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All comments by Boye Brogeland
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Yes, that hand was fascinating. While 7 spades on a 5-4 fit had no play, 7 clubs would be making even on a 4-2-fit (and 4-3 break). Maybe I should have jumped to 7 clubs on the previous round to give partner a clearer message, but if he had the king of hearts 7 spades would be gin so I thought I had to check for that.

After the grand failed we had a brief chat, got a glass of water each and moved on. We had started the match very well and tried to focus on that rather than just giving away x number of IMPs. I think this approach is very important - though extremely difficult at times - so you don't boost the opponents confidence in addition to the IMPs they get. If you are able to play the next board as nothing bad has happened, you can turn the tide again, like we did in the 2 spades doubled a few hands later.

I think what you say about attitude in the partnership and in the team is worth a big bunch of IMPs. I have been lucky to have partners who were supportive when I played with my gut feel and went down in cold contracts (for example in the Bermuda Bowl final in 2001 where I had nine winners in 3 NT and played for an overtrick…). I haven't always felt the same understanding from team mates playing for Norway, and I struggled with that the first few years playing on the national team. At one point I was thinking more on how some of my team mates would play a contract rather than figuring out how I should play it myself. That feeling got a lot better when results and self confidence improved.
Aug. 14, 2014
Boye Brogeland edited this comment Aug. 14, 2014
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Thanks, Phil. To get positive feedback on the book is what makes it worthwhile putting in all the hours. I also had great help from David Bird writing the book, from Jon Sveindal sampling a lot of the hands and from Christian Vennerød to come up with ideas for the book.

I do think I have a natural talent for card play. Not quite the “sees-all-positions-immediately” like a Helgemo or a Madala, but I feel confident I don't overlook too many variants. When I was around 20 I was worried that I missed too many spot cards and thought about developing techniques to easier remember those. It didn't become more than a thought, and with more experience it has not been a problem. I think the main thing is to have the right focus, be sharp and have played enough hands so the spot cards sink in naturally rather than you have to use a lot of energy memorizing them.

My general training drill before tournaments is to read the system and get in the right mood. Bridge is fun - I look forward to playing! If you are tired or would have preferred to be somewhere else than around the green table, you can never play your best. When I was younger I used to read suit combinations from the Encyclopedia before going to bed. It was good both technique wise and confidence wise.
Aug. 14, 2014
Boye Brogeland edited this comment Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Ben. I guess Dean, like most of us, is somewhere in between those categories.
Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Andrew.

You may say that the Bermuda Bowl is bigger or that the Spingold is harder, but to me the gold in 2008 tasted even better. It was a fairy tale. Espen Lindqvist and I had been partners for only three months (he was 24 at the time). We played great and in luck, topped the Butler and won a very tight championship which Italy had won six or seven times in a row. I remember leaving the vugraph room after the last match against Denmark (who also was in the hunt for a medal) and meeting Jean-Claude Beineix on the way out. He nodded and smiled to me and I understood we had won. It was such a high and I did a Björn Borg celebration on the concrete floor. I can't imagine anything topping that moment in my bridge career.

I guess I would recall most hands from the Europeans when I see them again. It also helps memory to have written a lengthy article about the championships. If I were to mention a few hands from Pau the number one hand would be the one you refer to. That truly was bridge at the edge. Another hand that I got right towards the end of the championships was AKQ10xxx-Kxx-Kx-A and my right hand opponent from Israel opened 5 clubs vulnerable (we were non-vulnerable). I doubled, it went all pass and 5 clubs were two down while 5 spades was one down. The only problem was that I never touched spades (neither on lead nor later) in order to cash two spade tricks and therefore let them make +750!

The other Norwegian pairs in 2008 were also relatively new. Terje Aa who played Viking Club and had a long and successful partnership with Glenn Grøtheim had recently found a new partner in Jørgen Molberg. Geir Helgemo played with a friend of his, Børre Lund (a very good player though) for the first time in a major event (Tor Helness was going to paint his cabin that summer). NPC Sten Bjertnes was with us when we won the Bermuda Bowl the year before (and had captained our strong junior team in the mid 90's). Harald Skjæran had been a coach for a junior team or two earlier on.

I think the 87543 and zero points hand was held by my partner Espen Lindqvist against Russia. Dubinin and Gromov bid up to 3 NT and without a good lead I didn't double with my 18 or 19 high cards. And he made it from what I remember. Personally I like to have some upside (lead, sacrfice etc.) in addition to just disturbing my opponents when I open with Multi (0-7 in our system), but white vs. red almost anything goes.
Aug. 14, 2014
Boye Brogeland edited this comment Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Thomas.

Third time lucky? Well, it won't be in Sanya I'm afraid as I'm only playing the teams (with Espen Lindqvist and Simon Gillis-Odin Svendsen) and pairs (with Simon Gillis).

German football seems to be better than English football these days (especially Die Mannschaft - congratulations on winning the World Cup). Norwegian's fascination for Premier League is much bigger though. This goes way back. When I grew up there was only one football match (and only one TV station!) to watch on TV all week. It was Saturday at 4 PM. From England. I think that's why Liverpool, United, Leeds, Ipswich, Arsenal, Tottenham - you name it - are much closer to our hearts than Bayern Munich og Borussia Dortmund. Same goes with Spanish Football where Barcelona and Real Madrid are far less fancied than the English teams.

PS. My wife just told me the obvious thing: You can get your revenge next summer when the Open European Championships is played in Tromsø. I hope to see you there - along with lots of players from around the world!
Aug. 14, 2014
Boye Brogeland edited this comment Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Paul. How did Sweden become so good at tennis in the 70's and 80's? I guess Björn Borg was a huge factor. Norway has had a couple of bridge superstars in Tor Helness and Geir Helgemo since the beginning of the 90's. Playing against them and learning from their style and methods have helped other players a lot to get closer to their level.

I am also of the impression that the ratio of “competitive bridge” compared to “social bridge” is quite high in Norway. If you turn up to a weekend tournament in Norway for sure you will face tough opposition.
Aug. 14, 2014
Boye Brogeland edited this comment Aug. 14, 2014
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Hi Gary. Many thanks - and thanks for getting me started here in the Well. I thought we were doing well on the part score hands in the fourth quarter and had a good feel throughout the session. My favourite moment was when Helgemo asked: “Do you play weak no trumps?” after having downgraded a 15 point hand to not open a strong no trump, which got us into a making 3 clubs instead of going down in 1NT. When Helness went down in a grand slam in board 61 and they bid 6 clubs down one on the next board I was pretty sure we were winning.
Aug. 14, 2014
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