MGSC President David Neiman, helping with treats at last May's season end party, invites long time members and new players to the Minneapolis Grand Slam Club 2017-2018 year! Details from David below!
How quickly the summer has flown by! Kids are back in school, Labor Day is here, and the State Fair is in full stride. That means that September is coming up quick, and with it, the return of the Minneapolis Grand Slam Bridge Club.
This is just a quick note to let you know that our first game of the season will be Friday, September 8th at 7:15pm at the Edina Senior Center.
More information and an updated web page coming soon.
See you at the table!
Oh, if you would like to bring treats to our first bridge night, that would be awesome! Just let me know by email. Thanks!
Six year ago, Joe Grue and team qualified to play in the Bermuda Bowl as USA2. His team did not win the title then. But, in 2017, after 2 weeks of competition against top teams from around the world, Joe Grue and partner Brad Moss, Marty Fleisher, Chip Martel, Michael Rosenberg, Jacek Pszczola ("Pepsi") and Captain Jan Martel did win the highly prestigious Bermuda Bowl!
In a terrifically tough and hard fought battle against an exceptionally strong French team, scores seesawed back and forth through the 2 and a half day finals. Joe and Brad might have thought the title was out of reach when they bid to a grand slam in spades that failed by one.
Yet, their lead was enough that when the final tally was in, USA2 was the victor by two IMPS!
Joe grew up in the Twin Cities and began playing bridge here. Under the tutelage of his talented grandmother, Marguerite Grue and parents Tom and Sue Grue, along with mentors such as Jerry Lee, Kerry Holloway and Larry Oakey, Joe swiftly learned the game. Rapidly, Joe progressed from new player to a clearly most naturally talented and successful competitor - and then top level professional.
Though Joe has not lived in Minnesota for some time, I know that we here still consider him "Minnesota's shining star"!
Congratulations to you, Joe, your partner Brad, your other teammates, Captain Jan for a fabulous victory. And our sympathies to the superb French team. Such a thrilling and close battle, many commented at Bridgewinners and on social media that it was unfortunate that only one team could win. A battle of titans, and we are thrilled that USA2 was victorious!
Pretty much most of us play bridge because of the game itself. Fascinating, intriguing, never-able-to-be-mastered, confounding ... All that and more is why we play.
Yet, the game itself is not the only reason we keep on returning - year after year - decade after decade!
It's the friendships and the partnerships that we develop. And sometimes - for half a century!
Bill Voedisch tells his own personal tale of partnership and bridge. Thanks so much, Bill!
Bill and Denny
“Bridge with Denny” … A 50-Year Partnership
I played my first hand of bridge with Denny Cerkvenik in the summer of 1967. We were newly hired computer programmers at Cargill in Mpls, and it started with just a casual lunchtime game with Denny and I paired against two other programmers. Although we had all played the game for a few years, we knew one thing; there must be way more to bridge than the game we were playing.
Our first duplicate game
Denny and I played our first duplicate game in the fall of ‘67 in the Minneapolis Industrial League. I recall two teams from Honeywell, one featuring Stoop Chamberlain. By 1968 two partnerships were forming; Denny began playing with college friend Arnie Ullevig as I formed a partnership with Kurt Dahl of Cargill. But we would also mix the partnerships up, and starting in ’68, Denny and I would occasionally try the Bridge Studio on Nicollet in Mpls.
We formed a team … Denny and Arnie, Kurt and I … for the first Swiss event ever played in Minnesota, held at the Calhoun Beach Hotel as I recall, in the fall of 1968. We were ecstatic to finish 5-3 in this open event, holding about 10 total master points among us. I remember the chaos of the event, perhaps only a person or two in the room who knew how to organize the thing, trying to explain IMP scoring to the uninformed mob. In talking to Ron DeHarpporte and Larry Oakey this past year, both confirmed they were there.
The early players
Some of the players and pairs of the day: Dorothy Kanter and Hugh McLean, David Clarren and Newt Dochman, Morrie Freier and Ethyl Dayboch, Essie Mersky with Larry Oakey or Arlene Hill, Jack Rhatigan with two Mike’s ... Myers or Hoffman, Beulah Schockett and Margarite Grue, Irv and Roz Steinfeldt, the “Rangers” (Dave Lehman and Dick Melson, Howie Weinstein and Steve Garner), Dave Nicklasson with Jim Leary or Chuck Stegeman, C. Milton Shefchek and Dorene King, Jon Voedisch and Terry Beckman, John Larson and Gary Krook, Ron and Joyce DeHarpporte, and Jim Hall who paired with many top players.. You knew John Larson was in the room if you pulled Braille cards out of the board.
In the early 70’s we added Roger Heimke and Jim Sundlin as Dahl moved out of state. We hired Howie Weinstein to teach us the Montreal Relay system. We all adopted that system allowing us to interchange pairings. As a team we were known as “the Polish Army,” a tag given to us by Oakey. While Denny and Arnie dabbled in Precision, Denny and I stuck to “Standard Howie.” We would travel to a few local tournaments and one National, Chicago in ’72, which is an insane story on its own.
Along the way we earned enough points for Life Master, Denny in ’78, me in ’80. In those days our gold points often came playing against the top players, who we would beat occasionally. Over time Arnie moved West, Roger moved South and Sundlin sort of vanished. Denny and I continued to play but in the early ‘80’s I pulled away from the game and played very little as Denny continued to play with others. My occasional games were with Denny.
Sometime in the ‘90’s he said I needed to get serious and start playing more, and we did. I am grateful to this day for his prodding.
Neither of us has ever been a frequent player. Family and other priorities were a factor for both of us. We don’t travel to tournaments or go to Nationals unless we are there representing District 14 in the NAP or GNT, something we have been proud to do seven times. Our biggest wins were five District Championships in those “grass roots” events. Alas, our best finishes at the national finals were 6th in the NAP and 5-8 in the GNT.
If you get a chance to play with Denny, count yourself fortunate. An excellent and steady player, his decorum at the table is exceptional. Never critical of partner or opponent, and hands are discussed away from the table. Sometimes his golf shirts are so loud they blind me, but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.
So thank you Denny, for a half century of modest success yet total enjoyment at the bridge table.
Diane Henson does a marvelous job with an "Upcoming Events" schedule for Minnesota. Please see below for the wide variety of bridge activities that are available in the coming months.
Of particular importance is qualifying for North American Pairs. The NAP is held at every Spring NABC. In 2018, this will be Philadelphia; a fine site for a nationals.
NAP presents a super opportunity to compete at the national level, in your own flight against your peers. You receive a subsidized trip in addition to the opportunity to win a national title!
Please note that there are still many dates available for games, and in different locations. But - the qualifying period ends at the end of August! If you want to play and have not yet qualified, you need to do so soon!
This is a great event and loads of fun!
Of course, many other excellent bridge events coming up, too. Avail yourself of as many as possible!
Newsletter for Minnesota Bridge Players
MN Sectional, D14 Regional and NABC tournaments with links:
Oct. 7-8 NAP District Final at Edina Senor Center. Make plans now to play in the district finals for a chance to represent district 14 in the NAP national event in Philidelphia in March and get money to help pay for your travel expenses.D14 NAP final
Nov 2-4 MN State Autumn Harvest Sectional. New location this year at the Hotel Metro St. Paul ( formerly Holiday Inn 3M) and new days (Thursday through Saturday) MN State Autumn Harvest Sectional
NABC in San Diego - Nov 23-Dec 3
NAP (North American Pairs) Only 2 more weeks to qualify. Qualifying sessions, (extra point games), at local clubs start June 1 and go through the end of August. The NAP District Final will be Oct. 7-8 at the Edina Senior Center. District 14 NAP flyer.
Pre-registration - you can pre-register at any time by email to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scheduled Club NAP Qualifying games. Please check with clubs for additional NAP games.
Bridge Center of St. Paul- August 22, 28 and 30 at 10am, Aug. 20 at 5:30, Aug 30 at 6:30
Twin City Bridge Center August 15 at 11am (open and C level) 16, 18, 21, 24, 29, 30 at 11am, Aug 26 at 1pm and Aug 28 at 7 pm.
Plymouth at Edina Sr. Center - Aug 15 & 29 at 6:30, Aug 31 at 7pm.
Metro Bridge Club in Maple Grove- August 31 at noon
Rochester- Aug. 16,18, 21, 25, 28 at 12:30
New: Fall Defensive Workshop- Sept 24th and Oct. 1st at the Edina Senior Center - taught by John Koch and Tony Ames. $100 for both sessions. See attached flyer at the bottom of the email for more information or call Judy Nassar at 952-474-3653.
GNT qualifying games will start September 1st; please check for games at your local club.
In the olden days, excellent teams making it out of the first day of the Spingold was the proverbial piece of cake.
But; that was then. This is now.
In 2017's world, even the best of the best don't have a guarantee of getting to Day #2 of a major team event.
Three Minnesotans proved that their team had the Right Stuff to make it to the Round of 64.
Keith Connolly, along with teammates Pamela Nisbet, John Laufer, and Dennis Ryan, earned the right to play the tough Jacek Pszczola "Pepsi" team.
Mike Cassel also made it through to the round of 64, with teammates Howard Kahlenberg, Andy Kaufman and Donna Morgen. Mike & Company also had to face a star studded Mahaffey team on Day 2.
While Keith and Mike's teams did not survive to Day #3 - believe me, some pretty impressive teams failed to survive more than one day.
In yet another match, Duluth resident, junior Ben Kristensen played with partner and teammates Kevin Rosenberg, Adam Kaplan and Christian Jolly, the original 93 seed. And they faced one of the top teams in the world: Monaco.
At the end of the day? It turned out that it was Monaco who got the tough draw; the Jolly team moved on and Monaco was on the sidelines!
Jolly, too, did not survive to the Round of 32. Yet, beating such a world class team was a huge accomplishment and a great thrill for all these young players.
Congratulations to all these Minnesotan players who did us proud in Toronto!
(And my apologies as Webmaster for tardiness in posting. Having the Nebraska Regional following the Summer NABC so rapidly presents its own challenges!)