Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bridge Blog 812: Milestone!

According to the ACBL, I finished November with a career total of 1,796.41 master points and I’ve had a pretty good month so far, beginning with that 71.53% game with Marilyn Sultz on Dec. 1. Have I hit my goal of 1,800 before Christmas? Here’s the roundup:
Dec. 1 w/Marilyn Sultz, 71.53%, 0.90 point.
Dec. 2 w/June Feuerstein, 46.39%.
Dec. 3 w/Celine Murray, 63%, 0.42 point.
Dec. 4 w/Nancy Kessler (!), 52.24%, 0.48 point.
Dec. 5 w/Selina Volpatti in St. Catharines, 43.60%.
Dec. 6 w/Marietta Kalman at Unit 116 annual meeting, 51.90%, 0.26 point. (Something also should be said about the meeting itself, but I’m not up for it at the moment.)
And now for STaC (Sectional Tournament at the Clubs) week with silver points and double sessions:
Dec. 8 a.m. w/Usha Khurana, 57.17%, 0.91 point.
Dec. 8 p.m. w/Usha, 43.52%.
Dec. 9 a.m. w/Celine Murray, 51.10% (a tenth of percent out of winning points).
Dec. 9 p.m. w/Ron Henrikson, 58.13%, 0.84 point. Hooray! That nailed it!

Of course, the STaC awards extra points on a district level. Was Monday morning good enough to win some? Nope, not quite. We needed at least 58%. 

Bridge Blog 811: Attenuated November

Between the Thanksgiving holiday, the big snowstorm and the layoff due to my medical procedure, I missed a lot of bridge in November. I played only 12 days out of 30 and my point count shows it. Just 7.66 for the month.
How did that affect my standing in the ACBL master point races? Let’s see. In the Unit 116 Ace of Clubs (Buffalo only, points earned only in club play), hey, I’m still in fifth place in the 1,000- to 2,500-point division with 105.41.
John Ziemer continues on top, now with 189.34. Mike Silverman has moved into second with 153.63, passing Ken Meier, who has 142.09. Fred Yellen is fourth with 113.89. Can I catch him in December? Probably not. I’m going in for another procedure next week and will likely be out until January.
With luck, I’ll stay ahead of Chuck Schorr, who’s sixth with 102.91. The rest of the list includes Vince Pesce, 83.29; Barbara Pieterse, 83.18; Gene Finton, 74.82; and Dotty May, 58.58.
In the Unit 116 Mini-McKenney, which includes all points earned everywhere, I’m still sixth, now with 139.66. John Ziemer leads the list with 270.35, followed by Ken Meier, 178.05; Fred Yellen, 169.67; Mike Silverman, 168.07; and David Hemmer, 145.89. After me, there’s Chongmin Zhang, 125.38; Chuck Schorr, 109.81; Barbara Pieterse, 101.79; and Gene Finton, 97.58.
John Ziemer now has the most overall points of anyone in the unit. He’s passed Jerry Geiger (5,000 to 7,500), who has 260.48; and Saleh Fetouh, who has 254.02. Only two other players have more than 200 – Chris Urbanek (7,500 to 10,000), with 226.58; and Bud Seidenberg (5,000 to 7,500) with 209.90.
Moving on to the District 5 level, which includes Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, the Ace of Clubs list in the 1,000- to 2,500-point division continues to be dominated by Buffalonians. We hold down the top six positions. Our only other representative is Vince Pesce, who brings up the rear in 25th place.

Ohioans rule in the District 5 Mini-McKenney – Fleur Howard of Gates Mills, 394.86; Michael Creager of Brecksville, 388.53; and Peter Merker of Mentor, 364.66. John Ziemer is fourth. Ken Meier, Fred Yellen and Mike Silverman are eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively. David Hemmer is 16th, I’m still 17th and Chongmin Zhang is 21st. The list cuts off at 121.10.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bridge Blog 810: Absentia

Third anniversary of my life master hat trick – life master, bronze life master, silver life master, all in one fell swoop at the Niagara Falls, Ont., Regional on Nov. 10, 2011 – I’m out cold for a TURBT “procedure” to remove a growth from my bladder.
When I wake up enough to understand what’s going on, it’s bad news. Bladder cancer. Good-bye, hopes for gold life master. Good-bye to lots of things I know and love.
But wait, there’s hope, even when the skies turn black, the temperature falls from 70 to 30 and you’re plugged into a catheter and gobbling antibiotics and anti-spasm pills. Bladder cancer strikes five times as many people as it kills every year, I read on one of the cancer websites. It’s survivable.
What will it take to survive? The urologist isn’t optimistic about the lab results from the tissue samples. The bladder will have to go, she says. The top urological oncologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute isn’t so certain. They interpreted the lab results a bit differently. First, they want to take another look in there after I’ve healed up. A second TURBT procedure. Mid-December. Then there will be a definite decision.
I went back to work for most of an evening on the fourth day after the procedure, but I fatigued easily. I still need a nap every day. And I have to hit the washroom every hour. It wasn’t until this past Friday, 11 days after the procedure and a night off from work, and three days after the big Buffalo snow disaster (which left only a couple inches at my house) that I felt ready to return to the bridge tables.
I used to pride myself on sitting through an entire game without heading off to take a leak. On Friday and Saturday, I made that dash to the men’s room before and after the game and twice between rounds of play.
Meanwhile, I didn’t forget everything I knew, not even my bad habits, but somehow the results were good anyway.
Friday with Celine Murray, our 54.20% put us third in a three-way scrum for the top in a three-table game at the Airport Bridge Club and gave us a master point.

Saturday with Beverly Dale, despite some unfortunate bids (See Blog 809-A and Blog 809-B), we finished second overall in a 4½-table game with 58.33% for 1.31 master points. Now my hopes are officially bolstered. That goal of 1,800 career master points by the end of the year is within reach.

Bridge Blog 810-A: Zig

Beverly Dale was disappointed. I should have given her a better bid, she said, and she would have gone to game on Board 25. As it was, we stopped at 3 Clubs and made three overtricks. Everything worked out right. Here’s the deal. I’m sitting North and I’m dealer. East-west is vulnerable. We’re not.
Spades: K-9; Hearts: 6-3; Diamonds: 10-4-3-2; Clubs: K-Q-10-3-2.
I pass and so does East. Beverly opens a Club. Since she will open a short Club and since she admonished me for bidding inverted minors when we played together two weeks ago, my response was 2 Clubs. I believe East bid 2 Spades. Beverly bid 3 Clubs and I passed. Here are the other hands:
Spades: A-7-6; Hearts: A-Q-8-2; Diamonds: None; Clubs: A-J-9-8-7-5.
Spades: Q-10-8-5-4; Hearts: J-9; Diamonds: A-K-9-7-5; Clubs: 6.
Spades: J-3-2; Hearts: K-10-7-5-4; Diamonds: Q-J-8-6; Clubs: 4.

The outcome was split on the four times it was played. Two North-Souths bid 5 Clubs for plus 420. Another one stopped at 3 Clubs, like us, for plus 170. Of a possible 3 game points, we earned 0.5. Bidding 5 Clubs would have gotten us 2.

Bridge Blog 810-B: Zag

You don’t often get a chance to repeat a bid twice in a row, but it happened Saturday with Beverly Dale. After aforementioned Board 25 (Blog 809-A), Beverly opens one Diamond, guaranteeing at least four of them, on Board 26 after a pass by East, the dealer. West doubles, if I remember correctly, and I bid 2 Diamonds.
Spades: 6-5; Hearts: J-10; Diamonds: K-Q-J-6-3; Clubs: Q-8-5-2.
Beverly pushes to 4 Diamonds in competitive  bidding and I, not wanting to miss game twice in a row, bid 5 Diamonds. I should have known better. West, Ron Henrikson, doubles. We go down two for minus 500 and a bottom board. Here are the other hands:
Spades: K-10-4-3; Hearts: A-4; Diamonds: A-10-9-8-5; Clubs: 7-3.
Spades: J-9-8; Hearts: 9-8-6-5-3-2; Diamonds: 7; Clubs: K-10-4.
Spades: A-Q-7-2; Hearts: K-Q-7; Diamonds: 4-2; Clubs: A-J-9-6.

At the other tables, 4 Diamonds doubled went down one and two East-Wests were allowed to take the bid for 2 Hearts, making three overtricks. 

Bridge Blog 809: Unfinished October business

Better late than never. In the master point races through Oct. 31, I have 97.82 club points and 132.07 overall for the year. On the Unit 116 (Buffalo only) Ace of Clubs list, I’m fifth. Here’s the lineup:
        John Ziemer still first, 164.82; Ken Meier still second, 126.34; Mike Silverman, 125.41; Fred Yellen, 105.30; me, 97.82; Chuck Schorr, 94.52; Vince Pesce, 80.46; Barbara Pieterse, 76.85; Gene Finton, 71.47; Clare Gareleck, 53.05.
        Now for the Unit 116 Mini-McKenney race, which counts all points earned everywhere, including the Buffalo Regional. On this list, I’m sixth. Here’s the tally:
        John Ziemer first again, 246.64; Ken Meier, 162.37; Fred Yellen, 161.08; David Hemmer, 145.47; Mike Silverman, 139.85; me, 132.07; Chongmin Zhang, 125.38; Chuck Schorr, 101.42; Barb Pieterse, 95.46; Gene Finton, 94.23.
        Let’s go now to the District 5 level, which includes Cleveland and Pittsburgh as well as Buffalo and the list is 25 names long.
        Unit 116 continues its dominance of the top of the Ace of Clubs list. We occupy the top five spots. Sixth is Peggy Shivetts of Greensburg, Pa., with 95.36. Chuck Schorr is seventh. Vince Pesce is 19th. The list cuts off at 76.89 points.
        On the Mini-McKenney, the Ohioans rule. Here John Ziemer is fourth, after Michael Creager of Brecksville with 372.50, Fleur Howard of Gates Mills with 364.21 and Peter Merker of Mentor with 357.47. But we’re still quasi-respectable. Ken Meier is eighth, Fred Yellen is ninth, David Hemmer is 12th and Mike Silverman is 13th, I’m 17th, Chongmin Zhang is 20th. The list cuts off at 110.88.
                Amongst the nationwide leaders in my division – 1,000 to 2,500 points – the top dog is Vinita Gupta of Woodside, Calif., with 842.58 in the Mini-McKenney, followed by Robert Micone of Tustin, Calif., with 755.80, and Jay Barron of Tulsa, Okla., with 753.45. Michael Creager is 41st. John Ziemer is 223rd. The list cuts off at 195.13.
        In the nationwide Ace of Clubs in my division, the leader is Sanford Robbins of Miami Lakes, Fla., with 362.71; followed by Larry Lazarow of Highland Beach, Fla., with 345.67; Kenneth Wagner Jr. of Hollywood, Fla., with 315.37; and Judy Zhu of Naperville, Ill., with 272.77. John Ziemer is 68th. Ken Meier is 270th. Mike Silverman is 283rd. The list cuts off at 110.82.

None of us make the Barry Crane Top 500 nationwide. Neither Unit 116 nor District 5. The list cuts off at 395.06. Top is perennial champ Jeff Meckstroth of Clearwater Beach, Fla., with 2,519.61, followed closely by Eric Rodwell of Clearwater, Fla., with 2,504.91 and Chris Compton of Dallas, Texas, with 2,473.46.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bridge Blog 808: Raising the bar

How happy I would be to earn 20 master points this month, I reckoned as I returned to the tables at the Airport Bridge Club on Monday. Five days to play, not far to go. In addition to my regional tournament winnings of 9.77, I had 9.11 in club play.
Now, after a couple days among the club’s point winners, I’m beginning to think October could be a 25-pointer. Fumbling after a good start Monday, June Feuerstein and I wound up with 48.21%. But that was second in the B strat in that triple-point Howell game and it earned us 1.58 points.
Tuesday’s 10-table triple-point game saw June and me both do better with different partners. Eva Schmidt and I made few mistakes and nailed three top boards en route to 59.26%, third overall and second in B for 2.31 points. June, playing with Barbara Sadkin, was first in B. October total now – 22.77.