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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bermuda Bowl in progress in Lyon France

Meanwhile out in France the various World Bridge championships are in progress. Ireland has no teams qualified for this prestigious event. In order to qualify a team has to be in the top 6 or 7 countries in Europe and that is beyond Ireland at the moment. It was also beyond England and Poland so that's how tough it is.
However despite not being present at this fantastic event I took the opportunity to take on the Worlds best by downloading the BBO files for Match 1 of the event. BBO provides vugraph coverage so I was able to download files from 8 matches across Ladies Open and Senior.
I joined the 8 files together giving me about 8 replays of each board. I then used Jack bridge program to make an imps pairs tourney and sat down to play with my Bessie partner Jack.
16 boards later after a bright start I lost heavily on 2 boards and ended up on minus 5 imps.
This is not so bad as the legendary Eric Rodwell and Jeff Meckstroth were 2 imps behind me.
Brown and Brock the great English ladies pair were on plus 6 imps thus 11 imps ahead of me.

Other software programs can also be used to do the same job as far as I know.
Meanwhile there is also 

Finally if you go on 
you will find links to the World Bridge Championships pages and bulletins.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bray Bridge Congress Sept 01 2017 ..Go there to play bridge

Greystones and Bray were my first 2 places of residence when I was very young.
Sunbeam Cottage Greystones  beside the railway and near the beach.

Bray Congress 2017
Friday 1st September to Sunday 3rd September
Royal Marine Hotel, Bray

This event will not be possible without our sponsor Revive Active!
Please visit the Revive Active! site for a brief 20 second survey to retrieve your discount code.

Last year, our Congress sold out, so get your entries in to
Anne Daly 086 2596889 or

Friday 1st September
7.30pm Mixed Pairs
7.30pm Gala Pairs
7.30pm Intermediate B Pairs
7.30pm Novice Pairs

Saturday 2nd September
1pm Congress Swiss Pairs (2 sessions)
1pm Intermediate A Pairs (2 sessions)

Sunday 3rd September
11am Congress Swiss Teams (2 sessions)
11am Intermediate Teams (2 sessions)
Currently I am playing the Bermuda Bowl hands. I make tourneys for Jack from the BBO records.
If anyone wants them send email to

 That's after 9 boards of Match 1 of round robin. Levin and Weinstein are beating me so far.
However I am beating Fiona Brown and Sally Brock so I would have good chance in Womens event.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Bridge-Now ratings to August0217.. Dublin Summer Congress

Here are the ratings calculated from up to August 02 2017.
A 2% decay is included for anyone missing a week. Also it takes several weeks of play to build up
a rating from the 1500 points starting point. The formula includes a small adjustment for number of boards played and also bases improvements on current rating. Thus a 1400 player scoring 65% on 70 boards will increase more than a 1900 player scoring same 65% on same amount of boards.
So the image above has the top 130 players or so of 1800 who have played sometime this year.
About 750 folk play 20+ boards each week.
The Great Mullall has dropped out of the rating list due to lack of dedication to the cause.
Declan the Donplayer remains with plenty of work to do on 1444
Shane the Unblocker is further back on 1333.
Great Mullall is on 1676 and decaying at 2% per week.
The magical BJ O'Brien suffered a 49% week and missed a week also to decay his rating somewhat but he will return to the upper echelons shortly no doubt.
BJ won the bumper prize in the recent Dublin Summer Congress Home Instead sponsored Bridge Congress Pairs. Nobody was ever going to defeat the star pair of Adam Mesbur and Michael McGloughlin. Thus I term 2nd place as the bumper prize.
Links to all Dublin Summer Congress events are at 
and this link sends you to Diarmuid Reddans Bridgewebs for some results.
Some world bridge championship starts shortly in Lyon France. 
I will watch out for Australia Open Team as I made them some hands for bidding practice.
The Mark Moran led Irish Open Team will also participate in the Transnationals.

Meanwhile the well known bridge teacher Thomas MacCormac is on tour in Omaha. 
Look on Facebook for "Great American Bridge Tour" and you will find information about the gang Thomas travels with.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Thomas Hanlon exits Spingold in wooden box

Early this morning Irish time a battered and bruised Thomas Hanlon was placed in a wooden box after being exited from the Spingold. Poor chap did not even make the finish line.
However his team provided great entertainment and went 3 matches deeper than expected of an original 17th seed.
Early on we noted a lad signing off in 4S and 2 rounds of bidding later same lad on the same board launches into 7S. Something went wrong with the bridge algorithm.
I did not watch all of the match but reports indicated that most of the 6 members of the Mittelman team produced some howlers ...
Here is a screen grab of the 3rd stanza where Team Diamond was nailing down the coffin lid.

All hands and records can be found on BBO vugraph project.

Meanwhile out in Westmanstown the elderly gentlemen destroyed their field in the Rory Egan Congress Pairs. Well done to Adam Mesbur and Michael McGloughlin.
A near 70% first session set them up for a good dinner and a second session of 62% was enough
to gather in the shillings. The legendary BJ O'Brien was in a distant 2nd place with his partner David Jackson keeping the stats.
Meanwhile another Irish player Thomas MacCormac is these days attending many US Nationals.
This is a great game to be attending. More Irish should go to a US National.
If interested talk to Thomas as he would know all relevant details and issues to sort out.
Sometimes a lesser player needs a waiver to enter the big USA events and stuff like that.

Today the Kieran McGarry Memorial Teams event take place in Westmanstown.
I recall seeing Kieran and Rory Egan on Prime Time marching into the Red Cow to confront
an alleged scammer back in the days when scams were only beginning. Kieran also was heavily involved in the physical end of recent Dublin Summer Congresses in CityWest.
Those tables and all the other equipment don't put themselves out or put themselves away.
Kieran was also a very capable player at times. Kieran won 3 Wednesdays in a row in the Regent back in the day and at that time even one victory in the Regent Wednesday night game for a non-international was an achievement.

All results and running scores at

My understanding is that Rory Egan leads the group that organises this Dublin Summer Congress.
In the Congress Teams its hard to look behind the Mesbur Fitzgibbon powered BJ team or the Goodman team both of which are pretty power packed.

One also notes the presence in the Pairs and Teams field of the well known bridge teacher Peter Pigot junior. One understands he runs some good bridge seminars. I presume he has a website somewhere.

Just to be clear ..Hanlon reaching the semi-final of the Spingold is a massive performance.
Especially given he was not in a team of all professionals.
Thomas partnered Leslie Amoils from Toronto and this is not the same as when operating in his 30 year partnership with Hugh McGann or if partnering another bridge peer.
The problem is to be counted as a winner of any major event a player has to play 50% of the boards.

The 30th anniversary of the Hanlon McGann marriage must be coming up shortly.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Thomas Hanlon arrives in Spingold semi final

Early this morning Irish time ... like at about 430am the Mittelman NPC team qualified for the Spingold semi-final in a nail biting finish to their Spingold quarter final.

Having started out with 3 double digit losses on Boards 1-3 many hours before and thus trialing by about 34 imps to 0 Team Mittelman got the train rolling and trundled along into a 6 imps after 54 boards of 60. Board 25 (55) saw Zia take the low road in 3S and making 12 tricks ... 5 imps to Hanlon and a lead of 11 imps. Board 26(56) saw Hanlons team mates make 2NT+1 and Hanlon was allowed declare 2C... Hanlon played well to guide home 9 tricks and another 6 imps in a double part score swing leaving Hanlon ahead by 15.

Board 27 looked like an action hand

1H from Zia and Hanlon found 2H michaels and after long thought Les Amoils left him play there.
Hanlon played like BJ O'Brien and steered this home for another 2 imps ..
Now leading by 18 imps ... the end of the tunnel was in sight and some much needed sleep for myself ,,Michael O'Kane and I understand Rory Boland was watching on the big screen down in Carrick. This was past 4am Ireland time ..

Board 28 landed on the screen ...
We expected Hanlon in Heat 4 at the moment to steer this hand safely into the 6NT port.
However the bidding took unusual turns ..

2C 2D
2N 3D
3N 4D
4H 4N
5S 6H

And they were in the wrong slam ...
What went wrong ...
Did 3NT throw Amoils
Did Hanlon think 4D was retransfer
Why did Hanlon answer 4NT in HEARTS Keycard
Did Hanlon think he had told his 2 card HEARTS story with 3NT

Anyway 6H had to go 1 down and the lead shrank to 4 imps with 2 boards to go.
Board 29 was a push in 2S ...Still 4 imps ahead ..

And the final board of this fascinating battle hit the table in both rooms. At this stage I was logged in twice on the web based BBO and the old client ..Upmark in the West seat put the DOUBLE on 4S by our team mates .. This was booked for 2 off and 300...and the Diamond 9 was tracked.
Meanwhile in our room Amoils passed as dealer and Zia Jansma arrived in 4S unmolested ...
This was booked for down 2 .....same D9 was tracked ...

Neck and neck looked like a 1 imp loss for Hanlon ...

However both Wests contributed the Queen and the Diamond RUFFS were GONE ...
plus 100 for Upmark and plus 50 for Hanlon ...
2 imps swing ...

Hanlon and Mittelman NPC survive to fight in the Spingold semi finals ...

Now eventhough the Spingold is one of the 3 Main Annual ACBL events ...many of the teams feature a lesser player who hires 4 or 5 stronger players to help him win one of these prestigious events.
These lesser bridge players are generally very high performers in their workplaces and businesses but have not spent the time to reach expert in bridge. However they allow bridge professionals a living.
I guess its like an investment in Bridge but otherwise playing bridge all over the world would be too expensive for many bridge proffessionals.
All of these lesser players have a great interest in bridge and are very capable players but just not the extra piece that the proffessionals have. Thus many professionals in these client partnerships seem to do what looks like bad plays but usually these "bad plays" can be connected to a carding error or bidding error by the client. Real small things to the ordinary bridge player throw a professional off much easier. It might be the play of a 7 instead of a 6.
Also the lack of long hours of partnership practice are lost to the professional so his or her regular partnership agreements are gone.
Thus a del Monte or a Hanlon might look to have done something stupid as they are not playing with their regular partners of 20 plus years. Hanlon might have presumed he had told his story with 3NT and thus Amoils must have 6 card hearts to insist on HEARTS..
Now Les Amoils in a damn good player and has played for South Africa in Bermuda Bowl I think ..
He seems to be Hanlons partner at the moment for North American Bridge events.
Del monte partners Bercuson who I had not come across before but that's due to my lack of attendance of NABCs since the last time in 2007 in San Francisco.

Anyway well done to the Mittelman team far ... The Diamond team is a ferocious opponent though.

When I was in San Francisco I was out on a smoke break outside the Marriot and I was George Mittelman in a group of bridge players. They were approached by a beggar guy and as George searched for a small note ...he dropped a 10 dollar bill and quick as a flash the beggar guy bent down and made off with it ....gleefully thanking Mittelman as he moved quickly away ...
Mittelmans bridge friends clapped him on the back and indicated ... Thanks Mitt paid for all of us or something like that. November 2007 that was...

I have been asked why is Mittelman NPC ... The answer is I don't know ..
Maybe its just cos he is from Toronto ..
Mittelman used to partner a young Fred Gitelman ... they were known as THE MEN.

NO OFFENCE is intended to any Hanlons or others mentioned in this article.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Thomas Hanlon v Nickell

Early this morning early as 440am myself and Michael O'Kane from Northern Ireland witnessed a treat of bridge. Our man Hanlon plus 5 took on the bridge juggernaut that is number 1 seed Nickell who featured Meckstroth Rodwell Levin and Weinstein... arguably the greatest foursome ever assembled at bridge.

Stanza 1 Mittelman got our to an early lead of about 40 imps ...57 plays 16
Stanza 2 Mittelman added to that lead to build I think a 90-17 lead but lost some late imps to lead by 47 at the half ..
Stanza 3 .. Nickell powered back with a 53-5 set to lead by 1

Stanza 4 is above  ..

You can find it here

Some great bridge in there .. Really worth a look ..

Now maybe some will say Team Hanlon played in luck .. but you need an awful lot of luck to defeat
a power packed team of bridge legends.

Also bridge at the table is not as straight forward as replaying a vugraph later.

Its like the tennis ... Wimbledon looks serene ...two lads batting a ball over a net ...
However that ball travels at something past 100 mph but TV gives no indication.

Sometimes in Fitzwilliam when I am bridge directing I see ordinary decent tennis players playing and I am shocked at the speed of the ball.
Yesterday I stopped for a look ... Some lad Barry from Ireland was playing a Storrie guy from England. This was not Wimbledon ..

1 chair umpire
2 end of court umpires of who doubled as scoreboard operator.

The Irish lad served and added a shout to send the ball on its way.
The end of court umpire had to mind himself as that ball came hard and fast.
The umpire has nowhere to go ..he is up against the boundary wire.
No ball boys here or soft towels between games.
Nobody picking up the balls ...the players themselves did that.

It went 15-0 30-0 40-0 and game Barry who leads 5-3 ..
Then it was 5-4
and by the time I got upstairs to move the boards was all over .. 6-4 to Barry and 2-1 win.

Now the Wimbledon lads probably are hitting 30% faster than last night ...
It is something like trying to catch a golf ball hit by a driver.

Meanwhile on the next court a large crowd was watching in the gallery between the courts.
My guess is Simon Carr son of legendary Dublin GAA captain was playing ..
I did not venture down there as it was a little far from the bridge room.

Sometimes the bridge is played in a room that opens out into the stand and I can watch more easily but last night there was a meeting in progress until near 11pm so I could not access the stand.

Still the lad called Sam Barry was picking up tennis balls 12 inches away from me as this non-tennis player had a look. I saw Phil Collins in the Aviva I think ... he was about a quarter mile away in a wheelchair.

I was also watching the early stages of the above vugraph as well and moving the boards in the bridge room.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hanlon+5 make Spingold last 16

Last night or early this morning Irish time Irelands apparently finest bridge player reached the last 16 of the Spingold Vase. The Spingold is arguably one of the strongest events of the bridge calendar.
This year 102 teams hit the dance floor and at least 90 of those teams would win or go very close in the Holmes Wilson.
The multi championship winning Monaco team with Helness and Helgemo and Christy Martens on board got ambushed before the main event even took off. Seeded 14 they ran into a JOLLY team seeded 93rd. However JOLLY was kind of decent featuring 4 of the best American juniors including some Rosenberg prodigy. So it was goodbye Team Monaco probably the heaviest funded bridge team in the world.
Anyway back to Hanlon .... and a bid I found disagreeable.

Anyway this match was on vugraph and myself and Declan the Donplayer were nearing the end of our few late pints in the local speak easy. Declan having learned the bridge and got the bug always keeps a passing eye on my laptop just in case some transfers or other might appear.
I had pointed out to Declan about Hanlon up top being the best player in Ireland and I headed off to the loo. On my return for the final board of the set Declan greeted me .."Eamon are you sure this is the best bridge player in Ireland" .. I said "Oh yeah " .. Declan the Donplayer replied .." Well if I painted like he is bidding on this hand then I would not get many decorating gigs"
I had a look and I said ... "That's not too good .. Passing 4DX seems normal.
"Yes " says The Donplayer ...and he might even turn vulnerable by the end of the hand ..
"Eamon how does that vulnerable work anyway ?? Is it like the power play in cricket ? "

Anyway there goes Hanlon bidding 5 Clubs and going down for a flat board ..
The Donplayer who has only twice attended a bridge club recommends PASSING..

Partner is a passed as dealer hand and we have a 13 count. Well 15 but if our Diamond Queen is not eaten up then even more reason for passing as we get some uncounted TRUMP tricks.
However no doubt yer man will ask some of his expert buddies and they will all pat him on the back for lulling the other team into a false sense of security. However it beats me .. One down is normally good bridge.

Mind you one also notes the loss of 23 imps for not bidding on ...both doubled in other room but its 2 missed games and some imps could have been saved. Several ways to save some imps on boards 26 and 27 for Hanlon table.

However TONIGHT from 5pm we might get the chance to watch again .. 5pm 7pm and later midnight and 2am approx.

"Eamon I am from Sherriff Street .. I got baptised 9 times ..3 times as a girl .."

Anyway later on in the small hours Irish time when the pub was long closed Team Mittelman backboned by Thomas Hanlon won the final 2 sessions and qualified for the last 16.

I expect Nickel versus Mittelman to be on vugraph this evening but depends on the voting for the matches. Also if not on vugraph at the start then it depends on the players as North American vugraph folk put on the closest matches for sessions 2 3 4 ..

Anyway no matter who is on vugraph ... and make an account and watch some great live bridge with 96 of the best players in the world in action ...including Westmeaths own Thomas Hanlon.

Hanlon is on the bottom right team .. Mittelman NPC. Seeded 17 and they will play the Number 1 seed Nickell in the next round. Last year we had the Irish juniors play Nickell in a similar event called the Vanderbilt. The Irish juniors failed to get over the line but they stayed to the end and were still running on after the last board .. However it was in the next field.     plenty of information on this and many other events on the site to the left.

Now its time to bring the dog for my 10000 steps

Might get to see a little Irish Open Tennis tonight in Fitzwilliam .. I direct the bridge in Fitzwilliam most Thursday nights and normally the bridge room opens up to the GODS seats in the stand.
Last year I saw Tommy Carrs son Simon play a match.