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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Teams Qualifiers World Bridge Games conclude

The qualifiers for the round of 16 of the various teams events in the World Bridge games has concluded. The great card playing nation of Ireland has no teams left standing.

The Open Team has plenty of missed chances and several unforced errors all of which added up
to a hopeful performance which in the end missed out by 6.3 VPs. Those VPs were available with a
little more bridge knowledge.

So with Ireland gone I will support USA .. whose Justin Lall showed up to win at The Regent Bridge Clubs 90th anniversary a few years ago .. and England Ladies as they have Fiona Brown from Fermoy playing.

Yesterday morning I was 2 strange actions on the first 2 boards against Hungary by our esteemed front pairing....Now maybe its a weakness in their bidding system ..

They open 1C which is 10-13 or 17 plus in normal peoples high card points.
The opponent overcalls 3H and its passed back to the 1C chap whe o owns the 17+ hand.
Somehow they contrive to launch into 3NT with a combined 23 count ...
Now out in Malahide the folk play penalty against 3 level it goes double and everyone passes.
Not for our two heroes who declare 3NT and go down 2 ... should be plus at both tables for 5 imps
but instead is flat board ... if they get it doubled its 300 + 100 = 9 imps

Then on the 2nd board we had our 2 heroes attempting 4H with a combined 18 count .. The Hungarian was not happy so he doubled and gathered in 800 and 14 imps
Now this won't total up to the 6.3 VPs required but it puts a large hole in it ..
Maybe the 3NT-4 two times in the other room would get us over the line
Of course there were another 20-30 hands over the week to gain VPS.

Meanwhile out in Malahide last night I saw a declarer holding Kx opposite Jxx and on receiving a heart switch declarer rose with KING and thus losr the whole HEART SUIT.
playing low establishes a HEART trick by force ..

Other players in Malahide failed to push the lads up a level ... example 1D 1H 2C all pass..
I am pretty sure I am going to bid 2S without even seeing my hand unless I have lots of clubs.

Another pair sailed into 4S vulnerable with my partner making a DIAMOND noise in the auction and holding 5 diamonds and being non vulnerable I tried the effect of 5D... I was quite surprised to find it
went PASS PASS PASS ... This is daylight robbery

Then we had

This one went Pass 1C X 1H ...I ventured 1NT
Then 2C Pass Pass back to me

I tried 2D with the 3 card suit ... with better agreements I could double but did not want the
Big Man to be huffing and puffing and blowing..
Anyway 2D got home ... Of Course I was only hoping to push the opponents up a level
but they left me alone in 2D ..
Finally I must mention Declan the Donplayer ...who scored 56.62% on

Despite never having played a physical game of bridge .. but he keeps threatening to visit
Malahide. ....says I work for myself ..I am allowed play bridge on a Monday morning.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

World Bridge Championships

The World Bridge Championships are taking place at the moment in Wroclaw. It is pronounced somewhat different but such is the Polish language. Now most of us will never play in the World Bridge championships but thanks to Bridgebase Online run by Fred Gitelman we can all watch if we choose.. Now lets be clear ... the average player in the World Bridge Championships would destroy the best player in 99% of our local Ireland Clubs .. The best players in the cities would be ok as in Mesbut Fitzgibbon ... but the local stars like Toomy or Johnny or Rory or Mickey or Jimmy would have no hope.

We can watch at the above website for free ..

There is also live video watching bridge is like watching paint dry or a kettle boil ..
so only for the diehards .. and yes they do pick their nose ....just the odd time ..

The other day I saw two Irish lads bidding ...

1S P 2C P
2S  P P P

Amazingly the 1S 2S chappy owned only 4S ... Not even in my local club ..
However no doubt there is an explanation both these players are very well educated and successful in their chosen fields outside of bridge. They are also both damn good bridge players..
So what are we missing,

Maybe the 2C bid is 3+ spades invitational or GAME FORCE ... all might be revealed ..

The next day we noted a fine pair of players declaring 5C with a 5-1 fit I think ...

and to cap it all we found 2 World Champions declaring in 7D with 2 trumps each ...

However don't even think of getting brave ... on the other 95% of the boards they are bidding slams that make and doing squeezes and other stuff never heard of in Dublin Bridge Cluibs ..

Now today the Irish ladies went into battle against the USA ladies ...
4 bridge legends versus 4 of Irelands best female bridge players and I think 3 of the Irish have playerd full Camrose Trophy .. and own multiple Irish Ladies championships ..

After 3 boards the score is 34-0 USA .. with a final score of 94-30 to USA ...
so average it out to 9-3 in goals in a soccer match or whatever ...

Manchester City versus Dundalk (arguably England /Irelands top soccer teams)
If they play 12 matches ...its will be without doubt 12-0 to Manchester City ..
So to gather in 30 imps versus the US professionals is a good earner ...

I don't really have any point to make here except that it is tough at the World Championships
so lets knock those who are trying ..

Big Boy Murchan is out there too ... and its not easy for him either matter what he says ..
Ciara Burns well known player from Northern Ireland is also fighting hard .. but the opposition is
serious ..Michael McGloughlin one of the greatest players in Dublin is battling hard on the same team. The remainder of the Moxed Team is Harold Curran Ann Fitzpatrick and Heidi Lillis..
One expects to see them make the last 16 at the end of the round robin and bow out after getting chosen by a top team ......but if they want to prove me wrong least make the final 16 first ..

I am glad Team Open are not on vugraph tomorrow as I did 20 situps yesterday every time Boland Moran made a contract ... and they made quite a few against somebody ...

I should be ready for more situps by Friday ...

Expecting a poor return on
this week ... should still be around 62% ....but losing ELO points

Its that bad that Declan the Donplayer is touting 57.5% and indicating if I have a bad week
I will be looking up at the Donplayer ..

Eamon Galligan

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Dunne Kelly Trayor O'Leary of Bankers on Vugraph now from Pula (Sunday 1530)

Amazingly I was watching the World Bridge championships on vugraph a few minutes ago and up pops Dunne on the screen .. Hmmm could it be David Dunne (former Irish chess champion) and old partner of mine.. Then the other side of the table fills up with Kelly .. could that be Sheila Kelly regular cross table opponent of David Dunne ..

So if you are bored with World Championship Bridge ... Ireland Open front 4 ran into a warmed up Dutch quartet this morning and got beaten by about 70 imps .. They won next match small against New Zealand ..
You can kibitz Sheila Kelly on vugraph NOW ...Its an 8 board match so hurry up ..
Even with Dunnes thoughtful  play it won't be lasting too long ..

Looks like some Trayer and O'Leary in the other room .. 5 imps up after one
Maybe its John Comyns partner Blanaid and maybe its Morris O'Leary.
I don't play much these days so I don't know all the new kids on the block.
I think O'Leary does some directing

Irish women got beat by France in round 1 and after rising the Templogue Terrors from the bench defeated Iceland by a small margin in round 2 ..

The Mixed Team had a good win in Round 1 .. got a hiding in Round 2 and eased past China in Round 3 with Lillis and Burns in top form ..

Team Dunne got beaten small .. 15-9 in Pula ..
Looks like they now use WBF scoring so Team Dunne back to 10th place in Pula Mixed Teams.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Declan Donplayer amazes yet again

Last night I directed the Gala Pairs in Malahide. This is the annual season opening event. We had 39 tables after a couple of late cancelations. All went well and on departing Malahide Bridge Club about midnight I expected that was the end of bridge for the night.

I headed back to Rivervalley in Swords and parked up the car. Then over to Rivervalley Community Centre for a couple of Guinness. On entering the club I meet Declan the Donplayer. He gets a little excited and says "Eamon I need you to help me with something " ..

Now Declan is a local guy who learned bridge from scratch and who has never entered a bridge club as a player. He visited Malahide Regional one night for a look at how it all worked and kibitzed Maurice Quinn for a while. I taught him bridge in about 10 minutes one night and then introduced him to

For about the last 3 months Declan the Donplayer has been busy with his other pursuits of
catching trout , drinking , gambling , painting and decorating (his day job) , looking after his parents and his kids as well as playing the odd game of DON.

So it was quite a surprise to see Declan digging into his pocket and pulling out an Easons receipt with a bridge hand written on it.



The above hands are in order from the top Spades Hearts Diamonds Clubs

1NT 2D
2H    2S
3H    4C
4D    4NT
5S     6H

I had a quick glance and said .. So you made 6H and you are showing me that you done Transfers and Cuebidding and Roman Keycard Blackwood and bid a slam .. OK well done

"No Eamon this was my opponents and I have no clue what they mean .. Yer man is bidding diamonds when he has spades + hearts  and the other lad is bidding HEARTS twice  with a 4 card suit. Then yer man bids that ACES gerber thing you told me and the other lad says I have NONE when he has 2. Then he does that Blackwood thing as he does not believe the GERBER I have no clue what their bidding means.
However I got 14% and I want to know how these 2 dunce robots can bid a slam in 6H and not have any idea about bidding .... The only part they know is the No trump thing showing 15-17 points."

So I explained to Declan ..

1NT ... 15-17
2D ... a transfer to HEARTS
2H .. complete the transfer
2S .. presume shows HEARTS and SPADES and is forcing
3H .. Agree HEARTS
4C ... A cuebid in this case showing a shortage in Clubs
4D ... A cuebid in this case showing Diamond Ace
4NT ... Roman Keycard Blackwood asking for 4 aces and the Trump King as 5th ace
5S ....  2 of those 5 aces and also the Queen of trumps
6H ... Missing an Ace so lets stop in 6

So there we have Declan the Donplayers interpretation and my view of what the robots are showing.

Of course if I was bidding I would be transferring to SPADES first and I am surprised the robots did not do this as well. However Declan the Donplayer wrote down the hands and auction so I better believe him.

Now Declan is a strange character for bridge ... Anytime I mention bridge to Declan ..He gushes
"Eamon I love that game and I am delighted you accidently showed it to me one night. "

One night he said to me (after he had imbibed probably a couple of gallons of beer ) ... Eamon 2 people did something for me in this life ...

1. My uncle taught me fishing when I was a kid and I am still reeling in 2 pounder trout to this day ..

Eventually I took the bait as nothing was happening ...

"Declan ... ok the fishing is good and what did the 2nd person do for you ...

" Ah Eamon I thought you knew about the 2nd person ... "
"That's you and teaching me this bridge game that is so intriguing and changes on every hand"
"Eamon I am from Sheriff Street and nobody was playing bridge down there and I absolutely love this game "

So if people happen to use one day they might see Declan McKenna

Declan has never played in a bridge club but he has scored above 52% some weeks on bridge-now.
This is a serious score for a chap who never went to a bridge class or a bridge club and learned from me about 2 years ago.

Actually I told an untruth ... Declan did go to a bridge class once .. Seamus Costello the well known North County Dublin player runs bridge classes in our community centre on a Wednesday night.
I told Declan to go down for a look some night .. Declan did ...

He met Seamus and had a chat and filled in when there was an odd number of players ..

However he came back and said ..

"Eamon those people are learning which side of the card is up ...they are starting from scratch ..
They don't know the concept of a trick or a trump or anything .... I have been playing cards for 45 years so its just not going to work with this learner trying to work out which side of the card has the good stuff printed on it"

I will just play the
and fight the robots on

And we are all good ...

I almost forgot ... The Easons receipt ... a non-bridge book

Religion for Living .. 24 euros 50 cents .... I did not realize Declan the Donplayer did religion.
You learn something everyday ... I thought .. Gambling Drinking Ladies and a little bridge online.

Another chap who is past 60 and also a veteran of DON for almost 50 years played a few hands of bridge upstairs during a break in the DON game ... Afterwards and ever since ...Jimmy the Donplayer
gushes ..

"WHAT A GAME ... and tells anyone who will listen .... "100 times more complex than DON and also so easy to learn ...but I don't think I know 1% of it yet .."

And these are just 2 of the chaps I found in a small Swords boozer ...

There is also Shane who learned DON and BRIDGE and unblocked KQJx to defeat 6NT on the first bridge hand he ever declared .. However that's another story ...


Saturday, August 20, 2016

CBAI International Committee might be guilty of Agism

Rumours are emerging that the International Committee has developed a policy of ageism in the recent weeks. Apparently this committee which is charged with the control and direction of Irish international bridge has decided that a persons age affects their bridge skills.
I understand that some post teens expressed an interest in attempting to qualify to play in the Camrose Trophy and that it was indicated they were too young. Two years ago in Belfast a teenager was representing Scotland in the Camrose Trophy. Our experienced  committee would deem him ineligible.
The current suggested entry point for the Camrose Trials is 100 B points. I personally own around 200 B points but I stopped collecting about 2006 when I started focussing on learning the LAWS and becoming a TD and bridge facilitator. However since 2006 or so I have attended most of the Open Team training sessions so I see stuff and hear stuff and learn stuff indirectly.
I am quite confident I would defeat comfortably most  CBAI players holding 100-200 B points.
I know I am stronger than or at least the equal of  several of the CBAI grandmasters. The 100 B points entry point means I will qualify for trials for the foreseeable future despite hardly ever playing.
Strong players mainly collect B points by thrashing lesser players. You get 0.25 B point for thrashing intermediates/area masters  at the Holmes Wilson and other National Teams events. Thus everytime BJ plus 3 meets 4xSligos or 4xCavans its 1 B point added to BJs Team Total. 0.25 each player.

B points are an attendance record and are nothing to do with Bridge Skill. Bridge Skill is attained through training and dedication. There are no B points awarded for training and dedication.

The above link shows the results of the August issue of the Regent Summer Bonanza

42 pairs participated and 52 of the 84 players are eligible for Camrose Trials.
However the 3rd placers and 9th placers are deemed not good enough. The winners on 61.82% are both members of the International Committee and they feel they have the right to deem their 3rd place opponents not good bridge players.... just 1.4% behind them on the same hands.
2nd 3rd and 4th all played in the same Howell .. Possibly the winners were lucky to play in Howell A where the opposition starts at 11th 12th 13th 15th 16th places ..

I personally know these juniors are serious as they ask me for bidding practice hands.

Maybe CBAI could upgrade promising juniors to 100 B points so they can play only in the top Irish events. Most likely the players from the Confined Grade or Area Master Grade don't want to be meeting juniors who have been hardened from toughing it out in Peggy Bayer and Junior Camrose.
Juniors need to focus on School and College rather than chasing B points. A grade A in a Leaving Cert exam is worth far more than the  100 B points required to play in Camrose Trials.

These lads have been working on bridge since getting an impromptu lesson in the 4 Seasons B&B
in Galway about 3 years ago from Eddie Fitzgerald. 4 Juniors are not going to get B points when they have to beat Grandmasters and internationals at the top of the field.

I also hear David Synnott is also deemed not good enough for Camrose Trials ... however he was allowed play in 2012 when it suited the movement or the politics. I understood that once you played in a trials you could not be refused in the future. You were meant to be upgraded to the B point level.
Same applies for Hugh Gormally...

One night about 4 years ago I was co opted onto a team to play a Regent Bridge League event.
David Synnott Hugh Gormally and CBAI Treasurer Mullally were my team mates..
The BJOBrien team rolled in fielding BJ himself Michael O'Briain and David Jackson ...Their 4th player was held up in traffic but eventually Nick Fitzgibbon arrived in the Regent.
4 legends of the Irish game ..

After 12 boards it was Synnott by 30 imps but the BJ team got going
After 24 boards Synnott prevailed by 10 imps ...

but deemed not good enough or too young to play in a qualifier for a 3rd division Bridge event ..
Maybe its Ageism ... Why should a 60 something year old brain be allowed deem itself more powerful than a 20 year old brain.

The prosecution rests or maybe I am the defence ..

Monday, August 15, 2016

Some Blur chap plays bridge

I saw a post on Facebook recently where a music chap from a band called Blur got a small hook on bridge.

Now I have to go on youtube to see if Blur are any good at music or I could ask my musical brother Paul

Alex James was born in 1968 and rose to fame as the bassist in Blur. His autobiography, ’Bit of a Blur‘, is possibly the best book ever written by a pop star. He lives in the Cotswolds.
Alex James de Blur
Alex James de Blur
 These are a few of his thoughts about bridge…
Bridge is utterly compulsive once it has got hold of you. It isn’t too hard to learn and the joy is that you can play it and actually start enjoying it before you get very good. You can take it on at any level that you want. The big problem is that very soon after you start you want to be brilliant.  Alex James
Take It To The Bridge
Alex James on the many pleasure of the king of card games
Aren’t casinos rotten? I mean, great to visit with good company, but there, where isn’t? Woolies is potentially a scream. Take Caesar’s Palace. You think you’re going to feel like James Bond and then you end up being surrounded by ghastly lizards and tough nuts in a neon lit Ancient Greece. Fuckin’ losers. It is absolutely certain, that is absolutely certain, that the more you play, the more you will lose. It must be the playing that people are willing to pay for and it’s a pity because there are far better games than blackjack. Blackjack is a arsehole’s game for people who drive cars with personalised number plates. 
Although the origins of most are obscure, all card games tend to fall into two categories – those where you have to win tricks (whist, black maria, belote) and those where you try to make runs and groups of the same value (gin, rummy, canasta, poker). People really started playing cards after gas lighting was invented and before telly. Various games enjoyed enormous popularity at different times, and the national British card game is in fact cribbage, which seems to work well in December.
The ace of all card games, though, is bridge. It was invented in 1925 by Harold Vanderbilt while he was on a cruise. It is played by two opposing teams of two players using all 52 cards of a standard deck and is a whist-type game. It is the most sophisticated, subtle and posh game in the world. I have the same compulsion to play bridge today as I did to play football when I was twelve. I could happily go on all day and think of nothing else. The formality of the game, slightly annoying to begin with, soon becomes a source of comfort, a place, even. The strictly observed etiquette is all for the purpose of conviviality and making the game flow smoothly. You have a lot of common ground with other people who play. You can look your partner in the eye and tell them the truth in a secret language on an island of calm and it’s you against them and nothing else matters.
Dave Rowntree en Bridge-Celebrity-Grand-slam
Dave Rowntree in Bridge-Celebrity-Grand-slam

Cards are a delicate but profound pleasure. Going to a bridge evening is like attending the AA , in that you get a total cross section of all kinds of dudes. The amount of laser thinking that has been applied to the game is stupefying. Foyles is jammed. A good bridge book would be a guide to bridge books. 
It takes about as long to learn the rules of bridge as it does to learn the rules of chess and I’m not going to explain them here,but for how to play and for willing partners try msn/bridge or yahoo/games/bridge. Pretty soon you’ll start saying things like this: “The club bi was artificial, asking for partners major. North’s jump shift to four spades was conventional. Stayman showing opening control and Blackwood’s five diamonds confirmed they had slam potential,” or: “Making seven no trumps redoubled is better than a nosh in the bog.” 
There really is no better pension plan for our dotage.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sonya Britian Trophy 2016 .. CBAI regain trophy decisively

In The Sonya Britian Trophy at the weekend the CBAI decisively regained the trophy from the NIBU. A disappointing NIBU team failed to win any of the 8 rounds. However next year on home territory the big guns could be fielded although said Big Guns are getting rusted these days.

Hands and Results can be gleaned from but you got to make your way to his Bridgewebs pages for that.

Bray Swiss Congress 2016

There will be a Bridge Congress out in Bray this September I think

Now Michelle hopefully that will be ok for you ... Hope some people read it

Then last night while I was in the pub this hand came up on
A hand like I never saw before but I grabbed the nettle and stung myself

Well I have seen hands like this before of course and I was thinking would I open 1H like a normal person but then I noticed my partner had opened 1H and the Right Hand Opponent had bid 2C.
So I tried 2S to be going on with and partner bid 3D ...
Still at a loss but going to bid 6H at worst I bid Blackwood and 5D showing 1 or 3 came back
I decided the Club overcall owned the Ace of Clubs and that as we had at least 11 trumps we mght be good for no trump loser and I bid 7H and myself and my Guinness awaited the dummy with trepidation

All Good 7H makes .. and the other lad doubled me as well ..
36 players played the hand and half bid 6H and half bid 5H
Nobody bid 7H and its not a bad punt ..I am fully aware I could have been off an ACE or a King of trumps but the odds were good ...Oops Now I see 2 more people bid 7H
However 5H is a joke

7XXX = A 2470
7XXX = A 2210
7XXX = A 2210
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
6XXX 1 A 1460
7XXX -6 A 1400
5XXX -4 A 800
5XXX -4 A 800
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
4XXX 3 2 710
5XXX 2 2 710
5XXX 2 4 710
5XXX 2 4 710
5XXX 1 4 680
5XXX 1 4 680
5XXX -3 A

There will not be any hands like this in Bray