On the receiving end! and … Simultaneous Pairs

We had 6 tables in our BCL “virtual” clubroom last night. That is a good number because every pair plays every other pair and, despite 11 rounds and 10 moves, we were all finished (24 boards) by about 9.45, which is good going. Congratulations to the winning Pair, Dave and Sally Williams with 62%. As always, there were some fascinating boards. In the first 16 boards, no less than eight of them were potentially “slammable”. Whether or not they were “biddable” or “playable” is a different matter! You can see the results and the hands on the club website. Several pairs managed to make one of the slams but special mention must go to Pair 5, Liz Salmon and Sheila Henry, who managed to make three slams in the evening. They were the only pair to make slams on boards 3 and 14. I remember it well because Bill and I were on the receiving end – we got well and truly “slammed”!

Ecats are organising another charity Simultaneous Pairs event. This time in aid of Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie. It will be offered on BBO, BridgeClubLive and Realbridge over the week commencing Monday 15th March. Please see the EcatsBridge website for all the details and how to donate. We will be running this as part of our normal club night on Thursday 18th March. We had one or two pairs who performed very well in the Children in Need event (see November 13th blog) – hopefully we can do so again. Please try to support these worthy causes – as a general guide, something like £3 per player per session would be an appropriate donation but it’s not compulsory and any amount will be most gratefully received by the hard-working organisers. Incidentally, Heighington B.C. will be doing the same on the evening of Monday 15th March (don’t worry – it’s different hands each day!).

I’m sorry to report that Stuart Walker, a regular Tuesday afternoon member, has died recently. Anne Lanes has sent a condolence card on behalf of the club.

Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

News up-date

Hi Folks. I trust that you are all keeping safe and well. I know that most/many of you have now had your first vaccination and are looking forward to your second. Fingers crossed that we may be back in the Hammond Hall by late Spring/early Summer.

I’m sorry to report that Bill Holmes is poorly. He has had a stroke, is in hospital at the moment, and is waiting for an MRI scan which should be done tomorrow. Shirley says that he has improved slightly since he went in, he is cheerful and is having a joke with his nurses. He is keen to get back home! Bill – we all send you our very best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

Thanks to all who wished me good luck in the recent BCL Individual final. I’m afraid that I came a rather distant but well-deserved second! Andy

Thank Goodness for on-line Bridge!

Hi Folks. I hope you are keeping safe and well. I know that many of you have had or are about to get your first jab so there is some light at the end of the tunnel. However, face-to-face Bridge is still some way off. I am aware that members are using BCL, BBO and Realbridge to get their “Bridge fix”. In fact, some are using all three!

We had seven tables on BCL last night and all had finished their 24 boards in just over two and half hours. Mind you, there was one board where everybody passed out! If you haven’t yet “dipped your toe in the water” it’s never too late. Have a look at previous blogs and/or give one of us a ring; we would be only too happy to talk you through the process of getting started.

A bit of sad news. Our more “mature” members may have known June Sleightholme who played at The Lincoln Eastgate Club. She passed away last weekend at the grand old age of 101. She was a lovely lady, a formidable Bridge player and was still playing Bridge as a centenarian.

In my last Blog, I mentioned that I had won through to the BCL Indy Knock-out final. It will be played within the normal Monday individual competition from 3.00 pm on Monday 8th February (see “Events” on the BCL homepage).

Finally, a slightly bizarre, personal, request. Does anyone who lives locally, have a couple of builders bulk bags I could beg/borrow? The sort of cube-shaped bags that bulk sand/gravel gets delivered in. I’ve got a Spring garden project planned and I could do with a couple of these to store topsoil in.

Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

Score adjustment (and a final).

Hi Folks

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that last night’s scores on the BCL Results page differ slightly to those on the club webpage. Unfortunately, we had a technical issue which resulted in some time lost. I therefore asked several pairs to pass out some boards. Subsequently those pass-out scores have been adjusted to 50%. The result is that positions 1 and 2 have been transposed. Barry and Les will be pleased about this, Bill and Shirley less so! Actually, having spoken to Shirley, I know that they are perfectly sanguine about it!

In my last Blog, I mentioned that I had won through to the BCL Individual Knock-out quarter final. I managed to narrowly win that match and I managed to win my semi-final also. I’m looking forward to the final which will be played next month sometime.

Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

Slams Galore!

Happy New Lockdown folks! Despite the seemingly relentless bombardment of sobering Covid statistics, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I know several members have already received their first vaccination. Nevertheless, it will be some time before face-to-face Bridge resumes and so on-line Bridge continues to entertain us.

There were slams galore in our weekly on-line duplicate event last night. The evening started (and finished) with a bang! Congratulations to David and Sally Williams who were the only pair to bid and make the optimum contract of 7 No Trumps on Board One. Most other pairs were in a small slam. Quite remarkably, the final board, Board 24, also saw one successful pair, Jean and Tony Tyler, make 7 No Trumps. Again, most other pairs made the small slam. Congratulations also to Peter Cole and Carolyn Morant who were the only pair to bid and make 3 small slams during the evening. In fact there were 4 different boards where slams were bid and made.

The pace of play at these sessions has improved considerably since we first started. I had finished by 9.20 pm last night and I think everyone had completed their 24 boards in two and half hours. Do please claim if there are several tricks left where the play is obvious, collectively it saves a lot of time. Remember, we always have a “Stand-by” Pair, so you are guaranteed to get a game. We needed one more pair for 9 tables last night. Also, the “find a partner” facility is still operating on the club website.

Our on-line Team of Four, David and Sally Williams together with Pat and Nigel Haslam, continue to perform very well in the on-line League. I note that they won their latest match by 20 VPs to nil. Victories don’t come much more emphatic than that!
Personally, I have entered the individual “Indy Knockout”. I will be playing in the quarter final on Wednesday (13th) at 3.00 pm. Feel free to spectate/kibitz if you like. The Daily individual competition is a slightly strange format that you might want try sometime.

Finally, congratulations to Bill Holmes who celebrates his 90th birthday this Sunday. We all wish you many happy returns Bill!
Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

Children in Need Simultaneous Pairs

We had 8 tables for the SIM pairs event last night. Massive congratulations to Fred and Jayne on an outstanding result. As I type, they are 10th out of a field of about 1000 pairs. This may change slightly as there are still more results to be submitted. Pat and Nigel Haslam had (another) excellent night also.
For those of you who took part (or even if you didn’t!) check out the Ecat’s website. You can see how much each participating club has raised (click “Details” below the running total). There may be a day or two time lag as the organisers process all the donations. From Results, scroll down to Thursday 12th and you get a lot of useful information, hand records, analysis, etc. There’s a video contribution from Andrew Robson as he analyses one of the boards – Board 4 last night, I think.
Over the years, Ecat have raised over £1 million for Children in Need with their simultaneous pairs events. I think they were a bit worried about fund-raising this year, but on-line Bridge has come up trumps!
Could I make just one organisational point about our on-line sessions? As you know, BASSHM (and HEIGHN) have arranged to have standby pairs so that no pair is disappointed on the evening. However, this does rely on members being seated quite promptly. The room opens at 6.45 pm. Please be seated by 6.50 pm. The standby pair will enter the room at 6.55 pm if they are needed, ready for the start at 7.00 pm.
Our on-line sessions seem to have settled down well. We are regularly getting between 7 and 9 tables. As winter approaches, this may increase slightly.

Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

Locked down again!

I trust this Blog finds you all in good health and managing to keep your spirits up. How are you getting on with Barry’s cryptic quiz and/or lockdown anecdote?

On-line Bridge goes from strength to strength and several providers, including BBO, BCL and Real Bridge are experimenting with audio and/or video capability at the on-line Bridge table. This could be particularly useful for teaching/learning/improving.

Talking about improving. For those (currently 49 of you) using BridgeClubLive, how much use do you and your partner make of the results? It is probably the single most beneficial way to improve your game. All the best players review their results, with their partner, as a matter of course. It’s not a matter of blame or fault, just a process of continuous improvement. In case you haven’t figured out how to use your results in this way, here’s a quick step-by-step guide.

From the home page, follow your usual route for a Thursday (BASSHM) or Monday (HEIGHN) evening. Members – Clubs – Enter your Club. Then scroll down to “Results & Info”. Click on “See ALL Club Results”. Choose your date/session e.g. BASSHM 4-A-3. This is where it gets interesting. Click on your pair, choose a board and click on “Play”. You are now in a very useful teaching/learning environment called “Bridge Solver Online”. You can review how the bidding/play/defence went. You can see the optimum contract, you can see what other pairs bid, what effect a different lead had and much, much more. Warning – using this facility could seriously improve your (Partnership’s) scores!

How many of you have tried playing in the daily individual tourney? Low key, friendly Bridge and ideal if you don’t have a partner. You play 18 boards, 3 boards each with 6 different partners. It usually takes a couple of hours. The only slight difficulty is quickly agreeing a bidding system with each partner – it pays to be flexible. These tourneys are at different times each day – check the “What’s On” on the homepage.

Although our F2F sessions next week (Monday 9th and Thursday 12th) will operate exactly as they always do, they will also be part of a national simultaneous pairs event in aid of Children in Need. As you know, Bassingham Bridge Club has a distinguished record in raising money for worthy causes and this is an opportunity for us to continue this tradition. All we would ask is that members who participate, make a small, personal, donation to the Children in Need Appeal. Please check the BCL website for more details.

Finally, a couple of reminders. It’s useful if you are registered to the appropriate club for the appropriate evening. So, if you play both Thursdays and Mondays please remember to switch your allegiance. Also, the “find a partner” facility is up and running on the Bassingham Bridge Club website. Do please use it. If you haven’t yet “dipped your toe in the water” with on-line Bridge and want to give it a try, do get in touch. There are lots of members who will be more than happy to help. Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

On-line Bridge

We now have 48 members signed up with BCL, enabling us to continue to play Bridge whilst we are prohibited from meeting. Unfortunately, our Thursday session last week failed to materialise and I apologise to the 24 of you who turned up “raring to go”. At the time I was mystified as to what had gone wrong. Subsequently I have received an apology and an explanation from BCL. As several of you suspected, it was due to “an overlap on processes as they rolled out the timing for the winter clock changeover”. Apparently Bassingham and one other club were “the unfortunate Guinea Pigs in the room failure”. I have had an assurance that it won’t happen again. So I look forward to “seeing” you all again next week.
For those of you playing both Mondays and Thursdays, could I remind you that it is very helpful if you are on the Heighington list for Monday and the Bassingham list for Thursday. A reminder also that the “find a partner” facility on the club web-page is operating as usual.

Of course, BCL membership doesn’t just give you access to your usual club Bridge. You could play Bridge 24/7 and 365 days a year if you so wished! I know several members make good use of the Social room and of the Daily MPS. One recent development is the Winter Teams of Four League and I am delighted that we were able to enter a team. Congratulations to Dave and Sally Williams and Pat and Nigel Haslam who managed to win their first League match last night against a very good opposition team.

How are you getting on with Barry’s Cryptic Lockdown Quiz? Don’t forget, you have until the end of November to submit answers and/or your 500 word (maximum) anecdote (see previous Blog). I’m looking forward to seeing both! Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

A Quick up-date

Hi Folks. Firstly, and sadly, I must report the recent death of Carol Smith in St. Barnabas Hospice. She was a lovely lady, a quirky character, who always competed keenly both at pairs and in the teams of four league. Obviously her funeral will be for close friends and family. Anne Lanes has sent a condolence card on behalf of the members.
Our on-line Bridge with Bridgeclublive goes from strength to strength. There are nearly 50 members now signed up and we had 9 tables last Thursday. As the nights draw in, on-line Bridge becomes a more attractive proposition. If you are interested and have not yet tried it, read through the previous blogs or get in touch with one of us.
If you are playing on both Mondays (HEIGHN 1-A-3) and Thursdays (BASSHM 4-A-3) please remember to switch your allegiance so that you are on the right club list for the appropriate evening. One problem that we do not seem to be able to solve at the moment is how to cope with a half-table when we have an odd number of pairs. The powers that be are working on this but, in the meantime, if you are the unfortunate pair to miss out, I can only apologize.
There may come a time when we need to consider a small charge for playing (in addition to your BCL subscription) but, for the moment, for Bassingham, it’s free. I believe that, before too long, Heighington will need to charge a small fee to cover their EBU costs.
Stay safe and stay sane. Andy

On-line Bridge – up-date

Congratulations to Roger and Margaret Shelley, who followed up their first place on Monday with another first place last night. Special mention also to a new, successful, partnership of Chris Douglas and Ross Marwood who came a very creditable second last night.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go as smoothly as Monday evening did. Several Pairs, new to on-line Bridge, were unable to make the 7.00 pm deadline. I am really sorry about that – it must have been frustrating for you. Your committee have been giving serious thought as to how we can make this easier for “on-line novices”. If you haven’t already done so, set up an SSD with your partner prior to the event (one partner submits it – the other accepts it). You can use a room called “The Office” in the main club to do this any time or you can use any of the playing rooms. Play a few boards together in the Social room just “to get your hand in” and “learn the ropes”. We have several, experienced, on-line players/partnerships who are very willing to play a few practice boards with partnerships new to on-line Bridge. Get in touch if you would like to arrange this or if you have any other questions.

On our “virtual” F2F evenings, make sure that you are there for seating at 6.45 pm when the BASSHM (or HEIGHN) room opens. Pairings may wish to appoint a “senior partner” who sits first (North at first available table), and “junior partner” who sits opposite a few minutes later. Use the phone or social media to chat to each other while setting up. At 7.00 pm, all players click “Ready” and away you go. Incidentally, the server will only allow 3 players to be “Ready” until 7.00 pm. If you have difficulties setting up it is often a good idea to click “Leave Table” and then return to find a seat opposite your partner.
Remember to use the “Refresh”, “Tables” and “Local Club” tabs at the top of the page to help locate members. From the “Local Club” or “Members” list, you can click on your partner’s name, their profile pops up, you can then “set as partner” and/or “chat to partner”.

The pace of play was an issue last night. This is partly explained by the fact that the 6 table Howell movement meant that we had 11 moves (but at least we all played each other and said “Hello”). However, at the risk of repeating myself, do please AVOID SLOW PLAY as it is very frustrating for most of the room to be held up by one or two slow players. Do alert artificial bids as you would do normally, but there is no need to “announce” bids that are clearly explained in your SSD e.g. Benji weak twos. Do claim if your line of play is clear but don’t claim if there are outstanding trumps and don’t claim if there are only a couple of tricks left.

We will be offering regular Monday (HEIGHN) and Thursday (BASSHM) Bridge at least up until Christmas (and probably beyond). Stay safe and stay sane. Andy