Celebrating with family and friends? Winging your way to the Fall NABC in Orlando? Whatever your plans, we wish you a fine Thanksgiving - and wish our friends competing at the Nationals much luck and fun!
Speaking of which .... our thanks to frequent contributor and competitor Steve Gaynor. This most recent contribution is part of what keeps us coming back to the game. Just "Wow"!
See Steve's amazing hand below!
As many of you may know, Bill Voedisch and his GNT Flight B team of Dennis Cerkvenik, Andrew Clements and Jonathan Cohn earned a very respectable 5/8 finish in their event. Well done, men!
Denny wanted to share a moment from their competition. This is not some insightful declarer play or devilish defense. Instead, it is one of the many whacko oddities that we all have experienced at the bridge table.
By now you know we failed against a solid CA team in the quarter finals. But along the way we had one if the all time crazy director calls.
Cerks opens 1D and my RHO sitting on the same side of the screen as me bids 2S which he alerts to me as like a good weak 2 bid. I held : T, Qxx, ATxxx, ATxx.
I tried 3S at the moment, looking for a spade stopper. LHO passes, Cerks bids 3NT, RHO passes and after some thought of 4D, I also passed. (We have favorable vulnerability.)
The skate board slides back to the other side and in little time slides back to us.
The skate board may not have been pushed all the way back to us as both RHO and I failed to notice that LHO (North) had called 4S !!
We pushed it back and of course neither of us added another PASS card but the other side never would have caught that anyway.
Now the other side of the screen is waiting for me to lead against 4S while i'm waiting for RHO to lead at 3NT which he dutifully does.
You can predict what happens next. RHO puts the 4 of spades on the table, I put down dummy (creating 13 penalty cards) we lift the window ... and the guys on the other side say something like "What are you bozo's doing?" To which we reply "Playing 3NT!"
They call the director and my side of the screen still doesn't know what's going on. The director shows up and they explain the contract is 4S but DECLARER made the opening lead while West put down his hand.
The director marches over to our side and asks us both, what's the contract? We both say 3NT by East. "You both failed to see North bid 4S?" Errr .. Huh? RHO and I just sat there, stunned.
"Well, isn't this side of the screen a treat. Lead out of turn and 13 penalty cards!"
Now we have two directors. They declared the board fouled and warned as to pay attention .. get the trolley all the way over etc.
When comparing scores Clements and Cohn had plus 620. Even though they are short on HCP they have 2 excellent suits, the cards are well placed and 10 tricks are there.
I sheepishly announced the board was fouled at our table. We tried to explain it as best we could ...
Had I seen 4S out of North at favorable vulnerability i would have called 5D which gets cracked for minus 500 and a 3 imp win for us.
Ahhh ... those bidding screens.
Some years ago, I met Curt Kristensen and his son, Ben, at the Gopher Regional. I recall my team winning a Swiss Team - yet Curt and Ben's team being the only team to beat ours. From that time on, I felt that this young boy was headed for the top.
All Minnesotans are proud of how Ben has succeeded in junior bridge - here in the ACBL and with a World Youth Silver Medal in 2014.
Now - Curt himself has won an NABC title, 0-1500 Mini Spingold, and Ben is playing in major events with the Big Boys. After 3 days of play, Ben and his partner, Kevin Rosenberg, along with illustrious teammates Steve Robinson, Peter Boyd, Kit Woolsey and Fred Stewart, were 16th in the prestigious Roth Open Swiss.
When I first heard of Ben's team (also for the Spingold), I told Kit, "So nice of you guys to play with Ben and Kevin." I loved Kit's response. "We are fortunate that Ben and Kevin are willing to play with us!"
Now, while we await Ben achieving his first win on the national stage, we will let his dad report on the huge success Curt himself secured in DC.
Congratulations to a wonderful father and son from our great state!
And now, some thoughts from Champion Curt Kristensen about his adventure and win!
I met Greg Sellgren at the partnership desk of the 2014 Summer Las Vegas NABC. We played on a Swiss team there with different partners, and then one session together. Ti Davis and Brian Rink were added to our Spingold team using the ACBL partnership desk. They had played 3 sessions previously in the last year or so.
In our quarterfinal match, we led by 39 IMPS with 14 boards to play. We felt confident, setting the opponents' contracts on 6 of the boards. But we ended up tied - ultimately winning 20-0 in 6 boards, with each team bidding to the same contract.
During the event, I learned that my sister-in-law had been hospitalized with metastatic cancer. Thus, we decided to devote our team effort as a dedication to her and her family.
Each round, our team play improved as we faced better opponents. In our final match, we beat the Chang team 160-131. Their team had placed 2nd in the GNT C-Flight; for the Mini Spingold, they added Frank Lin. Their entire team showed class throughout. Playing against them was just great!
The Summer NABC 2016 is complete. Washington DC sizzled through the nationals - and - a number of our Minnesotans were hot!
At the end of the Life Master Pairs, Steve Garner and Ralph Katz were 2nd, a tiny fraction behind the winners.
Also achieving 2nd place were Paul Meerschaert, Carol Miner, Serdar Ogut and Peg Waller in the 0-10,000 Mixed Swiss Teams.
Claiming a first place finish in the 0-1500 Mini-Spingold, we find Curt Kristensen! Curt won his event with teammates Greg Sellgren, Ti Davis and Brian Rink.
And, seizing the Big Prize of the nationals, the Spingold, first place went to Joe Grue, with teammates Brad Moss, Sabine Auken, Roy Welland, Marty Fleisher and Chip Martel
Other of our players placed in NABC overalls and had successes in regional events.
So proud of everyone; very well done!
(If I happened to have missed anyone with a fine finish - my apologies. And - please do let me know, so I can highlight your achievement! Also - sorry no additional photos of our players, but some individuals to come and looking forward to seeing smiling faces from the ACBL photographer!)
Occasionally, one hears a bridge story that puts a smile on your face. Bill Voedisch shares a cute one from Reno.
Denny Cerkvenik and I played in a 1 session Swiss. We were in A/X/Y with a pick up pair. Our teammates were a fellow with 3500 points and a lady with 350 points who had never played together before. In ten minutes, they filled out a card and headed for the table!
We won 3 out of 4 matches, with our only loss facing the eventual overall winners. We finished 4th in A out of 41 total A/X/Y teams.
Not bad for our little pick-up team!
But - here's the cute part of the story. Also in our event was a six person team. The team included Mike Passell, Chris Compton and Marc Jacobus. Their team must have had at least 150,000 master points!
They won 1 of their 4 matches, and earned .25 master points.
"Gimme's" in bridge? Can't count on 'em!
The Fast Pairs has ended. Two of our own were fast - and good enough - to earn the second spot.
Congratulations to Terry Beckman and John Koch for a super finish!
They may be a bit wistful now; it appears that their score was fewer than 3 matchpoints shy of the the top spot.
Yet, second in a national event is a major accomplishment.
T & John - we are so proud of you! Very well done!
While some of us have left the beauty and competition of Reno - others of us are still in the hunt. Two in particular are T Beckman and John Koch.
Currently, Terry and John continue to have a super tournament! In addition to two regional pair wins, they are currently in second place in the NABC Fast Pairs!
Good luck today, Terry & John!
No time to take photos, but definitely making time to report this thrilling news!
Congratulations to Minnesota's own Peg Waller and Ron DeHarpporte. Our pair finished third in Mixed Pairs!
Peg and Ron; we are so proud of you!
Kismet can strike; any time - anywhere.
For Diane and Larry Henson - and me - it happened at the Denver Fall NABC - and at the airport waiting to return home.
As I snapped a few photos of our friends from Minnetonka, they told me about kismet at the tournament. Wendy Marks, of Austin, TX, and James Baker, of Brooklyn, NY, were both old college buddies of Mike Cassel's. Mike introduced Wendy and James to Diane and Larry, they arranged a B/C Swiss team date - then came in first out of 43 teams!
The new found friends snagged both B & C flights.
The champs are below (left to right Diane, Larry, Wendy and James).
Lucky me for hearing their tale at the gate. Lucky them for having their matchmaker, Mike!
Well done, champs!
After some snow and chilly weather (at least, for non-Minnesotans!), Denver has turned sunny and moderate.
Inside, however, everything is heating up!
The last day of the Blue Ribbon is today, Thursday. Everyone should be cheering for Paul Meerschaert and Robert Schacter as they reach for the stars in this premier event!
Of course, we wish everyone else from our fair state the best of luck in the Fall 2015 NABC!
If you've never attended a North American Bridge Championship (aka "the Nationals") - then you should consider doing so. Whether you are an elite champion, a solid player or a newbie - there are events with your peers in which to compete, tons of hospitality and stars to kibitz. A number of Minnesotans headed south to Chicago the last couple of weeks, competing against players from literally all over the world.
Paul Meerschaert was one of those players. Most fortuitously for your blog master, Paul wrote a great write up of some excellent achievements and near misses by Minnesotans in the Windy City. As I've had a heavy schedule lately myself and always appreciate Paul's perspective, his report below is most welcome.
A few notes, though. First, Paul downplays his achievements - as always! He's a tough competitor and no one should take him for granted at the table. I also might note that his Spingold team, succumbing to the Tulin team in the round of 64 by a mere 2 IMPS, is quite the performance. Tulin went on to soundly thrash the Nickell team the next day; enough said!
Also, a newcomer to the Minnesota area, Zizhou Wang, made it to the Round of 16 in the Spingold, losing by a modest margin to, once again, the Tulin team. Very impressive!
If you had an accomplishment in Chicago that we should be sharing, please let us know! Email Peg at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to let the world know!
Now - on to Paul's great round up of people, placings and hands from Chicago. Well done, all!
What does winning look like?
Congratulations to the winners of the Tuesday-Wednesday KO Bracket 7: Jane Trahms, Shelly Husebo, Cindy Moat and Kay Johnson.
With a new team and partnerships, they went all the way to the top! After their success at the table, they celebrated with lunch at Bellagio. You can see their smiling faces and a smidge of their delicious meal above.
Well done, ladies!
Today, one of our grass roots events begins on the first day of the Spring 2014 NABC. Check out this post at District 14's website about the North American Pairs - and wish Minnesotans and other players throughout our district good fortune as they compete!
In NABC events, Minnesotans placed throughout.
The Senior Mixed Pairs saw Carole Miner and Paul Meerschaert in 9th place, Peg Kaplan and Royce McCray in 12th, and Sharon Anderson and Jeffrey Taylor in 23rd.
In the 0-5000 Mini Blue Ribbon, pairs Mark Krusemeyer and Michael Schrage and Scott Hiller and Patti Stuhlman finished 46th and 59th respectively.
Today, Friday, two more prestigious events begin. The toughest event of them all; the Reisinger BAM - and the Keohane North American Swiss Teams.
Good luck to all our competitors in their events!
One of the most prestigious events on the calendar began Tuesday: the Blue Ribbon Pairs. Six sessions long, played against the best in the world - doing well in this event is a feather in anyone's cap.
Those qualifying from Minnesota included Jin Liu and Zizhuo Wang along with Barry Purrington and Mike Cassel.
In the 0-5000 Blue Ribbon Pairs, the pairs of Carol Rynders-Jill Flader, Scott Hiller-Patti Stuhlman and Wayne Gergen-J Williams will be playing the second day.
Best of luck to our players at the Phoenix NABC!
Coincidentally, I ran into Paula Cohen and Sonja Shiner during a break. They were competing in the Super Seniors. When I asked them how their game was, they replied, "Pretty good."
I think "pretty good" must have been an understatement! Paula and Sonja ended up in second place! Congratulations, ladies, on such a fine showing.
It almost appears that second place is the best anyone can do - with the exception of Ed Lazurus. The event has been held four times - and - every time, Ed has been the winner!
You can read about the event in the Daily Bulletin here.
UPDATE: Sorry to report that a scoring correction changed Paula and Sonja to third place. Nevertheless, assuredly a fine showing!