Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Please Don’t Shoot The Messenger … The Buffett Cup

Ray, Mark Horton and I set out to Cardiff on the first day of the Buffet Cup.  I had a copy of the brochure.  The pictures were nice but Ray was not impressed with the production.  The pictures were low resolution for one thing.  I thought it was quite colorful but I could see what he meant.  You can see it on the website which I think is quite good.  Besides I am not knocking any sponsors of bridge events … go  Warren.

Still talking about the website… there is a rather peculiar list of bridge books.  Why is it that people who recommend books always seem to pick books written from 20 to 50 years ago or more?  (At least we seemed to have moved on from Culbertson and Goren). I assume it is because the authors of these lists haven’t read any new books for a long time.  Note to list creators … pick a few modern books please!

It appears that all the European players and all the American players share a “national” convention card.  The European card appears to be standard based and the North American 2/1.  The advantage is that we all ought to be able to follow what is going on.  The disadvantage is that partnerships are not going to be playing their usual system and one can expect misunderstandings.  While I like the idea of keeping it simple it does tend to mean that we are not watching the best bridge possible from these wonderful players.

Anyway if you go to the website don’t miss the photos which are definitely the best feature of the site!  I also like the way they presented all the results session by session.

It was rainy and miserable which I am told is not uncommon in the fall in Wales.  We had a bit of difficulty finding the hotel/castle but eventually we arrived at the Miskin Manor Country Hotel.  The venue was very attractive in a castle sort of way and it was fun to see the wonderful collection of great players ready to play.  We all gathered for the opening by the Lord Mayor.

Lord Mayor

In the picture the Lord Mayor chatted with Rodwell and Meckstroth just before making his speech.  You can see Mark Horton in the background set to take a picture (and wearing a team Canada jacket).  I didn’t really see the playing facilities but I expect they were good.  Then the teams posed for pictures.  You will notice that all the players wore shirts with their name embroidered on them (making them collectables!).

Team America with the Lord Mayor

Team America

Team Europe with the Lord Mayor (like the spiffy black shirts?)

Team Europe

vugraph room

The vugraph room was spacious for the small (very small) number of spectators there that first day.  But the vugraph left a lot to be desired.

First, there was no camera in the playing area (at least when we were there).  Second they did not hire professionals to do commentary and had the organizers and various bridge experts (like Mark Horton) talk for a session or two.  The setup meant that you could only follow one table and it was impossible to decipher the scores or scoring.  Some of the officials spent a long time trying to explain what was happening.  Perhaps things improved on subsequent days but it seems to me that the main purpose of this event is to hold a prestigious event to draw attention to bridge.  The vugraph is one of the places which is most noticeable to the general public (along with the brochures).  Given the great cost to assemble such wonderful players in a single space, create a website, write press releases and so on it seems to me that money has to be spent on providing a setting for spectators to see, understand and enjoy the game.   If this was designed to be a BBO event mainly then why bother to gather everybody together!

Next time … do it right and put money and effort into the components that are most visible to the public.  Let’s make it a real showcase!

The Bulletin which was a volunteer effort looked fine to me and is still available on site.

Board 2

Dealer: East

Vul: N-S


♠ J103



















We watched Gitelman and Hampson (Ray speculated about whether they had purposefully picked a Canadian-born pair!) against Van Armin and Aukin in the first round.  1NT was played at both tables, here by Sabine sitting East.  The opening lead by South, Gitelman was a small heart a good start.  Sabine won the heart and led a club from dummy misguessing and losing to the CJ.  How many tricks would you expect here to take?  It does look like the defense now has 7 tricks: 2 clubs, 3 hearts and 2 diamonds but Sabine managed to take nine tricks and win the board.  When she gave up the second club Geoff had to decide the best way to get to Fred’s hand and got it wrong returning a spade and things went downhill from there.  We all wondered about the signaling in an unfamiliar partnership and playing an unfamiliar system.  It is these little things that make pairs such a challenge when you are not practiced.  In many ways imps is more forgiving.

Team USA was the winner this year.

We did then venture out in the damp to have a look at Cardiff and I hope the players had a chance to tour as well.  Cardiff Castle pictured below is most interesting we were told from the outside and so we saved our money and just had a look.

Cardiff Castle keep 2010.jpg


The best site for us, pictured,  was the Millenium Center (where Torchwood, a great British SF series was filmed).


Paul GipsonSeptember 19th, 2010 at 11:01 am

It is the Buffett Cup.

Or were you just eating? 🙂

Robert E. HarrisSeptember 19th, 2010 at 4:15 pm

The book list was said to come from an ACBL survey in the 1990’s. Experts were asked to pick the best books overall, so of course nothing from the more recent past could have been chosen.

I need to go back to the Reese books and study them again. Also, I’m due for my tune-up with Five Weeks.

Linda LeeSeptember 20th, 2010 at 7:42 am

Thanks Robert. The Reese books aren’t in print right now except as ebooks but we do hope to remedy that.

But I think it would be time for a list that contained some new books. There are all kinds of wonderful books that have been published in the last few years.

There have been so many advances in bidding since some of those books. I remember when I came back to bridge after many years away in the 1990’s and discovered how much bidding has changed.

Defense and play have moved along a bit.

I did like the work you did on the website. It was one of the most professional parts of the event.

I have fixed the spelling of Buffett… thanks Paul

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