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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Thomas Hanlon arrives in Spingold semi final

Early this morning Irish time ... like at about 430am the Mittelman NPC team qualified for the Spingold semi-final in a nail biting finish to their Spingold quarter final.

Having started out with 3 double digit losses on Boards 1-3 many hours before and thus trialing by about 34 imps to 0 Team Mittelman got the train rolling and trundled along into a 6 imps after 54 boards of 60. Board 25 (55) saw Zia take the low road in 3S and making 12 tricks ... 5 imps to Hanlon and a lead of 11 imps. Board 26(56) saw Hanlons team mates make 2NT+1 and Hanlon was allowed declare 2C... Hanlon played well to guide home 9 tricks and another 6 imps in a double part score swing leaving Hanlon ahead by 15.

Board 27 looked like an action hand

1H from Zia and Hanlon found 2H michaels and after long thought Les Amoils left him play there.
Hanlon played like BJ O'Brien and steered this home for another 2 imps ..
Now leading by 18 imps ... the end of the tunnel was in sight and some much needed sleep for myself ,,Michael O'Kane and I understand Rory Boland was watching on the big screen down in Carrick. This was past 4am Ireland time ..

Board 28 landed on the screen ...
We expected Hanlon in Heat 4 at the moment to steer this hand safely into the 6NT port.
However the bidding took unusual turns ..

2C 2D
2N 3D
3N 4D
4H 4N
5S 6H

And they were in the wrong slam ...
What went wrong ...
Did 3NT throw Amoils
Did Hanlon think 4D was retransfer
Why did Hanlon answer 4NT in HEARTS Keycard
Did Hanlon think he had told his 2 card HEARTS story with 3NT

Anyway 6H had to go 1 down and the lead shrank to 4 imps with 2 boards to go.
Board 29 was a push in 2S ...Still 4 imps ahead ..

And the final board of this fascinating battle hit the table in both rooms. At this stage I was logged in twice on the web based BBO and the old client ..Upmark in the West seat put the DOUBLE on 4S by our team mates .. This was booked for 2 off and 300...and the Diamond 9 was tracked.
Meanwhile in our room Amoils passed as dealer and Zia Jansma arrived in 4S unmolested ...
This was booked for down 2 .....same D9 was tracked ...

Neck and neck looked like a 1 imp loss for Hanlon ...

However both Wests contributed the Queen and the Diamond RUFFS were GONE ...
plus 100 for Upmark and plus 50 for Hanlon ...
2 imps swing ...

Hanlon and Mittelman NPC survive to fight in the Spingold semi finals ...

Now eventhough the Spingold is one of the 3 Main Annual ACBL events ...many of the teams feature a lesser player who hires 4 or 5 stronger players to help him win one of these prestigious events.
These lesser bridge players are generally very high performers in their workplaces and businesses but have not spent the time to reach expert in bridge. However they allow bridge professionals a living.
I guess its like an investment in Bridge but otherwise playing bridge all over the world would be too expensive for many bridge proffessionals.
All of these lesser players have a great interest in bridge and are very capable players but just not the extra piece that the proffessionals have. Thus many professionals in these client partnerships seem to do what looks like bad plays but usually these "bad plays" can be connected to a carding error or bidding error by the client. Real small things to the ordinary bridge player throw a professional off much easier. It might be the play of a 7 instead of a 6.
Also the lack of long hours of partnership practice are lost to the professional so his or her regular partnership agreements are gone.
Thus a del Monte or a Hanlon might look to have done something stupid as they are not playing with their regular partners of 20 plus years. Hanlon might have presumed he had told his story with 3NT and thus Amoils must have 6 card hearts to insist on HEARTS..
Now Les Amoils in a damn good player and has played for South Africa in Bermuda Bowl I think ..
He seems to be Hanlons partner at the moment for North American Bridge events.
Del monte partners Bercuson who I had not come across before but that's due to my lack of attendance of NABCs since the last time in 2007 in San Francisco.

Anyway well done to the Mittelman team far ... The Diamond team is a ferocious opponent though.

When I was in San Francisco I was out on a smoke break outside the Marriot and I was George Mittelman in a group of bridge players. They were approached by a beggar guy and as George searched for a small note ...he dropped a 10 dollar bill and quick as a flash the beggar guy bent down and made off with it ....gleefully thanking Mittelman as he moved quickly away ...
Mittelmans bridge friends clapped him on the back and indicated ... Thanks Mitt paid for all of us or something like that. November 2007 that was...

I have been asked why is Mittelman NPC ... The answer is I don't know ..
Maybe its just cos he is from Toronto ..
Mittelman used to partner a young Fred Gitelman ... they were known as THE MEN.

NO OFFENCE is intended to any Hanlons or others mentioned in this article.

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