These photos of Duluth's Ben Kristensen and his partner from Denver, Burke Snowden, were taken during the 2012 Summer NABC in Philadelphia.
Ben and Burke did not head back to their respective homes when the tournament ended, however, like the rest of us. Instead, they and a number of other youngsters who qualified to compete in the 2012 World Junior Championships awakened in the wee hours to travel to Tai Cang City, China (near Shanghai).
Ben and Burke are on USA2 for the Damiani Cup, which is a team competition for the under 21 group.
Ben's dad and the team's coach, Curt Kristensen, reports that the boys' team is in 10th place after 3 matches. Tonight at 9:30PM central, the boys will play USA1 on vugraph at Bridgebase. Ben and Burke will face Adam Kaplan and Zach Brescoll, a strong pair - so it should be a very exciting match! If you're able to watch these 16 boards, it should be well worth your time.
Currently, USA2 has 41 vp's; USA1 has 40.
Please join me in sending good wishes to Ben and Burke - along with the rest of the Americans at the tournament! How thrilling for us to have another young bridge star on the other side of the world representing us in international competition!
The best of the best in the Spingold. These players know their intrafinesses!
Bridge has a huge arsenal of techniques available to us to improve our chances of winning. As we all know, however, bridge is a Tough Game. Some of what is available at the game is so deep and difficult, it will elude most save the most expert among us.
One skill, though, can be recognized and learned by many: the intrafinesse. This week, John Kock presents another hand where an intrafinesse is the only road to success.
Everyone who reads Minnesota Bridge is familiar with John Koch. John is one of our state's top players, who also happens to be a talented bridge writer. Every week, John graces these web pages with instructive and dazzling columns about fine bridge plays.
Today, someone else is telling tales about John! Irwin Boris, another of our excellent players, has written up a hand that John recently played.
Our thanks to Irwin for taking the time to share this with us - and - for highlighting how, all around, John is superb.
Sad news in our bridge community. Steve Schad died tragically on July 11th in a motorcycle accident. Steve became passionate about duplicate in his retirement, and loved striving to improve his game. A quiet and affable gentleman, Steve had a great sense of humor.
Friends at the Twin City Bridge Center are grieving - and will miss Steve.
Some of John Koch's "Koch's Korner" hands are hands that John has faced in play. Others, however, are hands that others faced recently. Or - sometimes, John reaches back into bridge history for a fine hand.
Today, John delivers such a deal.
This layout decided a Spingold. It was played by one of the great masters: Howard Schenken.
Read John's column for the week, and marvel at a work of art at the bridge table.
The Nebraska Regional is offering a wonderful opportunity to learn how to play bridge and how to teach bridge in one day! Check out this post at District 14 Bridge to learn all about Patty Tucker and her superb seminar!
Of course, all who can should plan to attend this super-fun regional, too!
One of the play techniques we all learn rather early is the finesse. If you have AQ3 opposite 54 and play only from the AQ3, the odds are slim that you will ever take more than one trick with this holding. Yet, if you lead toward the AQ3 and stick in the queen, roughly 50% of the time you will now be able to secure two tricks.
As we advance, we learn that the finesse can be extended to a variety of other holdings - including what is known as the "intrafinesse." What is this creature? Well, this week, John Koch explains it, and (as always) quite well.
In addition, John's column offers lessons on evaluation and how to determine whether, even with fancy card play, your contract rates to have any chance. Thanks, John - and - enjoy!