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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bridge Now

Bridge Now is a useful site for practising ones bridge. The only problem is outwitting the robots.
One robot is your partner and 2 robots are your opponents.
You are given a percentage score after every board you play. So one can play 0 boards or 200 boards a week. I am not exactly sure how the scoring works as I only played 44 boards this week and went up enormously compared to when I played more boards.

Here we can see some Malahide and others who use this site. The incredible BJ O'Brien is not here
this week as he was probably busy with Oldies Bridge. He probably spent the week studying his
bidding system. Brendan Conlon the famous Dundalk star also features from time to time but he finds the robots tough going. They don't understand his bidding at all or his signals. is the website to use ..

Another good program is Wbridge5 ... Its free to download

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Senior Camrose 2015 15-17 May ..CityNorth Hotel

This weekend in CityNorth in Gormanstown we have the Teltcher Trophy.
This is Home Internationals for over 60s. All are welcome to spectate either in vugraph commentary room and at the tables .. There will be 6 tables in play.

I don't know how many tables we will be showing on vugraph as we are somewhat short of operators.
Each table on vugraph needs a person sitting at a laptop to type in the bids and cards.

The above link has details of the teams and bidding systems and some other information.

You can see the two Irish teams down the bottom including the incredible BJ O'Brien. Incredible as its unbelievable how often he lands on his feet despite shaping his bidding system to suit the hand he holds. Former Ireland NPC David Jackson will play. David guided the Irish Open Team to the Silver medal in the European championships in 2006 and later into the Bermuda Bowl.
World Senior Pairs champion Pat McDevitt will play on the Ireland Team.

England will field the world famous and unassuming Tony Forrester. I have seen this guy make small slams without drawing a trump. Forrester was part of the England team which won the 1991 European championships.

An experienced but out of condition Northern Ireland team will turn up for battle but they are unlikely to see any medals.

Scotland bring Irving Gordon who can play a little.

Wales bring Patrick Jourdain and a host of other regular Camrose players including the very capable Tedd and Salisbury who played in the recent Camrose Trophy 2015 where a slow starting Moran Team galloped past the slow finishing Welsh team. I don't know how it happened but someone or some rotation decided to sit out the rampaging Tedd Salisbuty partnership just after they posted a 3.14 imps per board segment. The same partnership had also chinned Hanlon McGann on Friday night. Patrick Jourdain has probably been playing for Wales for over 100 years if you add up all the different levels of international play. I heard that  back in the day juniors used to be for under 35s but maybe thats just a rumour.

Of course if there are any bridge players near Gormanston this weekend who might be willing to do a session or 2 of vugraph operating ...its not hard and one can learn quickly. One just moves the mouse and clicks on bids or cards as they see the player bid and play.

Any availability ring Paul Porteus 087 699 6686 ... or email

Eamon Galligan will be onsite and will help any new operators to get going.

There is the schedule for the weekend ... 3 matches and 6 tables running each segment.
If we show it all we need 60 operators ...less if some people do 2 segments or more.

Eamon Galligan

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