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Friday, February 20, 2015

The Art of Declarer Play (Pat Kelly Bridgebase)

This morning the postman rang the bell and I guess correctly what he had .. Bills and books

Two copies of "The Art of Declarer Play" one for me and one for Grainne Barton.

Visualisation and Recognition see to be two well used words in this book.

I have to finish "The Rodwell Files " first before getting stuck into this one. However "The Art of Declarer Play " looks promising.

It reminds of a book I never read called "The Art of War" I suppose Declarer Play is really a form of War.

The more you sweat in training ..the less you bleed in battle ... hmmmm

Meanwhile the sad news of the passing of "The Great Pat Kelly" on Monday evening.

As far as I can remember Pat was active in Portmarnock Tuesday Bridge club when I went there in the late 1980s as an inter B player. However I cannot be certain when I first encountered Pat.
I know in the 1990s he became active in Malahide Regional being a regular winner in most of the Monday and Thursday competitions partnering Dave Terry and John Murray. So to win stuff in Malahide one had to pass out "The Great Pat Kelly " and his supply of good partners.
I must have made some progress as I ended up winning a Kelbourne Cup with Pat Kelly Dave Terry and Paul Delaney. I recall we had to reel in a 25 VP deficit against a powerful team including Michael and Padraig O'Briain Peter Pigot and Thomas McCormac. They had a 5th member but I forget who. I know each O'Briain played a day each. We played well in the 3rd session but the breaker was when the Connollys and Masterson from Longford broke the O'Briain team.
We defended the following year but 3rd place was all we could get.

In later years when I was mainly a director  the tall Pat Kelly would arrive and put his arm around me and then list out some hand which had misfired for him and he would hope I would agree with him.

I recall Michael McDonagh telling me that Kelly and Terry were a top pair in the past. This was a few years ago while standing outside the Bridge place in Templogue.  I also vaguely recall Pat Kelly and probably Ramin Sai qualifying from some pairs event to represent Ireland maybe in the early 90s.

On Wed night after a minutes silence was held in Malahide Bridge Club where I was directing an up and coming player approached me and said " I did not know that chap who died"  ..I told him .."You have just entered Inter A .. Pat Kelly probably left Inter A in the 1980s so ye play in different levels.

I suspect I only saw the end of Pat Kellys bridge as I presume he was active in the Regent and Trials  when I was starting our in the late 1980s

I remember Dave Terry admonishing me for arguing with Pat Kelly over some bridge hand just after Pat suffered a bereavement. However I was only attempting to treat Pat as a normal bridge player so if we could not beat the opponents then we beat up partner. I meant to get Pat going on the computer bridge but we never got round to it and we won't now. I did not realise he was going to be gone so soon.

Out in Malahide I often heard it said " I am not playing in that competition as Pat Kelly always wins"
I always replied " Get better at bridge and beat him if it bothers you that he wins "
The reply often came back " Well he has better partners than I "
I always replied .." Get better at bridge and better partners will come your way"

Thats what I did and I ended up playing as a partner/teammate  with Pat Kelly from time to time.
Well there was no point in playing against him as he had better team mates ..

While I was waiting for the funeral to arrive at Balgriffin I met a man called Liam McDonald or Donnell who was wandering around the cemetery neat me.. There was a heavy shower of rain in progress and I had taken shelter under the large tree in the middle of Balgriffin cemetery.
He joined me and indicated he was waiting for the Pat Kelly funeral. Somehow he had mixed up the times ala 1130 and 1230 .. I had missed the mass and headed straight for the graveyard arriving about 1.5 hours too early. I went to 3 funerals that morning just in case I missed the correct one.

Liam told me about Big Tom Big John ..Joe and Pat who used to play golf and discuss bridge in some golf clubs where they played.
Tom Freeman John Murray and Joe English were the people this Liam was referring to and all play bridge in Malahide Regional. So I heard about another part of Pats life under a tree in the rain at Balgriffin cemetery.... Thats enough now ..

Last weekend I was working as a director at the Holmes Wilson. Unfortunately for some poor chap called James McLaughlin I ended up playing 60 boards. He ended up in Athlone hospital. I don't think it was life threatening so I expect he is back in Donegal now. I think I partnered John McClenaghan but it might have been Sean McNutt. Things did not go so well on Saturday night but by Sunday morning I was back in the zone and opponents were obeying my commands again.
On Sunday we won 4 and drew 1 and climbed the table from mid 40s to 14th place but no prize for 14th.    Results are there


Above is a useful place to play bridge if you have no partner ... it also gives one a rating ..

This is a totally different site than Bridge Base Online ..
Bridge Base Online is the leading place to play/watch  various forms of bridge and I don't see anything surpassing the Bridge Base Online production in the near future.

However some dude who works for Bridgebase Online took exception to my mentioning in a vugraph commentary I was doing.

They are totally different bridge sites and Bridgebase Online is by far the best bridge site and nobody working for Bridgebase needs to feel insecure. The person started by asking me to do him a favour.
I have been doing Bridgebase favours since about when it started so here is more favour

Go there and play watch bridge ...even partnership bidding is there .. and robots and lectures and all sorts of stuff ..... Being worried about some other site that has weaker robots and less stuff is hardly the way to go.
People will graduate from Bridge Now and use both sites ..

I am even going to Northern Ireland to organise the BridgeBase Vugraph show for the Camrose in a few weeks time .. Well Brian McDowell will organise it but I will keep the wheels turning..
Just another favour for Bridgebase Online..and happy to do it.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Camrose Weekend and DON playing

Tonight Friday we have the start of the Camrose Trophy. Teams from England Scotland Wales along with 3 teams from Ireland will contest the event.

Information can be found at the above links .

On paper the two main contenders should be IRELAND (CBAI) and ENGLAND but the whole event is going to be measured by how the NORTHERN IRELAND teams shape up after their initial heads up tonight.

The IRELAND team is proven at European level and field professional bridge and poker player Thomas Hanlon among their roster. However in a recent 96 board training session held at the Regent Bridge Club in Dublin with Jason Hackett and Thomas Paske as the invited filler ins was Rory Boland and Mark Moran who led the standings. Grainne Barton is the NPC and she sttempts to keep this gang in line.

The Northern Ireland teams seem to be a little disrupted as the original 2nd place trialists are missing due to illness, Thats Robert Plunkett and Paul Tranmer. I don't know all the details but the original reserve pairing also appear to be missing. Also the decent pairing of Murchan and Burns did not appear to enter the trials. However this information is just gleaned from reading the NIBU website as opposed to talking to anyone.
Northern Ireland is as ever backboned by the ironman pairing of David Greenwood and Rex Anderson who most people would deem to be the class pairing of NIBU bridge for many years.
They have other strong partnerships but these other pairs seldom operate beyond the Camrose and to the best of my knowledge don't put in the training time required to compete at the levels of ENGLAND and IRELAND teams. The problem for most Northern Ireland pairs is the Camrose is a step up in class from their normal levels of play so they are under pressure from the off.

One item sticks in my memory from a conversation with John Matherson after last years Camrose.
A Northern Ireland player showed him the AQ of clubs over his KJ in dummy during the play and this took the pressure off and allowed John a cold line to his game contract.
In the heel of the hunt it did not matter as the trump queen finesse was working and the contract always made. However sometimes it is not about that one sees but the big picture is different.
However John did not know he was cold at the time.

SCOTLAND AND WALES both field very experienced CAMROSE teams
Scotland with youth and experience and Sime
Wales look very experienced with multiple Camrose caps among their squad.

Stamina plays a large part in bridge these days so one wonders about match fitness when looking at the amount of grey hair on show in the Team pictures.

I will be attending the Final weekend in Northern Ireland to help out with vugraph.

So 1900 hours on BBO it all kicks off ..

......................................... is the place to play bridge these days. No sign of the magical BJ O'Brien entering the site yet. Declan the Don player continues to improve after posting a 52% session this week. Shane the poker player is playing less and remaining below the radar but he was looking over my shoulder last night and still maintains a strong interest in the game.

Myself and Declan the Don player played a few games of DON on Wednesday night against Jimmy the Donplayer and Declan the Trustee. DON is a similar game to bridge except 9s and 5s are the important cards. Trick taking and cardplay is the same as bridge.
However on one occasion spades were trumps and I knew Declan the Don player had some and he had no hearts. Declan the trustee who does not know any bridge made the error of leading out a Heart and with Eamon and Declan the Don player both off hearts ...Eamon was able to drop a 9 and Declan was able to scoop in the trick. Jimmy the Don player not knowing Declan the trustee had suicided him attempted to cross the small DON but Declan stemped on it with the BIG DON.

In bridge this would be termed a ruff and discard play.

Declan the Trustee prides himself as a top class card player and wins money most weeks in the local poker derbies. However he is outclassed in the world of DON by painters and decorators who spent their youth playing DON at lunch breaks and if they played badly they got the dirty jobs in the afternoon.

So myself and Declan the Don player won 2 euro each for the 2 games of DON

Last night Declan the Don player informed me that I missed out on the Xmas DON action as Stephens Day DON was 5 euro a corner. Apparently Declan the Trustee got thrashed again.

Eamon Galligan

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Regent 90th Aniversary Congress

Today sees the finish of the Regent Congress in honour of the club being formed 90 years ago.
Elmpark Golf Club a well known centre of bridge players also formed this year I believe.
Well I saw some bushes shaped in a 1925 last time I was down there.

The Regent is where I learned lots of my early bridge from about 1989 to 2010 or so. Nowadays I direct every Wednesday night so that has ended my Regent bridge playing career for now.

Declan Byrne remains as the custodian / manager of the Regent Bridge Club pretty much since I first went there. He no doubt was in full flow this weekend despite being a larger Declan than the slim Declan of the late 80s.

Results of the Regent Congress events can be found at their Bridgewebs site.

probably maintained by the above mentioned Declan Byrne.
Amazingly enough Mr Byrne also found time to represent Ireland at junior bridge many years ago.

Today is the Congress Pairs event and strong rumours and the entry list indicated the presence of
Justin Lall and Thomas Bessis in the field along with Irelands top bridge player Thomas Hanlon.

In the mid 2000s I was lucky enough to come across a group of online players which included a teenage  Justin Lall and a teenage Madala so I get whopped a few times there too.

The weekend of Dec 12 to 14th just gone Team Barton (Irish international team) held a training session. Eamon was given the job of gathering 96 boards for the weekend. I chose a world class pairing and chose a year and selected all boards where 10+ imps went missing or came in .
This gave me 99 boards remaining after deleting all the flatter boards of the set.

I heard no complaints over the weekend about any of the boards. After all they had all been played in some Bermuda Bowl so they could hardly blame me.

I was very happy to see that the Moran Team invited any juniors to come in and watch proceedings as long as they were seen and not heard. A junior training session held that weekend also used 1 set of the same boards as our training session.

Several Dublin juniors turned up for a look and watched a session or two. They were also allowed stay for the hour long discussions after each 16 board set. Some even got fed.

The players were McGann Hanlon Garvey Carroll Boland Moran aided by Jason Hackett and Thomas Paske from England.

My current fad is

Several well known Irish players are having a go. Its free and has a chess like rating structure.
Mind you one needs to average about 62% to hold down a 1600 rating ..

Two folk I taught to play bridge in my local drinking establishment have settled at approx 1450 rating despite never attending a bridge club or taking lessons.
Declan the Don player and Shane the Poker player.
My brother Desmond has also taken up the game but his main gig is getting the opponents to go down. So a defensive player. Despite having little knowledge of the game Desmond bottomed out at 1412 and managed to gain a point last week on a 38% week.

No sign of the mercurial Benjy O Brien yet but Thomas MacCormac has ventured in.

Eamon Galligan

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dundalk Teams

Last month the Australian Fiona Brown turned up at Drogheda Congress and during the lunch break uttered the unforgettable words " This Dundalk place is pretty busy" as she walked thru the streets of Drogheda. 

Much to my surprise she showed up again at Dundalk teams with 3 men in tow. Despite getting a good trimming from Big Dog Murchan,McMaugh ,Burns and MacCormac the Brown team proved too strong for the field of 25 teams who turned up for battle in Dundalk Crowne Plaza Hotel. I am sure its a fine venue but my only experience is on non-bridge trips. 

So MacCormac hit the front after beating McGann handily on every board of the 6 involved. Then MacCormac got ambushed by his mentees ... some of the Irish Junior international squad who were showing well around the halfway mark .. The juniors also knobbled BJO'Briens powerful squad by a large score. 

Meanwhile McGann dusted off the MacCormac dust and after getting beaten down the table they pounded some team for 19.5 VPs to climb back to 2nd place behind the rampaging Juniors. 

Unfortunately for the Juniors they shipped 53 imps against McGann and scored nothing so McGann hit the front with two matches to go and having played all the contenders bar BJ O'Brien who was buried in mid table and not high enough to be drawn against McGann. 

So McGann in 1st place followed by the recovering MacCormac in 2nd place ...McCormac pounded on Jereon Lodewijks team for 20-0. Jeroens team included Justin Corfield who recently published a book on heavy declarer play. ... I might get it for Xmas but I already got loads of declarer play books and programs. However I hear its a pretty good book and it won some book of the year award. 

I notice Team Jeroen managed to bid 7D off a cashing  ACE so maybe Justin needs to write a book on The Art of Grand Slam Bidding .... Chapter 1 ... No Cashing Aces in Opening Leaders hand..

Meanwhile the banished BJ O'Brien found some hay down in the depths and hoovered up 55.36 VPS in the last 3 matches against outranked opponents ... BJs Team was made up of about 4 grandmasters of bridge. However Grandmaster of Bridge does not compare to chess grandmaster. 

So 1st McGann 2nd MacCormac and 3rd BJ ..

Those are the 3 one might have picked at the start ... 

Meanwhile down at the Lady Milne trials the mutiny of the lesser players was staved off by the threat of 4 years suspension or maybe the mutineers decided another weekend of getting trounced was a waste of time ..

The two antepost favourites Mitchel and Rigney qualified in 1st 2nd .. Bearpark held off Croke for a qualifying place. The final table does not tell the whole story ..the 6th place Kemple needed to gain another 5 VPS against Rigney in the final match to qualify... If they managed a 9.2 VP result Rigney then Rigney was probably gone out of the event .. although they might have held onto 4th place.
So two knockout matches in the final match of Lady Milne trials. 
All of this left the Meehan team slipping through in 4th place with Ann Fitzgerald in as sub in place of Helen Carroll .. 

Next weekend the FINAL lady milne trial takes place .. 
Last night in Malahide I spotted former lady  internationals Nuala Lynch,Margo English and Miriam McConville in action in the Yvette McCabe Trophy. Yvette was a major force in bridge clubs in Malahide in the past as she ran the Grand Hotel many years ago and this was a bridge venue over the years. Former Regent stalwarts Conor O'Hara Maurice Quinn Ray McConville Dave Terry Billy Ronan and Pat Cassidy were also battling away ...along with the well known director Long John Murray and the Great Pat Kelly maybe Malahide is a leading Dublin Club. The ageless Maurice Quinn came out on top after session 1... mind you he seemed to be drinking a clear liquid last night like water as opposed to his normal upside down can of guinness. ....

I see Rory Egan was playing bridge in Hungry ....thats a long way to travel for a bridge game. 

Finally if you think you are better than Declan the Don player or Shane "who learned bridge in 15 minutes" Maxwell ............
The new place is

The Bridge Now website took a while to grow on me but now I am hooked.. You get a weekly ELO type rating and its very hard to maintain it past 1600 ... Last week I averaged 60% over 80 boards and dropped 15 rating points...  down to 1585 from a starting point of 1500 about 3 months ago. 

The Lady Milne and Dundalk Congress stuff can all be found at

A member of Malahide club recently promoted to Inter A level went to Congress Teams in Dundalk and found the going extremely tough .. Not surprising as Inter A does not compare well beside Grandmasters. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lady Milne Trials 2014Meanwhile

This afternoon I had to run a young lad into town (for us country lads from Swords that means Dublin City) so I figured being that close to the Spire I should continue to Templogue. and pay a visit to the trials.
Arriving half way thru final session of the day I had a look at the positions

Marian Croke was after bashing the fast starting Louise Mitchel team by 22 imps
Meanwhile the slow starting Rigney team was starting to fire and post 15 imps beating on
Patricia Kelly team. The Kemple team battered the Templogue Terrors with Meehan battling out a drawish match despite 7 double digit swings,

So onto round 4 which was the one I was watching

Well this was a serious session of bridge .. Only one board was quiet.. Board 13... The rest
all provided many large swings. As can be seen below Croke continued the good form by tonking Team Kelly putting Team Kelly on the bottom for now. Rigney continued to climb by posting a 29 imp margin past Meehan. The Templogue Terrors got back on the board with a 20 imp victory over the still 3rd placed Bearpark. However the big winners on this round were Team Louise who pasted Team Kemple by 46 imps ... There is a possible appeal on board 8 which might close the margin by
5 imps or so. However the Kemple team player had all the information and could have passed out 2D to gain a pile of plus 50s.

Board 8
At the table in question the bidding went 
P 1C 2D! P
P ......
The 2D is apparently Ghestem ...
East advises North that it shows both majors ...easy enough as she is looking at them.
West advises South that it is a weak 2 in diamonds 
Now me myself I Eamon suffered exactly the same pain except we were playing without screens
and we were alerted by the partner of 2D that it was ghestem and we proceeded to double 2D showing a penalty of 1 of the suits. The bidding ended there and we defended 2D.
We were told by declarer ...sorry but I forgot and I have 7 card diamonds. 
We got 500 out of that and even the donks in 4H+3 beat our score. 
Since that day I never make a bid until the ghestem bidder shows me their hand almost. 
However unfortunately the rule is I am only allowed to know their agreement. 
I next look for the non-existant convention card .. 
Ghestem is a pain of a convention because nobody ever seems to remember they are playing it. 
Brian Lawlor still claims he was right... I would have settled for an average. 
Why should I suffer because people play stuff they don't understand. 
However in this case a PASS of 2D would seem possible for a nice gain on the board. 
After all the woman who explained to North is looking at 10 major suit cards. 
So 200 or so added to teamies 420 .. thats a nice stash of imps and having missed the glaring chance now they might try an appeal or something.
I messed up a pairs event in Malahide the other week. I had the same people sitout two weeks in a row. I am some donkey. However most players accepted I am allowed make a mistake. 
A few did'nt but I said I am sorry. 
I am writing this blog because Rory Egan missed it . He told me today. 

Meanwhile down in Dundalk the well known Patsy Gibney struck oil at Dundalk Congress.
He was partnered by Maura Hand but I don't know her so well ..but she been opposite Patsy for a while so they have won other stuff no doubt. Well done them...
........BJ was there as well but was not firing ... I think he need to partner me again ...
I can get him into the prizes ..
Next Saturday I think we have the Schools Bridge Pairs in Malahide. That should be fun if its on.
The students enjoy going to Malahide to play. Its nice of Malahide Regional Bridge Club to give
the premises for the young players. ..Gozaga students will win the prizes ..

Eamon Galligan

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