Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Irish Junior Bridge

I got confirmation from the Junior Committee yesterday that they would not be sending us to Jesolo for the 2007 Junior Europeans. Instead they are going to organise a twenty-four month training scheme. I got a form, titled '2 year commitment,' I had to sign saying 'I wish to make a serious commitment to improve my bridge over the next to years Sept '07 - Sept '09,' of course I have and am sending it the post tomorrow. I also got a long-winded email more or less saying they are very interested in Irish junior bridge and want to spend their resources on training and coaching rather than on a once off competition. Of course I would like to do both but I suppose it will be better for me as a player and hopefully for the rest of the team as well to do the training rather than the Europeans. I do hope though because of this training we do not miss-out on the World Pairs and Camp.

My Junior Cert is coming up soon so not as much bridge for me. For those non-Irish people who are reading this the Junior Cert is similar to the U.K.'s G.C.S.E. exam. Except it is taken after three years in secondary school rather than five.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Day 2 - The Beginnings

So the blog has commenced, I had a comment, happy days. This blog is not only about me but about everything bridge, especially the Bridge in the Menagerie. For those unknowing of these blessed books, it is a series by Victor Mollo. It's hands and strories are mostly taken from a rubber bridge club called the Griffins. They brave an occasional duplicate matchpoint session in the Unicorn. All the players barring Victor Mollo are named after animals because of their appearance and bridge nature. The Hideous Hog, for example, is a man of ample carriage and a hog at the table also. The Rueful Rabbit, on the other hand, is a rueful, timid character. However he is the luckiest in the club, performing complex squeezes, coups and endplay's on unsuspecting victims. The hog as learnt to use this to his advantage on the rare occasions of him give the Rueful Rabbit a hand.

Here is a hand from the first book in the series:

H.H. *
H J9
D K8
C KQ76

R.R. **
S 532
H J653
D AK97
C A4
(*H.H. = Hideous Hog)
(**R.R = Rueful Rabit)

West ---North----East----South

'South showed out, throwing a low diamond and I held the first trick in dummy. Well, how do you set about it?'

'It was clear on the bidding and the first trick no suit would break for me. It was equally clear north had something good in hearts, but certainly not ace and king or he surely would have led one of them.'

'The answer, I felt certain, was to squeeze South in the minors. The snag was I had to lose a trick first to rectify the count. If I simply played of my five spades, South could keep four diamonds and four clubs. But if I could somehow lose a trick then South would be helpless.'

Pseudo Rectification

'So to the second trick I led a heart. South played the deuce, a cunning card to mislead me, and the knave fell to North's queen. Do you blame North for leading another trump?'

These were the four hands:

S 65432
-------- H KQ65
-------- D 53
-------- C 54

S AQJ87 ----------S KT9
H J9--------------H 874
D K8--------------D AQ42
C KQ76-----------C A32
--------S -
--------H AT32
--------D JT976
--------C JT98

'I settled down to the trumps and on the last one, when only seven cards could be retained, South was squeezed in the minors.'

'You should have heard North tell South what he thought of his doubles and of that crafty deuce of hearts. Fatuous and some lovely, long words of Greek origin, which I intended to write down for future use and...'

That is a direct quote from Confessions of a Hog, Bridge in the Menagerie by Victor Mollo.

From this extract we learn the Hog to be an ambitious overbidder but a very strong player none the less (and he knows it). Not much of his hog nature has come across though.

Phew that took a long time.

(p.s. if anyone would like to enlighten me as to how to put in hands properly I would be very gracious.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Carrot Club

I'm going to give Carrot Club a go. This is a two way club system played by two Irish International Pairs (Tom Hanlon & Hugh McGann, Tommy Garvey & John Carroll). The opening of One Club signifies a 11-13 Balanced hand or 16+(17Bal) hand and a 14-16 NoTrump. A one level opening is 10-15(16Bal). Usually Polish Two Club (6 clubs or 5/6 clubs and 4/5 card Major 10-15 HCP), a variation of Ekrens (a weak 2 suited major) and Weak Twos are played, but as with most systems these are very interchangeable.

This system was developed to be a cross between Polish Club and the Swedish systems Svan and Skrott and was named the Carrotski club. An edited version of this, Carrot Club, was used by the Swedish Open pair in the European Championships in 1972.

I will be creating my own notes shortly but in the meantime here is a couple of links regarding the Carrot Club.
Carrot Club notes and Hanlon & McGann C.C. and notes

Me, Myself and I (or at least the last two years)

This is my first blog so I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is David and I'm an Irish Junior. I have represented Ireland in two Junior and one Schools events. My Mum started me on it about 2 years ago. I had been playing on BridgeBase Online for about a year. During this period I sent an email to the C.B.A.I. (Contract Bridge Association of Ireland) telling them if I was out there and if they knew of any partnerless juniors. I got an email back telling me they knew of such a junior and he had also recently started. I later played in a teams match on B.B.O. One of the opposition at my table was a member of the C.B.A.I. Junior Committee told me a young Junior had sent an email to the Junior Committee I think we can all see where this is going.

So my first international event was the 1st World School Pairs in Piestany, Slovakia. I got a call from a member of the Junior Committee telling me a player had dropped out from it at the last minute and he asked me to play in her place. As you could imagine I was excited I never believed I'd be playing international bridge so quickly. We met for the first time in the airport. We agreed a basic Acol system. Our hopes weren't high and rightly so but we finished over 40% so it could have been a lot worse. We we were happy enough with the result. Although in session 2 we were playing against 2 polish girls who were leading we managed to get an excellent round and I appeared in the bulletin the next day for the two boards I declared, click here for (P.7). The camp following the Pairs was brilliant my best result was a 4th I think with a team comprised of me a Swedish pair and a Scottish Junior.

More recently I played in the Junior Camrose a friendly tournament between Rep. of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. It is similar to the Open Camrose and Lady Milne. It is a two day competition usually played usually in February. We started promisingly win two wins over Wales and Northern Ireland. We then were then hammered by England 25-5.
Next was Scotland and after a very loose match with Imps flying everywhere and lost somewhere in the region 8-22. Overnight we were 4th but had a match in hand over everyone else. The next day started badly losing to Northern Ireland 8-22. Then beat Wales with 19 again got 5 from England. We then played well enough and lost by 1 imp to Scotland. Unfortunately we finished a disappointing 4th, click here for the final results Then it was Amsterdam in the Junior White House International. A terrible tournament for me with one moment of brilliance with a 20-10 victory over Netherlands red followed by a hysterical loss of 90-0 imps in a 10 board match against Netherlands blue.

That was my bridge career to present. The Junior Europeans are next month. The Junior Committee has made not said whether or not we are going but at present I am assuming we are not as no trials have been arranged. However, I still have the World Bridge Camp in Bristol to look forward to in August.