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
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 ...so 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 http://bridge-now.com 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 http://bridge-now.com
and fight the robots on http://bridgebase.com
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
"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 ...