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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Camrose Trials 2014 Get into training

Camrose Trials coming up at the end of next month. Maybe some pairs might wish to enter the Galligan bidding gym for a small fee. Several Irish pairs of Open Ladies and Seniors have done some work in Galligans gym with lots of good feedback. So if anybody wants its or 087 9032505. One does not need to be a prospective international to benefit. Bidding happens on every hand. 

I showed an inter B player a hand the other day and told him his partner opened 1NT 12-14.


and asked him what does he bid etc ... He responded Stayman of course ..what else ..

Then I told him ... Your right hand opponent overcalled 2S ..

Now what do you bid ... He was badly stuck and said I guess I pass and hope they go down.

Moral of the story is ... if you have not done competitive bidding all the system in the world won't help you. I took away half this persons bidding arsenal with one non vul overcall. Now he is in very murky waters as nothing is discussed. He almost told me I am not allowed to overcall without asking permission first. 

Paul Porteus survived a grueling election to win the prize of Committee member of the European Bridge Union. No doubt some big boss has a plan to use CityWest as a venue for some major bridge event in the near future. Maybe we could run the Bermuda Bowl soon. 

I hear a rumour that 36 junior bridge players will head out to Germany this weekend to launch an assault on the European Junior Pairs events. It must be a massive event if Ireland has 36 then a large country might have 100. 

Above is a link to watch legendary bridge TV star BJ O'Brien well known for his appearance on RTE television in the Consuming Passions series. His Senior Euro partner Michael McDonagh is featured also. 
BBO commentators commented on the stylish dress sense of the Irish pair. A world champion from a different country turned up for his bridge match in a pair of shorts. However I presume shorts are in the dress code else they would have asked him to remove them. 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

England win 3 medals at European championships but Wbridge5 awesome

Nothing for Irish teams in the European championships which concluded yesterday in Croatia. 
However the 3 English teams all medaled so that is ok. We(vugraph operators and visitors to English bridge congresses) have met most of these players over the years from doing vugraph at Lady Milne or travelling to Brighton. We know Fiona Brown of English ladies probably the best as she is often here at some Irish events. So congratulations to them. We saw Tony Forrester make a fantastic 6S on a 4-3 fit in Gormanstown last year. We ate David Golds pizza as he encouraged us to get up there quick as in his experience it would be all gone quickly one early morning after a Camrose. We recall a very young David Bahkshi playing Junior or maybe Peggy Bayer for England in Howth in the 1990s ....Well lets say the vugraph theatre ran on transparencies and a thing that projected onto the wall. We wrote with a marker on the transparency. Bridgebase Online was somewhere in the future then. 

Irish teams have defeated English Open and Senior Teams but less so the ladies ...So where are our medals and Bermuda Bowl qualification places ... I think we need to find 15% improvement all over our teams. 
I don't know the answer to this but maybe somebody in CBAI can take some feedback in the direction of LESSONS LEARNED and look to the future.

Meanwhile last night myself and Jeannie Fitzgerald tackled WBridge5 16 board tourney. 
There were some wonderful hands last night and this one attracted my interest in my local drinking den. 

First of all here is how you can join this fantastic free tourney 0-16 boards a day

or download WBridge5 program and find Bridgez tab 

Well my partner showed me 13-17 according to the Wbridge5 programs output so I gently invited with 4NT. Now my robot bid 5D so I took the plunge to 6NT. I think most sane human beings would pass my 4NT and the story would not have happened.
Anyway there I am looking balefully at the 6NT and the only thing I can see is doubleton Diamond Ace with a good guess if its there. So I win the 7 of  Heart lead with the King and lead a diamond towards the Queen. The 10 of diamond pops up and my queen is eaten by the ACE... I am pondering what next ..maybe I can get some count on the hand or something and maybe East had JT doubleton. 
A voice interupts me ... "Eamon is the 16 hands going today ...what score have you got.. " 
Its Declan the Don player in his best inner city Dublin accent. ..."What do you mean you don't know what score you got ... Eamon ..the man who knows everything knows his score ... 
Well what have you got for the month then ... I says " Declan I don't know its only the first day ..
"Eamon well I know were only 39th place in June ... " 
"Declan but have of them chaps only played 5 or 6 boards in the month they don't count ..." 

"So whats going on here anyway .. " " Declan I am in a slam and need to make 12 tricks " 

So we had 1 trick in the bag the Heart King and had lost trick 2 to the Diamond Ace 

And before we could test any suits for count the robot fires back a diamond putting it up to us .. 
"I say Declan .. I going to play the KING and hope for Diamond JACK TEN doubleton ." 
"No no Eamon .. play the 9 ..its free money .. the 9 will win .. I bet you "
Now Declan does not play bridge as such .. but he knows stuff ..lots of stuff fly fishing and buying car engines off gypsies on tic and he plays the solitaire bridge on Bridgebase Online for fun. Has no clue what he is doing in the bidding as he has not learned that yet but he is intrigued with the game ..
"Ah Eamon I come in from work and I fire up the lapper and I play those robots for an hour or so " 
Declan is a major fan of Maurice Quinn as he kept a watchful eye on Maurice from a distance one night in Malahide Bridge club. " Eamon I wanted to be dead when I got to the stage I could not walk too well and needed help ... but now I want to be like Maurice .. game of cards and can of guinness and Eamon ...He even wins some nights "

I say Declan ..why the 9 ... Eamon its free money ... you said that if I have two cards then I play the highest one .. Does that robot play that way too .. I says "Yea I guess ..
Then Eamon ...if he got JT doubleton the other lad holds 87 and would have led the diamond 8 not the 7 ... and if he only has the 7 ..then the other lad started JT8 ..and would have played the 8 the first time as it is same as 10 ... 
I went downstairs for a boys room  and a smoke  and got chatting about World Cup. I came back up and Declan was gone back to his mates .. He glanced over with a satisfied look on his face ... " Told yah Eamon free money .. 9 of diamonds .. That stupid robot threw away all his spades and I done him like Seabiscuit ..
Time was tipping on and I had 5 more boards to play so I got stuck in and finished off the boards. When I got home later I examined the hand where  Declan played the diamond 9 ... because if the 9 won then I still only had 11 tricks .... Turned out Declan played off his winning Heart and 3 winning clubs and the chap in the WEST got caught with 4 spades and J8 of diamonds and only allowed keep 5 cards ...

Declan just presumed the robot was stupid but the truth is a non-bridge player just figured out a hand to play the diamond 9 and then executed a squeeze on WEST ... without having a clue what he had done ..or did he know ... I will ask him tonight .. 

Then as we are going home early this morning ... "Eamon who is the bald lad on youtube I was watching playing the bridge ... He looks like he knows everything.. Does he play the 16 board tournement ??"
I says .. thats bjoboru and he plays it .. 
"Ah yeah eamon he was ahead of you on the month of June ..I saw him 67% ...He must be good"
Would he be better than my man Maurice ,, 
Declan BJ has a bit to go to catch up on Maurice .. but BJ is not a bad player.. He just is not the finished article..
"But Eamon that bald lad has a great laugh ...I saw him laughing on youtube but I did not get the joke. " 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Irish Seniors narrowly fail to make Seniors Bermuda Bowl but Porteus will be there

England won the European Seniors Gold medal in Croatia on Saturday. Ironically Ireland Seniors put 52 imps past them in Round 1 of the Final in a 30 imp beating. 9 matches later England have the Gold medals and Ireland will watch the Bermuda Bowl from the sidelines.

Now it says on Twitter that Ireland qualified for the d'Orsi Bowl but I am not so sure.
A medal was probably too much to hope for but remember most of the 20 points differential came from the match with Poland and another good amount from the match with Hungary. 
Team Sports is strange especially if you are playing 4 from 6 in each match. The chance was there but the hands could not grab it. England ran away with it in the end. The same England Team that Ireland beat by 30 imps 2 days before. Then to cap it all Bulgaria sneaked in for 6th place while Belgium and Ireland thought they were in a playoff for 6th. I don't know the detail of team selection but if I was an Ireland opponent I would be very happy to see Adam and Nick sitting in the vugraph theatre. We knew the story from the 96 board training session held in Regent Bridge Club 40 days prior to the European championships. 

BJ O'Brien reads the dinner menu prior to going into battle against England in the first round of the European Seniors Final. (well it cannot be his conventions as he just flipped over to page 2 and we all know BJ never read past front page of conventions)
BJ OBrien and Michael McDonagh best dressed couple in European Bridge championships.
Some other lads turned up in football togs and runners but our Liz and Colleen would not like that.
Meanwhile today is moving day in the Open Teams Final and I expect our Open Team to gather up 48 VPS from the 3 matches. That means winning each match by at least 26 imps. Not a big ask from a team that has beaten several Bermuda Bowl shoe ins already in this event. Lets see how it goes.
As Thomas Hanlon says "Its never over until it is over" 
So Go Ireland ...
Just so those players know I watch nearly every board. Those lads get to sitout 1/3 of the matches.
The supporter gets no sitouts. We have to watch and support.
Meanwhile the Ladies also need to make a move. They are in a good position for a team that is not playing well. So maybe the ladies can play well for the last 5 matches and qualify for the Venice Cup. 
That would be good. Like Eamon is not much good at poker but if he gets good cards and some callers and the good cards hold up he will win. Friday night before start of the bridge championships Eamon beat off 289 players in a free roll to win 250 dollars. I don't know poker but I know about position.
So Mna na hEireann ...go for it ..

However we will have one winner in these championships. Yesterday Paul Porteus beat off some other runners to emerge as one of the 12 Executive members of the European Bridge League Council .
The Great Mullall who is a well known student of people said in the past that while he himself is a great motivator mainly due to my physical attributes ... "I would have no chance against Paul Porteus who is a great politician. Porteus would have you doing stuff before you even realized you are doing it. "
However the echelons of rhe EBL is a strange world. Some lad called Panos ran for President against the office holder and ended up without even a seat on the Executive. 
He even had a website which is worth a read if one wants. 
So watch this space and see Paul Porteus running the Bermuda Bowl in 2019 or next time it returns to Europe. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

European Seniors don't need to worry

The players in the European Final A don't need to worry as Galligan won't be threatening them anytime soon at bridge. I played 31 boards of yesterdays 48 this morning and I am placed 29th out of 30 pairs. My opponents .. 2 Jack programs are in 2nd place so either I am dreadful or they battered me.
Heck I am -53 imps on the same boards as the incredible BJ O'Brien. has gained 18 imps. However his opponents are older than mine and must be more generous. I could not be 71 imps worse than BJ OBrien.
Mind you he has a good partner in Michael McDonagh. Thats it .. Michael McDonagh is better than Jack.
It must be because I am certain I can take BJ O'Brien.
However they could have bid a grand slam on the last board this morning and won the match. Everybody loves Grand Slam bidders except when its on a finesse. Unfortunately their Austrian opponents bid Grand and that was some 9 imps gone.
The only pair in the whole field of yesterdays Seniors I can beat is Pat Barry and Rex Anderson.
However they will probably overtake me in the final 16 boards. 
It just puts it into perspective that watching vugraph and thinking I can beat these guys is not the same when one only seeing 13 and 26 cards. So go easy on the players in the vugraph. They are very good players almost all the time and 90% of the time they are stronger than vugraph commentaters . 
Meamwhile in the Open Teams Group A Austria just bid a GRAND to beat Slovenia and push Ireland into 10th place with 9 qualifying. Ireland won their first match today 15-5 approx and some good news is that Germany fired 22 imps in the last 2 boards to push the 8th place Iceland closer. 

Mna na hEireann are going fairly well but the Bulgarian women bid a good 7C to take the victory at the end and stomp the Irish comeback from down 20 or so at the half. Ireland finished with 4 pluses in the North South side but the grand on the 16th boards ended the comeback. Still Mna na hEireann lie in 8th place a couple of good results out of making the World Finals for which 6 Europeans qualify. 
Its quite a good performance so far by the Irish women led by EBL election candidate Paul Porteus.
If he gets elected does it mean he will never be in the CBAI office to answer masterpoint queries.
Finally the incredible BJ O'Brien is still planning to get to the Seniors Bermuda Bowl. However he still refuses point blank to do bidding practice as it would mean he has to read further than page 1 of his bidding notes. However he plays in luck so maybe that is better. 
BJ and Michael are in the running for the best dressed pair on youtube thanks to Liz and Colleen for that. 
For the Open Team we need some more flashes of Tommy Garvey leads from the opening match and we need Rory Boland to roll back the years and produce the bridge that placed him across the table from the legendary Pat Walshe (RIP) who left us too soon. Rorys partner is Mark Moran who is no mean player either. Like all those from the Seniors event mentioned above Mark is better than me and has been working hard on his partnership with Boland as far back as 2011-12 before the normal punter knew anything about playing for Ireland. Hopefully a few good results in the last 5 matches will cement a place in the A Final. 
However even if they make the A Final ...a place in the top 6 might be too much to expect this time as the matches against the qualifiers continue to count in the next Round Robin. 
However bridge is a funny game and large people often sing near the end of parties. 
Oh I forgot about McGann and Hanlon who seemed to deliver a monster 4 boards at the end of the Norway match. This is the same Norway that continue to go well in 2nd place. More of the same please lads. Its not as if ye have not bid enough boards. 
Tough matches against Monaco and Sweden loom on Saturday. However Ireland have put it up to those Teams in the past and this team only lost the Cavandish Final by carry over ... to a powerful Polish Team
That was no mean achievement ... 
So go IRELAND .. 
I am off for a feed of rashers before the next round ... 
Round 13 Ireland versus Scotland 
Round 14 Ireland versus Finland 
Then tomorrow 
Round 15 Ireland versus Sweden 
Round 16 Ireland versus Monaco..

I finished my match of the 48 boards on Senior Vugraph yesterday.
Despite a positive match 3 I still floundered far behind most of the players including all
the 3 Irish seniors pairs. Seem BJ is miles (imps) better than Galligan.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tonight I am going to play the 3 Senior Matches with Jack

Tonight myself and Jack will take on the grandmaster BJ and his 5 Team mates over the 48 boards they played today. I have to download the files from BBO and then make a pbn file and then check that the names are all spelt correctly. I suspect the spelling will be ok as this is done by the Server.
However one cannot depend on Traian Chiara,

Ireland Seniors rode their luck this morning to defeat England 52-22 imps ..
A large piece of something was Mesbur Fitzgibbon landing the opps in the going down GRAND for
17 imps. and some other things that went awry for England. So said the voice commentator from England.

In round 2 .. with Mesbur and Fitzgibbons brand of luck confined to the bench Dumbovitch and company ground Ireland to defeat despite some luck on board 16 ..

In round 3 against Norway Ireland took a large lead early on but Norway put a big comeback on to lead by 5 until Ireland found 10 imps in 3NT versus 1NT,

So tomorrow I will have the 48 boards compared against the players versus Eamon and Jack.

Hopefully I will play well and defeat BJ but it will be guinness related and possibly if I go for a smoke some of my drinking DON players will hop on and play a few boards.

Top 6 teams apparently qualify for World Championship. 

Eamon Galligan

Ireland Seniors make the European Final 10

The Ireland Senior Team of BJ O'Brien Michael McDonagh Pat Barry Rex Anderson Adam Mesbur and Nick Fitzgibbon qualified into the Final 10 teams in the European Senior Teams yesterday. I don't know exactly how many Teams qualify for the Senior Bermuda Bowl ...think its called Orci Trophy but I estimate it is 6 teams ,same as other events.
Adam and Nick can still be seen honing their bidding on BBO at least 2 nights a week despite being a 40 year partnership although they took time out to do other things  for 10 years back a while ago.
In the months coming up to these championships one could see bjoboru mikeirl bifffo and atra playing in CAYNE matches along with AMesbur and Nickfg.
Adam and Nick are the reigning European Seniors Pairs champions, which they won in 2013. They have the full set of European medals Gold Silver and Bronze. Hopefully we will use our asset to help qualify for the Bermuda Senior Bowl. Good luck to the lads today and next 2 days.
As far as I know the Ireland Senior team will feature on BBO 3 times due to the day off in the Open and Womans event.

Meanwhile the Ladies have risen back into 7th place and also have a chance to qualify for Venice Cup. However they will need to bring out their A game as in play the best they can. That means turning up at the table ready for battle in whatever way each individual prepares for battle. The opponents will be turning up ready to mentally batter the Irish.
The Open Team are hovering around the final 1 or 2 qualifying places but they have some tough matches coming up especially if they qualify. Qualifying in 8th or 9th place will mean a smaller carryover. All matches played in first round are carried over if the team you played qualifies so you want any team who gave you a trimming to miss out. Ireland have a tough final day involving Monaco and Sweden. However our lads placed 2nd in this years Cavandish only losing the whole event on the carryover. There for we and they know that they can defeat top European opposition when they are on form. The problem is most of Irelands opponents are professionals who awaken each morning to think and play bridge. Our lads awaken and go to work in the main.
Early this morning  myself and the Jack computer program .decided to play the 16 boards of Ireland France from Tuesday.. The match ended in a small win for Ireland. Not too shabby given I spotted on one of the French players BBO profiles that France will win Bermuda Bowl 2017.

So Jack and Galligan defeated the internationals. However one must be aware that although Jack is a fine program it does not make all the international bids that put on full pressure. I was fuelled by 2 pints of guinness for the first 9 boards so I found a couple of working doubles. I also knew the match ended something like 47-44 and to stay out of trouble on the late boards. Of course my results skew the real results from the real match. However it is good to compare oneself with the experts. I am going to try to beat Estonia later today maybe.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

THe monster awakens in Croatia

Over in Croatia the Irish Open Team were meandering to defeat against Norway after 12 boards of 16 and things were looking grim. 39 imps to 11 behind. Up in the Gallery Galligan nudges Jeannie Fitzgerald and indicates there is action in these final few boards. Down at the table McGann spots Galligan animatedly trying to convince the doubtful Jeannie. He nods at Thomas and says sit up straight for these final 4 boards. There is some movement in the gallery. Things are going to happen.

Board 29

Quietly in the Open Room Carroll and Garvey accepted the defeat of 3NT.
Meanwhile Hanlon approached 3NT with intent and made 9 tricks. 
200 + 600 was always 800 and that is 13 imps 

Next the Norways decided to attempt 5Ds and probably Hanlon decided that 
a trump trick and an ace and some Hughie noise meant 5D is in the bin. 
Down 3 and 500 to add to a 100 collected by Garvey Carroll 
500 + 100 still makes 600 and thats 12 more imps 

Board 31 yielded another imp and the score was 39-37 but Hanlon was not ready to 
go for the breakfast just yet. He decided that food could wait and ventured a decent 6S.
Club Ace onside or Heart finesse working or maybe Diamond Queen dropping .. 
All those odds totted up must be over 80% so Hanlon pushed his chips into the pot. 
Over in the Open Room North claims EAst led the Diamond 2 but I reckon it was the nearest 
button on the bridgemate so he pressed it in disgust after going down in 6S.

Back in the Closed Room the monster closed down his best set of 4 boards in a while by gathering in 12 tricks in Spades and that was 980 to go with the Carroll Garvey 50 ..making 1030 to the good lads.
1030 was 14 imps and that meant 12 13 14 and 1 meaning 40 imps in 4 boards. 

The monster shook his devastated opponents hands and departed the scene. Outside he was greeted by smiling team mates so he was happy. No offence intended to Carroll Garvey or McGann as we have to get this down on paper quickly and the results service was down so we had to make up some poetic licence. 
Maybe the monster got some lucozade for the last few boards as historically Ireland lose imps on the late boards. 
Well down Team Ireland Open ..
Meanwhile in the Senior event Mesbur and Fitzgibbon aided in some way by BJOBrien and Michael McDonagh. The Seniors also came good in the 2nd half of the match outscoring their famous rivals by 31-1. 
I have not analyzed the boards of this match but if I was the NPC I would have lots of Adam Mesbur and Nick Fitzgibbon on this team. Reigning European Pairs champs and just finished a successful 10 years on the Irish open Team. The other 4 members of Team Ireland Pat Barry Rex Anderson BJ O'Brien and Michael McDonagh are all good players in their own right but only Rex has a major medal. A bronze from 1979 in Lausanne ...No small achievement. 
This Ireland Senior Team has every chance to finish off the job which has started well but they need to keep Mesbur and Fitzgibbon warm. Adam and Nick are a 40 year partnership but can still be found 2+ nights a week honing their bidding system on Bridgebase Online 
The woman also came back well against Scotland to achieve a winning draw. 
They need to get the sticks out and start winning some more matches. 
Well done all TEAMS especially the monster Hanlon. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

European Bridge Championships 2014 Day 1 .. Tommy Garvey leads

Yesterday the 52nd European Bridge championships started off.

Ireland Open Team played Russia in Round 1.
Tommy Garvey broke one of the best known rules of bridge. Problem is whoever made up these rules made them up for lazy people who play bridge by rule. God or DNA or some entity gave us a brain and 90% of bridge players want to play by rule

Board 17

The Russians bid to a playable slam have to ruff 2 clubs HIGH and guess the Diamond Ace ...
at a first glance and backed up by GIB button cold as ice.
However it does not appear we have the transportation for all this work.
A deeper look at the club spots indicates after seeing the Club 109 appear that a ruffing finesse
position has emerged and this is what the all seeing GIB has found to make the contract cold.

However Tommy Garvey on lead against 6S tabled the Diamond 4 ...

Never underlead an Ace I hear the teacher call as I pass the beginners classes in my local club.
and here we are watching top European players and the first thing one does is underlead the ACE.

I don't know whether Georgi Matushko would have made the slam if he got a normal lead but Tommy Garveys underlead of the Diamond Ace made it nigh on impossible ..

"How did he do that .. How did he find that lead .. a vugraph commentator typed ..

Ireland led 20-0 early on but Russia tacked on 33 imps very quickly in the middle of the match and led 33-20 I think

Board 20 saw John Carroll in trouble in a guessy auction and he broke another of the teachers rules.
The 5 level is for the opposition.
Unfortunately for John it was toss a coin ..He could not tell very much from the auction and Orlov's 5H bid
left John with a pure guess in my view and possibly his view too ..
John is well aware of 5 level for the opposition but John uses his brain but I guess the Russian lad used his brain first and gave John the last guess ... A good 5H bid I think was the problem here ..

Board 21 saw Thomas Hanlon and Hugh McGann hitting the dance floor ...

Thomas Hanlon doubled 5C here and it made plus 1 when he failed to find the tough diamond lead.
I don't know what the agreements are here but I am aware that most simple 1 spade overcalls won't be able to take down a freely bid game so possibly the Double is related to I have 2 tricks ..can you help me otherwise bid 5S.
You don't get rich doubling the opponents when you got an 11 card spade fit unless the opps are in spades
when its probably best not to double anyway.
So I don't know what if anything went wrong here ...
McGann and Hanlon and most top players play wide ranging overcalls so can be something like 9-18 hcp for a 1 level overcall at RED. So currently I don't know the inside story on this hand except it was about 14 imps out when double dummy defence got it 7 imps in so about 21 imps swing.
Board 28 saw Ireland gain a fortuitous 12 imps when the Russian misguessed clubs.
I felt Garvey should not have discarded his last diamond on this hand as it appeared to allow the Russian to
guess the hand.

Board 32 saw us lose 12 imps when the Russians played 3NT against our 4H ...

Another deeper bridge rule rears its head here ... Don't give them the NINTH ...

Tommy Garvey led his partners suit and that was the 9th trick for the Russians.

All of this commentary is written seeing all 4 hands and is therefore not faced with the same pressure as the players at the tables. No offence is intended to any player and our lads are big boys and hopefully won't be offended. 
Irish Ladies Team captained by Paul Porteus had a good start with 2 wins against Netherlands and Romania. There is a nice picture of the incredible BJ O'Brien in the Bulletin today. 

You can keep up with goings on at the above link ... Bulletins and Results