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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Regent Quiz Night and Bridge ..Lady Milne too

The magical Rory Egan advises that the below event will take place in the Regent Bridge Club.
I understand the idea came to a Regent Bridge Club committee member just before it drifted off to sleep recently. It was pondering the recent coughing situation in bridge and then it recalled a similar coughing situation in a Quiz show. So the Regent Quiz & Bridge night was germinated.

Just in case the question comes up BJ O'Brien keeps his bridge winnings in a coffee jar upstairs in the bedroom. 

I wonder did the Regent Bridge Club ever make Ruth Giddings an honorary member.
Just in case the question comes up as to who is the longest serving member of the Regent Bridge club apart from Declan Byrne who has been serving us for year. 
No doubt Big Brain Mulall will be attending the Quiz as his great knowledge of the general world should enable him to get loads of score in the quiz. 
Oh and by the way the Lady Milne bridge internationals is down in CityNorth this weekend starting on Friday. We hope to have 6 tables of Bridgebase vugraph. I say hope as I just recalled that Windows XP is now in sunset and no longer supported and all the NIBU machines have WinXP installed.

Schedule is as above .. Find Lady Milne 

There are 2 CBAI Teams and one from NIBU 


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Boland Hanlon win Moylan Trophy

Thomas Hanlon and Rory Boland gradually turned up the volume thru Session 1 to Session 3. Placed 6th of the 40 pairs in the first session and despite going thru a dodgy patch on Saturday night the top seed emerged on Sunday morning with about 61% session to overtake the puffing Onisulk and deRaeymaker.

Results can be found at

Well most of them .. I could only see 10 boards of session 1 but such is my life.

Hanlon and Boland done them like Seabiscuit as my mate in the pub says when he wins a game of DON.

I think Seabiscuit is a horse from the 50s.


A message on coughing I received last week


What baffles me the most is the following ......
These are 2 very intelligent men - medical doctors of some repute, and world class bridge experts.
So - If they were going to devise a cheating system - such as the alleged "coughing code" - SURELY THE F*** they could have come up with something more complex than 1 cough for clubs, 2 for diamonds etc.
This is so bloody simple an approach that a serious potential cheater should be embarrassed for trying something so easy to decipher. (An Italian would CERTAINLY blush).
There was a company I worked for a few years ago - the operators used passwords such as "johnny", "mick", "tommy" etc -  The CIA would have had a hard job hacking into their computers !

What I'm saying - is that if I (or anyone  of sound mind) was going to invent a cheating system based on coded coughs - I would certainly make the effort to make the code a little bit difficult to crack.
e.g.:-  Would use different cough numbers according to Board Numbers, vulnerability, time of session etc.
So maybe 3 coughs would show club shortage when we were non-vul on an even-numbered board, and it would show spade shortage at game all  between 1 and 2 hours into the session etc etc.
Now - try and decipher that Donna and Eddie !

Now - if a simple lad like Tommy Cardplayer. can come up with a code like above - how come our 2 German geniuses come up with something that a jack russell pup could solve in half an hour ?

What do you think yourself.

(Should I write up a new weasel cough system and market it ?).


Above is Eddie Wolds article on the detection from
and there is lots more discussion and comments on 


Above is some of the other side of the story 

Personally I don't care one way or the other if these chaps cheated. It was always unlikely that I would ever play against them. Probably 90% of bridge players "cheat" without even knowing it. 20% of bridge players would be termed sharp or cute.

A friend of mine told a story once about playing against two elderly folk who stopped in 3NT and then one of them indicated she meant to bid 4H but forgot. Our man indicated they could change back as he had a Heart stack or whatever. 

The opponents after going down in 4H were heard talking about the nice man who let them change their bid from 3NT (cold) to 4H (going down) 
Would this be termed cheating or just sharp or perfectly normal.

Folk know the count by the speed of their partners play but mostly its not on purpose.
Folk hesitate and pass regularly as they don't realise this is tranmitting information. 
Most folk don't even notice their partners hesitations anyway. 

Then you have the chap whose hand does not fit his conventions exactly . Some of the time he quickly shapes his hand and bids anyway
Other times he hims and haws a little and eventually passes .. 
Myself and James tried the coughing system on BBO the other night against two friends of ours. They knew straight away where our shortages were. 

The interesting question is if you play Cough Cough what do you use the normal splinter bids to show. You abviously don't need them for shortages. 


Monday, March 31, 2014

Vanderbilt Final explodes into life as large person sings

Very early this morning I was pondering going to bed while watching the Vanderbilt Final drifting along to a dreary end. Just to be clear arguably 8 of the Worlds Top 10 players were involved in a single team match and I don't think there are any money prizes. Some might argue about the top 10 but defintely 8 or the Top 20 players in the world.
So there are 16 boards left and its gone 8 flat boards so far and this board flashed on the screen.

Rodwell managed to get home in 4H so that was 12 imps and we had a 7 point game.

Then a flat 3NT-2
Then Meckwell got caught in a speed trap
And lost 9 imps back .. The Final board of this event is 64 so we are getting near the end but its 430am and one is seriously thinking about going to bed and reviewing the action in the morning.

Then we had watched this board in the other room and came to various conclusions but we had not dreamed what was about to happen. 

Now I am sure the Great Mulall will have something to say about this when he sees it. He would have been long tucked up in bed dreaming about all the tricks he might make in the Regent or the time he had the Dream team in his cab back at the Buffet Cup in 2006...."I just dropped home my new team ...Hamann Soloway and Zia" along with the Great Mulall squeezed into the same car.

However we all presumed 7D would be doubled and go off a few tricks and that would be that .. +710 against maybe +800 or even less ... but no major panic.. After some long thought South Bobby Levin placed the 7S card on the table .. and all passed ..

Back in 2006 I walked into a discussion at the Buffett Cup in Ireland and the current world number 1 player of the time was discussing who might be the best player in the world. There was mention of Z&B who I figured out was Zmudsinski and Balicki. ..probably best pair. Then there was some talk about a guy from Norway and I was there presuming were a few others.... "Never makes a mistake" blah blah ..
Somebody mentioned Geir ,,,and the speaker said in broken Italian English ...No No No ...Tor ... Tor Helness is the toughest opponent ...

So Tor is on lead and tracks a heart and we all drift back to the Open Room for more Meckwell versus Fantoni .. Evertually the result comes thru and its 7S made ..and 17 imps ..

You can find the match here ..its probably at the top of the page. There are a few more good boards to come but in the end Nickell won by 2 imps at the end of 64 boards. 

At the above link you can see some video of after the Nickell team won and them scoring up when Meckwell came out of the other room and the lovely Golden Retriever dog which belongs to one of the players ..maybe Bobby Levin or Steve Weinstein as it appears to like them very much. 
Of course Golden Retrievers are the friendliest dogs ever anyway. 

BJ O'Brien was watching this for quite a while but he had to retire after stanza 3 ... Galligan stayed the whole pace. 
I am noting that the Regent Bridge Club is rising again as a venue of good bridge. They held the Senior Trials on St Patricks Weekend recently ... I think the aforementioned BJ O'Brien won that as well. Apologies to BJs Team mates .. Rex Pat and Michael but its BJ O'Brien... 
Then this past weekend the Regent put on the Corn Cairdeas which seems to be an annual love in between BJ and 11 others representing CBAI and some 12 folk from the EBU ..
BJ won that event as well ..

Information can be found here on those results and on the Regent Bridge Club.
The Regent Bridge Club probably remains Irelands premier bridge club as it still has the deepest level of bridge playing strength in the country. Limerick Cork Galway and Belfast may disagree but the Regents 20th best player will probably be a full international player of some repute and their 50th best is probably some way ahead of the Great Mulall. 
The Regent is the place to go if you feel bridge is your game ... If like many "good " bridge players you prefer to be a winner can find a pond to swim in to suit your level and win lots of competitions but you won't really count until you conquer the Regent. Obviously this does not apply to non-Dublin area residents we don't expect ye to travell all that way for club bridge as well as Nationals/Trials ..
A note on technology ...and bridge clubs ...

Back in 1994 or so when Grace Finnegan was President ..the first computer entered the Regent was the old one from Graces house or office or business or someplace. All the folk who had scored by hand for years looked at this box and carried on their normal business .. Nobody would have dreamed that 20 years later the computer and its peripherals would dominate the Regent Bridge Club..

The current computer ...Deals Hands .. Works out the best way to play .. Scores competitions ..
Generates movements .. and probably counts up the money ..

Ooops I am wrong there .. Computer still needs an operator so maybe its the Regent Club Manager Declan Byrne who helps the computer do all these things ..Oh and Declan has Bridgemates as well ...little white boxes that gather the information for the computer to score events .. 
Oh and there is the website mentioned above ... 

I landed in at the Regent yesterday morning to run the end of the Corn Cairdeas .. I had a movement and some bridgemates and planned boards 1-30 played in groups of 10.
Declan looked at me and said where are you going with that stuff ... You won't be needing thar ..
The players know where they are going and who they are playing and they play boards 11-20 on every round and they don't do bridgemates .. You get the scores from the Teams of each side and make sure they are the same and give them to me and I will instruct the computer to send them out to the masses ..
"What about the scoring"  says I ....Dont' worry about that ..The computer does it ..
Well do I have to printout stuff ...NO NO NO ..just get the scores and put out the correct set of 11-20 for the round you are playing ..Then sit down and wait for the next round ... 

When you go to the Regent to direct ...its all ready to go ...and if its not Declan already knows its not working and waits until you figure it out and then says ..I have that sorted ... just was waiting for you to figure it out ... 

However Declan is getting kind of large ... He has to keep buying larger shirts ...
He is up to a size 18 neck now ..Too much sitting at the computer instead of climbing the Regent stairs.
The stairs are very squeaky though .. 

Wonder will Declan be angry and tear up my Bridge Laws book which I left in Regent yesterday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gonzaga Open Charity Bridge Event

Saturday 29th March 2014

Arran Bolger,
Gonzaga College,
Sandford Road,
Dublin 6

This is a one session bridge competition starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday 29 March

All levels of players are welcome and there will various sections ranging from novice to master with prizes for each section

The event will take place in Gonzaga College, Ranelagh which is conveniently served by the Cowper stop of the Luas Green Line

There will be a raffle and prize giving after the competition

The entry fee is €10 and can be paid on the day

Please assist us with the planning of this event by letting us know in advance that you plan on attending   or 086 3251018 for information or entries.

We look forward to welcoming you to the college at the end of the month

Habitat for Humanity

“Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, Christian organization that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action worldwide.”

However, the international housing crisis is only getting worse with around 2.8 million people without permanent accommodation in Zambia alone and Habitat desperately needs your support and compassion

Every year, the college sends a group of 5th Year students and staff to Zambia with Habitat to build houses for the locals.

This year I am part of a group of 20 students and 5 teachers going to a small village outside Ndola for the two weeks over the Easter break.

I simply ask of you two things:
·        I ask that you remember that there are places on Earth where quality housing is considered a luxury and not a fundamental Human right
·        And I ask that you realise the impact your support can make on someone’s life, however small.
   Thank you for your continued support
Adam Mesbur and Nick Fitzgibbon lost their first round match in the Vanderbilt by 3 imps.
Thomas Hanlon and John Carroll and their team moved comfortably into Round 2
The Vanderbilt is argueably tougher than a World Championship with as many as 10 of the lower seeds defeating top 32 seeds. The 64th seed remains in contention having come thru the prelims and then defeating the 14th seed. Being a World champion does not guarantee you a top 32 seeding. To put it in perspective probably most of the top 60 seeded teams would win the Holmes Wilson Irish championship.
Some teams got beat by over 100 imps ,the 4th seed Fleicher put 275 imps past their opponents in 64 boards. Thats lots given their goalkeeper left in 99 imps.
The Bridgebase coverage of this event starts today about 6pm Irish time. They pick an interesting match to start and after that they pick the closest match in imps for the 2nd half.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Greystones Cup to be won by BJ O'Brien ...well he wins everything else

Galligan continues his quest to play some Peter Goodman boards. Remember Peter generally has decent partners but also has world class opponents so the odds are on Galligan to win this.
However I have conceded 200 imps in 124 boards so far so I am failing on many boards.
Its a good way for a tourney director to keep his hand in.
Next Sunday we have the Greystones Cup and the early betting should be on the incredible BJ O'Brien.
I reckon he wins half the events he enters so he is like Ruby Walsh in Cheltenham multiply by 4.
However the mare Quevega has BJ marked... She has ran about 8 races and won them all ..

Greystones Open CupSunday 30th March 2014
1.30 pm (two sessions)

Greystones Bridge Centre
Victoria Road, Greystones, Co. Wicklow
Match Point Duplicate Pairs Competition
1st (400 euro), 2nd, & 3rd Prizes
1st & 2nd Session Prizes
Best Intermediate Prize, Best Local Prize

Pre-Entries (Master / Intermediate)
John Royds <>,
Bernadette Coggins <>,
01-2875328 or 087 4146587

Late Entries/Cancellations on day:
tel. Greystones Bridge Centre 01-2873633
Tournament Director: Brian Lawlor
Sponsored by Glen Fuels Services, Kilmacanogue 
There is also the smaller question of some event on in Gonzaga ... on Saturday 29th March ..
I know because I am directing ...and I know my prize .
However I don't know if any players know so I could be lonely ..
No longer being a player I don't really frequent the noticeboards these events are advertised on 
but I believe it takes place in Gonzaga College ... a 1 session event ...
Maybe somebody will tell some players 
Meanwhile down the country in Athlone at the weekend ... The Radisson seems to be the venue of choice 
for central Ireland events these days ...given it has bagged the Holmes Wilson ..and Davidson ..
The aforementioned incredible BJ O'Brien followed up his qualifying win in the Quinn Cup ...
possibly a stronger event than that for which it qualifies for ... with a win in the Davidson Cup ...
He finished ahead of the fast finishing Pat Quinn and Enda Glynn who seemed to get mugged or stuck in the 
tar during the first session. However class is permanent and once they got out of the tar ...they put down a chase after BJ but the incredible held on for victory ...
CBAI President did his best to close the gaps but the weather was against him ...

Malahides powerful pairing of William Ronan and Thomas Gilligan ran out of steam in the 3rd session ..
They need to work on the stamina for next year ... 
Meanwhile the incredible BJ O'Brien is a little bothered as somebody indicated he might struggle in the 
European Senior Teams in Croatia ...... Well I never heard of a bridge player who suddenly became world class 
just because he turned 60 ... May BJ be the first one ... Golfers can do this as maybe they have a better physique then their opponents ...but in Seniors Bridge the main part that matter is the brain ... allied to ones bridge knowledge and skill... Chaps who were winning Euro medals in their 20s will still be winning in their 60s.
Chaps who did'nt will still be losing ..
However in recent Senior Irish trials the seemingly favourite team lost ... Mind you it seemed quite a short 
event ...48 boards in the final ... I don't know what they played in the qualifiers .. 
Meanwhile Magic Murphy (murphyslaw on BBO) a Malahide player found the going too tough in the Laird Trophy
the Inter A national finals. Now he is considering his future in bridge as he considers the opposition too strong.
When I was intermediate and started in Malahide I was told about all these legends of bridge and that I would never beat them ... I gradually overtook them one by one and found maybe the word legend was overused.
Ray McConville has become active again in Malahide ...He would be good enough to be a legend ...and I don't 
think I passed him out ..
Eamon Galligan 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Galligan versus Petepunt

Galligan is currently partnering the 2002 program GIB against the 2014 version of Petepunt and random decent partners. Petepunt is currently gone to US Spring Nationals so I downloaded the month of February of Petepunts playing on BBO. Pete plays in mostly high level games on Bridgebase Online so he generally has good partners and good opposition. Galligan partners the GIB which is the original version of the current program used all over Bridgebase Online. Back in the day circa 1996 Galligan was involved as a beta tester when GIB was under development. Matt Ginsberg was the programmer who jumped bridge playing programs into the future. GIB was a fantastic program for 1996 and most bridge playing programs today use its ideas. Effectively GIB has no programming development since 2001.
Recently Bridgebase Online have been working on the bidding system and making improvements in the robot they rent to customers.
As can be seen on the screenshot I am beating Petepunt by 64 imps or so. I must be a good player or maybe my opponents are weaker.
WBridge5 Monthly Standings
Here is a visual of how the regular players are performing on the daily WBridge5 tournament.
I would include the Great Mulall except he prefers to remain incognito and not have his skills advertised.
I expected to see the Great Mulall togging out in the Seniors Trials this year but no sign of the Great man. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

BJ makes the Seniors at age 59

The dashing bridge player BJ OBrien who enters 3 times as many events as anybody else and thus gathers 40 B points a year has found a new source of B points I think. I don't know if B points are awarded for Senior Bridge but if so the Dashing BJ will soon be as good as Thomas Hanlon.
Last weekend BJ and his 3 compatriots won the Irish Senior Trials with a comeback victory over what might have been deemed the favourites.
Results and boards and other good stuff can be found at

According to John Comyn well known bridge correspondant of the Sunday Independant it was the best bridge ever played or something to that effect ..Here are the exact words.

->jcomyn: BJ and the Dutch doubleton crushes all the medalists
jcomyn: it was some match I can tell you
->jcomyn: so it should have been on vugraph
jcomyn: yes. Level with 2 boards to play after 46 boards of really exciting bridge

BJ plays Dutch Doubleton but he probably does not know this.

Meanwhile WBridge5 continues to be a daily thorn in my foot. I reckoned I could takeout Jeannie Fitzgerald by 4% per day but unfortunately I am trailing with only 10 day left in the month. Lucky its a long month. I don't think I will make the 4% but with several good days I might get into the lead. Apparently it makes her blood boil when I refer to her as a female player .... although much in jest. My only intention would be for her to play better. It works as she normally manages about 58% but this month is posting a concentrated 61.36%.... This is better than the aforementioned legendary bridge player BJ O Brien who also tackles this thorn daily. 

Last night I was doing a little bidding practice with 2 lads and I found my laptop going somewhat slow and the internet out in the venue I was directing at somewhat flakey but I managed to nurse the session home. 
When I got home I ran some malware removal software and today my computer is much better...
SuperAntiSpyware seemed to do the trick ... one can get a trial version of this from 
I have no connection with this software but it seemed to do the job ..
I believe there is some kind of bridge event out in Gonzaga College next weekend ie Saturday 29th of March. I don't play much bridge these days but no doubt it is advertised in all the places I used to play.
I am directing it so thats how I know about it. 
This is bridge with a difference as the organisors are all teenagers ... as far as I know..
This coming weekend is the National Pairs Finals down in Athlone and the well known online bridge player Murphyslaw will take to the floor with his dancing partner. Murphy and his partner dazzled in the Dublin North Region Inter A pairs event but might find the going a little tougher at National level. 
Despite this murphyslaw has been very visible on Bridgebase Online this week and expects a weeks hard training will put him back in form. However Murphy does not realize there are card players who lurk in the countryside who have been playing cards since they were 4 years old and now have 60 years experience.
It might not be bridge but all kind of card playing adds to ones experience. 

There will even be Weasel cardplayers waiting in the long grass for murphyslaw ..

There are some players in my club who regularly come up for review in the Tournament and Play committee so this week I showed them the Weasel... They examined it with aplomb and went off with a copy each. 
They did point out that it might be somewhat illegal or maybe a kind of cheating but they seemed happy to examine it and possibly graft it onto their system. 
Meanwhile if any bridge players apart from the Great Mulall buy the Sunday Business Post you will find that 
the famous bridge teacher Peter Pigot has started writing some articles in that newspaper.. 
Seems the Great Mulall is ahead of his time. He has been buying Senday Business Post for years. 
Now he will know even more about bridge guided by the DSPP ... I forget what DS stands for but it is a reference to an article Rory Egan wrote about Peter Pigot in some other magazine,
He told me he would send me a copy but I never got to read it ...

Eamon Galligan