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10,000 Masterpoints

bobbyrichmanA milestone once thought to be insurmountable was achieved when Bobby Richman passed the 10,000 masterpoint barrier, having amassed 10,002.72 master points as at 8 September 2009. Bobby now holds the rank of Emerald Grand Master.

At one stage it was thought that the late Tim Seres’ huge lifetime masterpoint tally of 8,370.48 would never be broken, but time marches on and records tumble.

Bobby first came to bridge prominence in the 1970s in Melbourne, and became a bridge professional before that line of work was fashionable. His style is to bid a lot, then in the card play he has the ability to visualise the only card to make or break a contract.

Right now, he is playing in the Australian Seniors team in Brazil with George Gaspar. Last year Bobby played in the Australian Open Team with Peter Gill, and in 2008 Bobby also won the PABF Seniors Teams with George Gaspar. In 2005 and 2007 he played in the Australian Open Team with Zolly Nagy, winning bronze and silver medals at the Pacific Asia Championships.

His biggest success representing Australia was 3rd in the 1979 World Championships behind the Italians and Americans – as high as Australia has ever come. Bobby doesn’t earn masterpoints for overseas representation – that comes from success at home.

Most of his masterpoints come from the ABF’s main events. We think Bobby is the only person to have won every major Open event in Australia at least once.

If our research is correct, he has won most of our majors exactly four times: NOT (1975, 76, 77, 91), GNOT (2002, 03, 05, 08), SNOT (89, 98, 04, 08), ANOT (94, 95, 96, 05) and Interstate Teams (76, 78, 79, 85).

His other national wins include: Gold Coast Teams nine times (76, 79, 80, 84, 88, 90, 93, 95, 97), GC Pairs seven times (81, 82, 86, 90, 91, 93, 98), Butler (82), National Individual (77), Open Pairs six times (80, 84, 85, 86, 91, 95), VCC six times (82, 85, 86, 92, 94, 02), Dick Cummings Pairs (04) and Swiss Pairs in Tasmania (95).

One of Bobby’s purple patches was Spring 2008:
September 2008 Pacific Asia Senior Teams at the Gold Coast: won Semi Final from NZ by 123 imps then won Grand Final from Thailand by 88 imps.

October 2008 SNOT: Bobby won the event after his opponents conceded the semi-final when 115 imps behind

October 2008 Spring Nationals Seniors Teams: Bobby won, opponents conceding Grand Final when down 88 imps.

November 2008 GNOT: Another win with the opponents conceding the Grand Final, down 96 imps.

Summarising, in the three major events, his defeated opponents in Finals matches didn’t even complete the last 16 boards.

We include a bridge hand which is typical of Bobby’s style – from the 2008 NSW State Teams Finals.

NS Vul
E Dealer
A J 9 7
5 4
A Q 6 5
8 6 5
8 6 5 3
Q 9 2
10 3 2
Q J 4
[ 2 ] K 2
K 8 7 3
K 8 7 4
K 10 7
  Q 10 4
A J 10 6
J 9
A 9 3 2

West North East South
A. Peake Bobby B. Neill
1 X
P 2 P 2
P 2 P 3

This hand is typical of the Richman approach to bridge. Once an opponent opens, placing the opponents high cards should be easier, so Bobby now needs only about 23 points for the vulnerable game. Hence the decision to push with 2 instead of a mild 2 response to his partner’s Double.

With unappetising lead choices, Bruce Neill found the dynamic lead of K -2 -4 -5 (low encourage), then came 10 to Andrew Peake’s jack.

In some games, declarer might misplace Q, thinking that the opening leader has it, after K opening lead. Not  Bobby. If Bruce Neill had KQ10x, he wouldn’t make an error by squandering 10 needlessly at Trick 2. Therefore, Bobby knew that Peake had Q.

Peake switched to a diamond to the king, followed by a heart to the ten and queen. Another diamond went to the jack and Bobby rectified the count for the impending major suit squeeze by cashing A and the 13th club, then Q to the ace, diamonds and Neill had to resign, squeezed. A neat 600 for a 10 imp gain when Paul Gosney (North) played in 2 making three at the other table.