Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bridge Blog 1007: Too Easy? Not Really

Helen Panza chuckled Thursday at the Airport Bridge Club when I told her about my New Year's Resolution to score above 40% on all my bridge games in 2018. So that got me wondering – just how many times did I fail to reach this ridiculously low goal in the year that just ended? Is this really an empty promise to myself?
To find the answer, I'll go to my 2017 datebook, where I kept a record of all my scores.
And I discover that I crashed below 40% in my first venture of new year on Jan. 2, bringing home a 39.83% game with Tish Schiffman, with whom it's generally hard to get a good score. It happened again on Feb. 6 with Nadine Stein, this time 37.50%. And on Feb. 23 with Marietta Kalman, 39.78%. (This particular Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, Marietta and I had a respectable 50.93% game and earned 0.77 of a master point.)
And so it continued. In all, I had 20 games below 40% in 2017. Here are the rest:
Feb. 25 with Denise Slattery, 39.58%.
Feb. 27 with Denise Slattery, 36.93%.
March 7 with Joyce Greenspan, 37.96%.
April 8 with Denise Slattery, 38.19%.
April 19 with June Feuerstein, 38%.
May 29 with Burt Freiman, 39.96%.
May 30 with Ruth Wurster, 37.15%.
June 28 with June Feuerstein, 39.14%.
Sept. 14 with Marietta Kalman, 39.42%.
Sept. 20 with Usha Khurana, 35.65%.
Sept. 30 with Denise Slattery, 35%.
Oct. 24 with Barbara Sadkin, 35.42%.
Oct. 31 with Eva Schmidt, 35.80%.
Nov. 9 (a.m.) in the Niagara Falls, Ont., Regional with June Feuerstein, 39.74%.
Nov. 27 with Marilyn Sultz, 38.49%.
Dec. 6 (p.m. STaC game) with June Feuerstein, 39.90%.
Dec. 26 with Carolyn Siracuse, the worst one of all, 34.42%.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bridge Blog 1006: Promise Keepers

So far, so good with that promise to not have any games below 40%. In fact, thinks have perked up considerably. Perhaps I should thank my partners. Not only is the resolution intact, but the points are starting to come around – 3.61 in the past four games.
Saturday, Jan. 6, with Denise Slattery. 52%, tied for first in a three-table game with attendance shrunken by the zero-degree cold. First master points of the year – 1.67.
Monday, Jan. 8, with Judie Bailey. 49%, perhaps we should thank the miracle of stratification for coming in second in the B strat. 0.46 of a point.
Tuesday, Jan. 9, with Ed Morgan, first time together. Club manager Bill Finkelstein announced on Monday that I didn't have a partner for Tuesday and got no takers. Ed and I did just fine, however. 53.70%, best game of the year so far. Tied for second in our direction,  0.84 of a point.

Wednesday, Jan. 10, with June Feuerstein on a typically freewheeling day after I got up two hours early to take my sweetie to the airport. 51.67%, second in B North-South, 0.64 of a point.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Bridge Blog 1005: Auld Lang 2017

A good year in many ways personally, but not so great at the bridge tables, I thought. Then I opened up the year-end master point race tabulations on the ACBL website and was pleasantly surprised. My goal was 180 points. I wound up with 176.90 overall (14.41 in December), 136.39 of them in club play (11.42 in December). So let's see how 2017 settled out.
Unit 116 Ace of Clubs (Buffalo only, club play only), Ruby Life Masters (1,500 to 2,500 points).
Here's the Top 10: Mike Silverman, 193.41, also first among all Unit 116 players in club play; Ken Meier, 163.44, fourth in the unit; Allen Beroza, 162.77, fifth in the unit; me, 136.39, 15th. Last of the Rubies in triple figures is Fred Yellen, fifth with 123.28 and 18th overall.
Then it’s Dorothy May, 94.69, 28th; and Gene Finton, 81.22, 35th; and a big step down to Art Morth with 44.94, 82nd; followed by Carolyn Siracuse, 40.27, 95th overall; and Claire Garelek, 34.84, 106th overall.
Unit 116 Ace of Clubs overall. The Top 10 looks like this: Mike Silverman, 193.41; John Ziemer, 187.30; Denise Slattery, 171.83; Ken Meier, 163.44; Allen Beroza, 162.77; Liz Clark, 156.56; Judi Marshall, 156.28; her frequent partner, the late Jerry Geiger, who died Nov. 5, but is still on the list with 153.42, which is what he had at the end of September; Ron Henrikson, 148.26; and Meg Klamp, who’s permanently moved to Florida, I believe, 146.08.
Close behind are Martin Pieterse, 143.99; Martha and John Welte, both 141.70; Mike Ryan, 137.05; then me and my 136.39, edging past Bud Seidenberg, 135.88. There are 26 players in the unit above the century mark, including Joyce Greenspan, Bob Sommerstein and Gay Simpson.
Unit 116 Mini-McKenney (all points everywhere), Ruby Life Masters. Here's how the leaders look: Ken Meier, 288.77 (eighth among all Unit 116 players); Mike Silverman, 206.76 (14th); Fred Yellen, 201.46 (19th); Allen Beroza, 197.63 (21st), me, 176.90 (26th); Gene Finton, 113.20 (47th); Dorothy May, 103.59 (53rd); Art Morth, 80.93 (67th); Chongmin Zhang, 79.81 (70th) and Bill Rushmore, 63.63 (88th).
 Unit 116 Mini-McKenney overall. Martha and John Welte, tied for first place, didn't hit the 400 mark after all. They both have 382.29. Then it's Davis Heussler with 354.97; John Ziemer, 321.32; Mike Ryan, 314.06; Jay Levy, 304.46; Chris Urbanek, 291.89; Ken Meier, 288.77; Saleh Fetouh, 287.01; Linda Burroughsford, 264.70; Bud Seidenberg, 264.38; and Judi Marshall, 214.05.
District 5 (Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh) Ace of Clubs. Ruby Life Masters. We Buffalo players occupy the top four rungs on the ladder.
Mike Silverman, 193.41 (sixth among all District 5 Mini-McKenney players); Ken Meier, 163.44 (14th overall); Allen Beroza, 162.77 (15th); and me, 136.39 (34th). Susan Konig of The Villages, Fla., slips in with 125.87 (48 th), ahead of Fred Yellen, 123.28 (49th). Next Unit 116 player, Dorothy May, with 94.69 points, is tied with Susan Bussan of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, for 15th, 100th overall.
District 5 Ace of Clubs overall.  It's Arlene Port of Pittsburgh with 245.15; followed by Asim Ulke of Monroeville, Pa., with 213.30; Richard Katz of North Versailles, Pa., with 203.62; Robert Alexander of Mentor, Ohio, 202.10, followed by Patricia Katz of Pittsburgh, 194.07; and Unit 116 leader Mike Silverman, 193.41. John Ziemer is seventh with his 187.30 and Denise Slattery is tenth with 171.83.
District 5 Mini-McKenney. Ruby Life Masters.  Way out in front is Sue Lan Ma of Kirtland Hills, Ohio, with 836.84. Next is Craig Biddle of Pittsburgh, with 460.83. She’s also first in the district. He’s tenth overall. 
The rest of the Top 10: William Lindgren of Slippery Rock, Pa., 330.05 (21st); Ken Meier, 288.77 (37th); Russell Sheldon of Pittsburgh, 238.27 (56th); Charles Ladiha of Vermillion, Ohio, 226.84 (60th); Mike Silverman, 206.76 (72nd); Fred Yellen, 201.46 (78th); Allen Beroza, 197.63 (81st); and me! 176.90 (98th overall).
         District 5 Mini-McKenney overall. No Unit 116 players in the Top 10 here. It’s Sue Lan Ma, 836.84; Reanette Frobouck of Pittsburgh, 703.86; Phillip Becker of Beachwood, Ohio, 644.41; and
Philip Goulding of Wexford, Pa., 611.63.
Then it's Robert and Stephanie Alexander of Mentor, Ohio, 574.17 and 557.60, respectively; Bernie Greenspan of Beachwood, Ohio, 502.87; sandwiched between Kathleen and Don Sulgrove of Twinsburg, Ohio, with 520.70 and 486.28; and Craig Biddle of Pittsburgh, 460.83. The Unit 116 leaders, Martha and John Welte, are tied for 13th with 382.29.
Nationwide. Ace of Clubs. Ruby Life Masters. Barry Nish of Little Neck, L.I., with 344.19, edges out Thomas Roberg, of Raleigh, N.C., with 344.12. They're 53rd and 54th among all Ace of Clubs players in the country. They're followed by Ben Franz, of Edgewood, N.M., with 331.25; Ricky Dashefsky of Delray Beach, Fla., with 311.24; and Robert Shearer of Diberville, Miss., with 307.02.
Mike Silverman is 94th. Ken Meier is 185th. Allen Beroza is nearby at 194th. I'm way down in 416th place. The list cuts off at 129.35.
Nationwide. Ace of Clubs overall. Bill Kulbersh of Atlanta tops the list with 716.21. (Wow!) Then it's Bella Ionis-Sorren of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with 598.43, slipping ahead of Gail Wells of Dallas with 579.85. Sheila Gabay of Newton, Mass., with 569.78, slips ahead of Kay Schulle of Purchase, N.Y., with 550.71.  
No Unit 116 players here and only one from District 5 – Arlene Port, 293rd. The list cuts off at 213.99.  
Nationwide. Mini-McKenney. Ruby Life Masters. G Sudhakar Divakaruni, of Scottsdale, Ariz., with 1,149.36, overtakes Gillian Miniter, of New York City, with 1,133.85. After that it's District 5's Sue Lan Ma, 836.84; followed by Robert McClendon of Ponte Vedra, Fla., 783.66; Jeff Edelstein of Riverview, Fla., 756.79; and Mark Blanchard of Bay Shore, L.I., 720.59. Unit 116's Ken Meier is 161st and he’s the only one here from Buffalo. The list cuts off at 207.23.
Nationwide. Mini-McKenney overall.  Fourteen players surpass the double-millennium mark. Chris Compton of Dallas keeps lead with 2,746.50. Then it's Kevin Dwyer of Melbourne, Fla., 2,618.70; Mark Itabashi of Murrieta, Calif., who we played against in Niagara Falls, Ont., 2,524.21; Greg Hinze of San Antonio, Texas, 2,390.49; Shan Huang of Melbourne, Fla.; and the legendary Jeff Meckstroth of Clearwater Beach, Fla., 2,215.10.

Former Buffalonian Joel Wooldridge is 23rd, with 1,658.29. Sue Lan Ma is 134th. Reanette Frobouck is 222nd. Phillip Becker is 275th. Philip Goulding is 312th. Seven District 5 players make the list before it ends at 507.80. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Bridge Blog 1004: Secret to a Successful Resolution

Keeping those promises you make to yourself at New Year’s isn’t hard if you do it right. 
Just aim low. 
After four failed attempts at master points this week at the Airport Bridge Club, I see where I need to set the bar. No games under 40% this year. And what do you know – so far, so good.
Tuesday, Jan. 2, with Dotty May, 45.67%.
Wednesday, Jan. 3, with June Feuerstein, 42.04%.
Thursday, Jan. 4, with Ruth Wurster, 41.17%.
Friday, Jan. 5, with Pawan Matta, 45.17%, after Selina Volpatti scrubbed our date in St. Catharines, Ont., because of the weather.

Not only is the 40% resolution intact, but it’s been a good time. Pawan and I had a particularly exhilarating day in quest of slams, even though we only made one of four we bid. 

Bridge Blog 1003: Santa Claus Rally

December was a heck of a sleigh ride while it lasted. Every day there was a new present of master points to put under the tree. But the ride ran out of reindeer a few days before Christmas. No gifts after that, not even a shred of wrapping paper for the rest of the year.

The monthly list of master point winners at the Airport Bridge Club shows me with 14.22 for the month. Add in the 0.72 from the annual Unit 116 holiday party and it’s almost a sugar plum, very, very close to my monthly goal of 15.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Bridge Blog 1002: Half Past December

The disasters of October (in the clubs) and November (everywhere) haven’t entirely lifted. The Sectional Tournament at the Clubs was my worst STaC in recent history. This week, however, I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s the month so far.
Friday, Dec. 1. 50.80% with Selina Volpatti at the Niagara Bridge Centre in St. Catharines, Ont. Thought we were fourth in the B strat for 0.25 of a point, but now that I check the results calendar, I see that D’Arcy Cropp and Norine Fenig have nosed us out of fourth place by 0.02%. They got the quarter point instead.
Saturday, Dec. 2. 57.06% at the Unit holiday party and game at Main-Transit Fire Hall Social Hall with Barbara Sadkin. Best game in a while – sixth in B, 0.72 of a point.
STaC Week.
Monday, Dec. 4 morning. 51.49% with Denise Slattery. Third in B. 0.56 of a silver point.
Monday, Dec. 4 afternoon. 44.44% with Denise.
Tuesday, Dec. 5 morning. 45.54% with Paul Zittel, last-minute sub for originally-scheduled partner Dorothy May.
Tuesday, Dec. 5 afternoon. 55.83% with Paul Zittel again, first in the B strat. 0.90 of a point in the club, bumped up to 1.11 at the district level.
Wednsday, Dec. 6 morning. 41.06% with June Feuerstein.
Wednesday, Dec. 6 afternoon. 39.90% with June. Dead last.
Thursday, Dec. 7 morning. 40.67% with June again. Not last this time, only because somebody else wound up with 32%. Winners John Ziemer and Judi Marshall had a 76.61% game. Couldn’t play afternoon session because I had to arrive at work on time.
Friday, Dec. 8 morning. 47% with Janet Frisch. Selina Volpatti was supposed to come from Canada, but couldn’t make it.
Friday, Dec. 8 afternoon. 54.93% with Walt Olszewski. Like with Janet, hadn’t played with him in a long, long time. Second overall. 1.32 points. Not good enough for a bump up on the district level.
Saturday, Dec. 9 morning. 43.27% with Denise Slattery.
Saturday, Dec. 9 afternoon. 48.81% with Denise. Still no luck.
Monday, Dec. 11. 51.59% with Joe Rooney, assigned as partner after Usha Khurana came up with a medical appointment. Third east-west. 0.35 of a point.
Tuesday, Dec. 12. 53.87% with Barbara Sadkin, first in B north-south. 0.83 of a point.
Wednesday, Dec. 13. 58.93% with Joyce Greenspan, last-minute fill-in for June Feuerstein, who canceled to take a trip to Cleveland, and a good one. Second overall. 1.53 points.
Thursday, Dec. 14. 54.42% with Marietta Kalman, third in B overall. 0.83 of a point.
Friday, Dec. 15. 58.15% with Nadine Stein at the Airport Club, first north-south, second overall after the Weltes. 1.64 point.

Best week I’ve had in a long time – 5.18 points so far and it ain’t over yet. Total for the month already beats November – 8.89. 

Bridge Blog 1001: Short STaC

Ohio players took five of the top 10 places on the master point tally from the District 5 Winter Sectional Tournament at the Clubs (STaC), held Dec. 4 to Dec. 10. Leading the Buckeyes were Stephanie and Robert Alexander, from Mentor, with 34.91. Bernie Fodor, from Murraysville, Pa., was third with 30.19.
Top Buffalo player was Alan Greer, who seemed to win something every time he played at the Airport Bridge Club. He was fourth with 29.51. One of his partners, Judi Marshall, was fifth with 27.71.
Other leading local players: John Ziemer, 17.63; Jay Costello, 16.60; David Donaldson, 13.01; Joyce Greenspan, 10.78; Bud Seidenberg, 9.61; Jay Levy, 9.28; Saleh Fetouh, 8.63; Mike Ryan, 8.22; and Walt Olszewski, 8.01.
         You have to look wayyyyy down the list to find my name. There I am, tied for 283rd with Linda Harper of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with 2.99 points. In all, 1,047 players earned points.