UFO? Meth lab? Fireworks?

Hi all

Welcome to my “quiet Berkeley neighborhood”. Last night an explosion rocked the street (KTVU). Bomb disposal team & hazardous material specialists running rampant but there’s no official statement on what happened just two houses from my bed. Time for some speculation I guess…

I have a deal for you too, from Santa Cruz.

North
AKJ98642
QJ
J9
Q

Greg heard me open 1 and this was the auction:

West
North
East
South
 
 
pass
1
pass
1NT1
pass
32
pass
33
pass
34
pass
45
pass
46
pass
pass7
a.p.
 

1. GF relay
2. Maximum (14-15 HCP), 5-5
3. Relay
4. 1-5-5-2
5. Aces?
6. Two of the same color
7. Not enough for slam

Greg looked at a unavoidable loser and he wasn’t particularly happy with the trump situation so he passed at game level. I can confess I was a bit scared when he passed my 4 answer. I had no idea what was going on.

Full deal:

East Dealer
NS Vul
North
AKJ98642
QJ
J9
Q
West
Q5
743
832
A9643
East
T3
K82
764
KJ752
South
7
AT965
AKQT5
T8

Of course the trumps came tumbling down so twelve tricks where easy. At the other table our teammates witnessed an enthusiastic North bidding slam on his own. Lose thirteen. Meh!

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Initcap

Hi all

In Oracle PL/SQL, the initcap function sets the first character in each word to uppercase and the rest to lowercase. Click here for an example. I guess people outside The Netherlands just have trouble with my last name (only “Oever” should be initcap’ed), but even so, I’m glowing with pride.

Here’s a nice slam from a side knockout event in DC. Pay some attention to the bidding sequence. The opponents must have thought we were beginners.

South
K74
AKJ98
AT873
West
North
East
South
 
 
 
1
pass
21
pass
22
pass
3
pass
4
pass
5
pass
6
a.p.

1. Natural or invite+ with
2. Any minimum or natural (3 would have shown a better hand)

Dennis naturally reversed into his four card and found me with a gigantic find and more than a minimum. I felt I could bypass 3NT and tic tic boom: 6.

This was the full deal:

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
JT6
6
KQ65
AKT84
West
Q82
T53
94
QJ932
East
A953
Q742
J2
765
South
K74
AKJ98
AT873

After the trump lead I could ruff my suit good and I pitched my losers on dummy’s . Twelve tricks and a big gain when the opponents stopped in 3NT. We lost in the semi-finals against the team that eventually won the knockout. But hey, when the Swedish girls team got knocked out in the semi-finals too, we had nothing to play for anymore. Sitting down against a bunch of ugly ass guys is certainly a lot less appealing.

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Exit Spingold

Hi all

We didn’t make it to the last 64 teams. The two teams we had to battle had a pretty big seeding rank compared to ours (twenty something vs. our 64). Both matches felt winnable, but we just didn’t have the leverage to tip the match in our favor. Oh well… Better luck next year. For games you will have to wait a week or so, at $7.50 per 30 minutes it’s a little expensive to write extensive stories. 

P.s Happy birthday Kees (I wasn’t able to contact you on Monday) 

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Up and down

Hi all

I’m doing fine. I’m pretty much a month ahead on schedule in my Oracle DBA course. But I’m not exactly impressed by the services of my school. Sure, they hand out free donuts on Thursdays. But the support they offer for my course is shallow. I have to do everything on my own, and I can better google my questions and problems than ask somebody there. I already have revised a bunch of their scripts, made suggestions and corrections on the materials. They should be paying me instead of the other way around. Meh!

I’ve seen some movies too recently:

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
More of the same. The story and plot have been traded for action, more action, even more action and stunning special FX. The air in the theater was so thick with the sacrificial theme it smothered me and my friends. If you like robot pornography though, this is a must see.

Up
My first movie in 3D. I had some reservations regarding the extra glasses, but they were not a pain at all. Nice subtle jokes, and a lot of cool references really made my day. It was a heartwarming movie, Pixar has created an instant classic. For my Dutch friends, I hope the 3D experience gets across the ocean soon.

I’ll leave you with an only-in-America-experience. I bought a new toothbrush, a scented one “For a better brushing experience!”. Right! Now my morning ritual takes place in some minty vanilla meadow. Man, I need a coffee…

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Urgent! Partner sought

Hi all

I’m looking for a decent and trustworthy partner for the GNT in Burlingame (near SF airport), March 28 & 29. Our teammates will be Greg V. and Foster G., both talented and promising juniors.

Oh, and the first 64 boards we’ll play against (worldclass) team Meltzer (Meltzer, Larsen, Martel, Martel, Woolsey and Woolsey). Nice!

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Snow in New York

Hi all

Last weekend Sanne and I were in New York after three weeks of visiting friends and family in The Netherlands. A late kind of honeymoon you could say. There was some delay and a lot of turbulence involved, so by the time we got to our hotel we just crashed. The jetlag had an upside when we woke up before sunrise so we had a whole day to visit The Big Apple. Just before we took a stroll through Central Park it started snowing. Beautiful. I think I counted several hundreds of grey, black and brown squirrels there. I love those little rodents, Sanne thinks I’m suffering from the "Chip-‘n-Dale"-syndrome.

The little snow had turned into a real blizzard later. So when we were waiting outside for the rush tickets to the Fuerzabruta-show, we felt like a popsicle. But the wait and cold were worth it, it was a spectacular show. All action took place in, around and above the audience. People running through walls, walking the walls Matrix-style, adrenalin pumping dancing and music. The part where scantily clad girls were jumping and playing around in a huge plastic pool just centimeters above our heads was just breathtaking.

Oh, and there was another thing that struck us. We saw several hundreds of New Yorkers without pants. They were just wearing their nicest pair of undies. Maybe it was some kind of flashmob, we don’t know. But I do know that looking at them made me even feel chillier. What can I say, I’m glad I’m back in 20°C California.

Next week I’ll play a sectional in Pleasanton. There must be some material to craft a bridge story from.

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SF by bike

Hi all

I don’t understand, everybody here in California is happy it’s raining. Yesterday (my birthday actually) the American weathergods decided I should feel at home a bit, and showed they are very capable of delivering Dutch weather. Yay me!

Here’s a picture of our bikeroute through San Francisco on one of the last sunny days. First we took the BART to Embarcadero Station (the blue line) and from that point it was uphill, via the Golden Gate Bridge to a vista point where we had lunch. Amazing!

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Rain

Hi all

I have arrived in the US without troubles. 

Sanne and one of her friends picked me up at San Francisco airport and together they asked me: "Why did you bring rain along?". To me it felt like typical Dutch weather, but rain is a rare thing here outside the rain season. Oh well, right now it’s shiny and a comfortable 21 degrees Celsius.

Sanne took me to Berkeley Bowl Marketplace. I’ve never seen so much fresh fruit and vegetables crammed into one place. I couldn’t stop drooling, too many flavors and impressions. I felt like a kid in a candy store. 

I think I’ll feel at home quite soon.

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