being the original number 1 seeds and Moran the 9th seeds out of a starting field of 55 teams

So they had 14 direct matches and 9 triangles ... reducing the field to 32 teams ..

Its double knockout so you got to lose twice to be gone so they ended up with

6 once defeated teams and 1 undefeated. The once defeated 6 all took part in 3 quarter finals

and then there were FOUR ...

Undefeated Sinclair picked the Moran Team and got beaten by 10 imps over 32 boards

Alfrey the number 1 seeded OUTED Gidman and currently we have

Moran versus Alfrey for the CUP

All results and bulletins can be found at

Look for Spring Foursomes

The Final is currently LIVE on Bridge Base Online

I just spotted a couple of Irish lads declaring a 3-2 HEART fit doubled and vulnerable.
They paid out 15 imps for that one

Then they followed up with a trick reducing lead against a doomed 3NT .. the old 4th highest works wonders ... and they paid 13 imps for that one

And finally on Board 8 it looks like Robson has them in his grippers again .. but it won't be as much to pay this time ..probably ....might even gain as a soft lead left them drop a loser ..

However score after 7 boards is ..Moran 11 Alfrey 39 ...

Eamon Galligan

Monday, May 02, 2016

Team Moran in Round 7 of Spring 4s on vugraph now

Team Moran are currently on vugraph. Monday May 02 430pm playing in Round 7 of Spring 4s.

I went to the funeral of Malahide and Regent bridge player Maurice Quinn on Saturday. It was only in late February he made his way over to his computer and played 10 hands of bridge-now while I played same program on my laptop behind him ..A full blog on Maurice later

I still plan to write my blog on the final 20 boards of the IBU trials but I have to play the 20 boards
first ... They were exciting and the chase was on with Moran trialing by 52 and losing about 15 imps on the early board 20

Eamon Galligan

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Slow and the Stopped

As a bridge tournament director one of my duties is to keep the game moving. Sometimes one can pick up the 3 boards before the slow players realize they have only played 2 of the 3 boards. In this case one keeps going and nobody is any the wiser except me. Some players will call me and request an average if they are behind. Some  players who are caught slow just accept it and take an average.

However I have 3 examples

1. I approached a player last month who had been half of North South at say table A4 in a 3 sections competiton and indicated to her that it was great that her table had finally completed the boards.

She was very happy to point out to me that all the slow players in the room were in her section and they were all moving as East West and she had to play against them all. No mention of 20 seconds pause before every card played by her side.... Nope it was all the fault of the moving pairs who were dreadfully slow in her view.

2. One night I spotted a slow declarer starting to play a 4S contract and the table was already slow.

I asked them to speed up and went over to the computer which had on the screen. I managed to bid and play 3 full hands while this lady (a different lady than Item 1) played the 13 tricks or made a claim
So 3 hands played in the 4 minutes ..Does not often happen due to internet lags in that club as the computer is connected to the net by an extender thing. However it shows the speed of play.

3. Last month another pair indicated with anger "WERE NOT SLOW .." I pointed out they had travelled through tables 6 7 and 8 all who were in the last 3 tables finishing each round .. so they
were not fast. 28 tables in play and no gain made on time. So must be slow.

4. Everytime I indicate a slow table they look around to check how next door tables are doing ..
"They  are still playing .." they pipe up ... I say .. Yeah that's true they are on 2nd board of the next round .. or they are on last 3 cards of the equivalent board to the one you are playing ..

5. Its never the slow players fault .. some of them are just permanently in 1st gear .. always travelling up hill

6. In another club where I direct there are two slow players .. Fergal and Tommy ... Now these two
lads just think slow and then when the thinking is done the fingers slowly pick out the calculated card and place it slowly on the table ...Then they repeat all the same for the next 12 tricks

7. Then we have the 1.5 minute dummy putter downer... This man or woman will place each card down in dummy individually and give each card a little pat as it goes on the table.. and maybe look for a little encouragement from partner for a large honor card.

8. And we have not got near a POST MORTEM yet ..

Jimmy the Donplayer converts to Bridge

Last weekend I went to Belfast to broadcast the Lady Milne Trophy on Bridgebase Online. All good and most people had a good time. Scotland had a better time and pretty much dominated the event posting an 87% score.... over the full event

In 2001 when the Coen Trophy was limited to above intermediate level my team managed to post
148 VPS out 150 in a single session of 30 boards and 6 matches of 5 boards.

However these Scots posted 87% over 160 boards and 5 long matches of 32 boards.

So I returned from the Lady Milne on Monday and recalled that I had promised to run a DON competition in my local pub that same night. DON is a game often referred to as poor mans bridge as it was often played by tradesmen whereas bridge was played in the big houses.

Anyway only 4 pairs showed up and we ran like a Two table Howell and all played 6 hands against the other pairs. So we got that over by about 1125pm. Eamon did not win.

1st place was Jimmy Donplayer and Liam Carrick.
So I was thinking ...great I can go home and have a good sleep.

Next thing Jimmy pipes up ... " Eamon give us a quick run through that bridge stuff ....and we will give it a spin for a while"

So Galligan deals out 4 hands and gets the lads to put them face up and quickly explain about winning the first 6 tricks to reach the book and thus bidding starts at 1 level but that means you need 7 tricks. They got that.
Then I explained .. bonus's kick in at 9 tricks for NT 10 tricks for Hearts Spades and 11 tricks for Clubs Diamonds. I have not told them about Small Slam and Big Slam yet.

I did a second hand face up with me explaining the bidding but they picked up the cards and declared the hand. They know the cardplay and what a trick is from DON..

Then Jimmy Donplayer says ... "This is an interesting game .. You could not play this and be drinking at the same time as you would lose count of the suits .. "

Then he says .. Can we play a few hands without showing them on the table ..

So first hand went 1H 2D 2N and Jimmy says "What did you say about a bonus for 9 tricks ..
and I explained and he said ... ok 3NT so ..

Then I made my lead and told Jimmy put his hand on the table ... Jimmy said " but Eamon we are not teaching anymore ..we are keeping our cards held up "

This is where I had to explain the dummy hand ........

Anyway Liam made 10 tricks for plus 1 in 3NT and 430 as Nil all on board 1
Next hand they played 3NT again and Jimmy declared for 9 tricks with a struggle..
I wrote down 600 ...

Then Jimmy piped up does this scoring work .... and I said ... I will look after the scoring for
tonight and Jimmy says .." How will we know you are being honest "

The next 6 hands were part scores and undertricks and then it was time to go home.

Result .. Jimmy 1030 .... Eamon 780 ..

We were playing Chicago ... Nil All on hand 1  Dealer Vul on hand 2 and 3 .. Game all on hand 4

And Jimmy ..goes " What a game !! ... DON is like SNAP  compared to this bridge "
We will give it a spin again soon .. "

Then it took 20 minutes to get down the normal 7 minute walk home as Jimmy questioned me on
various bridge stuff and how it works in the club and scoring and stuff ...

I went in the next night and Jimmy comes over ...Eamon whats this T on that paper you gave me last night. ... I explained T = 10 ..

Meanwhile during that game Declan the Donplayer from previous articles was finally having his first game of bridge with real cards in his hands. For the last 18 months or so he has played only online on the computer. Lurking with intent  in the background was Shane the barman who I also taught bridge but he also has never played with real cards as he only plays on

Seamus Costello delivers beginner lessons in my local community centre and Declan Donplayer called in there once or twice and indicated ...these people are learning what a trick is and what a trump is ... I already know those things.

Eamon Galligan

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Team Dee Charity Saturday 2pm April 16

Good afternoon

There is a charity event in Malahide Regional Bridge Club on Saturday at 2pm.
Click the link above for details ..

This event was supposed to be on last weekend but there was some confusion with the Moylan being in Malahide or not being in Malahide so the organiser's cancelled the Charity  by a week.
I was all set to help out with Tournament Directing or as a float but now the event moved by a week.
So unfortunately I will be working the vugraph at the Lady Milne ..

So if you get bored watching Lady Milne then there is always the bridge game in Malahide.

(Regarding the Moylan not being in Malahide this year .. I think someone forgot to book the venue and I have no idea who that person might be)

I know that over the last few years I have run the Schools Bridge Pairs in Malahide with Thomas MacCormac and we always have to write to the Secretary to book the venue.


So our man in the West chooses to open a weak 2 with the 7 card suit .. and North declares 3NT.
HEART JACK lead and NORTH pops the Queen thinking 6-2 HEART break and that it does not
matter. However there was no cost to duck the HEART JACK and roll home 3NT via the working
club duck and maybe a DIAMOND 10 play or ACE and a small diamond .. but making
due to the lack of communication in HEARTS.

Now if WEST is a player who often opens WEAK 2 with 7 card suit then he needs to advise his
partner who when explaining will then mention the 7 card possibility.

However I don't think there is any cost to duck the HEART JACK ...

I have come across some international Ireland lady players who open a weak 2 with a 7 carder.
I think Eamon Galligan has tried the effect of the 4 card weak 2 opener...
Eamon also has operated the 5 card weak 3 opener
However these are dangerous moves which should only be used with caution .. and against counting
A man with grey hair and glasses just motored up the road outside my house at speed and he was not driving a car. FAST WALKING..
The TV is talking about migrating from Excel to Access ..
If one wanted to have some FREE practice at bridge one could use

Play a hand and you get a percentage score after each hand
Each week it will give you a rating which moves up or down each week.

If you want to watch FREE bridge lessons go to and type in what you want
Example .. someone asked me last night and I showed them and typed in WEAK 2 bid into youtube.
About 20 videos popped up

Eamon Galligan