Arroz Con Pollo

Hi all

Here’s a very nice recipe. The first time I prepared it, it made me feel all glowy inside. True soulfood. It’s called Arroz con Pollo, which means Rice with Chicken in Spanish. It’s an easy, stove-top, one-pan dish.

Chicken
olive oil
2.5 to 3 pounds of chicken thighs or breasts, bone-in, with skin on, rinsed and patted dry
flour for dredging
paprika powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rice
olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of medium or long-grain white rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
pinch of oregano
salt

Directions
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet (a skillet that has a cover) on medium high heat. Put the flour in a wide bowl, mix in a generous sprinkling of salt, paprika powder and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces lightly in the flour mixture and put in the pan to brown. (You can skip the flour dredging part if you want, it just makes a nicer coating for the chicken.) Cook a few minutes on each side, just enough so that the chicken has browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Add the rice to the pan to brown. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Stir first to coat the rice with the olive oil in the pan. Then don’t stir too much or you will prevent it from browning. Let it brown and then stir a little to let more of it brown. Then add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion, garlic and rice mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 4 minutes.

3. Place the chicken pieces, skin-side up, on top of the rice. In a separate bowl, mix together the stock, tomato, salt, and oregano. Pour the stock mixture over the rice and chicken. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Let cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice until the rice and chicken are done. Fluff the rice with a fork. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

You can also add chopped bell peppers (cook with the onions), peas (mix in at the end), or use a bit of saffron with the rice.

Serves 4-6, thumbs up!

Leaping Michaels’

Hi all

Last Tuesday wasn’t a rich day. René cancelled because of the flu, so I played with Martin. But it wasn’t a good day for both of us. I had full values and good spots for a vulnerable Muiderberg, but the opponents grabbed hold of me for -800. A couple more disasters: -500 against triggerhappy opponents in some partscore, -1100 because I thought our run-away-system didn’t apply. All disasters were quite expensive, especially when it’s imps. Here’s a nice one, it still makes me smile.

East Dealer
EW Vul
North
7
Q96
KT763
J632
West
AT85
732
AQ842
Q
East
KQJ9643
J4
J5
84
South
2
AKT85
9
AKT975

East preempted 3 and I had a very, very clean Leaping Michaels’ with 4, West raised to 4 and Martin bid the game. West pondered for some time and eventually bid 5, doubled by Martin. East immediately commented West: “Heb je de kwetsbaarheid gezien? Rukker!”. It’s near impossible to translate, maybe something like: “Did you check the vulnerability? Wanker!”. I wet myself from laughter.

Actually bidding 5 won them two imp, because West’s other option was to double 5, and that would’ve been -550.

Teasing

Hi all

It was so funny, one of my latest posts contained the word “threesome” and suddenly I had an increase in visitors searching my pages for it. They must have been very disappointed. @Those visitors: there’s plenty to find out there (but I’ll see what I can do for you).

Today I’d like to tell you about my first time. Playing poker I mean. I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon on one of the bigger pokersites, under supervision of course. I’m not hooked (yet), but now I understand how people can completely lose themselves. The thrill, the excitement, the need to win, I saw it all.

Here’s my small idiot’s guide to poker:
The majority of people playing poker online are just gibbering fools, they have no clue about statistics or strength of hand.
Patience, patience, and some more patience. You have to wait for good cards and shouldn’t try to win hands on bluff or luck. You have to have the longest breath.

Next time poker will be a live event with friends. I want to see the bluff parameter. Playing online means you cannot see the tiny twitches in the corners of your opponents eyes, inhale the sweaty smell of fear or feel any of the vibrations at the table. I know I’m not that difficult to read, but I’m very susceptible to vibes. That, my knowledge of statistics and the patient person I am will not make me a huge pokerplayer, but I think I can be a dangerous opponent. Maybe playing poker will increase some of my skills as a bridge player.

Dummy Reversal

Hi all

Last Saturday I played a small (13 teams) Patton tournament. I can say we beat all the good teams fair and square, but against very soft opposition we failed. Badly! I already know what I want for Christmas, a tool to hammer out all my basic errors.

There were some memorable events, René and I wrapped up ten tricks in 4 while Sjoerd and Wim scored ten tricks as well in 4. The opponents tried a vulnerable game after Rene had opened a strong . They discarded our convention card and didn’t ask for any explanation after my alert. Maybe they don’t care about an occasional -500.

East Dealer
– Vul
North
QJ93
QT7
943
KQJ
West
K65
J84
KJT72
62
East
AT72
K32
AQ85
85
South
84
A965
6
AT9743

East opened 1 and René jumped to 3 (weak), West supported , passed to René. Not afraid he introduced his four card suit, passed out. I thought 4 would be way too high, so I pretended to have a nice four card fit for him. The defence started with three rounds of , René getting rid of his losers. He ruffed the continuation and played a to the Ten for the King. Again a , ruffed. Next he cashed the Ace, crossed to the King and the Queen of . Yay! Trumps split, run the rest of the for nine tricks.

A nice 4-3 fit dummy reversal. At the other table the bidding was exactly the same (!), but North ran to 4, one off.

So close, so close

Hi all

I participated in a threesome last night… Don’t hold your breath, it was just a regular clubnight at Dombo, I played with Martin and Peter-Paul. I was kibitzing Peter-Paul when this deal came up.

South
KT985
AQT964
76

So, what to open with this hand (first hand all red)?

I’m still not sure what I would do, but Peter-Paul made up his mind fairly quick and opened 4. Yikes! I hadn’t thought of that. If and are switched I would agree, but I’m not brave enough with just a five card suit in . Everybody looks sort of happy and West leads the 3 (odd leads).

North
Q72
QJT983
7
T42
South
KT985
AQT964
76

Game must be on for the opponents on their combined 26 count, so going off a couple doesn’t matter in a pairs game. But dummy has some very useful cards, maybe 4 even comes home. What do you require to make 4? Either find West with the Ace of doubleton or a successful finesse against the Jack. And you need a 3-3 split with the King onside.

The lead runs via the King to your Ace. A small towards the Queen stays alive and a ducked to West’s bare Ace also works. The defence shifts to now and you ruff the 3rd round. A ruff follows, the butterflies in your stomach are shouting for a 3-3 split.

Too bad, they split 2-4 and loss of control couldn’t be avoided. Peter-Paul was set three tricks.

South Dealer
All Vul
North
Q72
QJT983
7
T42
West
A6
A742
32
AQ985
East
J43
K65
KJ85
KJ3
South
KT985
AQT964
76

3NT isn’t exactly laydown for EW, but will (and did) in practice almost never fail.

Extremities

Hi all

I have been silent for some days. Study, work and some slacking kept me from posting.

Swinging the axe
A hand from last Dombo clubnight (vulnerable against not).

North
AK2
KQ6
AK64
AKQ

It’s a regular 28 count. Here’s what happened, you open something strong and your LHO jumps to 4, passed back to you. You put your red card on the table radiating violence, passed to your RHO. Tiny pearls of sweat appear on him. Is he? Is he? Yes, he runs to 4NT, showing both minors. Again more red. LHO doesn’t look happy, but bids 5. A last red card and partner starts with the Queen.

West Dealer
NS Vul
North
AK2
KQ6
AK64
AKQ
West
J
72
T852
T98643
East
QT9853
J854
J93
South
764
AT93
Q7
J752

EW have a trump trick, but that’s all. Down ten, I haven’t seen this score before: +2600.

Receiving the axe

Unfortunately I don’t have a diagram or hand anymore. An approximate guess: I held something like eight solid , a void somewhere and at least an Ace and King in the other two suits. I know I started with a strong and the defence interfered a couple of times with destructive rainbow-ish garbage. René and I desperately tried to stay inside the relayframework, but it got disgustingly complicated. Up to 4 René had shown a balanced hand with one Ace. This got doubled (leaddirecting or just penalty, who knows) and I redoubled, thinking/hoping it was a superrelay, then it would ask what Ace he held. Opposite the right Ace slam would be odds on. But now René and I were not on the same wavelength, he passed out 4 redoubled. He thought was my suit and the redouble was for business. Well, I have 3400 reasons my redouble was not for business.

Inspired?

Hi all

Yesterday at Star I played like… like… in Dutch one can say “like a wet newspaper”. I guess that comes close. Defensive errors all around. Missed an easy biddable slam. Argh! And if everything goes bad, then I shouldn’t have tried this:

South Dealer
All Vul
North
KJ964
J76
Q63
AJ
West
Q87
Q84
742
K842
East
AT3
T952
J95
Q96
South
52
AK3
AKT8
T753

Sitting South I opened a 14-16 NT, René raised me to the NT game immediately without introducing his . I like that, North has more than enough (soft values) for game, and those , well, if we have a fit, they work in 3NT as well. And you keep them hidden from the opponents.

The defence kicks off with a . I ponder for some time, reviewing my chances. What am I going to collect? I need a favourable position for four tricks, one and two . I need more than just the Queen onside, I just don’t get to 9 tricks (unless the Queen of drops doubleton, of course). West having Ace-Queen of seems too remote a chance.

So I devised a cunning plan.

Back to the lead, East put in the  Queen and returned the 9 for dummy. Now I played a small from table, a surprised West winning the trick with the 7. Now when he returned another I had butterflies in my stomach, it looks like the are breaking and West is desperately looking for a way to put East on lead. So I put up the King.

Curtains!

East shoots back a and I loose six tricks in the black suits. Losing an additional 3 imp for all my efforts, cause all other pairs were only set one trick.

A warned man counts…

Hi all

Here’s a game from one of Dombo’s teams matches last week. It’s a nice deal to analyze. If I could only bring up the concentration to do this during a match instead of post mortem.

North
74
AJ43
K4
QJT95
South
A8
T985
A862
A74

South had to play 4 doubled. During the auction West interfered with some number of and East finally doubled 4. West starts with the King. Plan the play!

Let’s do this together. Trumps are very likely to be 1-4 both honours offside, a loser, are soft and the have to be tackled as well. Ducking the lead doesn’t do much harm, the continuation is for your Ace. Draw one round of trumps by running the Ten. East plays back a for the King in dummy. Tackle the now, the Queen and Jack hold but West discards the 2nd round. So trumps and are 1-4.

This gets complicated.

North
AJ4
4
T95
South
985
A86
A

Cash the Ace and ruff a small with the Ace. East discards something. Cross to the Ace and ruff a with the Jack. East will overruff, but now South has only trumps left, resulting in three trump tricks in your hand, one in dummy, three tricks, two in and the Ace of .

Full deal:

South Dealer
EW Vul
North
74
AJ43
K4
QJT95
West
KQT652
7
QT953
8
East
J93
KQ62
J7
K632
South
A8
T985
A862
A74

Without the double South will probably play va banque, double finesse in , and nemesis will overcome him. I wouldn’t double them, maybe it will gain +100 (or an unlikely +300), but warning the opponents into a thoughtful magic plan is a very bad thing.

Gotan Project

Hi all

Last night Gotan Project performed in MC Vredenburg in Utrecht, the place was packed. I have seen them before, first time at the Werchter Festival a couple of years ago they surprised me with a fine mix of very danceable modern tango and graphics.

And now? They did it again. More magic. Gotan Project, all dressed in white suits, gave away a solid set with lots of new material. I still have glowy feelings from the concert. Their interpretation of Piazzolla’s Libertango was fabulous. The heat, I was literally wrapped in heat. I hope they will be playing at some summer festivals this year, I’ll follow them around.

Gotan Project
 

Vikings without tools

Hi all

Last night René had obligations elsewhere. Lucky me, Elske agreed to sit opposite me. She bid like a true Viking, dangerously high. I like that, though it costed me some time and palpitations to adapt. But no relays, we agreed to something Dutch Acolish. And then this game came across:

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
Q94
A9653
K74
K4
 
 
South
AKJ75
8
QJT6
A76

We had an undisturbed auction (involving Check back Stayman) to 4. But both hands fit like gloves, no wasted honours, so 6 is a very good slam. But it’s quite unbiddable in a natural system.

What about Viking Precision? Would it have gotten us to slam?

West
North
East
South
 
1
pass
1NTGF
pass
21
pass
2
pass
2NT2
pass
3
pass
33
pass
3
pass
34
pass
4
pass
4NT5
pass
5
pass
56
pass
5
pass
67
pass
6
a.p.
 
 
 

South initiates a gameforcing sequence with 1NT, North obliges with:
1. minimum, balanced or sidesuit in other Major
2. balanced
3. 3-5-3-2 distribution
4. 1 Ace
5. 2 Kings of the same rank
6. 1 Queen
7. Queen

Maybe the last couple of relays are not obvious, cause slam without trump Queen is a no go, and finding out is not without danger. But during the sequence South must feel like: “Really? Really? Really? Can it be?” And then slam is unavoidable.