Merry Christmas! Warmest wishes to all who are opening gifts and celebrating the holiday.
Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. One of Minnesota's top players who has an amazing gift of talent is Kurt Schaeffer. I'm not certain if Kurt is the best declarer in the state or not. Yet I am sure, however, that he has few challengers for the title.
Here is an example of a hand that led to success only for Kurt.
As you enjoy your gifts, family, friends and good food, you can remain in awe as to Kurt's abilities opposite dummy!
As many of us know, Minnesota expert Tim Wernz has been in a tough health battle for some time. Nevertheless, as Irwin Boris highlights so well in his story below, at the bridge table, Tim's judgment is still keen and successful!
Our thanks to Irwin to sharing this story of how Tim has been in the winners circle over the years.
As we know all too well, bridge is a complex game. We often go through a multitude of steps, assessing the best bid or play.
Sometimes, however, the most simple answer is the best answer. We might call it "Occam's razor at the bridge table!" (And - for those who are not familiar with this concept - a thorough explanation can be found here.)
Steve Gaynor sent me a hand today that is one of those "wow!" sort of hands. Each of us might have a very different method of handling it.
How did Steve's wife, Jean Boettcher, deal with the distributional monster in Steve's story? Please read below to find out just how Jean met with 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.
This past weekend, Minnesota enjoyed a 0-300 tournament at the Twin City Bridge Center and a sectional in St. Cloud. Results have not yet been posted at ACBL. As soon as they are, however, we will report on accomplishments.
In the meantime, Mike Cassel has been kind enough to supply us with a fine column about a most interesting type of maneuver: the Merrimac Coup. The Coup requires the sacrifice of an honor - and sometimes establishes an extra trick in the short run for declarer. Ultimately, however, it can cut declarer off from a source of many tricks - resulting in big rewards. Mike explains below!
At Minnesota Bridge, we love to highlight the exploits of our players. Nevertheless, sometimes we learn of a move so creative and successful - we want to share it with everyone!
My friend Fernando Lema, of Argentina, wrote up this hand from the South American Transnational Bridge Festival. Kudos to Agustin Madala for his masterful defensive falsecard to fell a seemingly impregnable game!
Were you among the thousands who signed into Bridgebase Tuesday night to watch the USBF Women's Team Trials finals? If so, you were treated to an incredible show.
The hands were fascinating; the match was close. The lead switched back and forth over and over as just a few IMPS separated the two teams.
Fortunately, we had an expert kibitzer in the crowd who loves to report on the action: Mike Cassel. Mike has contributed a fine analysis of this match, highlighting bidding decisions and superb defense. Thanks, Mike!
Congratulations to the Moss team; we wish you well in Lille! And condolences to the Sprung team. It was a match where most regreted there could not be two winners.
The Nickell team won the Open competition. Now, Women and Seniors trials are being held concurrently in the same spot. The Women's final, between the Sprung and Moss team, is starting just now. The Senior semi-matches are also being played.
As is his wont, Mike Cassel has been kibitzing - and - writing up the more interesting hands for us! Our thanks to Mike for another excellent hand to present, along with lots of info about the Team Trials. The trials continue through Wednesday - so - be sure to watch some on BridgeBase Online if you have a chance!
Marv Riedesel does a tremendous amount of administration and volunteering for bridge in Minnesota. He also can do a super job with writing up a fascinating hand, too!
Marv, along with wife Mary Johnson, made the special trek to Gatlinburg last month. People can talk about computer hands all they want, Marv tells us. But - some of the shuffle, deal and play ones can be rather amazing, too!
Let Marv tell you what happened in his own words.....
All bridge players know too well that accurate slam bidding can be critical. One misstep; huge swings can occur. But if you think that you and your partner are the only ones to have difficulties with this rare area of the game, think again! Even the best of the best can go wrong when in the slam zone.
Currently, the Open Team Trials is being played in Schaumburg, a suburb of Illinois. The final day of the semi-final matches can be viewed at Bridgebase Online's vugraph show. Nickell has a substantial lead against Milner. And Diamond has even a greater total against Lee (which includes hometown boys Steve Garner and Howie Weinstein). But, those of us who have been kibitizing are well aware that the winds of war can change decidedly mid-match. So, if you have the opportunity, be sure to tune in today, and both Saturday and Sunday for the thrilling final match-up.
Our thanks to Mike Cassel for writing up some of the slam debacles of these elite players. And, be sure to catch Suzi Subeck's Daily Bulletins, too, detailing the action. Suzi does a fabulous job - as do all the tireless and devoted volunteers at the USBF Team Trials. Suzi has been publicizing our upcoming fall USBF Regional every day in the Bulletin; we appreciate it greatly, Suzi!
Enjoy Mike's column, Suzi's writings - and, of course, the great show in Chicago!
An opening bid of "two diamonds" can be used in a variety of ways. Some people go for the old fashioned method: a weak two bid in diamonds. I suppose a few die hards are out there who go really prehistoric; 2 diamonds is a strong bid with a good diamond suit! Others go for the more European of "multi" two diamonds - which is generally a weak two bid in one of the majors, or a strong hand, OR....
Well. I'll let Steve Gaynor tell us about the treatment he and wife Jean prefer - along with a most amusing hand!