Wednesday, August 16, 2017


I'm a bit lazy at translating these, so I did it today and not yesterday. Last night interned was not working anyways. But here you are, so enjoy.


Camion pick-up mur d'escalade!

We have gotten all the way to Lyon with Ilona, Oksari and Hermanni. We had an early start since our plane left at 7.35am. We flew to Paris where we had a change. Interestingely enough we continued by train and not by plane. I kept joking that we're taking a flying trane. On the way back we're going through Paris too but this time by plane on both parts of the trip. 

Charles de Gaulle is an airport that I hate. The first time changing there I was forced to go through three aecurity checks. I was on my way back home from the US and really tired so when on the third check they made me take my camera out of the suit case I was already close to crying. This timw we didn't need to go through any security, but it took quite some time before we found the counter where we got our train tickets, since there were no clear instructions. There they were not too familiar with tecnology, since the lady behind the counter found our tickets from some envelope and then striked our names out of the name list on some paper. 

The train got at 2pm to Lyon and our check in was at three. So we had plenty of time to walk to our hotel. It was a 45 minute walk in a hot weather. After getting to our hotel room me and Ilona left quite quickly to the store to get some water and something salty. There are no big supermarkers nearby but there are a couple of small food stores. We also managed to make some pasta and tomato sauce with tuna. Or actually Ilona was the one making the food, so thanks you Ilona for feeding us.

In the evening we made our way towards the playing venue to register for the tournament and get our player badges. After that there was an opening ceremony which started with a Frech hymn. The French juniors were singing along it very nice and breezily even though it was a bit false. A couple of official speeches and a lovely French song performed by Chinese juniors later the president of World Bridge Federation announced the 5thWorld Youth Open Championships opened. After this the ceremony was pretty much done, because somebody came to say that there are twice as much people as the maximum allowance is for the auditorium and everyone should now calmly leave. It was indeed way too small, although it's probably good for vugraph theather. 

At the opening ceremony

These chanpionships are starting with pairs tournament that have started today and continue till Friday. Me and Ilona are playing in the girls series amongs 41 other pairs. Oskari and Hermanni are competig in the youngsters against 36 other pairs. In juniors there are 35 pairs and kids is clearly the biggest series with 78 pairs two thirds of which are from China.

Ilona is hiding behind the camera (:

Ilona has been quite anxious, she hasn't been before to championships like this nor played with screens. A couple of years ago I got quite nervous too but now I don't even remember what that feels like. After getting silver with Vesa from european junior mixed pairs championships last year and having to get the medal at the podium in the front while everyone was staring I don't get anxious over anything anymore. At least as much as back then. I might be wrong though (:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chocolate. Cards. Gold.

I was called silly by several people for writing my bridge blog in Finnish. So here's one in English. This piece is pretty much just translated from the Finnish one, and so will be the rest too most likely. This is full of bridge stuff, but the rest of the posts should be more understandable to people not playing bridge since I don't usually write about boards. Enjoy!


There was SM-viikko (a week of Finnish Championships) in Tampere in the beginning of July. A bunch of sports were having their championships there, including bridge. I was playing the open Swiss Imp's championship with Kippari. The tournament itself was on Saturday and Sunday, but on Friday there was a welcome-tournament after which some players spent time in Taproom United. In Taproom our executive officer Hulda was asking everyone about their aim at the tournament. I was finishing filling our convention card and thought by myself about my aim. First thought was that a medal would be really nice, but I rejected that thought quite fast. Next year it would be a good goal once I have a bit more experience and the system would be more familiar. We're playing with Kippari a strong club system with control responses and four card majors, and strong club is a new environment for me. I set top 10 as my aim, but thinking back afterward I noticed that the thought of medal was actually the dominant one in my subconscion.

I don't usually discuss boards mid-tournament unless there's a clear misunderstanding with a partner that we need to fix. In personal score card I quite often circle the board number if I want to check it out later, so I can forget it for now and concentrate on the next board. But I try to mark the good result too, so that mistakes don't get emphasized too strongly. Already on board 11 I got to mark my partners good performance, since it felt really awesome to be playing with Kippari.

Kippari had ♤Q43 ♡J32 ♢J864 ♧T75. I opened 1D from the first hand, which is 2+cards (only with 3-3-2-5 shape).
N (Kippari)     E     S (me)     W     


Kippari decided that it's unlikely that diamond lead is setting the contract since he had jack fourth and declarer had promised a stopper there. If I don't have a diamond suit, I have a club suit so that's what he lead. That was exactly what I was hoping for with ♤T96 ♡T84 ♢A9 ♧AK982. I was already expecting a diamond lead, which would have come from many of my partners without a thought, and cursing the system for making me open a diamond with this distribution. But luckily I had a really awesome smart partner.

The first day the boards were quite uninspiring. Nothing particularly good came up and neither anything particularly bad. We were around the middle of the list getting a bit of plus and a bit of minus about the same speed. The last two rounds we finally decided to climb up. On the second to last we got +31 imps, which funny enough was enough for only a second place for the round, when round winners got +40. On the last one we got +22 and won the round. One good board was found in the last round of the day. 

Happy round winners, Ilona and yummy prize

I had ♤AK954 ♡7532 ♢AK ♧84. All vulnerable, RHO opened 1H from the first hand and partner bid 1S passed to me. My first thought was to jump straight to the game, but I decided to go more slowly realizing we can easily be having a slam. All my points were in controls and I had four low cards in opponents suit, where Kippari could easily have a shortness. So I bid 2H to see what my partner does. He jumped to 4S so he must have something good, after all he's not crazy although he bids games just as greedily as I do. I was really happy for going slow, since it was even more likely now that we have a slam. I bid 5D and Kippari saw that I had to have AK in spades and the ase of diamonds, so it was easy for him to bid 6S. Here's the full board and the bidding sequence more clearly:

     N     E (Kippari)     S     W (me)

Many had bid 2H Michaels cue with Kipparis hand. After 2H it's likely that my hand just bids 4S, just as I would have done. Kippari thought that his hand is way too good for that, so he bid 1S leaving us the possibility to bid a slam.

Sunday morning wasn't as bright as Saturday night. The first round we got +16 imps, but since I'm playing bridge and not results that didn't really help much.

     N     E (Kippari)     S     W (minä)

1N was 15-17 balanced hand and 2D was two-way stayman (GF asking). 3C denied 4 card majors and showed 5 clubs. 4C set clubs as trumps and 4H was cuebid denying diamond cue. I decided that Kippari must have a spade cue too (in theory he can have 15 points without one, but with those cards he would have probably bid just 5C) so I asked for aces with four no trump. My partner showed me 2 aces with the trump queen, which surprised me a bit since I was holding the club queen. But you are allowed to lie about the trump queen if you have enough length in trump, so he must have 6 card clubs. I counted carefully that we should be having 12 tricks in no trump too, so I bid 6NT. After all we were missing an ace. So there was a clear misunderstanding in the bidding, so there was a discussion after the board. My partner said that I could have showed good cards with 5NT and he would have bid a grand. I said that Kippari could have answered the aces right. If I would have heard three aces I would have looked for grand slam with 6D and Kippari would have of course bid it. Turned out Kippari didn't take 4NT as an ace ask and he was trying to show a spade cue with 5S. I said that 4NT cannot be to play since I already skipped 3NT and in the end Kippari agreed. So that board was handled.

These things happen and every now and then you think of bids different than your partner, and you should just live with that. There is no point in getting angry, and I never do get angry nor start saying anything at my partner. But I was a bit angry at Kippari because we had practiced very little and we didn't have enough time to fill the system card properly on Friday night. I didn't even get the permission to call that night to ask something while filling the convention card. According to Kippari there was enough time on Saturday morning. Though Saturday was already the day and I think it was not the time to ask questions about system. With proper training and discussion of the system we could have avoided some of the misunderstandings. The one on the previous board was probably not one of those and it didn't really matter that much. But right after that came another board and I was close to losing my temper, which never happens.

     N     E (Kippari)     S     W (me)


1S was 12-16 4+spades, 2N limit-raise and 3C showed minimum. Kippari had wanted to agree that whenever we have a major suit settled as trumps, 3N would show a shortness somewhere. So that's what I bid holding singelton diamond. Kippari didn't alert it, which already made me a bit annoyed but he's not always handling the alerts well. 4C asked where the shortness was and then I got more annoyed. I wasn't sure if I should use step answers or answer as "natural" as possible. That was something where there would be no problem if we had gone through that well enough and had it come up at the practice. But oh well. I finally decided this was one of the places where it was step answers so I answered with 4H. Kippari bid 4S which was then to play. And then he started explaining to opponents that 3NT maybe asked for shortness or something we had agreed there but he's not sure what (and with 4C he showed short club). So he wants to agree on something and then he doesn't really remember it. We would have played 4S anyways and there's always 11 tricks, but I'm playing bridge and not results so I was quite annoyed.

The day didn't start too well and I wasn't smiling much the second round. I still concentrated on all the boards really well. And then there was another "misunderstanding" I had ♤AKJ97 ♡AKJT ♢JT9 ♧2. All non-vul, I opened strong 1C from the first hand. My partner gave me 1D showing positive hand with 0-2 controls (A is 2 and K is 1). I told my spades with 1S and my partner bid 4D. That must be a splinter, but is it void or can it be a singelton? I thought that 3D would probably be singelton so that one must be showing void. But the system is not too familiar to me so I wasn't sure. Afterwards it turned out 3D would have been seven card suit with two high cards, but 4D is still a void. Anyways, I continued with 4H as a control. Then I got 5C from my partner. I thought it should be showing an ace, because he should be having 2 controls at this point. I made another careful try with 5H and when I got 6D from partner I was sure he must be showing good hand, so I bid 7S. The ace of clubs was lead. Partner put his cards down, I thanked and planned how to declare the hand. Got down one and without saying anything (since you should say anything negative to your partner mid-tournament) put the cards away and took the next ones.

Once the second round of the day was over, there was immediately a free moment where I could start going through those bad boards in my mind. I was not too happy. We were very lucky, since because of camera schedule (there was a bunch of stuff showed on TV from the SM-viikko) the lunch got moved here, shortened a bit and the schedule was changed a bit otherwise too. Originally we were supposed to skip the last round, because I had a plane at nine leaving from Helsinki and I needed to make it there in time. But with this change we had enough time to play all the boards.

We were supposed to eat the lunch together with Kippari (and perhaps Sanna and Milko). I was a bit grumpy the day before, when Kippari didn't take me to lunch on Saturday with them and we couldn't discuss the system or anything then either. Standing up from the bridge table I told Kippari that I'm going to the store. "The store?" came surprised answer to which I confirmed. I headed outside and once I got there I saw it was raining. I was immediately dissapointed that I hadn't taken our junior team jacket, since it stands the rain very well. Kippari walked past me to Sanna and Milko to discuss their plans (they stayed at the venue). On their way back inside he asked if I'm really going to the store. I said that I'm just that pissed that I'm going. The junior team college could get wet, I would take it off when I got back and the rest of the clothes would be too bad. Wet hair isn't the end of the world either. So I went. And it turned out it wasn't really raining anymore, the drops falling from pentice roof and the gray clouds made it just look like it's raining.

Walking to the store and bach was a good way to clear my thoughts and get all the bad vibes out. On the way there I had smoke coming out from my ears. In the store I got a banana which got eaten really fast since I was still a bit mad. All the way I also sent a bunch of messages to my Dutch friend Kevin complaining about everything. Kevin was really awesome for listening to everything and showing some compassion. When I got back to the playing area I already managed to smile. The game also started to go better, and we got a second round win.

This time we got some decks of cards.

Before the last round we were third. At that point it felt especially good that we would get to play the last round too. It wouldn't have been fun to leave everything up to others. Just three out out of six boards stuck from the last round, when we got up from the table and headed straight to Kippari's car. On one we missed a slam. (Later it turned out that it gave +4 imps because many declarers chose the line on which the slam goes down.) On the next one we then bid a slam, but everything sat so badly that it went down one. So it didn't feel like it went well. Turned out opponents had more wrong guesses than we did, but you don't really notice those.

I really liked the last board we played.

East was declaring three no trump. I lead the 2 or hearts (1/3/5). 9 from the table, Q from Kippari and declarer won with an ace. He then proceeded to make his diamonds good, and when I won the ace of diamonds I played the 10 of hearts. So there he was guessing if I had led from T8xxx or KTxxx. Declarer chose to play the jack, which was wrong this time. I took it as a compliment, since declarer knew that I would have played the ten from under the king too there. Both opponents have otherwise said that they lost their silver medal on that guess. That's a pity really since it was well played. Here's the full board: 

Sitting in the car I was checking if the results were up online. There were two pairs sharing the points for third place, so they had to make a comparison and it took some time. I of course didn't know that yet. I mentioned to Kippari that if his attitude with training continues the same way, I won't play with him anymore. Since this is supposed to be a serious partnership. And then I got a message from Juuso. He was congratulating. We had won.

Quite a lot of messages started coming. I got one from Vesa quite fast, which was surprising since he was in Slovakia as a captain at the European Youth Teams Championships. Another surprising one was a Russian friend, who was following the results quite eagerly. Kippari started to get messages and calls too, from some people even both. Kevin, who had listened for me complaining a bunch, couldn't believe when I told him the result. Each and every one of the congrats felt great and made me smile even more if possible, so thank you all<3

Then I started to laugh. The winner s had escaped from the playing area. The medal picture got taken a couple of weeks later at Hanko's bridge week. I made it to the airport in time with no problem. Even my dad didn't freak out too much, even though at first he was against me playing the tournament since for him it's very important to be early at the airport.

The championship was very tight and probably small details in the end decided the medalists (like that guess on the last board at our table). Bronze was decided with by comparison, since Estonian Marko Tenn and Vilmar Vahe had the same points.

Here are the medalist:
1. 109,0   Olavi Kivipensas - Maria Mylläri
2. 106,0   Kauko Koistinen - Clas Nyberg
3.   90,0   Lasse Bergroth - Mikko Nieminen

Congrats to all the medalist once again! Link to results.

Still smiling after two weeks

On Tuesday morning in Hanko I saw Sanna coming to the playing area with a bouquet. I was immediately curious who was the wonderful person that gave her flowers. When we got our medals handed, it turned out that Sanna was the wonderful person bringing me flowers. Big thanks to Sanna for the sweet gesture<3


I'm a bit lazy at translating these, so I did it today and not yesterday. Last night interned was not working anyways. But here you are...