So after 60 boards of nip and tuck Team BJ O'Brien led by 5 imps much to my surprise. How could a team playing in top level competition for 2 years and in full training be struggling to put away a team playing inside Ireland at a lower level and with less visible training/practice ..
Well the lid was about to come off the pot in a big way.. and new vugraph operator Galligan was there to see the action.
The gladiators in my room were
North : Ranald Milne ... regarded as Dublins 2nd best bridge teacher after Paddy English....
English just keeps churning out brand new players year after year ... Milne is more for the advancing player.. Peter Pigot is also receiving good mentions in the bridge teacher world ..
South .. BJ O'Brien who turns up at every bridge game
East ,, Mark Moran who played junior for Ireland in Budapest some years ago and also has won some
Camroses as player and possibly NPC.
West ..Rory Boland ,,,,,a really great natural bridge player but maybe needs to learn some of this centurys new bridge tricks..
So we started with 19 and a flat part score.
Then Moran declared 4S and needed to divine a KQ of hearts stiff with Milne following with K on first round so not much hope and down he went and 12 imp to O'Brien
Boards 1-4 saw 5 small imps go to Moran and they trailed by 12 overall
Board 5 saw Milne O'Brien attempt a 50% 6D slam but it went off but no problem as Hanlon McGann floundered in a hopeless 4S ... 3 imps to O'Brien ..now by 15
Board 6 saw Moran gain 4 imps for getting contracts down in each room. Both 2H and 3N can make one will say as double dummy says it but look at the plays needed for this and if you making these the police will be keeping an eye on you. You might even make it into a Michael Clark bridge video.
Board 7 ..4S in both rooms but Moran team doubled it and 5 imps to O;Brien up by 16
Board 8 saw Milne roll home a double dummy beatable 3C for 470 and 8 imps
Board 9 saw Moran and McMaugh make 8 tricks in NT but Moran was in game so 6 more imps to O;Brien.
Board 10 saw Moran down in 4S while MacCormac rolled home 1NT and Team O'Brien had opened up the gap to 39 imps
Board 11...An imp to Moran
Board 12 13 were flat
Board 14 saw Moran make 9 tricks in NT partscore while his teammates sacked in 2H
Board 15 saw Moran defend a hopeless 3NT holding AQJT32 of Hearts and thinking this was the road to victory got distracted from Bolands 5th highest spade lead and 3NT rolled home and
11 imps to Team O'Brien now ahead by 47 imps
Moran got 4 back on 17 after a flat board 16 and we reached the final board in this session board 18
Grand slam was available to double dummy folk but several things lay well to allow 13 tricks
Hanlon McGann took a low road in 3NT for 720 ..,, and after 2 passes Boland tried a Galligan style 2S opening ..Milne doubled with his truckload of 25 hcp and BJ puffed out his chest and passed with his KQxx of trumps. As North South can make 4S or multiple grand slams Boland was doomed and squeezed out 3 tricks for -1100 and 9 imps in the bin.
So O'Brien by 52 imps with 20 boards to go
At this stage Team O'Brien who might not have planned for this amount of bridge seemed to have a small problem. 2 of their team still needed more boards according to the regulations .. All players
needed to play 50% of the boards ...So we paused for a short break ..
Don't go away as the most exciting 11 boards of bridge are ahead of us as Team Moran hopes the boards contain the required imps to make a comeback. 52 imps is a big ask but they almost pulled back 80 in the recent Camrose Trials but ran out of boards.
Link to pdf of boards 61-80
You can find the hands here
Oh I nearly forgot about Mark Morans good lead on board 4 to threaten 4S but unfortunately the next part of the puzzle failed to fit the jigsaw .. A Heart lead set him up to get some tricks but
PS .. www.bridge-now.com is a great site for getting in some matchpoint practice and a rating