1 down and we were rolling ... It held up for 100% by the end.
Board 8 I suddenly realise that my curtain card does not match my playing cards. I am East but I hold the South curtain card. We are granted an A+.
Board 9 ..We are frozen out of the auction and our 8 card heart fit by the opps bidding and to top it all we blow a trick on defence ... 27% ..
Board 13 The North opponent opens 1NT 12-14 and Fiona passes and the South bids 2 Spades
and nothing physical happens and I hold KJ986 of spades so I pass. What am I to do ..make the lad alert his partners bid or ask him if it is spades or double and find out it really is spades in a weak takeout. when the normal person will flash the alert card before I bid.
So I pass and the North grabs a handful of cards and points at the 2S and says lound enough for us all to hear ... "Thats probably 11 points " and places the 3NT on the table ..
Now these things normally descend into what actually happened slipping backwards into what should have happened and there is general annoyance and of course my World champion partner knows I own spades.
Anyway we are granted an average plus and I don't know what they got. In normal circumstances I will double the 2S all day and I don't know how things will develop. A spade lead does defeat 3NT but be that as it may.
Board 14 we got into the auction with lots of diamond bids but we failed to take the good sacrifice of 5D. Our opponents drifted 1 off in the play so we survived that. Partner led a diamond 2 from KJxx
and the Qxx hit in dummy .. I stuck in the 10 and was glad to see that hold. Its not relevant to the play of this hand but on other hands it allows the diamond force to exact its full strength.
An unlucky board for us when our South opponent scrambled home in 3H when the room is playing in game 3NT or 4H. Most of the room went down so we got 27%. Our declarer even ruffed a winner.
However I could not find Leinster Road earlier that morning despite "knowing " where it is ..
I make the normal transfer to 3D opposite partners strong No trump and we are left play there.
Opponents can make 2H and 3D-1 for losing 50 seems decent. Unfortunately lots of EW players drift down in their contracts or allow 2Ds thru and our score emerges as 30%
One of several hands where a 5 card spade suit faced a weak NT hand and you got to choose to rebid a weak spade suit or let partner play NT. ..They took several club tricks and I had to toss some possible spade winners and I emerged with +120 for a 10% score.
I declared the normal 4S ..a 6-4 trump fit and a singleton on the side and 21 hcp ...seems normal enough. As I moved towards my 10 tricks a lady owned the QJT of spades and now the 10 tricks was looking like 9 tricks. However some confusion ensued and the trump queen remained in hand and a ruff and discard emerged.
Board 4 I dealt and opened 4D natural and LHO left hand opponent bid 4S and they played there.
We got some tricks and 4S made and it was 53%.
I declared 3NT and got a favourable heart lead and a spade hook worked and the diamonds played well for me and 12 tricks for a large score.
RHO opened 1H and I overcalled a pre-emptive 3D opposite my passed hand partner and the opponent made the normal 3N bid. Suddenly my passed hand partner emerged with a penalty double and this looked decidedly dodgy. Declarer drifted 2 off when better things might have irritated our lovely partnership but the storm abated as we got another good score.
Still 4 rounds to go and we have some good scores but some others we are not aware of are not giving us as many matchpoints as we expected. So no severe wheels off yet after 12 boards.
No sign of grumpyfee ... its all happyfee so far.
We will skip any commentary on boards 10 11 12 as it was plenty of green and the opps took 17 out of 300 available. The curtain is drawn over this set.
On boards 16-18 we met North East Region stalwarts Tom Lawlor and Paddy Bonnar. Tom starred in a TV program several years ago called Consuming Passions which was a short program about bridge.
BJ O'Brien a multi national champion was his opponent on the TV. Since then I have noted him privately as Television Tom.
Board 16 was a quiet 1NT
Board 17 saw lots of action with us overbidding in diamonds and the lads over competing in spades.
Eventually they played 5S doubled and Galligan slept on trick 1 and we got the contract 1 off
Board 18.. 1H opening and balanced game force support by me and some more bidding and some cuebids and a signoff and finally Fiona rolled out the cannon and played in 6H.
We term 4NT Blackwood as rolling out the cannon as it looks like a person behind a cannon.
Now 8 pairs of serious bridge players declared this hand in game ...
its 30 hcp and a 9 card trump fit ... at least 3 played at the 5 level so they made some effort and subsided. Fiona saw the trumps split and stated now I am playing for the overtrick ...
No overtrick but still above average score.
Next up was Breda Synnott and Rita O'Neill..
Board 22 Rita made the normal 11 tricks in 4H ...a spade underlead will get us a 3rd trick
but thats double dummy so 37% for us.
Board 23 saw us allowed by the contract in 2H .. 1S 1N 2H all pass ..
and Fiona guided that contract home despite my horrible 4333 5 count and we were vulnerable.
Well done Fee
Board 24 I passed an ordinary 11 count and Fiona bid diamonds and spades and I gave her the maximum passed hand bid of 3S and she pushed on to 4S. Fiona guided that contract home for another decent score.
After the bridge there was long discussion about the problem of teenage bridge players struggles to be allowed into bridge clubs. Most bridge clubs play in a licenced premises and you also have the child protection laws. Bredas son David in a many times capped Irish junior international and he struggled to be allowed play in bridge clubs despite being an established junior international.
Finally the end of session loomed ...and we were faced with the often dangerous John Comyn and the unfortunate Richard Elvin who placed 2nd in last weeks 3 session Presidents Prize after leading all the way. The elusive Sean O'Lubaigh partnered by classics proffessor Martin Brady slipped past Coke Hero in the final session to collect Mr Bradys first National title.
So board 25
The world champion has taken a break and transfered Galligan into 4S which put the weak hand on lead. No diamond lead and Galligan gathers in a lucky 12 tricks. ..that was 83%
Board 26 ...it says Fiona played it ....but I declared it in 2H and after ruffing as many clubs as I could and finding Comyn unable to over ruff me at one stage ...9 tricks was worth a large score.
At this stage the overall scores flashed on the screen and we saw ourselves moving past 70%.
Board 27 saw probably the best declared hand of the day ...
Fiona Brown at the helm in 3D after John Comyn overcalled my strong NT with 2H showing 4 card Hearts and longer minor.. Looks like he mixed up the suits or else shaped his hand to fit his convention. So Fiona was under pressure but she was a lesson to all bridge players. She sat there several times in the hand and thought out stuff..never playing a card until she was ready.
The opponents John and Richard totally understood and waited respectfully until the cards were played. John Comyn told me on Sunday ...really good declarer ship.
So a good afternoon ended with a large score of 69.85%.
However when you are lucky enough to find a world champion bridge player at a loose end on a Saturday of Drogheda Bridge Congress you grab with both hands. Fiona Brown was in Dublin to support the Barton Team on which her significant other Hugh McGann plays. Hugh indicated "Sounds good" when the subject was broached but he did send a message wondering how many guinness he was getting for lending me Fiona for the day.
However despite our large score Martin Garvey a ferocious competitor from the mainland and Cass from Donegal were still looming in 2nd place after a large 66.5% session.
Still my world champion partner was playing in top form and nothing bad was happening despite our 5 minute partnership discussion. We had to talk about other things on the way down.
So it was strong NT 5 majors club can be short and italian discards. 4 suit transfers and 1430.
Fiona is from Ballina in Australia for all you Mayo folk.
I note my friend Jerome Tarpey from Kiltimagh won the Inter A pairs.
Its quite a while since he bought me a pint up at Donegal Congress.
66 pairs in the Inter As
33 and 23 in the Congress and Confined respectively
18 pairs in the inter Bs
and I was told 18 tables of Open Pairs
That adds up to about 88 tables in play at one time in Drogheda ...
Now my figures may be wrong but the West Court large function room was packed and the Arts Centre next door had 18 tables in play ..
www.fob,ie has all the results and I might write up the 2nd session in the near future.
It was much more of a grind but we finished without a bad word all day.
Above is Bridge Drogheda FaceBook with pictures from Drogheda Bridge Congress.