The balance of power appears to have shifted in Irish bridge. The all-Ireland final for the Egan Trophy went North and Tom Hanlon and company had to be satisfied with the runner-up spot.
It isn't the first time this season that Rex Anderson's outfit has ousted the long-established Team Ireland, or whatever they call themselves these days.
And talking about the West, we have Sligo Congress on the agenda this coming week. The venue is the Radisson Hotel. Gala and mixed pairs on Friday at 7.30pm with congress pairs on Saturday at 1.30pm and 7.15pm and teams on the final day at 11am. Entries to Fearghal O'Boyle at email@example.com.
Back East and the Muldoon Open Cup is scheduled for Dun Laoghaire Bridge Club, Clarinda Park, next Sunday at 1.30pm. There are two sessions. Entries to Michael Rowan at 087-7638948.
You don't need big points to bid and make a slam. Acute distribution is much more important. Here is a hand from a competition which illustrates what I often say about voids and singletons.
Bidding (NS vul)
NES W 1HP4H P 5CP5H P PP
This is a really odd hand in as much as both sides can make game, one in Hearts and the other in Spades. And what will West do if 6H is bid? Will double for certain and pay a big price.
♠ QJ752♠ A10986
♥ K9♥ 5
♦ Q3♦ 1095
♣ AQ94♣ J1053