Late each Wednesday night up to about midnight the dunce with the laptop can be seen beavering away in the local community centre bar attempting to get his 70 hands played by the weekly closing time for Bridge Now.
About 4 years ago one of the local reprobates took an interest in this bizarre game of bridge as the locals call it. "That's an old dears game Eamon " they say ..
I reply .. "Lads we are old dears .. " ... as we are mostly past 50 and heading for 60 .. and beyond.
Anyway one of the major reprobates took a large interest in this game and this was Declan the Donplayer ...real name Declan McKenna .. painter decorator drinker gambler dancer singer .. you name it he does it ... father carer fisherman card cheat and ,,,,,,,,,,,,,now bridge player.
Problem is Declan is different than most other bridge players ... He loves the game even though he has only set foot in a bridge club once. Everytime I meet him ... "Eamon I love this game and thanks for showing me" ...Now I am going to beat you ..
Of course I never believed him as I am a National champion several times ..and he is a 1 time visitor to a bridge club. It could not happen or could it ..
Early last week maybe around Monday or Tuesday ...I met Declan the Donplayer and he was indicating the time might be here .... He asks .. "How is your Bridge Now going this week"
As I was having a bad week and was chasing hard to reach 60% average ...I told him "Not too good but not bad enough that you will get near me .. " ... "We will see about that Eamon ... Declan is thinking about 62% this week ..... I thought he was messing but I had a doubt in my mind as Declan the Donplayer loves this game and has progressed to scoring over 55% the odd week.
So to cut a long story short ...
It shows several Irish players I have flagged as friends or people I know in real life who are all regular bridge players some good and some international and some lesser players.
Karl Cashen and BJ O'Brien are well known at the top of the Irish game.
Most of the rest are above average Malahide players .. The number on the left is placing out of just over 700 players this week.....so 56% got you into the top 200.
Sitting in 40th place for the week is a very proud Declan the Donplayer ...and even prouder Eamon Galligan who educated this player by answering his questions.
I met Declan the Donplayer last night and he was engrossed in the weekly game of DON but as soon as he lost a game and was sat out he was over to me .... "Eamon did you look at the ranking for last week .. Eamon did you look upwards and see Declan the Donplayer looking down on you"
So we agreed that each week for the foreseeable future I would spot him 10% and the winner gets a pint. Anyone who does not post a score loses that week. The secret is Declan only goes past 19 boards when he has a good head of steam up.
Meanwhile we also have Shane Maxwell another bridge learner. Shane has visited Malahide Regional Bridge Club twice and does not believe in playing in the novice game .. or inter B game ..
Its straight in there with anything from 50 years experience downwards.
A few weeks ago Shane came to Malahide and got a bad trimming ...
I asked him .."Well how do you feel now " ... "I feel embarrassed " replies Shane ..
On the way home .. I asked him .. "Is there anything I can do for you from a bridge point of view"
Shane said nothing ... .
Nearing his home I asked again ..
Shane replies .. "There is actually .. Could you write out what my upbids mean ... "
Upbids says I ????
Turned out that in his world an upbid was a single raise or a double raise ...
like 1H P 2H .. or 1H P 3H ...
So next morning I duly emailed Shane a pdf of a bidding system ...
Going back a little ... I taught Shane bridge in 15 minutes one night when he had a few beers on and now he has progressed to being able to play in some kind of way.
Last year I ran into Shane in the local beer club and we were discussing bridge and I was very confused by what he was saying.
Eventually I figured it out.
Way back on the night I taught Shane I told him about GAME bid bonuses ...but I only got as far as the 3NT or else he missed the 4H 4S ..5C 5D part ...
Shane was playing bridge for 2 years online thinking the 3 Level was game bid in every suit ..
ala 3NT is game ... It was quite a revelation for both of us ..
Last week I met Shane again ... and he was talking about handicap points in bridge ...
I was totally lost again ...... A few days later I worked it out ...
HCP..... he understood it as HANDICAP POINTS ...he is a golfer ...
He knew it was 4321 for Ace King Queen Jack ...but nobody ever mentioned
HIGH CARD POINTS ...
Shane scores regularly on http://bridge-now.com in the 39% to 49% range
He is not up with Declan the Donplayer yet but he also loves the game.
So there you have it ... part of my life on the bridge periphery .. .
Shortly I am off to Malahide to demonstrate the dealing machine .... 10 people claim it does not work. Last night I dealt two sets of 30 deals in 10 minutes each. The black clouds hovered over me but gradually they softened and turned white..
Dealing machine 1100 from http://www.jannersten.com/
is going like a bullet train ... sometimes the cards come out so fast they fly out the end of the machine. Several folk are doubtful if the machine is fit for purpose.
Galligan sits down and the motors start whirring and the cards fly into the card holders ...
The dark clouds slowly turn a white shade of pale.
We also have a brand new Mark 5 machine and it also deals like a dream in Galligans hands but sometimes it pulls through 2 cards. However I think it needs some deeper thought.
Maybe there is more to this issue. Could someone be licking the cards or putting shaving cream on them.
Strangely enough Eamon Galligan and Tom Gilligan can work it fine ..
Anyway my robin is outside looking for some crumbs .... soon the squirrel will appear on the window looking for fruit or nuts
Its all go in Swords ..
UPDATE on Dealing machines ...
Mark 5 machine would only deal 1 card if any at all so it needed some tender care and attention.
Eventually it was persuaded to deal a few boards in a row. However it is now in the washing machine on a spin cycle. I need to learn how to clean it. I will get it back to the way it was when I took it out of the box brand new. However Andrew is not sure about the design.
I think it just needs a good cleaning and some daily maintenance.
Machine 1100 is still going like a rocket ..
Andrew dealt some boards this morning for Friday night .. He remains to be convinced though.
Andrew works on the statistics ..10 people cannot be wrong and 1 person right. The saga continues but the boards keep getting dealt.