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Welcome to NKB - Ireland Contract Bridge

Dublin City My Home Town




New President 2021-22

New CBAI President, Pat O’Mahony from Cork,
receiving his chain of office from outgoing President Neil Burke and Barbara Burke.

Welcome & Congratulations

Pat O'Mahony

New CBAI President 2021 - 2022


Dear Friends

            Just a friendly note to make sure we are hanging in there and make sure we complete

 these last few laps in good finishing order and hopefully we say good bye to the Covid crisis. 

We have just gone through a very tough 18 months. 

Let me first say we are all missing our bridge and the only reason we are not playing together is Health & Safety.

The main part of this sacrifice is to save lives. If we can save one life by our actions the

sacrifice is worth it for the right reason, that one life could be your own.

A lot of people have contacted me by phone, text, or email asking what we should do as bridge players at this time.

Well beside the obvious play online, studying our bridge books and wondering when we will be back at bridge,

let’s make a few suggestions:

  1. Talk to your bridge partner/s to see how they are doing
  2. Pick one person every other day that you know in your club or other clubs, call them and say hello
  3. Call someone who is stuck at home alone and see do they need help.

Now I know many of you are doing these things but for those who are not these are

three simple things you can do now to make a difference. You will feel good after doing them a few times.

We are all very VULNERABLE (STILL) now and when you are VUL you don’t take chances.

We need everyone back when this is all over, so play safe follow the guidelines, if you need anything,

email or text and we will do our best to solve your problem.

By the way if there is anyone on your list who you may have a difference with,

now would be a good time to call them and say hello, especially if they are home alone right now.

Folks we will get over this, Don’t forget we are one Big Bridge Family across the country and

don’t forget Families all lookout for one another.

Keep Well – Keep Safe follow guidelines

Yours Sincerely

Neil Burke

Past President CBAI 2019-2021


Computer-Generated Hands

by Dermot O’Brien | Feb 13, 2020 | CBAI

The topic of computer-generated hands comes up in conversation with CBAI members every now and again. When they first play computer-generated deals, as for example in the recent Simultaneous Pairs competition, some bridge players complain that the hands are “unfair” because they produce more extreme distributions (such as voids and singletons) than the human-dealt deals they are used to. And we hear on the grapevine that some clubs steer clear of using computer-generated hands for that reason.

We were therefore very interested to read this recent article on the topic, written by an expert in statistics and artificial intelligence. As the article makes clear, in fact the issue is that the computer-generated hands are truly random, whereas human dealing (or more accurately, human shuffling) very often results in less than truly random combinations. So the apparently more extreme distributions experienced are actually entirely normal and to be expected statistically.

We hope that the commentary will (a) resolve any doubts you have about the fairness of computer-dealing, and (b) at least encourage you to shuffle much more rigorously if you are determined to stay with manual dealing. While we are on this topic, the CBAI is also sometimes accused of manipulating the computer-dealt hands for our competitions to encourage extreme distributions; please believe us when we tell you that our dealers are so busy at those times that they wouldn’t have time to make any manual interventions even if we asked them to … which we don’t!

Aside from the true randomness of the hands, one of the other major advantages of computer-dealing, of course, is that printed or online hand records are readily available to the players after play. Reviewing the hands and identifying what could have been done better in bidding, play, or defence is a vital element of development for any player with aspirations to improve at the game. So if your club hasn’t ever used computer-dealt hands, why not give it a try … we’re confident you’ll like it.

Thanks to Dermot O’Brien CBAI

Have I Got News For You

Bridge & Humour:

 An Incredible Hand by Jay Becker

I was South. It was the best hand I ever held. Quietly, without fanfare, I opened with seven clubs.

South dealer.  Both sides vulnerable.


Opening lead—4S

I was South. It was the best hand I ever held. Quietly, without fanfare, I opened with seven clubs. West passed,

and so did dear partner, but East bid seven spades. This was very disturbing, but there was little left for me to

do except double. West passed, and so did partner, but East came to life with a vibrant redouble. Now I have

known East for many years, and a more conservative bridge player you have never seen. When he redoubles, –

you can dismiss all thoughts of beating the contract.

You have no idea how cautious this man is. He always wears suspenders in addition to a belt. Alongside him,

Casper Milquetoast would look like an absolutely reckless individual. I was getting ready to lead, when all of

a sudden the thought struck me that East must have thirteen spades. In a flash I saw the way out. I backed my

judgment and bid seven notrump.

West couldn’t have a spade and I had thirteen tricks with any other lead. When East doubled I was so carried

away by my brilliant deduction that I redoubled. When West opened the four of spades, I could hardly believe

my eyes. East took it with the ace, followed with the king, and then, with fiendish delight, cashed his spades,

one by one. Never have I been more miserable. With every trick East took, I winced. The biggest set in history

was taking place, down thirteen — 7,800 points.

The word would get around. I could never live it down. With a final flourish, East played his last card—the four

of spades. Suddenly, it hit me. This was the same card West had led originally. Something was wrong. My anger

mounted. My anguish sought to express itself, but I couldn’t get the words out.

Just then a familiar voice said: “Wake up, dear, and stop groaning, for heaven’s sake.

You have to write tomorrow’s column.”

So here it is.

Reprinted from csbnews Bridge site

Site is worth a visit


Have I Got News For You (August 6th)


 “Bridge is the most entertaining and intelligent card game the wit of man has so far devised”

                                                                                                                                                                      W. Somerset Maugham

 What is Bridge?

Mental Bids

Bridge is an elegant game with many layers. It involves maths and strategy and tactics. If you want to stimulate your grey cells sit at a bridge table.

In bridge, there is almost endless staying on top of things. You have to keep a lot of numbers in your head: how many points in your hand and how

many your partner may have. And then there is the soul of bridge: the bidding. You have to know what your partner’s bids mean in terms of total

points and number of suits — 1 club, 1 spade, 1 no trump, 2 hearts, etc. And the most challenging aspect: your response. What does your partner's

bid mean and how do you respond?

 Then there is the actual playing of the hand. You have to monitor what cards are played, especially your partner's (a low card may mean something,

a certain suit something else), the number of trumps still out, what high cards your opponents have, etc. It is a constant mental ping-pong match.

After an hour or so you may feel like your brain needs a cold shower and a rubdown.

 What Benefits does Bridge bring?

Research has long shown that ongoing mental engagement can lower your risk of dementia. But the kind of social interaction and group get-togethers

that bridge provides may also be a key to a longer, healthier life. A new report published by the National Academy of Sciences says "social isolation

and loneliness are associated with increased mortality." 

Another new study in the journal Nature Neuroscience discovered that isolation reduced the production of myelin, a protective nerve fibre, and

could contribute to mental illness.

 The game has benefits for older adults as well. Over the years, several research studies released by Albert Einstein College of Medicine of

Yeshiva University found that “Playing chess, bridge or a musical instrument significantly lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s

disease or other forms of dementia.”

If you’re neither young, nor at risk of Dementia, there are still benefits. A November 2000 study by a University of California, Berkeley

researcher, Marian Cleeves Diamond, found that playing contract bridge leaves people with higher numbers of immune cells.

 Equal Partners

But above all, bridge is about partnerships. To be successful you have to work as a team. Communication is essential. It is this human

factor that sets it apart from other games. People enjoy how bridge makes them interact with others.

“There is little conversation during play. When my partner makes a bid I have to communicate through my bidding. It's like speaking

another language. When we begin to play the hand, again in silence, I watch what cards she discards. I know she is trying to tell me

something — urging me to play a certain card. I do the same in return. And when she bites her index finger, I can hear a thousand thoughts

running through her head. They are the same as mine.”

 Benefits for Young people

A study commissioned by the English Bridge Union at St. Paul’s School in Manchester clearly shows a positive development of the young

people involved. This study concentrated more on social skill development, rather than improvements of a purely academic nature.  

Experience shows that bridge teaches:

Sorting into groups

For young children, the idea of grouping items is central to early learning in mathematics. In Mini Bridge and bridge, cards have to be

sorted into the four suits,§, ¨, ©, ª which in turn have a hierarchy and then into ranks within suits. This requires knowledge of the

ranks, (ace, king, queen, jack rank above 10, 9, …3, 2).

Aids to numeracy

Counting points in Mini Bridge, adding the point count of the partnership hands to decide whether to try for part-score or game,

counting suits as the cards are played. This is a very difficult concept for all but the best bridge players. At an elementary level, it is

only practical to count one suit (usually the trump suit). Calculating the score after each hand has been played.


There is opportunity to use probability at all levels of the game. Knowledge of how cards split (with 5 cards out, the likely split of

3-2 is 68%, 4 – 1 split is 28%, 5-0 split is 4%). Knowledge that a finesse is an evens chance, in the absence of other information.


Know from the allocation of points in Mini bridge or by listening to the auction of opponents in bridge that one line of play may be

superior over another. Deduce that a finesse is a better line of play by using the opponents’ auction, even though numerically it

may appear inferior.

Rule following

Bidding and playing in turn – Knowing that the absolute rule of card play is to follow suit when you can. Keeping a “poker” face and

not letting your emotions give away vital information.

Developing Strategy

Planning the play of the hand before playing a card to the first trick by using a SWOT analysis. In bridge, this takes the form of

Strengths: Counting your top winners; Weaknesses: how many tricks you are short of your target; Opportunities: Which suits offer

the prospect of generating the additional tricks you need; Threats: what can your opponents do to thwart your plan; what steps can

you take to avoid danger. Learning that in the bidding, you must plan the way you will describe your hand.

Team Building

Unlike chess, which is a single player game, bridge is a partnership game. You have to work as a team, understanding that bidding

is a dialogue between partners aiming to reach the best contract. Understanding that defence is a partnership activity.

Mental capacity

Bridge requires concentration. You have to think about what you are doing, who bid what and who played which card. It requires

great mental stamina. At the highest international level, you need to be able to play for 8 hours a day for up to a fortnight – the

equivalent of 2 marathons a day for 2 weeks!

A further study performed by Dr Christopher Shaw, a researcher in Illinois, in 2006 found that children who play bridge perform

significantly better on standardized tests than their non-bridge playing counterparts — increasing scores across all five core

subject areas with an astounding 39.11% increase in science.

Who plays Bridge?

From 6 years to 100+ years, able-bodied or physically challenged, male or female – everyone can play bridge. 

“When I play bridge, I forget my wheelchair, the difference is not there anymore. Bridge brings me such joy. There is strategy,

understanding, pleasure. It is more difficult to stop playing bridge than to start.”

  • Pamela, a young French wheelchair user.

 The World Bridge Federation website shows worldwide membership through federations at c720,000

with more than 50% of that figure coming from European Bridge Federations. However, anecdotal evidence puts the worldwide

playing population at more than 20 million with the bulk of that figure based in China. This arose because of the premiership of 

Deng Xiaoping who led the country from 1978 until 1992 and was himself a prominent bridge player, encouraging the teaching

of bridge in schools.

Warren Buffett – Bill Gates – Omar Sharif – Radiohead – Martina Navratilova – Dwight Eisenhower – James Bond –

Susan Hampshire – Sue Lawley – Mike Gatting –– Gandhi – Margaret Thatcher – Snoopy – Hercule Poirot –

Buster Keaton – Chico Marx – George Burns and closer to home – Daniel O’Donnell – David Coleman.

Bridge is such a sensational game that I wouldn't mind being in jail if I had three cellmates who were decent players and who

were willing to keep the game going 24 hours a day.
- Warren Buffett

Many games provide fun, but bridge grips you. It exercises your mind. Your mind can rust, you know, but bridge prevents

the rust from forming.
- Omar Sharif

No matter where I go, I can always make new friends at the bridge table.
- Martina Navratilova

But Why Play Bridge??

Bridge is SOCIAL. A game of bridge involves communication and cooperation with your partner and interaction with your

opponents.  There’s a special camaraderie among bridge players that develops from the social setting and the game’s emphasis

on teamwork, ethics and sportsmanship

Bridge is a BARGAIN. All you need for a bridge game is a deck of cards and three other people.  You can play at your local club,

where you’ll enjoy a three-hour session of bridge for just a few Euro.  If you have a computer, you don’t even need to leave home.

Bridge is FUN. Of all the reasons to learn the game, the most important is that it’s just fun to play.  It offers the suspense of poker,

the cerebral qualities of chess and the excitement of athletic sports, all in a sociable setting where you’re a participant, not just

a spectator.

Bridge can be a LIFELONG pursuit. It takes only a little knowledge to begin playing and enjoying bridge.  But no matter how many

years you play, the learning process will never end.  Bridge also caters to all physical conditions and disabilities, so players can

actively pursue their pastime throughout their entire lives.

Bridge STIMULATES the brain.   Bridge is one of the best ways to practice the “use it or lose it” advice for maintaining mental

sharpness in older age.  Research has shown that regular bridge playing improves reasoning skills and long- and short-term memory.

Bridge can improve your physical HEALTH.  Research has shown that a game of bridge can even boost your immune system. 

Other studies have found that people who play bridge regularly are 2 ½ times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

That’s what keeps people coming back to the bridge table,

and it’s why bridge will always be the world’s most popular game.

Thanks to Paul P. CBAI

Picture Gallery

CBAI President Neil Burke with Mid Leinster Committee


Top Row L to R: Marian MCKay,  Bert McKay, Yvonne Dalton, Siobhan Canty & Tony Smyth

Second Row L to R: Ann Burns, Blanaid Morris, Jim Egan (1st President), Owen Cummins, Breda Tuite

Below: Barbara & Neil







Neil Burke

Have I Got News For You

We all have or had a player like J.C.

Next we will see him in the Natioal Finals

Jeremy Clarkson: Ties? Rubbers? Five equals 11?

Source: The Times

As a general rule, I’m a big fan of card games. I spent a great deal of my formative years

playing blackjack because, even if you’re gambling only tiny amounts, casinos give you

free drinks. And since then I’ve whiled away many happy hours playing Between the

Sheets, Queen of Spades and, best of all, Oh Hell. It’s hard to understand how

playing cards came about. Who thought: “Right — we have invented a printing press,

so let’s use it to make 52 bits of paper divided into four suits”? And then, once someone

had worked out how they could be used to play a game, why did someone else develop

another? And then another? And then another? No one did that with chess. They came

up with the board and the bishops and the prawns and they left it at that. Today no

one ever says: “What sort of chess are we playing?”   With cards, though, people did

keep inventing new ways of using them until one day a soldier in the Crimean War

decided that, to take his mind off the disease and how ilfred had just been blown up

again, he’d invent the most complicated game of them all: contract bridge.

I’ve avoided this in the past, mainly because I had better things to do and I’m not 87.

But last week it was time to step into God’s waiting room and take it up. When you

play blackjack you are usually surrounded by serious-looking Arabs and chain-smoking

Chinese men in a room with no windows, and when you play everything else you are at

someone’s kitchen table surrounded by several empty wine bottles, some overflowing

ashtrays and a bit of sick.Bridge is different. It’s serious. So we’d be playing it in one

of those clubs in St James’s where everyone is dead and you have to wear a tie. I used

to have a tie. I wore it for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. But it had gone missing, so I

bought another and then — this is true — I had to go on YouTube to remind myself

how it should be done up. That’s another thing I don’t get. Who woke up one

morning and thought: “This ruff is annoying me, so instead I shall wrap a bit of silk

round my neck”? I’d like to meet him so that I can kill him. Anyway, my tie was

eventually sort of tied and I had found a jacket that was nearly the same colour as my

trousers and off I went. The cards were dealt and our teacher explained that I must let

my partner know where my strengths lay. “Right,” I said enthusiastically. “I’ve got a

shitload of clubs.” Apparently this was wrong. You aren’t allowed to say what you’ve

got. You must hint at it by saying you’d like the trumps to be clubs and that you’ve got

enough to win one trick. Well, I had the ace, king, queen, jack and 10 so obviously I

was going to win way more than one trick. I therefore opened with “five clubs”.

Apparently this was also wrong. But it did stop anyone else bidding  and that meant

the game could get under way. My partner began by excusing herself from the game

entirely, which was weird. She simply put her cards on the table, face up,

and said: "Good luck.” “Whatever,” I replied. Yup. That was wrong too. I was

supposed to have said: “Thank you, partner.” Which was weird, because why should

I thank her for simply giving up? No matter. I had all the heavy-hitting trumps and

I needed to win only five tricks. Nope. Wrong again. Bidding five meant that for

some reason I had to win 11 tricks. I have no idea why, but I failed completely.

And lost. Or did I? Because at the end of each hand you add up the number of light

fittings in the room, subtract the number of teeth in your head, put that number

above the line and the number of children you have below the line and then after

five rounds there’s a rubber and the winner is theplayer nearest the mantelpiece.

ho the bloody hell thought that made sense? It’s as stupid as cricket. You get one

run if you do one run, four if you send the ball all the way over there, six if it gets

there without bouncing . . . and if it rains it’s a draw. Mind you, it could be worse.

The Germans have developed a version of bridge called skat. In that, you have to

work out which one of the other two players will be your partner. Imagine that.

Playing a team game when you don’t know who your team will be. Perhaps that’s

what’s gone wrong with their national football squad. But, whatever, it won’t

catch on here, as no one is going to say yes if you invite them round for

an evening of skat. There’s another problem with bridge, which became clear

as my inaugural evening wore on. Because we were in a beautiful club in

St James’s where all the other customers were dead, the waiters had nothing to

do but constantly fill up my wine glass with a beautiful red. And since bridge

requires you to not participate if your partner made the opening bid of the

successful suit and is wearing white underwear, there’s very little to do half the

time but drink it. Soon I was a bit sozzled and I was arguing with the teacher,

who kept saying that to win I needed to lose. In the same way as John Prescott

used to say that the slower you drive, the faster you get there. He didn’t make

any sense. It didn’t make any sense. And what were trumps again? You can’t

do this if you want to win. You must concentrate as though you are flying an

airliner and all four engines have stalled. If you daydream for even a moment,

you’ve had it. Which is why I wouldn’t use MPs and civil servants to negotiate

our tricky exit from the EU.

I’d use our national bridge team instead.


Reprinted from csbnews Bridge site

Site is worth a visit

Neil Burke


Great Privilege to be CBAI President

               2019 - 2021

Events - Competitions

Congresses 2021 -2022

Ballina July 9-11

North Kerry Sept 3-5

Drogheda Oct 1-3

Limerick Oct 8-10

Donegal Nov 5-7

Limerick/ Kenmare

Nov 12 -14 

Kilkenny Nov 26-28

Tralee Dec 17-19

National Competitions

Duasis an Uachtarain Sept 25-26

Spiro/Coen Trophies Oct 16-17

Master Pairs Dec 11-12  Virtual Real Bridge

Please follow the advise of the Health Professionals


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Risk of catching coronavirus in Ireland

There are confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ireland.

The risk of catching coronavirus in Ireland is still with us. This may change.

Follow the advice on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus.

If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus,

a public health doctor will tell you this.

Close contact

Close contact can mean:

  • spending more than 15 minutes face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as an infected person

This is a guide only.

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact

with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should:

  • isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different,
  • well-ventilated room alone, with a phone
  • phone their GP, or emergency department
  • For up todate infomation go to