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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Drogheda Congress Session 1

So it was going to be a 27 board session and we had been granted the sitout on Round 1 so 24 boards to go. Board 7 was our first and Fiona was into the action fast, overcalling 2C and going again with 3C as the opponents bid Spades at us. Holding KQ of clubs as my only high card points I pushed onto 4C against their 3S at everybody vulnerable and we escaped the double.
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.
Board 15
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 ..
Board 19
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%
Board 20
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.
Board 21
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%.
Board 5
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.
Board 6
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 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. 

You will notice other well known bridge  faces in the video. Thomas Hanlon roams around in the nice suit.

Above is Bridge Drogheda FaceBook with pictures from Drogheda Bridge Congress.

Eamon Galligan


Monday, October 06, 2014

Drogheda Congress 2014 and before

Good morning from a wet Swords County Dublin.
We had a great September with almost no rain but the clouds have been threathening and a few serious nights of rain have happened. Whats this got to do with bridge ..

Thursday Oct 2nd Galligan rushes home to the local after directing bridge in Fitzwilliam Tennis Club. Card parked outside home and race across field to local. A little late but we know the lads are slow to hit the last orders. Settle for 2 pints and the young poker player at the bar engages me in conversation. He is talking about Don a game he has just learned and he is analyzing somewhat deep for me and for himself given he has a few beers on board. I manage to extract myself and get over to my laptop for the daily 16 hands of Wbridge5... WBridge5 daily tourney ends at 1am which is approx to the time I have to drink my beer. Invited the young lad over if he wanted a few games of DON on my laptop. He declined.

5 minutes later he is over and I set up the DON program. We play a few hands against the computer robots and basically he says "This is too easy" ..

So I think .. Ok lets load up the "Learn to play bridge software" .. Quickly its clear he knows about tricks so we can skip that so I motor on further. All good so far and the young lad knows it all ...

So I decide Wbridge5 .. and put a hand up to him ..

6NT by the East West robots and we own KQJT of a suit on lead

So our man indicates we will lead the Club 10 being a non-bridge player on his first hand ever.
Bridge players all know they will go Club King ...but we are not a bridge player.
So out goes club 10 and declarer wins with Ace ..

Declarer plays off  10 more tricks and my man starts discarding some Club Jack and some club Queen and then to my horror he pitches the Club King ...theres me thinking this guy has no clue whats going on. He has plenty of beers on board as well. 

Suddenly I notice robot declarer leading a club and our mans partner is winning the trick with 
the CLUB 9 ... and cashing a winner.

My bridge beginner of 15 minutes lessons has just unblocked KQJ of clubs to let his partner in to best the contract. I look at the results and see 

3 international capped players have allowed 6NT home 
another 2 national champions and several accomplished bridge players have done the same.
but the inebriated 15 minute beginner is in there with the 6NT down one lads.
Maxwellsmart take a bow ..
I emailed Maxwell two websites and much to my surprise noted he had gone home at 115am and he was logged in playing more bridge.
Last night while I was down at the end of Drogheda Congress Teams I received a message from the
same maxwellsmart... Eamon I got 3spades making 230 and why did I get 0%.
I laughed to myself and thought ... "Shane  15 minutes was not enough time to explain Game bonuses and doubles and all the rest .." .. I replied and told him I will explain soon. 
Seamus Costello a well known bridge player and teacher from Skerries Balbriggan area is teaching bridge in the local club where I have a few beers .. I think young Maxwell will be paying him a visit.
We see see how that goes.

Earliet on the same Thursday I was sitting at home getting ready to head off for Fitzwilliam to direct the nights bridge there. Viber made a noise and it meant I had a message. 
I looked at saw .. Fiona Brown ... "if you need some vugraph help at the weekend I will be around. 
Fiona was coming over to Dublin as the Camrose Trials were on and she presumed CBAI might do vugraph or was sussing out the story. I had heard nothing of vugraph I said so ....

Then I got the bright idea (unusual for me as I don't play much bridge these days as I mostly direct and help out folk with bidding practice) that we might go play bridge.
I already knew Fiona was over to watch the Camrose trials as her partner/man/ significant other plays for Ireland regularly. Now she probably enjoys watching and being around the action but when would I get another chance to partner a Wotld and European champion. 
So I suggested ..lets go Drogheda Congess ... (I only meant Saturday Pairs )
She came back "Well I could do Mixed and Congress maybe but you got to bring me as I got no car and have no idea where Drogheda is ..
So we arranged to go on Saturday and I would pick her up at Chez Hanlon and we would have a nice time. 
So all was well until the Galligan missed the turn for Leinster Road and got all mixed up and eventually found his way to Leinster Road East. Poor Fiona standing outside Chez Hanlon and this donkey could not find the house despite sleeping in the stupid house one night and being there another once or twice in passing and being too thick or something to work out how his Sat Nav worked. Anyway 15 minutes before game time we were still 20 minutes away so we rang the director and he said .."Get here when you do " 
Now parking is often a problem in Drogheda and is fine once you find a spot as you can have free parking by posting a Congress Brochure in your car window but with this Congress packed out and it being late Galligan figured better leave car at train station and stroll down. 
The easy stroll I had done in the past 45 minutes before start time turned out to be 1.5 kilometres fast walk but Fiona did not care ... "I like walking" she says 

Anyway we landed at the playing venue and attempted to find our seats ... we eventually met Mairead one of the directors and she told us we have a sit out ...So we were sorted. 
Tomorrow morning I will tell some more about Drogheda Bridge Congress but if you cannot wait 

have some photos and sounds and results 
I will skip forward and say on Sunday night I was out having a smoke and this young lad from England (he was 33) engaged me in conversation .. and indicated they were staying in the WestCourt because their ferry was cancelled and had no idea what to do. 
He told me on Saturday night the Drogheda Bridge people brought himself and his mates into the Bridge Social thing and got them out dancing and listening to music. Now I detected this guy was a little off centre and in our 10 minute conversation he explained to me something about medication to make him not be introvert or to make him more confident.
Anyway he said he was so happy with those Drogheda Bridge people .. 
He said "My two friends left me on my own for a little while at a table  and some bridge people came over and brought him out dancing... This might sound a load of rubbish ...but it indicates the Welcome the bridge organisers in Drogheda give to people ..even non bridge players ..

The young lad was from Hertfordshire ... Chiswick or some place .. 

I don't know England but I think it is about 40 miles outside London ...
Also while I was waiting to start the bridge I met Tony O'Reilly I think is the mans name 
a Drogheda Committee guy of long standing and he told Fiona and myself he would drop us back to the station after the bridge if we needed.,,,
As it happened we were quite happy to walk the 1,5 kilos ... Fiona said "Sure we would walk it while he would be unparking his car and coming back to repark it. 
More in the morning ...but Yes Fiona Brown World Bridge champion was very happy with her first visit to Drogheda Congress ...unexpected and unplanned as it was.
Hopefully when I wake up I will put some bridge hands.

I went back on Sunday as it is only 20 minutes from my house and gathered up some bridge tables and the Drogheda folk gave me tea and sandwiches and one lad sang a Kris Kristofferson song about Stones and beer and breakfast I think.
I also found out who Bridge player Aaron Vale BandB is ...
It had been puzzlin me for a while .... 
the BandB ...= bed and breakfast ...
So if you are in Drogheda on your holidays ..there is always 

Eamon Galligan

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Duais O'Boyle... Jeroen and Coke Hero are up front.

Down in Sligo today the Duais will be decided. 147 pairs is the largest number of players I can recall playing in one pairs event in my memory. I have only been aware of Congresses and Tourneys since the late 80s.
Sorry I tell a lie ... I have been to US Nationals and some events there had 400 pairs..but those events are exceptional. To see 3000 players all manage to find their playing positions in a 10 minute period is something else. However Fergals Duais is the biggest I know of in Ireland

Here we can see Jeroen Lodewijks and Richard Elvin out the fromt in the Bright Yellow jersies.
However the peleton is bunched behind them with many experienced and capable players.
You have Sean O'Lubaigh and Martin Brady former members of the Team Shillelagh armed with their Irish fighting sticks. The Clearys from Limerick can gather in tops without anyone noticing.
The father and son O'Connors have got some good scores over the last few years. Several years back the younger O'Connor used to shout at the cards but the odds don't change. 
Maureen and Bob Pattinson are also waiting to pounce on any weakness shown by Jeroen and Coke Hero, New partnership Fitzgerald and Joyce are showing well on their first face to face outing and they are well able to play although not pairs specialists. Cummins and Noonan will be around the podium at the end of the day as they have an ability to avoid disaster and shoot lots of bunnies at the same time. Howard is a capable performer from Skerries Balbriggan area and I don't know Carroll.
Shannon and Murtagh I noted climbing the table in the 2nd session. Redmond and Gaynor the stars of Mid Leinster are regularly in the top places in National Pairs events. 

Now here is a fine card 

Now I always understood that if one had a sitout in a session they received their session percentage for those boards but at a quick glance it appears that sitout pairs are receiving their overall percentage for the sitouts and thus that is a movable feast. 95.4 is 66% of top but Jeroen had a 71% session.
However who is to doubt Fergal and the magic program.
However I think these days you are scored on boards played so a sitout should adjust to ones average score over the event. Maybe for the session prizes it adjusts to the session average.
Still its a fine session card above.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Garvey Carroll are 7th in Cavandish early sessions in Monaco

Our international  bridge players Moran Boland Hanlon McGann Carroll and last but not least Tommy Garvey are performing well so far in the Cavendish Pairs in Monaco. 
This is a major European Pairs event but lacks the top non European World Pairs this year for some reason. Gus Hansen the world champion poker player is taking part as a bridge player.
The Irish team placed about mid table in the Cavendish teams after the highs of last years 2nd placing.

Plenty of good players in this event.

I see after 2 sessions Garvey Carroll in 7th place 
Hanlon McGann around 12th 
Moran Boland tired in session 2 and are 31st of 52.

More Sessions tomorrow 

In the Camrose Trials the 3 favoured teams of BJ OBrien Anna Onishuk and Terry Walsh made it through to the Finals where they will face the exempted team Moran in the 4 team Finals.
BJ OBrien has recently been seen at the partnership bidding tables much to my surprise.
On checking with him it was revealed he still detests partnership bidding but was willing to sacrifice in order to improve his bidding.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Camrose Trials 2014

The Camrose Trials are in progress right now.

Results are on

Camrose Trials standings here

The 3 anti post favourites BJ OBrien Anna Onishuk and Terry Walsh are to the fore at the moment.

I came across another fine bridge site in the last few weeks
Similar to WBridge5 and using the WBridge5 robots it also gives ELO chess like ratings

I found the interface a little clumsy at the start but it grew on me and after my 2nd week I emerged with a rating of 1548 ....starting point is 1500 which goes up and down

I averaged 61% for 99 boards in the week ...if you play 70 boards they remove your 5 worst scores
so my 61% is inflated somewhat but a nice website

In case anybody forgot the new season is starting soon in CBAI ..

Fergal is having a party in Sligo at the end of September

Any pairs fancy some partnership bidding practice .. I have lots of good hands and will send a pdf afterwards. However you got to fix your own bidding
087 9032505

Eamon Galligan

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Sonya Britton Trophy


Here are the results of the Sonya Britton annual friendly for 2014

Gordon Lessells   and Rita Cassidy anchored the CBAI to victory as John Murchan tried his best but ultimately had to concede defeat. 
How about some videos
We found outside CityNorth hotel a very rare species THE FOB

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Declan the Don player plays WBridge5 for first time

Last night I logged into

to play my daily session of WBridge5 16 hands and after playing board 2 I noted the presence of troutman in the results. Troutman is the pseudo name of Declan the Don player who I have mentioned before as a solid Dublin citizen who is extremely good at DON but when he found out about bridge he was totally INTRIGUED by the game.

Anyway if I was sitting on a chair I might have fallen off as Declan had said in the past .. "Eamon I will need lots of time before I venture into this bridge. Those bridge lads would not be too good at fishing on their first day out. .. I would not be able to play this bridge after 7 or 8 pints ... Thats why you win at DON because you only come into the pub at 1125pm and I am already well started"

Anyway sure enough there is troutman after playing board 2 and outscoring all the regulars.
Of course being in the highest scoring contract and getting 11 tricks helped.
However pretty good for a man who has never seen a bridge lesson or read a book on bridge but has stepped into a bridge club for a look.

Declan the Dub watched Maurice Quinn from a distance and said ... "And I thought life would be over when I am too old to swing a fly rod " ... Now I see there is more to life ...Look at that experienced lad over there ...playing cards ..enjoying his can of guinness and he actually still can win despite being aged about 85."
"He is my idol ambition is to partner that guy"'

Above is Declan the Don player doing what he is expert in ...catching fish...


Galligan played another 16 boards of the Spingold quarter final this morning and got done again.
The Jack robots roared into 6H on a board when the Spingold NS's failed to get past game.
Galligan loses 8 imps after making a mini comeback. 

However all is not lost but I will need a large 16 boards to get up to middle of the field.
of course I am comparing with the NS of both teams which might be the stronger pair. 
This is where Butler Teams falls down when posted in major Euro and World events.
A pair like Hanlon McGann might be sent out to battle with the other teams toughest pair or toughest system.
Thus getting scored tougher and looking like they played worse.