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Thursday, February 04, 2016

WEXFORD Bridge Congress IBU Trials 2

Looks like the Thai police raided a bridge club and found more then 2 decks of cards

Maybe its an April Fool

Wexford Congress is on this weekend ... GO GO ..

Board 1 saw Marcin Wojech bid a 6S slam versus the 4S up 3 by Hanlon McGann.
Looks like a hand played in club bridge at 4S+3 with lots of things working.
However 3-2 club break and 3-2 club break makes it very cold ... and that's 46% odds.
However there are several other small pieces of odds to add into that.. like if trump queen
drops doubleton .. so adding all up probably over 60%...

10 imps to O'Brien

Board 3 saw Moran winning imps for defending at both tables ... 8 imps for 5 undertricks

Board 7 saw 4D making and 5D down 1 for 6 imps to O'Brien

Board 9 saw one of the Carveys slip home a 4H with 4 top tricks off it and 10 imps
against the 3H up 1 at other table

Board 12 was a 2H part score up and down for 5 imps

Board 13 saw Carvey attempting a strange manoeuvre declaring 3S with 6 trumps.
Sometimes Irish mentor/coach has attempted to explain for years about holding at least
7 trumps to declare ..unless you are Rueful Rabbit or James 3-1 Heneghan.

James rolled home 4H one time with a 3-1 fit ..

Board 14 saw Woj Marcin  roll home 4S with lots of trumps and 6 imps in versus partscore by Hanlon McGann. In my club it goes  P P P 1S 2S 4S at all tables but my players are not internationals.

Board 15 was the opposite ..partscore v game the other way and 6 imps back

Board 16 saw Carroll Garvey roar to the 5 level and take a chinning ... lose 800
Hanlon McGann got 500 from 4SX ,,but that was 7 imps out

Board 18 saw O'Brien win a part score versus knock 3NT for 5 imps

So fter 40 boards the match is pretty well tied up

Last night a chap in my club declared 3NT ...
xx opposite AQJTxx and he led a diamond towards the AQ ...

I searched out my singleton Diamond King as quick as I could ...but the impatient declarer
had already called for the Queen as he knew from bidding I owned all high card points ..
He attempted some bluster but I fished out the rule book and recalled Mauricio ...
"ITS ALWAYS A PLAYED CARD " ... when declarer does it ..

One more simultaneous pairs and then we are off to Wexford Bridge Congress

Monday, February 01, 2016

IBU Trials for Budapest 2016 first 20 board set

Last weekend two squads of Irelands best players faced off in a 100 board final for the honor of representing Ireland in the European championships in Budapest.

Team .. O'Brien

1. BJ O'Brien
2. Ranald Milne
3. Wojech Gorchytca
4. Marcin Rudzinski
5. Thomas MacCormac
6. Ronan McMaugh

BJ a continuous podium finisher in almost every dogfight that has happened for the last 35 years and maybe longer. The man went off to Templeogue to play more bridge  after playing 40 boards in  the trials final. Even the opponents expressed amazement at this when they heard.
BJ has also played for Ireland Open many times. BJ is the only npc to have benched a player for winning a match by making a slam on a squeeze.

Ranald .. Dublin Norths 2nd best bridge teacher after the legendary Paddy English put down his
teaching stick and went into battle against 6 of the best players ever seen in CBAI land.
I recall Ranald playing on the Irish Open team with Joe McHale some years back.

Wojech ........ I don't know much about this guy except he seems rather thoughtful. I think I saw him winning a National Mixed Teams recently. Anyway I don't think there are any bad Polish bridge players.

Marcin Rudzinski ... Again I don't know so much about this guy but Marcin has been appearing in Irish trials for the last few years and performing pretty good.

Thomas MacCormac ... One cannot say anything bad about Thomas. Mild mannered away from the table but a very tough opponent at the table. Also a well known bridge teacher and schools/junior ambassador. Never think he is ignoring you if he walks away as you speak to him ...He does not hear too well in one ear so you got to make sure you are standing on his good side.

Ronan McMaugh ... Now this guy is the perfect partner ...Its always his fault ... so he says ..
No matter what stupidity you put on him ...Ronan will say .."Well I could have made it easier"

The opponents and heavy favourites starting off were

Thomas Hanlon
Hugh McGann
Mark Moran
Rory Boland
Tommy Garvey
John Carroll

I don't need to introduce these guys ...

Boards  1-10

Just 3 major swings here ...MacCormac making 4HX on board 10 was 14 imps
Board 6 was 4H made and defeated for 13 imps the other way.

O'Brien by 29-10..............

Boards 11-20

Board 15 saw Garvey make a vulnerable game against Milnes part score for 10 imps
Board 17 saw MacCormac make 4S while Boland went down for 13 imps
Board 18 saw MacCormac defend 3HX for a tasty 800 but unfortunately OBrien Milne
took a higher view and were beaten 5 off doubled for a 600 differential.

9 imps to Moran and the overall score was O'Brien by 1 imp after 20 boards of 100.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Camrose 2016 Weekend 1 City North ...Meath or Louth I think

Next weekend January 8th to 10th the CBAI host the first weekend of the Camrose Trophy

6 teams will take part.

England Scotland NIBU CBAI Wales and Wales2(final weekend hosts) and Father Glynns team.

England should be favourites to start this event well as they field capable bridge players like David Bakhshi and  David Gold as well as players like Mike Bell and Alexander Allfrey who are almost as good as me (at spelling) as well as Andrew Robson and Tony Forrester. Lets put it this way don't play them for money if you happen to visit.

Camrose 2016 Teams

Above is a link to the other teams in this event.

Donal MacAonghusa will tog out at great expense for the Glynn team. Donal is a fantastic bridge player who has spent his last 20 years or so as one of  Irelands leading poker tournament directors.
The Diarmuid Reddan of the Ireland poker scene.

Donal used to sing ... "Pop goes the weasel" as he felled another singleton King

I think Donals nickname is Younis for some reason

Now the Sligo gang will be up in arms because Fergal is this and Fergal is that and GOD ranks below Fergal as a TD but Diarmuid Reddan does not have a Mairead.

Spectators are welcome and entry is free at the venue. A vugraph room with commentary from some top Irish bridge players like BJ O'Brien will be in operation. The event will also be shown on Bridgebase Online vugraph.

Timetable for the Weekend

City North hotel room prices look very decent.
A quick glance saw room rate for 3 nights at 222 euros

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Ruth Giddings Irish bridge legend RIP.

Multiple Irish National champion (won 6 Nationals in 1 year) found a way to go down in 6D

I came across this hand this morning where a well known Irish player found a way to make only 11 tricks in 6 Diamonds. Me a lesser player according to the legend gathered in 13 tricks in the 3NT.

The above site is one of the better sites to play bridge online these days. You get a robot partner and 2 robot opponents. So if you complain your robot is poor also got to accept you have twice as many poor opponents. A fine site for anyone to practice their bridge with no partner required.

Sadly a true bridge legend passed away recently. Ruth Giddings played most of her bridge long before my time. However on January 1st 2001 (I think we had a some kind of tornado out around Clonee). It was a Sunday and the annual Wigoder Teams was taking place in the Regent. I was on a Team with Maurice Quinn Joe McHale and Joe Walshe but that is not what this story is about.

We played the 1st session and I had my cheese and turkey sandwiches ready to go.
I went to sit down to eat my sandwiches and realized there was only 1 other person present.

Ruth Giddings ........

So I sat opposite and took out my sandwiches made with bread probably dating back to Xmas Day.
Half way through the first I realized some mould was present and mentioned it.

"Divil a harm it will do you " said Ruth

Later on I mentioned I was going out for a smoke ..

Ruth asked .. " Do you smoke and expressed a negative vibe"

I said "Yes and No" (as 20 cigs could last me 10 days or more ..

Ruth said .. There is no YES and NO in smoking .. you either smoke or you don't
She told me she used to smoke 40 a day (as it was fashionable) but stopped about 50 years before 1951..

Ruth did not win on that occasion but I won as I got maybe 1.5 hours of conversation with a bridge legend and I never did go out for that cigarette and I did eat every piece of the mouldy bread.

Like every bridge player that exists we all remember our successes but seem to compartmentize our failures. Back in 1994 myself and Maurice Quinn arrived at the table of Ruth Giddings and Barbara Seligman... a legendary pairing at the time .. and in their prime ... Ruth was only about 80 years old then. We played 2 boards and left the two shocked opponents behind. Later on I saw on my scoresheet that we had taken every single matchpoint on those 2 boards ... 1.0 and 1.0 ..
I met Ruth downstairs later and she told me ..."Never before did I get 0 matchpoints from a set of boards"

Another night back around 1989 when I was attempting to join the Regent Bridge club and back then you had to play a game or 2 with your proposers ... I had managed to get Des Scannell and Michael McGloughlin to sign my application. So I was in playing one of my mandatory games with Des Scannell and we had some misunderstanding with a Baron 2NT which Des liked ..

1 heart from me and 2NT from Des and I decided 6NT but Des had 4 card heart support so he put me into 7H.

Well the trumps broke 4-1 but the finesse against the King worked.. The diamond QJx lay nicely under the diamond AKT .. The spade King was offside sitting with the aforementioned diamond QJx

Some how I gathered in 13 tricks as the hand got squeezed as I drew the last trump ...QJx and Kx
and could only hold 4 cards so dumped the spade King and my AQ spades became tricks.

7H made ...and downstairs a 75 year old Ruth Giddings materialized at my side and said ...
"You had the coup of the night .... bid and made 7H ...when others played 4H+2 and 6H="
Nobody else needed to find what I think was a treble squeeze...

Of course I have no memory of all the bad scores I presumably got against Ruth Giddings. I remember her playing with Sean Stack when I first went to the Regent Bridge Club in the late 1980s.
There must have been loads of them as I was an Intermediate B player in the late 1980s.

Anyway much later possibly in 2006 the annual Regent Bridge Club Presidents Prize was played.
Back then you played 5 weeks with different partners and on the last 2 weeks the leading contenders all sat North upstairs. Now the Regent on a Wednesday night was the toughest game in Ireland and upstairs on Week 4 and 5 of Presidents Prize with 13 contenders and their chosen partner it was the toughest. That year Ruth Giddings at the age of approximately 96 years won the Regent Bridge Club Presidents Prize and trust me nobody gave her a trick.
I know because against me ..Ruth opened 2S and it did not dawn on me until after I had doubled in the balance seat that it might be an strong Acol 2 ... me being used to weak 2s.
Anyway "The Great Mullall" was able to bid 3H as he knew all doubles were takeout. Ruths partner who shall remain nameless failed to double and 3H drifted 2 non vulnerable tricks off and not much score for Ruth. Of course 3H doubled might have attracted a better defence and gone 3-4 down.
I mean I was only trying to push them up a level ... did not really matter to me whether strong 2 or weak 2.

Anyway that was some of my interactions with Ruth Giddings ... Maybe tomorrow I will have a look at the book upstairs about Great Irish Bridge plays ... I think Seamus Dowling wrote it ...
and find some Ruth Giddings plays ..
I recall playing trials in 1990 the year Derek Stokes found he was no longer directing the trials.
He asked me to play and I only had a few B points and would not qualify to play ..
However he said " I have enough B points for both of us " So I played ..
and I recall Ruth Giddings sitting kibitzing a younger Thomas Hanlon and Hugh McGann  and her knitting away behind him. Of course Derek and Eamon finished near last back then.

So that was Ruth ... I think she played on the Irish Open Team as far back as 1951 or 1953...
She sort of quit playing bridge at the age of 98 as she could not get to the club as easy as before.



Saturday, October 31, 2015

Interprovincials weekend

This weekend is Interprovincial weekend. The Interprovincials are a strange event in almost every sport or game. In the GAA nobody wants them as it is just another chance to get injured. Back when I was a kid it was a big deal for a county player to make the Ulster team and the finals were held on Paddys Day and shown live on TV. This was in a time of no ESPN or SKYSPORTS.

Anyway back to the bridge.

Munster is the only team with anything close to their strongest active players.  They are fielding 3 teams of mostly Open Trials level.

Leinster historically always fields 2 Open and 1 lady team. I think a good performance in the Kelbourne Trophy gets you on the team along with something akin to an international team.

Connacht historically field 3 decent 4somes. This year they have 2 open trials level teams and one team that I know less about.

Ulster looks to be booked for last place as their team lacks most of the recent Camrose Trophy players. Lindsay and Hamilton might argue the point but Greenwood Anderson McKenzie Coffey Lavery Robin Burns John Murchan Ciara Burns Diane Greenwood Tranmer Hastings and probably a few I have forgotten as I don't play so much these days. Ah yes Ruth and Wayne might be worth a try. They could even import Tony from Clones. No doubt someone will tackle me on this as I forgot to mention him or her.

So I will pick Munster for the win ... but someone needs to keep BJ down and the O'Briains could have a good run. Maybe Malahide stars Conor O'Hara will roll back the years but not being a regular partnership trouble might rear its head.

So Munster is my pick and Ulster for the spoon ..

Leading team ... McDonagh of Connacht and O'Gorman of Munster followed by Team O'BJ of Leinster

Results and Running Scores are at

Shortly I will be replaying the 100 boards of the Cavendish qualifiers and the 42 boards of the Final.
I want to see how I will do against the champion Mesbur and Fitzgibbon. Watch this space.
Of Irish interest here is a bulletin from 2000
Maybe Ulster could have fielded Pat McDevitt of Donegal on their interpro team..
A World and NABC Senior champion ..

Friday, October 23, 2015

Adam and Nick win Cavendish Pairs apparently

Despite several messages to the contrary my information indicates Adam Mesbur and NickFitzgibbon are Cavandish Pairs champions for this year.
However I am not on site so I cannot guarantee this result. However I know a man who is on the site
and Rory says they placed first. However someone else has a picture of final scoreboard saying 2nd ..
Either way great result and the rama has been perfect all week I trust "The Proffessor"
So we go with that for now

More details including confirmation might be found here later

Here is the rama

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Adam and Nick going well so far in Cavandish Pairs

As stated yesterday ....

Today sees the main event ... The Cavandish Pairs ...
I note the presence of Adam Mesbur and Nick Fitzgibbon here and don't be surprised if they
perform very well. I would think they even have a chance of making the Final A ..
There are many great players in this event but many are in unpracticed partnerships..
Adam and Nick have been practicing for many years and playing at top level for many years.
Now they won't beat Tor and Geir but could beat many others.

Adam and Nick lead Cavendish Pairs qualifying after 56 boards of 90 
At least I indicated yesterday before the event ..

Above link is for Cavendish event .. Hanlon Carroll doing ok also

Limerick Congress and Cavandish

Last weekend I was invited down to Limerick Bridge Congress to do some directing. Directing is a handy job when Diarmuid Reddan is in charge. Diarmuid and his Congress Committee seem to have everything under control.
I don't know all the names of the Congress Committee so I best not mention any in case I leave the most important one out or include someone who is not on the Committee.
Last weekend I encountered a new movement .. The Web Mitchel ..
There were 23 tables in the Intermediate Pairs and it went .. 9 tables 7 tables 7 tables all in a row of 1 to 23 .. Boards were put out .. 1-27 then 1-21 with 2 relays at table 7 and 3rd set of boards were played in reverse order again with 2 relays .. East West pairs moved up a table each round and could cross sections during the sessions .. So you reached table 9 and carried onto table 1 (10) of next section. I will have to examine this one
Anyway Maura  Lane and Moira Coughlan won the intermediate pairs with a massive 68.1% score.

So on arriving at Limerick I was handed a pile of papers to sort out .. Turned out these were the paperwork required for Gerry Fulham to run his weekend of Open Pairs .. Open Pairs A to F and Table Numbers which he decided not to use ..

Then there was table numbers 1-24 for the intermediate pairs. Meanwhile Diarmuid and Gordon were dealing boards constantly before sessions. There were also many sets of boards already dealt and someone seemed to know exactly what was in each box.

Gordons quiz was also running but it was kind of complex this year and I only got as far as first clue.
Rhymes with Treacle .... I presume it was Feakle ...
Then the next answers were from counties that bordered the first answer or something like that.
Oh what a twisted mind that Gordon chap has ...

As for Diarmuid ..he knows the nuances of every bridge player in the room .. I mentioned some intermediate and gloating and he knew without seeing the person who it was and indicated a lecture was in order.

Meanwhile in Monte Carlo Team Moran placed 3rd in the Patton de Monaco
One might be able to figure out some results from the link below

in the Cavandish Teams Ireland got smashed in the final qualifying match and followed up with two
small wins to finish in mid table in the Swiss.

Today sees the main event ... The Cavandish Pairs ...
I note the presence of Adam Mesbur and Nick Fitzgibbon here and don't be surprised if they
perform very well. I would think they even have a chance of making the Final A ..
There are many great players in this event but many are in unpracticed partnerships..
Adam and Nick have been practicing for many years and playing at top level for many years.
Now they won't beat Tor and Geir but could beat many others.

John Carroll partners Thomas Hanlon in the same event
Rory Boland and Mark Moran also take part .. Lets see if the Boland can front load this field.

Eamon Galligan

Recent News Items

In my last post Ireland Seniors backboned by Pat Barry and Rex Anderson had cruised into the D'Orsi Bowl Senior quarter finals. Choosing USA2 as the least of evils ..I think Poland was the other option.

However a USA Senior Team of any shape is going to be no pushover as USA Senior Trials often start with up to 20 teams of hardened bridge veterans. All of whom who would play at least 1 if not all 3 of US Nationals every year. 

So the expected result happened and USA2 slowly ground Ireland to a loss. 

The match was fairly close but Irelands final chance disappeared when a 3NT slipped through swinging about 14 imps. 
Meanwhile here in Ireland we had the Mixed Pairs/Teams  Weekend. 

The Spiro Cup Mixed Pairs was topped by Rita O'Neill and Brendan Martin from Wicklow
followed by Seamus Costello and Deirdre Tuckey from the far North of Dublin 
with perennial contenders Carol Ann Cummins and John Noonan also from Wicklow in 3rd

Sean O'Lubaigh had a tough day but got through it 

In the Duais 2015(Thats the Presidents Prize)  Cian Holland and Mary Finn held off 133 other pairs to emerge victorious after 3 gruelling sessions .. The emerging intermediate pair of Jeannie Fitzgerald and Emer Joyce languished in 50th place 1122 matchpoints behind the winners. The well known tennis player Malcolm Swan finished in 9th place. Not bad for a chap with goofy glasses and partnered Stephen Barr. 
Meanwhile Drogheda Congress presumably ran its annual bridge extravaganza superbly as normal 
MacCormac and McMaugh led early on before losing strength and being passed out by Marcin and Wojech.
McMaugh and MacCormac bounced back to take the Congress Teams on the Sunday carried by the incredible BJ O'Brien. and the well known Dublin bridge teacher Ranald Milne 

If you want to improve your game .. Google Ranald Milne and surely something will pop up.