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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Junior Camrose lads play DON

Last weekend I went to the Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer competitions in City North which is probably in County Meath or Louth. Maybe it just hangs inside the Dublin borders.

Anyway I spotted some of the English and Welsh juniors playing an intense game of cards which turned out to be called Directors revenge. It was bridge except that each player was allowed to revoke once without penalty (I am not sure if dummy was allowed a revoke )
After that game they moved onto a similarly intensive game of hearts ..the 4 players were Toby and Jon from England and Jason and Johnny from Wales. I quickly noticed Jason regularly having a peek into Johnnys hand and thus he was able to keep ahead of the game. However it was all good clean fun.

I suggested that I would teach them a game after the HEARTS game ended. All happily agreed so as the HEARTS neared the end I layed out the rules for DON as they continued playing.

1. Same as HEARTS in principle as in 4 players get 13 cards and you must follow suit.
2. Point scoring cards are NINES and FIVES so you want to win tricks containing 9s and 5s
3. Also AKQJ of trumps count as 4321 points
4. Trump NINE and FIVE count DOUBLE so 18 and 10
5. Trumps are selected by rota and each player has a turn picking trumps as each new hand starts.
6. First to pick trumps is the chap holding the DIAMOND 2 ...and after that it rotates.clockwise.
7. 13 tricks are played but we only count the 80 points listed above.

Last night I told Declan the Donplayer about these young English lads who picked up and understood
DON in about 2 minutes. Declan the Donplayer said .."Eamon I have been playing DON over 40 years and I still don't fully get it and you are telling me that 4 random young lads got the game in minutes ... NOT POSSIBLE" " If you said they played 20 hands of DON and got a little then maybe

Whats more is Jason He ...a young Welsh Junior Camrose player came over to the table I was at during the closing dinner and said ..."Eamon that was a great game you taught us last night ..We will
definitely be giving that a run again soon ...

My main point here is that young people in Ireland don't tend to play card games like WHIST or HEARTS or DON or  any other follow suit games anymore. Thus its hard for people as adults to learn bridge. A man was running bridge lessons in my local community centre and Declan the Donplayer filled in one night when one player was missing. Afterwards he came upstairs and he said "Eamon those people don't even understand the concept of a trick. They have to learn cards and then learn bridge. "

I recall learning WHIST as a youngster and then GERMAN WHIST for 2 players when we did not have 4. Then when this chap I knew called Miles Podmore showed up in NIHE(now UL) and started teaching us bridge in the stables (NIHE students coffee place) I was able to grasp the game quickly and was hooked from then on. My first book was ALL ABOUT ACOL by Rhoda Lederer I think.
The tattered remains might still survive in my attic but I am not sure.

All results of Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer trophies can be found at

One guy playing at the weekend went by the name Captain 1400 ...which reminds me of our own
Monsoiur Septieme Cent otherwise known as John Phelan after he collected a 1700 point penalty from a well known Dublin bridge player.

Eamon Galligan

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Junior Camrose and Sharkbridge

This weekend in City North near Gormanstown in County Meath we host the Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer Home Internationals Junior bridge.

Teams from NIBU CBAI Scotland Wales and  England will participate.

More information can be found on the Bridge Great Britian website

Also Fearghal O'Boyle will have running scores once he wins his regular argument with the IT controls in City North.

Meanwhile a new bridge program/software has appeared. I don't know much about it but I played my
first daily tournament early this morning and did ok ... Tourney is scored in matchpoints but also shows your imps score too.

The program name is SHARKBRIDGE ... Canadian I think ..

I understand it has versions for MAC TABLET PHONE and PC.

I was using the PC version ...A 16 board daily tournament ...

However I think there might be some add ons to extract some hard cash from your purses to
support the project. ... Looks like a good program ...
As usual one South human and 3 robots ..

Google Sharkbridge ..

There is a Windows version above ...

However I am still happy to recommend

Also  has all one could wish for including human bridge players.

I have played with some novice and intermediate players recently ... Most seem to play by rules or rota or what some elder lemon told them ... They don't seem to think at all. Its like in a phone answering service company where I understand they have scripts for telling the caller how to sort out the problem....

Paddy said ... THIRD HAND HIGH
Paddy said ... DONT PREMPT UNLESS YOU HAVE 7 cards
PAT said ... IT CAN BE LIGHT OPENING BID in 3rd or 4th seat ..

Lots of new players are gathering up a set of rules by which one plays bridge ..

The old irish cardplayer is gone ...the one that played whist and don for 30 years before finding the

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Wexford Congress Camrose2 etc

Last weekend Wexford held its annual bridge congress at Whites Hotel. The Congress Committee down there operate a tight show and in 3-4 years directing down there I have not seen anything break from a committee point of view.
Even when the Sinn Fein Ard Dheis showed up on the same weekend and managed to take the large function room (presumably above committee done a deal) nothing changed. By all accounts a small well functioning committee. I cannot name them as I don't know all their names exactly.

This year they added a new item or else their region did.

All Wexford Congress results are posted on this site.

Two Malahide members won the 2nd session of the Intermediate Pairs ..
74 pairs took part which is a large event and anyone who got a prize out of this worked hard for it.

We had 31 pairs in the Congress Pairs won by Katherine Lennon and Derek Crosbie despite a major Dublin player insisting they should be 2nd seeds in my 3 grouped seeding approach before the start.
I personally as director ranked the pairs as 1 2 or 3 in strength and spread them across the 3 fields equally. Generally any pair containing a trials player or international was deemed a 1.

Meanwhile up North in NIBU land there seems to be some discussion going on regarding the selection of NIBU Camrose Team for the 2nd weekend.
Currently Bridge Great Britian lists a team containing 4th 5th and 7th places on the trials but
the grapevine indicates that the original team will take their seats for battle.

NIBU perennially place 5th or 6th and recently some years they might manage 5th and 6th if they
are final weekend hosts. The problem is once the trials are over and probably before they don't do any training. Anderson Greenwood play tough matches on BBO almost daily so they are putting in the bridge gym work as such.

Top Irish pair Mesbur and Fitzgibbon are still doing bidding practice every week maybe 2-3 hours despite being a 40 year bridge partnership. The Irish Open team can be seen doing BBO practice matches with some Polish opponents and world class coach Krystoff Martens is involved in this exercise too.

I understand Michael Byrne from Manchester has visited or will visit NIBU to provide some training.
Michael has also turned up in Dublin to make up the 8 for a training weekend with the Irish Open Team some years back.

I don't know all the details of the NIBU team discussion but it is possible the selection committee dropped the first weekend team and later a more muscular committee over wrote that decision.

Meanwhile last night a lady approached me in Malahide asking what was the meaning of something about ethics in the Sunday Independent last Sunday in Mr Comyn's column. I have not seen the article so I don't know what it was about. I might find out if I can find a house that bought the Indo last Sunday. One used to be able to read the Sunday Indo in Maurice Quinns on a Tuesday.

John Cunningham a former Mullingar area bridge man passed away last weekend. John was already losing his sight by the time I got to be an opponent and that's over 20 years ago. I think he had also cut down his bridge playing by then too. However I recall having a few discussions as bridge technology developed in the early 2000s connected with Mullingar Bridge Centre....probably about  dealing machine or hand records or some such item. It was long before bridgemates surfaced.
John was a top player but I only saw the end of his playing career. Rest in peace.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Camrose Weekend 1 2017 and Schools Bridge

Camrose Weekend 1 took place from January 6th to 8th in Coventry. Scotland fielded 2 teams as they are the hosts of the Final Weekend.

Ireland won their first 2 matches against Wales and Northern Ireland gathering in almost
39 VPS out of 40. Then SBU punched them for 5.5. The Irish team responded with a 20-0
hammering of the struggling Scotland team.

Meanwhile England had built up a decent total of about 65.6 VPS to lead Ireland by about a VP going into the final matchup.

One hand apparently provided the highlight of the Ireland England match when Tony Forrester apparently flicked the Club King on the table under John Carrolls Ace. However there has been
some word that the Club King was placed facedown on the table for many seconds before being turned over for Carroll to see. However this is 2nd hand information so unverified.

Results and standings can be found on EBU website

Meanwhile there are whiffs of brownish smoke emanating from the Vatican that the first weekend team from the NIBU have been retired as Camrose players for the foreseeable future.
Maybe Eamon can offer them some space in the bidding gym. A few memberships are still available.

Last weekend Eamon Galligan assisted by Thomas "Teaboy" MacCormac ran the Irish Schools
Pairs championship in for the last 5 years have made their facilities available to the Schools Bridge group at a nominal fee. I don't know if the nominal fee is ever collected. However these young players really enjoy their day.
Players come from Laurel Hill Dundalk Belfast Dublin and Kilkenny.

Results can be found on Thomas MacCormac bridge site

Friday, January 06, 2017

Camrose 2017

This evening at around 1900 the annual Camrose Bridge Party starts. I think it should be on Bridgebase Online for all to see.

After a little research I discovered it takes place in Coventry so all should be well for our viewing pleasure. EBU usually put on a good show but in some countries the vugraph operators can be brand new and take some time to get up to speed. However EBU are almost as good as Paul Porteus.

The usual teams will play with Scotland having two teams in action. That probably means all the players in Scotland that can follow suit. Les Steele does not follow suit these days and Victor is probably retired to the Over 50s Telscher bash and some other good Scots players emigrated to USA and England. No sign of Derek Saunders this year. I guess Biff does not play bridge anymore and maybe Liz has retired. I think SBU team will outrun Scotland. Have not seen Jim Hay togging out for a while so maybe match fitness could be a problem.

I have not noticed much movement of the Northern Ireland team since they completed the trials but with Peter Pigot teaching regularly up there in one of the clubs maybe they took the opportunity to get some coaching. The NIBU team is backboned by Ciara Burns and John Murchan along with Grier McKenzie and Hastings Campbell.  NIBU also include honorary players Greenwood and Anderson.
Anderson is quite a good player having gathered about 110 caps for Northern Ireland. He also made a recent appearance in the Seniors Bermuda Bowl in India reaching the quarter final.

The CBAI team of Carroll Garvey Moran Boland Hanlon and McGann will have a shot and I saw them in the bridge gym recently. However Boland has a pulled hamstring in his left arm so could have trouble front loading. Thomas Hanlon has developed into a fine player these days so if he is on form there could be a CBAI win.

Wales have put out an intelligent team this year but no sign of the monster pair of Tedd and Salisbury. He is a nice man that Salisbury chap. I saw that pair do a 3.14 imp set and then some captain sat them out ... I don't understand captains that sitout pairs who are on a hot run.

1/2 England Ireland
4 Wales
5 Scotland
and distant 6th will be Northern Ireland ...

However maybe those NIBU folk will prove me wrong ..

Friday, December 09, 2016

One hundredth of a VP can be costly in ACBL land

Last weekend in one of the Major competitions of the American Contract Bridge World Thomas Hanlon and his team missed out on qualifying for the FINAL 10 teams.
They missed out by 0.01 of a victory point or board a match point.

Plenty of decent players in that field if one does not like me saying so but our boy missed out by 1/100th of a BAM point or Victory point.

Here we have Hanlon discussing the 100th of a point he left behind with Thomas Bessis.
Both of the above attended the 90th anniversary of the Regent Bridge Club Congress a couple of years ago.
As mentioned last week Hanlon was 2nd in Life Masters Pairs ..a 4 session event as far as I remember.
The Masters Pairs takes place this weekend in Templogue and Hanlon Carroll usually make an appearance at this event. Some other good players like Thomas Gilligan Eileen McCann Nicky Fitzgibbon and Trish Stack will also take part.
In fact all participants must be good players as only Master Players are allowed enter.
By Sunday evening we will know who is the best Master Pairs for 2016.
For the lesser players there is always

  a fine site if one wants to play bridge without a partner.

Another site which allows a single player to play 16 hands per day

The grand daddy of all the bridge playing sites

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thomas Hanlon places 2nd in Life Master Pairs

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

Hanlon Amoils 2nd in Life Master Pairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eamon Galligan