Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Boye Brogeland
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Hi Tom. A good question which I get a lot, mostly from non bridge players. In my view the most common characteristic for the best players is the will to win - or determination if you like. I think that goes for a lot in life. Plenty of people have enough talent to reach the top in many areas, but to do that you also need hard work and dedication. Didn't they tell Columbus that they could have done the same as him with the egg? But he did it.
Aug. 14, 2014
Boye Brogeland edited this comment Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Dana, and many thanks for nice words. That's the feeling I hope my opponents walk away with. Win or lose we should all do our best to make it a pleasant game.

I don't have one favourite movie, but here are a few that I really like: Falling Down, The Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby, The Usual Suspects, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. One Norwegian movie I can recommend is Troubled Water (De Usynlige in Norwegain) by Erik Poppe.

I watch very little TV. The only show(s) I watch these days are on Mondays with my wife; the Bachelor/The Bachelorette. My two favourite TV shows would be Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. (I never really was a Sci-fi guy, but ET and Star Wars I remember as cinema adventures as a kid.)

Favourite card games in Norway except bridge are (I am not sure about the real names in English): Poker of course, “The American” (a trick taking game which reminds a lot about bridge), “Queen of Spades” (similar as Hearts, but with the queen of spades being negative together with hearts and the jack of diamonds being positive), “Turn the 8” (you have to follow suit when you try to get rid of your cards, and the 8's are wild and can make you shift suit), “Casino” (Ace: 14, deuce of spades: 15, Ten of diamonds 16. These cards along with spades, most cards, the last cards and to grab everything at the table gives points.)
Aug. 14, 2014
Boye Brogeland edited this comment Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Prahalad. Thanks for comment and nice words about the book. Maybe there was something wrong with the scores on that hand? All the people I have spoken to about the hand seem to have run the 10 of diamonds! It's cruel to get a bottom when you find the best play.
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Eugene.

We definetely haven't pushed bridge on Anders. We would prefer he did lots of physical sports (he is a keen football player) rather than taking up bridge so soon, but he likes to play games and what's better than bridge then?

He has played other card games, mainly with friends of ours, but we hardly did any preparations before he started with bridge (he had no problems counting the points, it was more challenging to hold the cards). Seven and a half years old he attended a beginners course I did and picked up as much as the other participants (very little theory and lots of play). He is lucky to have an excellent partner at 11, Marius, whose father I played the Norwegian junior championships with in 1990 - that was the tournament which made me believe I could get good at this game after finishing second beating Helgemo amongst other).

The main thing is to have fun playing bridge. It should be him wanting to play in the local club (he was very happy to come in fifth with 49,2 % on Tuesday), not me bringing him there because I think it is a good idea.
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Robin and thanks for comments. What you mention is a key problem; the number of kids playing are just too low so we are not able to develop a young bridge community where kids can meet. It's possible on the Internet I guess, though I think you miss out on a lot of he social aspects of the game that way.

I was the only kid playing in the local club and none of my friends really got started even thought I did my best to introduce them to bridge. I was lucky that the best player in the club who was also my math teacher saw that I had a talent and started playing with me from the age of 14. You have to hope for stuff like that to happen or for bridge families to make a lot of babies.
Aug. 14, 2014
Boye Brogeland edited this comment Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Precious, and thanks for putting me in the well.

1. I loved every second of it. Also Bobby's misdefense. Unfortunately we were too FAR BEHIND. You guys played well, but next time…

2. Oh, that was tough. You probably know how Tor comments sometimes when he is declarer. When dummy came down: “Not quite the dummy I expected. Is there any way to bring this contract home?” As he was thinking I knew he got to have the 10 of hearts so I knew the grand was making with a heart to the 10. Having the queen third of diamonds didn't look too promising either, but I proably should have figured out by his comments that he was missing the jack of diamonds as well (with AKJx of diamonds he would have pitched two hearts long time ago). Helness always plays the odds so I needed to root for at least the 6 of diamonds in his hand, which made diamonds (1098 in dummy) a tad more attractive than hearts because of the 7x of diamonds together with a doubleton trump. I was glad I was not on the same side of the screen as Helness, and could finally start breathing again when my partner won the jack of diamonds. At the time all four players thought that was the decisive board.
Aug. 14, 2014
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Yes, there are more young players in Europe, but I am not sure how big the difference is. In the Netherlands they had bridge in school some years ago and that boosted the number of youth players. I think that is the main thing to do if the game is going to grow. The Dutch bridge federation had well over 100.000 members for a while if I remember correctly. In Poland they have also been successful in getting young people to play and developing talented youth players.
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Steve, and thanks for nice words about Bridge at the Edge.

1. I don't know the junior program in Sweden, but they seem to get quite a few young people to camps and courses. One of the successful things they have done (or Swedish players with connections in the USA) is to get funding to bring their best junior players to the Nationals. Competing in the best events is such a valuable experience for developing your game.

During the Norwegian Bridge Festival this year there were 50 kids attending the junior camp from 9 to 25 years old. My son insisted to go back after last year, and this year he refused his parents no to play in the Norwegian junior championships. They play tons of bridge during the five days, play other games, do a bit of sports and swimming, atay up until 3 AM and have a blast.

I definetely think bridge could have a place in the school system at all ages. It's such a good game, teaching you logic thinking, maths, social skills, psychology, concentration and so on. The same goes for games on phones, PC and consols. But how to get there? I don't know.

I learnt bridge from my grandparents and spent a lot of time with them because of that. I am worried that kids today don't get to socialize enough with their family. I would love to see more families getting together around a table to play bridge (or any other game for that sake) instead of each family member being occupied with his or her IPhone/IPad/PC. I think bridge first and foremost is a social game, and then it suddenly becomes a lot more.

2. All strengths, thanks. To succeed at the top level you need to be good at bidding, defending and declaring. Of course you can't be equally good at everything so I might say defending and bidding as that part also involves me.

I don't spend much time on developing certain parts of my game. I guess reading system travelling to tournaments is where the most hours are used. Working with bridge I do get to think quite a bit about bridge every day.

3. I think first and foremost you have to agree on a certain approach. If you are able to really do that, not just express that you both agree, it shouldn't be too difficult. You make a system file, read it carefully and learn it by heart. Then you can conquer the world or the local club…
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Joshua. Thanks for a nice story. That's one of the downsides by writing a book; you guys will get too good.

I remember speaking to Roger about it and for me it wouldn't be a close decision (in match points that is) to double 3 clubs with this hand. Of course you could hit the opener with a good club suit and you get a complete bottom, but three or four out of five times you will help partner finding the right lead (plus the indication for a non club lead if you didn't double).

This is how I try to calculate my game; if I think it's right in the long run, I'll do it. I don't mind looking stupid from time to time as long as I believe in my action.
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Dean and thanks for congrats. I like your expression “controlled aggression” which is where I am coming from.

It could well be that there is a system that could work better than established systems of today. Some pairs play different methods according to vulerabilities, which seems like an interesting idea, but I have yet to meet a top pair with that approach. Could it be that it's to difficult to remember or takes too much energy away from defense and card play?

As I haven't played anything like the frame work you suggest, nor have I played against it, it is hard to say how well it could work. At this point in time (until someone beats me with these methods) I am leaning towards no as to play something similar.
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Jonathan.

I like to play a natural system (nowadays I play 2-over-1 except rebid of the minor, 15-17 no trump, 5 card majors, 4 card diamonds and doubleton club with transfer responses over 1 club. I like 1 D and 1 C to be flexible so you can open the minor which you think will be more helpful, typical 1 D with a reasonable diamond suit and 4-2 in the majors.)

Against strong no trump we play 2 C as the majors, 2 D as one major and 2 M as M (often 4) + minor (5+). In the pass out seat we play a form of Meckwell (Don't). Against weak no trump we play 2 C as the majors, 2 D as a weak 2 M overcall (8-11) and 2 M as a good 2 M overcall (12-14). Against strong club we play Yeslek (the suit above or the two others, NT is spades+diamonds or hearts+clubs) on any level. It doesn't change with the vulnerability.

I don't have a strong view that these methods are better than anything else, but it has worked ok and I have played it for quite a while.

I am not as good collecting hands as I used to be, but going through bridge columns and tournament articles would probably result in quite a few hands. And a lot of times I am falling over the edge… What I might be interested in doing if they added a couple of hours to each day was to write something thoroughly about a tournament. The Spingold this summer could have worked well for that!
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Danny and thanks for congrats.

I think bridge in North America is more serious, but not necessarily in a good way. I find the approach by many players to be very rule based and that they are untrusty of what their opponents are doing. In Norway most pairs wouldn't bring their convention card to a tournament (not saying that's a good thing!), and their opponents wouldn't have any problems with that. I think it says something about the mentality. And then of course you have stricter rules in North America about what conventions you are allowed to play. On the highest level I don't like that, but for tournaments with more unexperienced players it seems like a good idea. Normally I have been happier with tournament director rulings and appeals comittee decisions other places than in North America.

I like the format of the Nationals (I haven't played any Regionals yet). I have heard rumours that the Fall Nationals might be changed to have a big team event instead of the BAM events. I hope that won't happen as I think it's nice to have one Nationals where you have four tournaments where you can compete against the best (rather than two for the Spring and Summer not counting the Swiss at the end).
Aug. 14, 2014
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Thanks Dunga.

The hand in question was interesting and incredibly lucky. First of all I don't worry too much about suit quality especially white vs. red for my 2 major openings (6-card suit and 8-11 points in our system). So I would start with 2 hearts no matter the state of the match. After LHO (Ron Smith) doubled, partner passed and RHO (Steve Garner) bid 2 spades it went two passes and 3 diamonds from partner. I asked myself why he hadn't transfered (by bidding 3 clubs) over the double if he just wanted to get into 3 diamonds. My logic was that he had a hand that had some chances of making game. In that case I had more or less the perfect hand. KQxxxxx of diamonds and an and ace would be nine sure winners. If partner had a hand that was unsuitable for no trump I hoped that he would pull to 4 diamonds and that contract could be making. So I basically took what I thought was the winning action in the long run. Espen afterwards said he should have pulled to 4 diamonds, and I agree, but happy that he didn't as we would have lost the quarter final.

I like to call my style fluid more than random. Sometimes I play aggressively and sometimes I play passively. Sometimes I slow-play a hand (that's what I think is the most fun) and sometimes I go all in (still talking about bridge). It's all about timing!
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Hanoi. As a player I would like as many kibitzers as possible to watch what I'm doing and therefore would prefer BBO to transmit it. On the other hand I think it's good if we could get more money into bridge for it's long term development and hopefully growth. In that perspective it competition about transmission rights could be positive. It's hard to give a clear cut answer to what will help bridge especially in the long run.
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Peggy, and thanks for congrats. It's always a pleasure to meet you both at and off the table.

Yes, I agree that I have a more - what should I call it - relaxed approach than many other top players. I am not sure if it enhances my ability to win, maybe the contrary, but it's the style that suits my personality and the approach I feel good about.
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Chun-Ming and thanks for congrats.

I don't think wild preempts will become a trend even though they seem to be popular by a few players at the moment. When opponents start adapting and go for penalties rather than bidding or overbidding to game or slam, I don't think wild preempts will pay off.

It is hard to bet against Monaco in any tournament these days so my “vote” goes to them. I think Israel is another team that will make it to at least a semi final.
Aug. 14, 2014
Boye Brogeland edited this comment Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Connie. I don't follow the junior scene that well, but Dennis Bilde from Denmark is a superb young player. Lotan Fisher, my team mate on the Schwartz team, is also a great player who was supposed to play in Turkey, but unfortunately Israel withdrew from the championships.
Aug. 14, 2014
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Thanks for a tricky question, Barry. Without that much money in bridge I think it is hard to attract young people to both playing the game and writing about it. Yes, you could get children and family of bridge players to take up the game because we know how fabulous it is, but to attract the masses there must be a carrott. With bridge columns and printed bridge magazines dying there are fewer places where you can actually make money working with bridge. Do you have a fix (if I'm allowed to ask a question from down here in the well)?
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Bernard.

I play an aggressive style myself, but wouldn't call it crazy (I look at the vulnerabilities). I am happy to open light (important to get into the bidding with distribution), overcall light on the 1-level (for the lead), open super-light third in hand (for the lead), double artificial bids aggressively (for the lead), pre-empt light. On the other hand I like to have values for overcalling at the two level, I am happy to downgrade hands rather than upgrading like the rest of the world, I like to slow-play (not always succesful) some hands to find out what the opponents think they can make.

I think it was my team mate on Rita Shugart's team a few years ago, Andy Robson, who said that there are four different games in bridge: All white, All red, red vs white and white vs. red. I think he is right.

To deal with this I think you should take more chances to penalise your opponents (often they don't quite have their bid) both by doubling them and by redoubling when they double you. Don't let them off the hook!
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi David. Fun to hear that you like to watch me play. I really enjoy having kibitzers, both at the table and on BBO.

Q1. I don't think there is a drug problem in bridge, definetely not performance enhancing wise. In Europe I have never seen or heard anything about drug (ab)use by the top players. In the USA I have the impression that some “circles” might smoke something after a tournament is over, but don't think it is more widespread here than in other arenas.

Q2. I have played against people under the influence of alcohol (in Norway that unfortunately happens sometimes even though we have strict rules against it at tournaments) and never thought they gained any advantage on me. Well, joke aside, I can not remember to have experienced any incidents in this department (drug wise) in any event I have played the past 20 years.

Q3. As long as it doesn't become a problem, I don't see the need to do more to control it at this point. I am a 100 % in favor of bridge as a sport without alcohol or drugs so if it becomes a problem (or actually is without me noticing it), I would like the bridge federations to take actions against it.

In Norwegian we would say Brogelann (forgive me if my phonetics are wrong).
Aug. 14, 2014
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