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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The robot endplay avoidance play

Good afternoon folks ...

One of these days I will figure out Twitch and make some bridge videos ..
I have a nice new Army style haircut

However for now its plain text and pictures ..

Today I was declaring 1NT on and this happened

So I cashed 2 more winning clubs and when I played the HEART 5 the robot rose with the
HEART QUEEN and gave me the HEART JACK on trick 13 .. I don't know why this

I have seen this thing happen before with

However I have not seen it on the Wbridge5 offline program
I did not test this file on Wbridge5 but I will save the pbn

.................................................. is still a fine place to play bridge and you don't need a partner.

Zoom to 150% size if you cannot see the pictures ..

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Fitzwilliam Pre-empter

Last night while directing in Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club bridge game I was drafted in to play as one mans partner failed to show. Now everyone in Dublin apart from one  knew this woman was on vacation in Morocco so she was unlikely to show up.

However our steely eyed man turned up in Fitzwilliam and set his steely left eye on me. Eamon sure you will play with me ... I got the go ahead from the boss so we played.

Now I am often pressed into service in this club as players often double book or their partner is sick but generally it is an accident and I don't want to send a chap or lady home without a game.
I just make myself available to help out and generally play a nice soft game but if an opponent puts it out there then a little more attention is paid.

So board 5 came along halfway thru our set at table 2 against Mr K and Ms W.
I am dealt a fine hand comprising of  82.. AKQJ73.. K7.. KQ9 in SHDC order ...
so I have 6 fine hearts and am getting my 1 Heart opening ready.

However partner is dealer and it goes PASS to Mr K who ponders a little .. so looks like I am not going to get to open 1Heart. ..

Mr K reaches into the bidding side of the bidding box and to my surprise places 3H opening bid on the table .... Well if Mr K has 7 card Hearts my hand is not going to go as well as expected and as it is
normal to pass when the opponents bid your best suit I quickly placed the PASS card on the table.

I suspect 90% of players will hmmm or haw for a while and give the game away or hope that opener looks down and indicates a mistaken bid. However the bidding continued with PASS PASS despite my hope for a double on the way out.

Declarer used up 2 small hearts early on and when I got back on lead after playing ACE of HEARTS and partner followed was now a claimer as declarer was down to 4 trumps versus my AKQJxx..
so he was done like Seabiscuit ...

3H minus 5 ..was top score on the night ..

Now the Dealing machine was by no means finished with us lads yet

A lady was dealt AJT6 .. KQ986432 ... VOID and T ..

So 8 hearts and 4 spades and a singleton club.

Being dealer she opens 1H and her pard responds 2 Spades over the intervening 2 club overcall.

So 1H 2C 2S ...and our hero bids STOP 4H after some long thought ..

After the Ace of Clubs opening lead she received AJ7 of trumps in the dummy ..

Now the 2S bid normally shows 5 plus spades but our hero was happy enough to make same
tricks as 4S+2 ..

Now I don't agree with 2S bid or 4H bid ...
The 4H bid is more acceptable if partner can only have 4 card spades ...but anyone I know will have 5 or 6 spades for the 2S bid ....but I live in a parallel world ..

Another hand brought up one of my favourites ...the downgrade

I was dealer and was dealt a flat 12 count with 4333 distribution ... For many years especially in teams I have passed these type of hands as they are only worth about 10.5 hcp.
So last night I duly PASSED as dealer and vulnerable and the opps sailed into 3NT via a probable bidding misunderstanding ..

Opponent wondered at all the other kids declaring 1NT from the WEST hand going minus ..

On the above hand I launched the auction with a normal 2H weak opening bid .. Partner rose that to 6H and I mentioned his lack of Blackwood probably meant he owned all the aces ..

The point of mentioning this hand was that 4 pairs of 7 in total remained at the game level.
Seems my picture grab lopped off last two scores on each occasion ..

Anyway 13 tricks in hearts was easy with assistance of my CQ and DK ...

And there was more

Some fine shape here .. Our opps bid to 6D so we doubled that and I blew a trick for about the 5th
time in the night. Most of them did not matter but when my opponent on the bridgemate
forgot the DOUBLE .. This undertrick cost me a few matchpoints ...

However not to worry ...

Anyway my final exhibit from the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club last night is

This hand saw us locate the 4-4 spade fit like normal people and later locate the 5-0 trump break which was dooming the contract. Playing manfully I managed to gather in 9 tricks and was surprised to find this was a poor score. Amazingly 3 declarers has found their way to 3NT and all made it despite the 5 club tricks for starters against them... BIZARRE ...

All the above boards turned up in a 21 board set that I dealt on the Fitzwilliam dealing machine before the game. Lots of distribution last night ...

Unfortunately the printer was out of ink so the players were unable to admire the great hands that
were dealt ..

Eamon Galligan

Monday, March 13, 2017

Gonzaga versus Nickell or David versus Goliath

This afternoon in Kansas City the all conquering Irish junior bridge squad finally take on something they won't be able to chew. Winning the Peggy Bayer in 2016 was an enormous achievement and placing 2nd (missing their top player)  to a decent English squad in the Junior Camrose was good.

However John Donnolly versus Eric Rodwell and Michael Connolly versus Jeff Meckstroth.
or Arran Bolger versus Steve Weinstein or Stephen Barr versus Bobby Levin. Then in the 2nd quarter it could be Dan Varley and Nathan Doyle tacking Katz and Nickell.

In the 2nd round Irish Juniors will play the winners of RUBIN and BAKER. two teams filled with World Class players and in the last 16 it will probably be a STREET team backboned by French and Canadian internationals.

Don't get me wrong these young lads can play and they are certainly by far the youngest Irish lads to make it as far as the US Nationals. I was well into my 30s and living in USA when I first went to a US National. My 2nd time was facilitated by a friend Matthew Haag who lived 1 mile from the venue in San Francisco.

Thomas Hanlon and his Silver Team were quite shocked to find they were seeded 28th or so on their first visit despite waving their European Silver medals around. I heard a well known US international player say to some of our lads ... " I HEAR YOU GUYS WON MEDALS ... WAS USA PLAYING IN THAT COMPETITION" The capitals were intended. MR HAMMAN is quite loud.

So our post teens from Gonzaga might be in for an experience. Some of them were a little green after the Junior Camrose banquet. However its all a learning experience ..

I need to go and fill in my Bracket. Its a free competition on

Its a nice day in Swords. I dunno if there is any vugraph today but it will likely be some closer matches like seeds 28-36 type matches.

I notice Irish Junior player has tipped his Irish Junior team to win all the way to the final and then lose to Lavazza. Perhaps he made a mistake on the final round or the first round.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

A random hand dealt in Malahide on Feb

On Monday February 20th Derek Howe pointed out a hand to me from that mornings Duplicate.
He claimed the Double Dummy indicated 11 tricks were always COLD.

So I examined the hand casually while preparing for that evenings Duplicate event.
I direct bridge some nights so this was one of those nights.
At first glance I could not see any way past 10 tricks. Diamond Queen is the opening lead and the
contract is say 5H or 4H looking for an overtrick.
We will leave it at that for now to allow some people time to examine it .
I gave the hand to 10 of the strongest Malahide bridge players but got no joy there.
On Tuesday night I was partnering Declan the Donplayer in a  2 euro a corner best of 3 DON game.
We won the first 3 games comfortably and that meant we were 6 euro to the good each.
In the 4th game we were going well and suddenly Declan started anti cheating. He gave the opponents points instead of taking points off them. Later he said "Eamon it would not be fair to send them home 8 euro down each... Better to let them win a game and take 4 euro home and they will come back for more games thinking Declan Donplayer is a nice chap"

Last night in Malahide we ran a handicap game based on CBAI grades.
Regional Master or higher handicapped 8% and 2% drops per grade after that.
The 2 partners handicaps are added together to get the pair handicap.
It seemed to go alright with no complaints yet.
Now I have to go to Lidl for the grub and a few bottles of vino.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Ireland Open win Camrose 2017

Last weekend Ireland Open Team of Mark Moran Rory Boland Hugh McGann Thomas Hanlon John Carroll and Thomas Garvey completed the acquisition of the Camrose Trophy 2017.

As I was otherwise involved between running the bridgemates at the aforementioned Hospice event and then heading off to Dungarvan to attend Christy Moore at the Park Hotel on Saturday night the 2017 Camrose 2nd weekend slipped my mind. It was only on Sunday morning I kind of recalled that somewhere on the mainland Camrose Weekend 2 was taking place.

A quick visit to Bridgebase Online and to Scotland Bridge Union via the always informational English Bridge Union website at

and I was set. A quick perusal of and I quickly gathered in the
information that it was Irelands Camrose to lose as they had already gathered in almost 50 of the available 60 VPS including a 15-5 victory over England their only challengers. So it was just required to survive against a decent SBU team (who took the match 14-6) and a probable comfortable victory against the weaker Scotland team. In the end an 11-9 victory was secured against Scotland.

Meanwhile back in Galliganville he can play all the boards as he has seen very little of the event.

Match 1 Garvey and Carroll started with a big run of imps it appears according to my version of the game. After playing 8 boards in Jack I had managed to gather in 12 imps against the field but the intrepid (not sure what that word  means ) duo had gathered in 26 imps versus Northern Ireland leading to the above positions as extracted from the Jack program.

I will continue playing and see how I do but its unlikely I will catch up on those lads.
Mind you their opponents Greenwood and Anderson are no pushovers but Carroll and Garvey
seem to be back in form.
Meanwhile the GM rings up and makes enquiries about how to use Dealer4 as he is directing in Fitzwilliam tomorrow night. GM is a powerful tournament director and has no need to leave the computer as one bellow from the big lad and all East Wests move quickly. However this morning we managed to download and use the Dealer4 software and he did not SHOUT at me once.
Things are looking up.

So later I will play some more hands on Jack but first I have to complete my 70 hands on  ... The weekly ratings are gone but maybe I will devise my own rating system shortly. A fine website indeed where folk can play 0-300 hands a week and get instant matchpoints.

The Hospice Charity fights back

Last week in Malahide Regional Bridge Club , my home club a charity bridge game was organised. It was connected to Maureen Meade who passed away earlier this year. Known on BBO as donabate which was also her most recent home she last appeared on Bridge Base Online around December 23rd 2016.. Maureen was a capable player and represented Ireland in the Lady Milne in 2004 or maybe it was 2005 in Manchester. Ireland finished 2nd that year which is as good as we have ever finished in the recent past. On the Friday night when the bridge started one Welsh pair was still enroute to the venue. Now Maureen and her partner Nuala were making their debut in this match and were placed in the closed room. As people who have attended Camrose or Lady Milne matches will know the Closed Room is off limits to all bar the players in the room and the directors and organisers.

So with the match being staged in England the officials were English and nobody thought of the 2 debutants sitting in the closed room awaiting their fate. As any bridge player will know stepping up a level above your grade is seriously nerve wracking and here 2 folk were making their international debut and there was no one to help them. Its possible they did not even know if they could go to the loo. You can but you need a director to escort you so you won't see or hear anything about hands on the way to or fro. These days it is easier as bridge matches are often held in hotel business centres or converted hotel rooms so most rooms have their own loo. However back in the day it could be 2 tables in the closed room and no loo. Myself and BJ O'Brien were with the team but we had no access to the closed room or any knowledge that the Welsh team were even missing for quite a while.
Anyway all got worked out but the ladies survived that ordeal.

Next morning saw Ireland play Scotland and our intrepid duo sat down to face the well known Liz McGowan a monumental Scottish bridge institution.

Liz McGowan    I played my first Lady Milne in 1977, and this will be my 31st appearance, with my 9th partner. I have won 8 times, and would like to reach double figures, but I'm running out of time.…. Prior to 2000 Liz, I was a member of the British Women‟s team, picked up silver medals at the 1988 and ‟92 Olympiads and gold at the Europeans in ‟97 and „99.  I also won the 1996 World Mixed Teams with Heather Dhondy when the two were eliminated from the Venice Cup and, while drowning their sorrows in the bar, “chatted up” the Icelandic men who had suffered the same fate in the Bermuda Bowl.  My daily column in „The Scotsman‟ has recently been axed, so I'm looking for something else to do. I live in Edinburgh with husband Ian, and two daughters, and much loved grand-daughter. 

So Liz is pretty good at the bridge can be seen above.

Anyway the first hand saw our intrepid pair wheel out the Gerber much to the amusement of our NPC BJ O'Brien and they end up in what seems to be a no play small slam.

However as BJ congratulated Brian Short on a good start for Scotland , Galligan watched as Liz cashed an ace and then played the card that tightened the squeeze. Galligan tugged on BJs suit sleeve and excitedly said SQUEEZE is coming .. but BJ brushed me aside and continued the congratulations.
Meanwhile Maureen continued playing cards from the top and a 3-3 break in clubs happened and the final club exerted the pressure and the Scottish NPC and his friend BJ suddenly realised the squeeze was materializing and Ireland were getting 12 imps or so ..

The old Clyde Love works again ..

After the match was over I asked about the slam and Maureen said .." I guess they threw away the wrong cards" .. Anyway the match progressed and Ireland won by about 10 imps all because of that slam.

Meanwhile back at Malahide last Friday ..we had 3 sections of bridge and several people offering help and no great communication between them.

Section 1 was an 11 table Mitchel but somehow after the section started the 2 pairs at table 6 ejected and went off to another section.
Section 2 was a 13 table Mitchel and the cards were layed out and play had commenced and then suddenly a previously empty table (it was empty when I gave out the boards) grew 4 occupants waving their hands in the air saying we have no boards ..
Section 3 was a 12 table with Novice and Inter Bs and that section rolled along fine.

In Section 2 I rolled back the boards and added in a 14th table and all seemed well except some bridgemates were saying sitout. Someone or maybe me had started up the section on the computer but neglected to say add 20 to the table number for EAST WEST so some bridgemates complained about SITOUT round 2 ..and so on .. Eventually I figured out what had happened and reset the movement.
However some scores were already in and I did not notice it was 1 versus 15 instead of 1 versus 21
and 2 versus 16 instead of 2 versus 22 and much later I saw some pairs had the wrong total as the pair numbers were wrong in the bridge scoring program. Anyway I solved that by editing the BWS file and all was eventually well...

Meanwhile in Section 1 an organiser found a pair to play at table 6 and all was well you would think.
Well the pair sitting out decided they would be North South instead of the normal EW and it was a while before that knowledge made its way back to me ... However knowledge is power and I was soon able to sort out the movement and the SITOUT merrily made its way around the room.
Meanwhile I spotted the missing  pair was performing well in the event being placed as high as 2nd at one stage after 6 rounds ...Hmmmm ...Whats wrecking my head now ..

Finally I recalled some mention of entering Round 1 scores as PASSES .. and of course at that stage
the famous MISSING PAIR were presumed present and correct so the passes entered on the bridgemate in as real scores .. and the Missing pair was heading for a prize...according to the TV.
However Galligan got in there and sorted it and the MISSING PAIR became a sitout.

So be careful with those bridgemates and the moving players ..

Maureen as a bridge director never crossed over into bridgemate territory as far as I know.

The final news of the night announced 4300 euros for Hospice and more coming ...

Hospice looked after Maureen Meade and she paid them back in spades ..

Thanks to all who supported and played in the event ..


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Junior Camrose lads play DON

Last weekend I went to the Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer competitions in City North which is probably in County Meath or Louth. Maybe it just hangs inside the Dublin borders.

Anyway I spotted some of the English and Welsh juniors playing an intense game of cards which turned out to be called Directors revenge. It was bridge except that each player was allowed to revoke once without penalty (I am not sure if dummy was allowed a revoke )
After that game they moved onto a similarly intensive game of hearts ..the 4 players were Toby and Jon from England and Jason and Johnny from Wales. I quickly noticed Jason regularly having a peek into Johnnys hand and thus he was able to keep ahead of the game. However it was all good clean fun.

I suggested that I would teach them a game after the HEARTS game ended. All happily agreed so as the HEARTS neared the end I layed out the rules for DON as they continued playing.

1. Same as HEARTS in principle as in 4 players get 13 cards and you must follow suit.
2. Point scoring cards are NINES and FIVES so you want to win tricks containing 9s and 5s
3. Also AKQJ of trumps count as 4321 points
4. Trump NINE and FIVE count DOUBLE so 18 and 10
5. Trumps are selected by rota and each player has a turn picking trumps as each new hand starts.
6. First to pick trumps is the chap holding the DIAMOND 2 ...and after that it rotates.clockwise.
7. 13 tricks are played but we only count the 80 points listed above.

Last night I told Declan the Donplayer about these young English lads who picked up and understood
DON in about 2 minutes. Declan the Donplayer said .."Eamon I have been playing DON over 40 years and I still don't fully get it and you are telling me that 4 random young lads got the game in minutes ... NOT POSSIBLE" " If you said they played 20 hands of DON and got a little then maybe

Whats more is Jason He ...a young Welsh Junior Camrose player came over to the table I was at during the closing dinner and said ..."Eamon that was a great game you taught us last night ..We will
definitely be giving that a run again soon ...

My main point here is that young people in Ireland don't tend to play card games like WHIST or HEARTS or DON or  any other follow suit games anymore. Thus its hard for people as adults to learn bridge. A man was running bridge lessons in my local community centre and Declan the Donplayer filled in one night when one player was missing. Afterwards he came upstairs and he said "Eamon those people don't even understand the concept of a trick. They have to learn cards and then learn bridge. "

I recall learning WHIST as a youngster and then GERMAN WHIST for 2 players when we did not have 4. Then when this chap I knew called Miles Podmore showed up in NIHE(now UL) and started teaching us bridge in the stables (NIHE students coffee place) I was able to grasp the game quickly and was hooked from then on. My first book was ALL ABOUT ACOL by Rhoda Lederer I think.
The tattered remains might still survive in my attic but I am not sure.

All results of Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer trophies can be found at

One guy playing at the weekend went by the name Captain 1400 ...which reminds me of our own
Monsoiur Septieme Cent otherwise known as John Phelan after he collected a 1700 point penalty from a well known Dublin bridge player.

Eamon Galligan

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Junior Camrose and Sharkbridge

This weekend in City North near Gormanstown in County Meath we host the Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer Home Internationals Junior bridge.

Teams from NIBU CBAI Scotland Wales and  England will participate.

More information can be found on the Bridge Great Britian website

Also Fearghal O'Boyle will have running scores once he wins his regular argument with the IT controls in City North.

Meanwhile a new bridge program/software has appeared. I don't know much about it but I played my
first daily tournament early this morning and did ok ... Tourney is scored in matchpoints but also shows your imps score too.

The program name is SHARKBRIDGE ... Canadian I think ..

I understand it has versions for MAC TABLET PHONE and PC.

I was using the PC version ...A 16 board daily tournament ...

However I think there might be some add ons to extract some hard cash from your purses to
support the project. ... Looks like a good program ...
As usual one South human and 3 robots ..

Google Sharkbridge ..

There is a Windows version above ...

However I am still happy to recommend

Also  has all one could wish for including human bridge players.

I have played with some novice and intermediate players recently ... Most seem to play by rules or rota or what some elder lemon told them ... They don't seem to think at all. Its like in a phone answering service company where I understand they have scripts for telling the caller how to sort out the problem....

Paddy said ... THIRD HAND HIGH
Paddy said ... DONT PREMPT UNLESS YOU HAVE 7 cards
PAT said ... IT CAN BE LIGHT OPENING BID in 3rd or 4th seat ..

Lots of new players are gathering up a set of rules by which one plays bridge ..

The old irish cardplayer is gone ...the one that played whist and don for 30 years before finding the