Some people swear by the Flannery convention: opening 2D to show a hand of roughly 11-15 HCP with 5 hearts and four spades. It is difficult if you open 1 heart on such hands to bid over non-spade responses by partner. "Flannery" gets it off your chest immediately.
On the other hand, Flannery also tells the opponents a great deal about opener's hand.
This week, John Koch shares a Flannery hand. The opponents had the blueprint - but - failed to construct the defense.
First - apologies to all! Between the heat of battle in Memphis and Roaming Reporting, I neglected to post John Koch's excellent Koch Korner Kolumn. Now I am rectifying the situation!
When an opponent takes an action that is a bit odd, our antennae should be alerted. Why might he have done this? As is always the case - John magnificently calculates what happened - and explains how we can all figure it out.
The Spring 2012 NABC in Memphis is underway! Already - Minnesotans are distinguishing themselves. Tony Ames and Judy Nassar had a fine qualifying first day. Going into the final two sets, they stood fourth in the field. And, "native son" Joe Grue with partner Shane Blanchard finished day one in the 7th slot.
Lots more action here! We'll be reporting both at Minnesota Bridge and at the ACBL website under "NABC Highlights." Please stay in touch!
Learning to become a top notch declarer is a worthy - yet difficult - goal. It's one part critical thinking, one part art - and a dash of luck tossed in to boot.
This week, John Koch delivers an artful hand that requires all of the above - and then some. The opening lead must be chosen wisely. A hold up play is necessary. And, the defender must then find the proper continuation.
No, it's not an easy game. Yet, John explains what we should be thinking about when - and how we should be able to figure it all out.
For those of our players heading to the Spring NABC in Memphis - happy competition! May John's tips help you throughout your events!
After having played bridge in the Twin Cities for over 30 years, last week I was introduced to a new treat! Semi-monthly on Wednesdays at the Officers Club by Fort Snelling, director Tony Ames runs a board-a-match team game.
For those unfamiliar with B-A-M, every hand has only three scores possible. If you have a
David Neiman proudly shows off a true yarborough!
better result than the other team with whom you are comparing, you win 1 point. A tie? Half a point. And - conversely, if they beat your score, you get zero. Most consider it to be the toughest type of scoring. Just 10 points more than the other team, and you have a win! Every overtrick matters greatly, and finding the highest scoring denomination also is key.
Food is available at the Officers Club. My team met early to discuss system - and visit with other players.
Turnout was great. 15 teams competed, with the tough squad of Diane & Larry Henson and Cindy & Bob Balderson leading the field. Complete results are here.
If you're looking for a different venue, with a large field and an inexpensive and nice menu for dinner prior - consider the Officer's Club. And - don't wait 30 years like I did to discover it!
Saturday, March 10, 7 Flight A, 5 Flight B and 3 Flight C teams battled away in our Unit 103 and 178 finals for GNT. Winners in each flight receive free entries to the District 14 Finals on April 28-29 at the New Brighton Community Center.
The team of Cindy and Bob Balderson, Paul Meerschaert, Carole Miner and Peg Kaplan seized Flight A. Flight B honors went to Bill Heyer, Dave Hoffman, Brian Weikle and Bill Cummings. The top Flight C squad was Nicholas Erpelding, Tony Ames II, Noel Muller and Lloyd Arntsen. All of Saturday's results can be viewed at these links: Flight A & Superflight, Flight B, and Flight C.
The event was organized by our hard working GNT coordinator, Mike Cassel. Direction was ably provided by Kim Hayward. Our thanks to them, and to the Bridge Center of St. Paul for its hospitality.
Do remember; you need not have played in the Unit Finals to be able to compete in the District finals in April! Everyone that is interested in vying for a subsidized trip to the Summer NABC in Philadelphia should definitely bring their team to New Brighton!
And - one more note of caution. More than one player went to the wrong venue for the
unit finals! Please do take care to make certain that you have the correct location and time for the event! Organizers will also try to make certain that this information is more clear and prominent.
See you next month at the District Finals in New Brighton!
Many Twin City bridge players remember when Tom and Sue Grue's little kid began to play bridge. Quickly, we realized that this boy was different. He picked up skills like a sponge. Even at quite a young age, his table presence was amazing. Today? Joe Grue is an internationally recognized elite expert, competing in events like the Bermuda Bowl and Reisinger against the best of the best.
Joe Grue; competing in the Reisinger finals against Versace-Lauria
Today, we have another rising star in our midst: Ben Kristensen. Immediately following the Youth Tournament in Philadelphia, Ben will head to China. There, he and his teammates will compete in the Damiani Cup (under 21) as USA II. Ben's dad, Curt, will be the team's NPC.
Last weekend, I played with Ben for a session in the Spring is Coming sectional. We did not come close to winning; me on lead a few too many times. Still, playing with someone who just turned 14 and already has such high bridge competence was a pleasure.
Will Ben's bridge career end up on a similar trajectory to that of Joe's? Way too early to determine. Yet this much we know. Ben is already making quite the name for himself in the youth bridge world - and I am betting that there is much more to come. Good luck in China, Ben; all of Minnesota is rooting for you!
When many players start to learn the game, they believe that successful bridge is learning how to be technically proficient. Indeed; such skills are quite important. Success at the top is impossible without them.
Nevertheless, part of the game goes beyond knowing how to play card combinations and what is the "proper" bid. Knowing how to analyze what someone's bid means - and someone's pass - matters. Knowing why a trusted opponent issues a pregnant pause can make all the difference.
Play in the GNT Unit Final on Saturday, March 10th and you may win Gold Points.
Play on April 28-29 and you may win Gold Points and money towards a trip to the summer NABC.
More information is below.
Grand National Teams GNT Unit Final: Saturday, March 10 - Two Session event
10:30 and 3:30 at the Bridge Center of St. Paul.
Gold Points for overall finishes. Winners may receive free entries at the GNT District Finals in April.
Sectionally rated extra masterpoints and save surcharge fee if you play in District finals. C players play against C players and B players play aganst B players.
B & C players must have qualified in a Club game. A and Championship players must have attended a Club qualifying game. There is still time to qualify at the following games or check with your local club: Mar 8- 7PM game at the Hampton Inn in Minnetonka Mar 9 - C Level only 7PM at the Twin City Bridge Center Check with local clubs for other opportunities in March & April
GNT District Final: April 28 & 29 at New Brighton Family Center April 28: 1 & 6:30, Registration by 12:30- 2 Qualifying sessions. April 29: 10am & TBD- 1/2 of field qualifies for B & C teams, Open & A semi-final and final sessions. April 29: Open Swiss Teams: Non-qualifyers and any new team can play in the open swiss on Sunday, Full Sectional Rating.
Championship Flight: 0 to Unlimited points, 36 gold points if 5 teams enter. Flight A: 0-5000 points, 30 gold points Flight B: 0-2000 points, 26 gold points Flight C: Non-life master under 500 points, 3.75 Gold/11.25 Red
Although our previously quite mild winter may seem less so lately - be sure that spring is coming. And - the Spring is Coming Sectional has come and gone - with lots of fun and competition and masterpoints from start to finish.
Congratulations to Terry Lijewski and Bruce Boje. Playing together, they earned 19.85 masterpoints for the weekend. Less than one point behind was Peter Langsetmo. Results for every result and the final masterpoint tallies can be found here.
Sunday Swiss Winners
Thanks to Teri and Chip Blu for their hospitality at the Twin City Bridge Center, to Mike Flader and others who ably directed - and to all the players who contributed to a great (if a bit chilly!) sectional weekend.
is well under way. The first two days of the tournament are "in the can." Still - a full day of fun is left today, Sunday. Grab a team and purchase your entry by 11AM. You can be having loads of fun like these players, too!