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Friday, April 24, 2015

Muldoon Cup and stories

This weekend I am heading down to Dun Laoghaire on Sunday to direct the Muldoon Cup. I played in the competition once in the early 2000s with Dario Filjar who was a Croatian visiting worker in Ireland.

Muldoon Cup 2 session event down in Dun Laoghaire Sunday April 26th at 1330 and probably 700pm in evening time ... 2 sessions

Dun Laoghaire Bridge club is in Clarinda Park

There are some new grandmasters in the CBAI ..

I see a picture of the elegant Tommy Garvey receiving his award ..There is also Karel and Anna ..
There is also Father Glynn ...

However the process is somewhat flawed ... and different than in the past .. 40 B points a year for about 25 years gets one over the line ... This amoint of B points is available to any players who attend National events and place in the top 10 regularly ..

However Masterpoints might not make you a better bridge player. There is a chap in Malahide playing bridge since 1973 and he comes out of CBAI as a novice .. Himself and his partner been playing together for 40 years but not affiliated until now ..

They found out that the CBAI might be right ...Same matchpoints as they had before they played the 3 boards

I think a chaps masterpoints should decay after about 20 years rather than be an attendance record and roll call of how many National events you played at. 

Next thing Gordon Lessells :):) will be a grandmaster ... and then maybe some of our Lady Milne team will be on the podium ... Grandmothers of bridge  all.

Now Tommy Garvey made it to grandmaster despite living in London. I do recall he won some English Paits championship with Hugh McGann many years ago so he is probably a good player.
I think he got a silver medal in a European championship too but Hugh McGann helped him there as well. Thomas Hanlon is also a grandmaster and he is nearly as good a player as Tommy Garvey but Hugh McGann helped him win loads of stuff as well.
Adam Mesbur and Nick Fitzgibbon recently won the European Senior Pairs as well as the Silver medal in European Teams and a good collection of Camrose Trophys. 
Mind you Karel and Anna gained most of the masterpoints in the last 10 years I reckon and are fairly good players but always liable to drop the odd 1100 or 1700 from time to time. Being pairs specialists and supreme bunny bashers ..the odd 1100 or 1700 is the same as dropping an overtrick. 

So there are many different types of grandmasters .. 

Then there is a man who lives on Southside Dublin and he has the best bathroom collection of bridge books ever. I keep 2-3 books in the bathroom for perusal... I was shocked when in this mans loo to see ZERO bridge books until after washing my hands I spotted 3 shelves full up high.
I had to laugh to myself ..

I would have happily spent the whole day in that loo except I had to go back to the kitchen. 
The lad even had a teapot with a tea cosy ..
Strangely enough this experienced gentleman does partnership bidding on BBO on his MacBook.
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were not even glints in their parents eyes when this chap entered the world 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lady Milne and other happenings

Last week while directing in one of my regular clubs I was called to a table and it was pointed out to me that the play was at trick 10 but the dummy had not gone down.
The "dummy" kind of forgot to put down her hand and nobody noticed or said anything.
I left them finish the hand as they were with the dummy still in the ladies hand.

The weekend before last in Malahide Father Glynn and Gay Keavney won the Moylan Cup.
Some Lady Milne players for this year had won 3rd place and a session prize..and it was indicated that there was hope for a good performance in the Lady Milne..

So Friday night at the Lady Milne Ireland started well with a 15-5  approx victory over Wales
So all appeared well as Wales had a reasonable team out...
Saturday morning our heroes were crushed by an NIBU team with 2 juniors at the forefront.

Who would have believed what these two hungry looking babies turned out to be some years later.
They have been doing some eating since. They look very innocent as well. The little feckers.

Unfortunately it looks from analyzing the results that the two featured above ended their Lady Milne about 3/4 way  thru the 3rd match after posting a Butler leading X-imps until then.

Sunday morning dawned and the saddened and weakened NIBU team got 2 heavy beatings and Wales climbed from the wooden spoon position on Sunday morning into 1st place on the strength of two wins against NIBU and Scotland.

Our Ireland team went backwards after the good start on Friday against the eventual winners.
I don't know what would have happened if NIBU stayed at full strength but one had to fancy their chances of holding on or to say it another way continuing their strong of match victories.
I did not see much of the Lady Milne as I had the privilige of attending the Irish Open Team training session.

All results of Lady Milne can be viewed above

Last weekend the Irish Open team held a training session in the Regent Bridge Club. We played 96 boards which I sourced from past events. All the hands this weekend featured Bobby Levin and Steve Weinstein. They were hands from Vanderbilt 2009 and Bermuda Bowl 2011 where moderate impage was transferred ..won or lost.

During the dealing process due to vulnerability and dealer we played lots of the boards with different dealer and different vulnerability. However as imps were lost/won by top ranking pairs there was still plenty of  action over our weekend.

The lads played the boards in 16 board segments most taking under 2 hours but we had one table go as far as 2 hours 27 minutes for one set which is too long... It must have been Hugh McGann.

As far as I could see the lads all enjoyed themselves and got plenty of discussion/agreements out of most of the 96 boards. Some boards were deemed mamma pappa but the fact remains that Levin Weinstein either gained or lost significant imps on every board.

I think all Irish teams heading out to international competition need to be doing weekends like this.
I think this is the 4th weekend I attended since this Irish Open team formed itself. Its free learning for me. 96 boards of free learning. There is no reason why Lady Milne and Senior Camrose Teams cannot do a weekend against each other using "awkward hands" ...
I heard one of the Irish Open team at the weekend use the term "awkward hands"
Hands that are awkward for experts test the lesser systems of most Irish pairs.

Last night while playing in my local club I was defending a 4H contract and with about 7 tricks
to go it was clear declarer had all the tricks on top and we had none.
However she kept on playing intently. Eventually I put my cards in the pocket and she looked at me
in shock. This is player who heads out to play in National competitions.
I said " You have all the tricks so why are you still playing on .."
She said " I like playing bridge and I like playing out the whole hand"
It was not enough that we were conceding the rest of the tricks .. She wanted me to get my cards out again so she could finish the hand.........
Next hand she started bidding slowly on purpose it seemed as she was miffed..
Anyway eventually we got on to the next table ...

Eamon Galligan

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Greystones Open tomorrow Sunday March 29th.

As can be seen above Greystones Open Cup tomorrow Sunday if anyone wants to go play

I went to Malahide Regional Bridge Club last night to play with Maurice Quinn. It seems Maurice has retired from drinking guinness. Pint of water he had halfway thru the night. However Maurice did buy a can of guinness he planned to quaff at home later but then I forgot to take it out of my computer bag so its still in the car.
We had a nice game but overbidding underplaying wrong leads failing to ruff bad switches all took their toll on our score so we ended with a reasonable score of 57.5% but 2 others gathered in more matchpoints so we finished 3rd of 9 ..
I figured out how to fast forward the new calendar on CBAI website .. there is a go forward arrow.
I noticed two international lady players getting drilled in a match last night. 67-0 over 12.
I am going to download the boards and play same direction and see how much I can beat them by.
Hope my Jack program is in good form.
I am developing a talent for the cardgame DON. Due to the fact that bridge techniques apply to this game also I am appearing so good I must be cheating. DON is a card game played in DUBLIN among tradesmen and unlike bridge it is kind of ok to "cheat" or billy as they call it.
If I ever mention the opponent taking his time playing a singleton they just say I was thinking about the whole game as opposed to just this trick. COUNTERBOY is my DON nickname. Some of these guys have been playing DON for over 30 years and find it hard to accept a beginner can brush them aside. DON is a bridge like game but I doubt one could find a DON book anywhere. However some of the players I meet are excellent card-players within their peers. However as DON is mainly about winning tricks containing 9s and 5s some bridge like squeezes occur and this causes panic.
Unlike bridge where one is squeezed out of 1 or 2 cards/suits ..a DON player can get caught in many suits as every 5 and 9 can cause mini squeezes.
Hugh McGann is apparently a sound DON player according to himself. I believe David Walsh is also capable of a game. There is also a DON playing area around Turners Cross area in Cork.
I have taught two DON playets the game of bridge in about 15 minutes. One lad went down to the beginner classes in the local community centre and found he was somewhat ahead of them.
Declan the Donplayer. Several other lads are pondering taking up the game but reckon it is beyond them as they would only be playing when having a few beers.
Last night I heard about the DA haircut of the 50s. I was showing a 72 year old lady and after about 10 minutes she said .. I won't be buying anything else on Itunes. I saw Billy Haley and Little Richard and their contempories. Elvis got a spin too..
Here is a link to a video from the Galway Poker Bridge festival a few years ago

If you get to the end of the video you will see Thomas "Horse"  Hanlon or maybe it is a mule.

Having been in Galway at the bridge I now know what some of the top Irish poker players look like so can see lots of them in the video watching Gus and Thomas.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Senior Congress at La Mon Hotel March 17-19

Good morning folks

IBU Seniors Congress takes place at La Mon Hotel near Belfast next Tues to Thurs.
The La Mon hotel was the venue for last weekends Camrose Trophy where Ireland grabbed the Camrose Trophy in a blanket finish from a fading Wales.

The La Mon Hotel is an interesting place as Belfast hotels go. Situated in the middle of rolling countryside as opposed to city centre hotels where parking is an issue. The La Mon seems to be the current venue for major NIBU bridge events and is a fine place.

Brochure is below

La Mon Hotel IBU Senior Pairs brochure

Anne Hassan and Liz Scott are two of the people who make these events happen.
These 2 were also on the team that made the Camrose Trophy roll along last weekend.

Liz Scott dealt the 960 boards used in Camrose Trophy
Liz and Ann together were the match managers. Brian McDowell did the technical end of
the match management.

Make sure you know where you are going or use your Maps app to get there.
My phone brought me on an interesting route last weekend .. but I could see I was approaching the correct area but Knockbracken Road and Saintfield Road and eventually Glensha Road got me there.
Alternatively straight down Castlereagh Road would work out of Belfast and left onto Glensha Road.
Take it from a lad who got lost a couple of years ago .. Phone Sat Nav makes one an expert navigator.

Entries to: Anne Hassan 0044-28-90862179 - Email: Paul Porteous 01-4929666 - Email:

You don't even have to be over 60 as there are Open Pairs for the younger generation.

Eamon Galligan

Monday, March 09, 2015

Ireland win Camrose 2015 in dramatic finish

The Ireland Team of Mark Moran Rory Boland Tommy Garvey John Carroll Hugh McGann and Thomas Hanlon won an unlikely Camrose Trophy yesterday (March 08 2015)

After suffering an unexpected heavy defeat by first weekend leaders Wales on Friday night Ireland now trailed leaders Wales by 18 VPs with only a maximum of 80 VPs to play for.  A short pitstop in the bar followed. A Welshman passed by on his way to bed and was congratulated by all. The man stayed a little too long and one could feel a steely determination spread among the Irish players.
The drinks were lowered and all bar the NPC retired to bed.

The first act on Saturday morning was to defeat the star studded English team. Robson Forrester Bakhshi Gold McIntosh Allfrey are well known names in bridge. A tight match saw Ireland win by 5 imps to put a further 2 VPs between Ireland and England.

Meanwhile Wales demolished Northern Ireland to extend their lead to 25 VPs over Ireland.
Looking very grim with only 60 VPs to play for ..

In round 3 England and Ireland both scored 17.01 .... Englands coming against Wales so that was
14 VPs back but Wales remained 11 VPs in front of the two star studded chasing teams.

Sunday morning dawned and it was all matches between the top 3 versus bottom 3 ..
Ireland routed the Scots only to find that Wales had performed even better against the NIBUs
For some reason the improving Coffey and Lavery were sat out in the 2nd half and their
replacements shipped 3 Butler Imps a board.

Sunday afternoon and match 5 looms with Wales needing about 8 VPs to guarantee.
However a strange thing happened. The pair who had fired 3.14 imps per board past NIBU
were sat out. Scotland jumped into an early lead as Wales were helped into 6D. 11-0. Wales struck back with 16 imps when Scotland failed to drop offside singleton K of trumps in 7C.
Meanwhile Irelands front 4 were unloading everything at Northern Ireland and building a 49 imp lead. However Northern Ireland recovered somewhat and adding a few imps to a lodgement made by Plunkett on the first board played .. Board 15..
Robert Plunkett picked up a 54 major hand of 17 hcp and was faced by 1H P 2C  so unlike the away
from the table Robert he remained quiet thru 5 rounds of bidding as Hanlon McGann landed in
4H. Now Robert unleashed the double card and collected 800 when an opening lead of a spade left him in control. However later in the set .. Hanlon McGann got Plunkett in their grippers and surgical defence gathered in 5 vulnerable undertricks.
Meanwhile Scotland were still sticking it to Wales and Ireland/England were creeping closer but it
still remained Wales Camrose to lose.
The final 16 boards started and the imp chase was on .. Ireland rolled along with little action thru the first 10 boards. A couple of double parts score swings and finally a missed game and another double part score. added up to 39-10. Board 30 the last board in the Open Room saw Hanlon bid 3NT after asking about a Diamond Stop. McGann could take no more and installed his NPC as the dummy and left the room emerging at my side where I was watching on my laptop. Quickly he ascertained 3NT was safe and relaxed.
A few minutes later Ireland scored up outside the hotel back door and indicated happiness with the days proceedings regardless of the result. of the event which was beyond their control.
Wales were a few boards behind in the play and still playing.
Thomas Hanlon had examined the situation and the remaining boards and he figured Ireland might win but mentioned a fat person who was yet to sing. Meanwhile in the Closed Room we had the very experiened Tedd and Salisbury struggling to hold the youthful talent of the 19 year old Nakamura Pinder allied to the slightly older Phil Morrison. The young Scots had roared into 7NT on a combined 33 count only to find it was hopeless and went 3 down earlier losing 16 imps to the timid but successful 3NT of the Welsh.
Finally the fat lady cleared her throat on board 31  and the round of applause for a brilliant 4S bid by Morrison died into silence as Nakamura-Pinder placed 6C on the screen. Luckily enough 4H down 1 was in the closed room and no double meant only 3 imps. The extra 7 imps available was not enough anyway. A flat board 32 sealed the deal and Ireland had pulled the Camrose out of the furnace.

The Polish lad Marcin who happily came to work for his nightshift  found he was in demand
thru the night. However he accepted his extra duties happily and delivered refreshments as required.
I suspect a refreshed Hugh McGann was greeted at 0515 as he emerged for his taxi by the still partying remnants of his team . McGann went to bed about 1030pm as he had flight and work commitments on Monday.

Fergal O'Boyle Camrose Results

We were able to watch the entire event courtesy of Bridge Base Online and the 8 NIBU laptops and the 60 vugraph operator slots covered by various NIBU members.
Ann Hassan was on hospitality ...thats a large job..
Liz Scott was assistant hospitality and dealt all 960 of the boards used for the weekend.
Brian McDowell was Match manager
Eamon Galligan had the relatively handy job of vugraph setup.
Fergal O'Boyle and Mairead Basquille did scoring and directing
Alan Hill fresh from scoring A grade at European TD exam was Chairman of Appeals...he did not need any chairs.

Eamon Galligan

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Art of Declarer Play (Pat Kelly Bridgebase)

This morning the postman rang the bell and I guess correctly what he had .. Bills and books

Two copies of "The Art of Declarer Play" one for me and one for Grainne Barton.

Visualisation and Recognition see to be two well used words in this book.

I have to finish "The Rodwell Files " first before getting stuck into this one. However "The Art of Declarer Play " looks promising.

It reminds of a book I never read called "The Art of War" I suppose Declarer Play is really a form of War.

The more you sweat in training ..the less you bleed in battle ... hmmmm

Meanwhile the sad news of the passing of "The Great Pat Kelly" on Monday evening.

As far as I can remember Pat was active in Portmarnock Tuesday Bridge club when I went there in the late 1980s as an inter B player. However I cannot be certain when I first encountered Pat.
I know in the 1990s he became active in Malahide Regional being a regular winner in most of the Monday and Thursday competitions partnering Dave Terry and John Murray. So to win stuff in Malahide one had to pass out "The Great Pat Kelly " and his supply of good partners.
I must have made some progress as I ended up winning a Kelbourne Cup with Pat Kelly Dave Terry and Paul Delaney. I recall we had to reel in a 25 VP deficit against a powerful team including Michael and Padraig O'Briain Peter Pigot and Thomas McCormac. They had a 5th member but I forget who. I know each O'Briain played a day each. We played well in the 3rd session but the breaker was when the Connollys and Masterson from Longford broke the O'Briain team.
We defended the following year but 3rd place was all we could get.

In later years when I was mainly a director  the tall Pat Kelly would arrive and put his arm around me and then list out some hand which had misfired for him and he would hope I would agree with him.

I recall Michael McDonagh telling me that Kelly and Terry were a top pair in the past. This was a few years ago while standing outside the Bridge place in Templogue.  I also vaguely recall Pat Kelly and probably Ramin Sai qualifying from some pairs event to represent Ireland maybe in the early 90s.

On Wed night after a minutes silence was held in Malahide Bridge Club where I was directing an up and coming player approached me and said " I did not know that chap who died"  ..I told him .."You have just entered Inter A .. Pat Kelly probably left Inter A in the 1980s so ye play in different levels.

I suspect I only saw the end of Pat Kellys bridge as I presume he was active in the Regent and Trials  when I was starting our in the late 1980s

I remember Dave Terry admonishing me for arguing with Pat Kelly over some bridge hand just after Pat suffered a bereavement. However I was only attempting to treat Pat as a normal bridge player so if we could not beat the opponents then we beat up partner. I meant to get Pat going on the computer bridge but we never got round to it and we won't now. I did not realise he was going to be gone so soon.

Out in Malahide I often heard it said " I am not playing in that competition as Pat Kelly always wins"
I always replied " Get better at bridge and beat him if it bothers you that he wins "
The reply often came back " Well he has better partners than I "
I always replied .." Get better at bridge and better partners will come your way"

Thats what I did and I ended up playing as a partner/teammate  with Pat Kelly from time to time.
Well there was no point in playing against him as he had better team mates ..

While I was waiting for the funeral to arrive at Balgriffin I met a man called Liam McDonald or Donnell who was wandering around the cemetery neat me.. There was a heavy shower of rain in progress and I had taken shelter under the large tree in the middle of Balgriffin cemetery.
He joined me and indicated he was waiting for the Pat Kelly funeral. Somehow he had mixed up the times ala 1130 and 1230 .. I had missed the mass and headed straight for the graveyard arriving about 1.5 hours too early. I went to 3 funerals that morning just in case I missed the correct one.

Liam told me about Big Tom Big John ..Joe and Pat who used to play golf and discuss bridge in some golf clubs where they played.
Tom Freeman John Murray and Joe English were the people this Liam was referring to and all play bridge in Malahide Regional. So I heard about another part of Pats life under a tree in the rain at Balgriffin cemetery.... Thats enough now ..

Last weekend I was working as a director at the Holmes Wilson. Unfortunately for some poor chap called James McLaughlin I ended up playing 60 boards. He ended up in Athlone hospital. I don't think it was life threatening so I expect he is back in Donegal now. I think I partnered John McClenaghan but it might have been Sean McNutt. Things did not go so well on Saturday night but by Sunday morning I was back in the zone and opponents were obeying my commands again.
On Sunday we won 4 and drew 1 and climbed the table from mid 40s to 14th place but no prize for 14th.    Results are there


Above is a useful place to play bridge if you have no partner ... it also gives one a rating ..

This is a totally different site than Bridge Base Online ..
Bridge Base Online is the leading place to play/watch  various forms of bridge and I don't see anything surpassing the Bridge Base Online production in the near future.

However some dude who works for Bridgebase Online took exception to my mentioning in a vugraph commentary I was doing.

They are totally different bridge sites and Bridgebase Online is by far the best bridge site and nobody working for Bridgebase needs to feel insecure. The person started by asking me to do him a favour.
I have been doing Bridgebase favours since about when it started so here is more favour

Go there and play watch bridge ...even partnership bidding is there .. and robots and lectures and all sorts of stuff ..... Being worried about some other site that has weaker robots and less stuff is hardly the way to go.
People will graduate from Bridge Now and use both sites ..

I am even going to Northern Ireland to organise the BridgeBase Vugraph show for the Camrose in a few weeks time .. Well Brian McDowell will organise it but I will keep the wheels turning..
Just another favour for Bridgebase Online..and happy to do it.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Camrose Weekend and DON playing

Tonight Friday we have the start of the Camrose Trophy. Teams from England Scotland Wales along with 3 teams from Ireland will contest the event.

Information can be found at the above links .

On paper the two main contenders should be IRELAND (CBAI) and ENGLAND but the whole event is going to be measured by how the NORTHERN IRELAND teams shape up after their initial heads up tonight.

The IRELAND team is proven at European level and field professional bridge and poker player Thomas Hanlon among their roster. However in a recent 96 board training session held at the Regent Bridge Club in Dublin with Jason Hackett and Thomas Paske as the invited filler ins was Rory Boland and Mark Moran who led the standings. Grainne Barton is the NPC and she sttempts to keep this gang in line.

The Northern Ireland teams seem to be a little disrupted as the original 2nd place trialists are missing due to illness, Thats Robert Plunkett and Paul Tranmer. I don't know all the details but the original reserve pairing also appear to be missing. Also the decent pairing of Murchan and Burns did not appear to enter the trials. However this information is just gleaned from reading the NIBU website as opposed to talking to anyone.
Northern Ireland is as ever backboned by the ironman pairing of David Greenwood and Rex Anderson who most people would deem to be the class pairing of NIBU bridge for many years.
They have other strong partnerships but these other pairs seldom operate beyond the Camrose and to the best of my knowledge don't put in the training time required to compete at the levels of ENGLAND and IRELAND teams. The problem for most Northern Ireland pairs is the Camrose is a step up in class from their normal levels of play so they are under pressure from the off.

One item sticks in my memory from a conversation with John Matherson after last years Camrose.
A Northern Ireland player showed him the AQ of clubs over his KJ in dummy during the play and this took the pressure off and allowed John a cold line to his game contract.
In the heel of the hunt it did not matter as the trump queen finesse was working and the contract always made. However sometimes it is not about that one sees but the big picture is different.
However John did not know he was cold at the time.

SCOTLAND AND WALES both field very experienced CAMROSE teams
Scotland with youth and experience and Sime
Wales look very experienced with multiple Camrose caps among their squad.

Stamina plays a large part in bridge these days so one wonders about match fitness when looking at the amount of grey hair on show in the Team pictures.

I will be attending the Final weekend in Northern Ireland to help out with vugraph.

So 1900 hours on BBO it all kicks off ..

......................................... is the place to play bridge these days. No sign of the magical BJ O'Brien entering the site yet. Declan the Don player continues to improve after posting a 52% session this week. Shane the poker player is playing less and remaining below the radar but he was looking over my shoulder last night and still maintains a strong interest in the game.

Myself and Declan the Don player played a few games of DON on Wednesday night against Jimmy the Donplayer and Declan the Trustee. DON is a similar game to bridge except 9s and 5s are the important cards. Trick taking and cardplay is the same as bridge.
However on one occasion spades were trumps and I knew Declan the Don player had some and he had no hearts. Declan the trustee who does not know any bridge made the error of leading out a Heart and with Eamon and Declan the Don player both off hearts ...Eamon was able to drop a 9 and Declan was able to scoop in the trick. Jimmy the Don player not knowing Declan the trustee had suicided him attempted to cross the small DON but Declan stemped on it with the BIG DON.

In bridge this would be termed a ruff and discard play.

Declan the Trustee prides himself as a top class card player and wins money most weeks in the local poker derbies. However he is outclassed in the world of DON by painters and decorators who spent their youth playing DON at lunch breaks and if they played badly they got the dirty jobs in the afternoon.

So myself and Declan the Don player won 2 euro each for the 2 games of DON

Last night Declan the Don player informed me that I missed out on the Xmas DON action as Stephens Day DON was 5 euro a corner. Apparently Declan the Trustee got thrashed again.

Eamon Galligan