Note .. 1220 Ireland France 1500 Ireland Monaco will be live on Bridgebase Online.
Today June 22nd 2016 at the European Bridge Championships Ireland Open face a big day. In the first of 4 matches they face Belarus. Many years ago some Belarus players attended the 1991 European Bridge championships in Killarney. They were not in the main event but we recall these foreigners playing in the Open Pairs side events. 1991 Ireland was not the multi cultured Ireland that we have today. There was still a Yugoslavia as a full country in those days. That war broke out around the end of those European Bridge championships.
One would hope for a good start to the day against Belarus but those folk have had 25 years to learn their bridge since then.
Match 2 will be against France the current leaders. Back in the early 90s there was a feared junior called Quantin ..A boy mountain they said but our juniors could not defeat him .. He is here now as fully grown middle aged man. In Xmas 2014 the Regent Bridge Club had its 90th birthday and another of this current French team fetched up in the Regent Bridge Club and played in the 90th Birthday Regent Congress. Thomas Bessis ..
I recall the Regent Club manager approaching Thomas Hanlon and wondering if he might play in the Regent 90th anniversary congress. Hanlon walked over to the entry list and wrote down 4 names.
Thomas Hanlon Thomas Bessis Justin Lall and Somebody Delmonte ..
Regent Club manager asked me ...Is Hanlon having a laugh ..
I said "I don't think so as I saw something on Facebook about Lall being in Dublin around Xmas.
Anyway the first 3 showed up along with another lady visitor .. Well done them.
So Match 2 is France ..........
Match 3 will be against the Monaco team including Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness two legends of the bridge game. Despite losing one of the top pairs in the bridge world due to rule changes or maybe the application of LAW 16B or as Declan the Donplayer calls it BILLYING.. Monaco remain a team of considerable force and are placed in 4th place.
The Irish Open team had the experience of some coaching from Krystoff Martens who is the Monaco coach and has now been added to the team as a player due to circumstances. Martens is a bridge animal and any serious player would not be going far wrong to have a look at
I bought 3 declarer play books back in 2007 and all I can say is WOW.. a new life
Match 4 will be against the Ukraine ... Like Match 1 one would hope for a decent amount of VPs
By the end of the day we will know whether a 2nd attendance is possible at the Bermuda Bowl or a repeat of that never to be forgotten Saturday morning when Ireland played Scotland needing a good victory to reach the Bermuda Bowl. Scotland did not play ball for a while and went into a 20 imp lead but slowly Ireland overcame and passed out and even moved into medal contention. Eventually Ireland collected a SILVER medal that morning and Team Silver was born.
I notice there is no Lithuanian team in this years event. I know they played in 2012 in Ireland as Thomas Hanlon introduced me to some of them .. White with a blue stripe type shirts. Some of them smokers. I know there is a bridge invitational event run every year in Lithuania .. Maybe something happened that I missed ..
Anyway I think the bridge has started so better get in there and watch ....
Just in case anyone thinks this European bridge is easy or mistakes they see are bad .. I played Round 17 using the 6 BBO tables as comparisons and JACK (www.jackbridge.com) as a partner and opponents.
I messed up one 4H contract and went down in a 3NT both makeable but otherwise thought
I played ok. That brought me 21st place out of 24 Euro Team pairs. So that's why I cannot play for Ireland. Too sloppy ...If my avoided those two bad boards I am still only in the middle of the field despite my opponents being two Jack computer programs ..
We also have Ladies and Senior teams competing in these Euro championships. The ladies are finding the going tough but that's to be expected with most of the opponents being proffessionals and our ladies having 9-5 jobs at home.
Our Seniors backboned by the powerful Mesbur Fitzgibbon partnership. 40 years plus and they still do bidding practice at least twice a week. There is a lesson there. The Seniors also feature former World Senior Pairs champion Pat McDevitt in tandem with Gay Keavney along with the feared O'Briain brothers... The Senior Team can beat any other Senior Team on their day as long as they don't rest Mesbur Fitzgibbon too often. It is not possible to waltz into European Senior Teams after feeding on a diet of Irish Nationals and Senior Camroses. A man at the recent Ireland Invitational Pairs indicated that Ireland Seniors would be a favourite in Euro Seniors ..
"Favourite to do what I asked " .. The reply was ." Well win the thing " ... "Dream on I said .. players who play all their Under 60 life as average at best for Euro level don't suddenly become world beaters at 60" ....All the medal winners of the 70s 80s 90s will be waiting in the Euro Seniors and not planning to roll over..... Now Mesbur Fitzgibbon the reigning Cavendish Pairs holders will put fear/respect into any European Pair when they are sitting out the opposite happens ..
I read in a book ..think it was about Great Irish Bridge plays ...something about Mr Nobody ..
Mr Nobody made a great play against a multi world champion and the guy searched the opponents white shirt for his name ... Ah ok Mr Nobody but you are a damn good declarer .. Nowadays nobody needs to look for Nick Fitzgibbons name .. No doubt Keavney McDevitt and the O'Briain brothers will prove me wrong .... Currently they are playing England and after 5 boards its 6-5 to England.
O'Briains and Mesbur Fitzgibbon at the tables. A good win would boost the confidence.
In the womans event the Russians are 18-0 up on Ireland at the moment. Some of those Russia lady names look kind of Belarus to me but I could be wrong.
And in the Open with Hanlon McGann gone to the gym for the morning we trial 2-7 after 5 boards ..
Looks like Carroll and Garvey need to work on their cuebidding as they just bid 6H missing the cashing Ace King of clubs .. Thomas MacCormac and Eamon did that against two English internationals back in the day .. They still holding the Ace and King ..