I wasn't able to capture everyone. But - I did take a number of photos throughout the Gopher. As soon as I come up for air, you'll see remembrances of Gopher 2011 at MnBridge in photos!
The last bid has been made. The final card has been played. Gopher 2011 is a wrap!
Special congratulations to father and son Vern and Monte Evans. Their 86.24 masterpoints pipped out teammates Bill Kent and Yours Truly for the leading masterpoint winners. To see how everyone who attended Gopher 2011 did, do check out all the events here.
No major tournament like the Gopher comes together without a great deal of work and planning by many. At the top, please give a round of applause to Patti Stuhlman and Sue Jackson. From securing the playing site, to organizing the schedule, staffing the hospitality suite and much, much more, Patti and Sue did a marvelous job. Thanks are due to all their volunteers, with these people chairing the following committees:
The top flight of the Gopher's last KO went to a team that has seen frequent success over the years: Cindy and Bob Balderson, Kurt Schaeffer, Paul Meeschaert and Carol Miner. Peder Langsetmo and Serdar Ogut seized the always exciting Barometer pairs.
And, our intrepid thirteen year old, Ben Kristensen, continued with his successes. Along with Dad Curt and teammates Delbert Swanson and Gene Brandl, the team was 2nd in the Saturday/Sunday morning Swiss. Ken Bayliss and Roxann Klugman topped the third bracket of the KO#3. Do we have another young Joe Grue in the makings?
Of course, many other successes have been achieved this week. In Monday's bulletin, Mike Cassel has all the details, stories and scores for you! Thanks, Mike!
Saturday at the Gopher seemed to be family day! Carol Cummings played with son Bill, the victorious KO duo of Terry and John Lijewski partnered again, and in the pairs, Audrey Weikle laughed with son Brian.
Matthew and Jason Bribitzer-Stull were treated to an out of town visit with parents and teammates Clem and Marjorie Bribitzer.
Perhaps the youngest player at the Gopher, 13 year old Ben Kristensen, competed in multiple events with dad Curt. Ben flashed a big smile while chatting with star Joe Grue - and then an even bigger smile when he and his dad's Swiss Team beat mine in our Sunday morning match!
Mike Cassel has all the details of Saturday's events below. Apologies for the internet difficulties; hoping that Sunday's bulletin will be following soon.
Of course, Monday is the last day to enjoy the final hands of the Gopher. We look forward to seeing you at 9:30AM!
Plowing through a tough field, our Canadian neighbors to the north grabbed the top bracket of the second KO. Congratulations! And - do check through all of Mike Cassel's latest bulletin, to see the victorious players in all of Friday's events.
Saturday offers a great round-up of events: Swiss Teams, a new knock-out and pair events. Select what works best for you with your preferences and schedule.
Finally, if you have not yet attended one of the fine mini-lessons scheduled in-between the morning and afternoon sessions, consider doing so. Bruce Boje will be speaking in the Hospitality Room from 12:45 to 1:15 today; Mike Cassel is the featured speaker tomorrow at the same time and place.
Finally - a "shout out" to all of our volunteers and caddies who help to run our games! You might note that today's photos feature just a few of these great folks.
And - of course - enjoy all of today's bridge!
Longtime expert Twin City player Terry Beckman just achieved a big milestone. Going over the 7500 masterpoint mark, "T" as he is known to many, became an Emerald Life Master. If you see T - tell him congratulations!
And birthday congratulations were due to two Gopher competitors yesterday, too. Linda Webb and Ardy Bakshian were both born "xx" years ago.
Plenty more Gopher to come. If you need to find a team or a partner, then be sure to check with Rebecca Connolly, either at the partnership desk or by email: email@example.com
And - see you at the table!
Several new winners were crowned during Wednesday's Gopher competition. Capturing the premier event, the Jim Hall KO's were John and Terry Lijewski, Peder Langsetmo and Serdar Ogut. Congratulations to the team, and to all the others who captured titles yesterday.
Be sure to check out Mike's Thursday Gopher Bulletin for much more. And, Mike requests that I remind you that scores are available in the Bulletin. Just hit "control - F" on your computer, and put in the name that you would like to search.
Good luck to all today!
"Old trooper" experts fight to the bitter end at the bridge table. Yet, if they see that the task is futile, then they will fold their hand and wave the white flag.
This week, John Koch shows us how to aid these fighters to fold up the tent.
Thanks, John! We can all use tips like this as we battle each session during the Gopher Regional!
Our thanks to Mike Cassel for providing us with our first Bulletin reporting, to co-chairmen Patti Stuhlman and Sue Jackson for a great kickoff to the Gopher, and to all our directors, ably headed up by DIC Mike Flader.
Tonight is the kick-off session for Minnesota's Gopher Regional. This is our state's premier tournament. With events for players of all levels, IMPS and matchpoints, truly we have "something for everyone."
With an excellent schedule being offered, we are looking forward to a great turnout. Do not miss out on the hospitality, the fun and the competition!
Do also check out the first Gopher Daily Bulletin below. Our thanks to editor Mike Cassel for providing a "sneak peak" of it!
With the incredible invention of Bridge Base, now bridge fans around the world can follow high level competition in real time. One of those fans watching during the most recent Open Team Trials was our own Irwin Boris.
While we were treated to a number of fascinating hands, Irwin was impressed with the theory behind this one. See the youngest player on the winning team - Justin Lall - in action.
Thanks to Irwin for taking the time to write it up - and - see below to appreciate all the reasoning at the highest levels!
If you would like to view the competitors at the Open Team Trials in Las Vegas and see in photos how Joe Grue & Company became USA #2, you can see it unfold here. (Click on the photo in the lower left column and scroll through.)
When Joe Grue played with Mom or Dad or one of his other mentors at the Twin City Bridge Center, did we think that some day we would be reading this?
The biggest upset going into Sunday was Bathurst’s quarterfinal victory over the reigning Bermuda Bowl champions, Nick Nickell, Ralph Katz, Bob Hamman, Zia Mahmood, Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell.
Bathurst thoroughly deserved its 45-imp win, with Grue and Lall being particularly impressive. In the diagramed deal, Board 40, Grue outplayed Zia.
These days, it seems that Joe outplays a lot of the great names in bridge. Actually - a more accurate statement is that "Joe Grue" now is one of the great names in bridge!
Prepare to hear many more reports on the talents of this incredible young player as the years go by.... And do read the New York Times column, too!
My thanks to Jonathan Cohen for sending it to me - and who apparently was the catalyst for an error correction, too.
If you have not already secured your partners and teammates for the tournament, be sure to do so! Great competition, fun hospitality and all our bridge friends. This is an event you do not wish to miss!
Oh, yes it is. Sometimes a crafty move by an opponent can have implications that lead to demise. Such was the case when this most intriguing hand was played by John Koch.
Expert defense allowed declarer to work out the hand, and more pedestrian defence might have beaten it? Indeed. See John's column below!
Many of us in Minnesota remember when Joe Grue was learning to play bridge. Sue and Tom Grue (aka Mom and Dad), Jerry Lee, Kerry Holloway, Larry Oakey and a number of other friends taught him the ropes.
Today? It's Everyone Else in the World who is on the ropes!
Joe, along with teammates Justin Lall, Joel Wooldridge, John Hurd, Dan Zagorin and captain Kevin Bathurst just won the finals of the Open Team Trials to become U.S. #2 at the next Bermuda Bowl. Blowing through a most difficult field, Joe & Company KO'd the mighty Nickell team, then the Wolfson squad, which included our own Steve Garner and Howie Weinstein. Yesterday and today, they drilled the Diamond team. Though Diamond staged a strong comeback the final set, Joe's team fortunately had built a mountain that was just too high to climb.
Joe - you've come a long way, baby! Here's to a brilliant competition in Amsterdam - and one more huge title in your young career!
Monday afternoon, after a long struggle with Alzheimers, Joyce DeHarpporte died. Husband Ron and Joyce’s seven children were at her bedside.
Joyce played bridge in the Twin Cities for well over four decades. Joyce excelled at the duplicate table, competing with and against the best players of her era. She also enjoyed bridge in other venues, meeting with friends from both St. Paul and Minneapolis for “party” bridge.
In addition to being a lifelong lover of our game, Joyce had other passions. She and Ron traveled extensively, visiting over 50 countries. They enjoyed summers by Lake Superior and winters in Las Cruces, NM. Joyce loved to read and was always well informed on a wide variety of topics and issues.
Most of all, though, Joyce was one of the sweetest and most caring people you would ever meet. Many competitive players can be aggressive and brusque. Not Joyce. It seemed that the kind, generous and nurturing mother of seven and grandmother of eleven extended those same qualities to everyone that she would meet.
The effects of Joyce’s disease unfortunately kept her away from the bridge table in recent years. Thus, some of our newer players may not know Joyce. This is their loss. Those of us who knew her well know that our community has lost a true gem.
Ron would like everyone in the bridge community to be aware of this. Since Joyce loved family picnics, a gathering will be held at Wabun Park on Sunday, June 12 at 4:00. All are welcome to come for a short ceremony to share stories about Joyce and to remember her life. A picnic dinner will follow.