One of our area's super star couples - Bob and Cindy Balderson. Grandkids Louisa and Joseph are not yet to be found at the bridge table. Yet they are both fierce War competitors! Sure Grandpa and Grandma are going to get 'em ready soon; watch out, world!
And - a quiet bridge hero. Warren Cedarborg, who joins wife Suzanne along with Sharon and Roger Anderson for many (frequently) successful team games, faced our team one round. Our side claimed down one on a part score hand - and - Warren paused for a bit. "I think we only took 4 tricks," Warren commented.
We went through the play - and - Warren was correct. Yes, all players are supposed to let the opposition know when a trick goes to their side and yet it is not warranted. But we all know that not all players would speak up.
Kudos to Warren for not only being an excellent player - but - a most ethical one, too!
And now - Gopher 2018 results can be found here.
Kudos to all who won, who placed, who learned more about our game. Thanks to Mike Cassel for highlighting successes throughout the week in his Bulletins.
Overall masterpoint winners list shows that again, your webmaster is one of the most fortunate players on the planet. Big thanks from me to our super father-son duo, Vern and Monte Evans, along with long suffering partner Bill Kent, for dragging me across the finish line with 105 and change.
It was a blast! Let's do it again next year, everyone!
Gopher 2018 is now history! Our triumphs are saved for posterity at ACBL Live; our disasters can be deposited in dust bins.
"Keep calm and play bridge" is a wise choice for us all! And - we could not enjoy a fine venue and tourney without the hard work of so many.
Another big shout out to co-chairs Patti Stuhlman and Sue Jackson for their months of tireless and wonderful efforts with the Gopher. Yet another super job; applause!
To Peter Wilke and our other hard working directors - and caddies - thanks for getting the game going and keeping it running smoothly all through the week!
SO many volunteers that we appreciate! One shot of a fine group; we thank them and all the others, too!
A treat, too, to have visitors from near and far! Thrilled to see Kenji and Ayako, gracing us with their presence, all the way from Tokyo!
Below - our final Gopher Bulletin from editor Mike Cassel - and more photos, too**!
We appreciate you all - especially the competitors from near and far!
One final day remaining for the Gopher Regional 2018! And - one final Gopher Bulletin to share with you.
Mike Cassel has done a superb job of thanking the many people who contributed mightily to having a fine tournament. Big thanks to our tournament chairmen, Patti Stuhlman and Sue Jackson. Of course, without our directing staff, headed by Peter Wilke, our many volunteers and our caddies, the show could not go on!
And - our thanks to all the competitors who played in the Gopher, ranging from new I/N competitors to our long time experts - and - everyone inbetween. With many tournaments over the holiday week, we are delighted that you chose the Minnesota Gopher to compete and meet with all your friends!
Have a fun last day of the tournament - and a meaningful and fine Memorial Day with friends and family.
Mike's bulletin is below (a final wrap up will appear tomorrow).
See you next year at the Gopher!
The Gopher Regional 2018 will be here in just five days! We're looking forward to a great tournament and a great turn-out! If you don't have all your games set, we have a welcoming partnership desk that is ready and able to help.
Daily Bulletin editor Mike Cassel has already produced our first Bulletin; it is posted below. And, Mike has additional information he'd like to share. (A copy of the Gopher 2018 flyer is also below.)
We are doing all we can to make sure YOU have a super tournament! Hope to see you Monday afternoon and every day of Gopher 2018!
Steve Gaynor has shared the new format that will be in place for the Gopher Regional this month.
Thanks for the explanation, Steve! Good luck to all our team competitors - enjoy and do well!
NEW EXCITING KNOCKOUT FORMAT AT 2018 GOPHER REGIONAL
The Gopher schedule committee has devised a way to improve the Knockouts by lowering the number of teams in each bracket. The ACBL has approved it for use in this year’s regional. Here are some of the new features:
Ideally there will be 7 teams in each bracket. You will play six rounds of four boards each in the first session and repeat that in the second session. That will total 8 boards versus each of the other 6 teams. Each match will be scored by IMP’s on the 20 victory point scale but use a pair game style movement.
The top four teams by Victory points will advance to the head to head semi-final session the next day. All four teams will pay for two sessions. The winners of that session will play each other for their bracket championship. The losers will play off for third/fourth place. This event pays four overall awards.
Why 7 teams?
Based on last year’s entries, this will give us the chance to run at least two brackets. The movement is very easy with an odd number of teams. Even numbers are complicated.
Why a playoff for 3rd place?
One of the points of the experiment is that there would be a playoff for 3rd/4th place.
Can we still have 5 or 6 player teams?
Yes. As long as each player plays at least 50% of all boards each day. If a player sits out a full session, they must play the entire amount of the next session. Right now there will be no substitutions during a session. Either you play the whole session or none of it.
Will the pair games be playing the same hands?
Yes. Compare results with friends in the pair game. You can discuss the strategic differences playing pairs versus IMP’s. It may be a great and fun learning experience.
What if we lose the semi-final and do not want to play for 3rd place? Do we get our money back, or can we enter another event?
No. However, the difference in payoff for 3rd place over 4th will most likely be worth more than you could get in a one session event, and it is for Gold points.
Spring has sprung - Minnesota is gloriously gorgeous - and - the Gopher Regional will be here before we know it!
A new venue right by the Mall of America! Loads of treats every day! Free parking!
And... a great schedule with Something for Everyone and fine events!
Don't have all your Gopher plans in place yet? Be sure to get going as this is a tournament you do not want to miss!
All the details are here! See you soon!
The Twin Cities survived the excitement of the Super Bowl. So now it's time to focus on our bridge "Super Bowl" of the year: the Gopher Regional!
Starting on May 21st, we promise beautiful weather along with an excellent new site! Near the Mall of America, convenient to MSP airport and loads of restaurants and shopping, the Gopher will be held at the lovely and spacious Crowne Plaza Aire.
Get ready for great events, hospitality and bridge. And - take advantage of another superb opportunity at the Gopher: honor a friend, relative, bridge buddy or whomever you like with the gift of a Named Event! Sue Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org) can give you all the details about how to put your special someone up in lights.
Before you know it, the Gopher will be here! More details here!
There's no doubt that the bridge world in the U.S. is an aging community. And for many of us, it's a puzzle. College was a common place for students to pick up the game. Lots of young marrieds did, too, enjoying home games as their new babies slept through set after set.
In the last decades, however, something changed. While many of us play on and on as we age, not seeing fresh faces at club games and tournaments has been a disappointment.
We are thrilled, however, at programs like Dean Matthew Bribitzer-Stull's Honors bridge classes at the University of Minnesota. And seeing students from other colleges and universities this week at the Gopher was a treat!
My apologies for not having the names of these intent students who traveled to Minnetonka for regional events this past week. I hope that they know, however, how glad we were to see them! And - we hope, too, that they will continue to play and learn and compete - as many of us have for over half a century.
Our second year at the lovely suburban site of Minnetonka has concluded. Everyone enjoyed another great Gopher Regional - and - so many people to thank for their year long efforts at producing such a fine tournament. But first - results and accolades!
721 players earned 6354 masterpoints at the Gopher. Yet, at the very top of the list, only one person surpassed the 100 masterpoint mark: Kerry Holloway. Kerry's almost 114 masterpoints were his personal best - not to mention quite impressive for a tournament that is not huge. Kerry played with 7 different partners and 7 different systems (!!!!) - quite the feat in and of itself. At the end of the day - four wins, two 2nds and another overall. Wow!
Usually we see a big smile on Kerry's face. Yet, his concentration surely paid off at the Gopher to achieve such a fine performance. Lots of applause for someone who is not only one of our top players - but - one of our most popular, too.
Another team of players produced an impressive masterpoint total and showing. Kudos to the team of Sharon and Roger Anderson and Warren and Suzanne Cederborg. The Anderson-Cederborg contingent reached almost 95 masterpoints for the week!. And, Tony Ames was a point behind them, scoring 93.71.
Of course, the production of a fine tournament like the Gopher is the result of loads of diligent efforts throughout the year. A huge "thank you" to tournament Co-Chairs Patti Stuhlman and Sue Jackson; we are so lucky to have them! Mike Cassel produced a week of extensive daily Bulletins (please note all are now posted); Carol Rynders was the matchmaker for partnerships. We are grateful, too, for the many other volunteers and helpers who contributed to the regional.
Another large "thank you" goes to Peter Wilke, DIC, and his capable directing staff.
Finally - our thanks to you, the competitors. Memorial Day week has many regionals available; we are so delighted that the Gopher was your regional of choice!
Please enjoy the photos below of some of our players as they fiercely battled at Gopher 2017!
We look forward to the kick-off of Gopher Regional 2017! To those coming from near and far - welcome - and have a great time competing at this year's tournament!
With the loss of Larry Oakey, a new event has been added to honor him. Co-Chairman Patti Stuhlman displayed the beautiful trophy that will bear the name of the first winning pair in the Larry Oakey Memorial Pairs. Thank you, Patti, for finding such a fitting trophy for TGLO, proudly shown at the Twin City Bridge Center remembrance and fundraising game for Larry Sunday.
Your blogmaster of course will be at the Gopher and has a very busy schedule! We look forward to reporting about Sunday's memorial, the end of the Minneapolis Grand Slam Club's 2016-2017 season - and, of course, the Gopher! Just might take a bit of extra time to get everything posted....
Enjoy, everyone! See you soon!
The Wednesday pairs game at the Gopher Regional will honor John Westrom. His friend wants everyone to know how much they appreciate him as a great guy and great player.
What's the best part of our tournament? Although it's all truly wonderful, it's not the free coffee and tea, nor the enticing candy, nor the KO's, Swiss Teams, Pairs, I/N events, Bulletins .... It's our people.
Thanks for coming to the Gopher Regional 2016. You are what make it great!
More more more below the line!
When a room filled with bridge players applauds, the response is usually polite and respectful.
When the object of accolades is TGLO (The Great Larry Oakey), however, the clapping goes on and on and on, with a standing ovation and many smiles!
So it was on Larry Oakey Day.
Your webmaster was given the honor of announcing this special day, then highlighting just a fraction of Larry's magnificence - and his enormous contributions, for decades, to our bridge world. As someone who was most fortunate to be able to play and learn from Larry for a number of years, I wanted to never stop clapping.
One of Larry's long time partners, at the Gopher specially from Up North to play with TGLO; Dan Sershon.
And - Larry and Dan, preparing to beat up the field!
Larry; you are an institution - the institution - in the Minnesota bridge world. We can never thank you enough.