Monday, September 18, 2017

Bridge Blog 979: Buffalo Fall Sectional Roundup

My measly 1.98 points make me 99th out of 166 people who got points, between Gary Gottermeier of Fairport and occasional partner Art Matthies. Last year I only earned 1.52 points and was in a four-way tie for 122nd.
But perhaps I had a hand in helping Jay Levy attain his place on top of the master point heap. He had 22.28, 6.81 of them from Swiss teams on Sunday, 15.47 from his victory with Fred Yellen on Friday's two-session pairs. Other point leaders included Chris Urbanek, 20.97; Gene Finton, 17.68; Kamil Bishara, 17.47; Donna Steffan, 17.34; Fred Yellen, 16.38; and Saleh Fetouh, 15.61.
For a complete rundown of tournament winners, click this link.
Tournament tables totaled 168, down from last September, when there were 182. Swiss team turnout also was down – 23 teams this year, 29 last year.
All this after that big crowd Friday morning. Certainly the 39.5 tables must have constituted a landmark, especially since they ran out of bidding boxes and at least one table's worth of players had to play the first round in a standing position until the Main-Transit firemen brought in some more chairs.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bridge Blog 978: Buffalo Fall Sectional Day 3

I should feel worse. A bottle of champagne at friends Julie and Larry's farewell-to-the-country-house party and bonfire Saturday night out in Strykersville, then a couple Sazeracs in a downtown bar with old friend Nancy T., now living the beach life in South Carolina, after she emailed me to say she was back in town. 
Then again, I have a reason to be at least a little bit upbeat. My missing wallet is back, found in a pair of pants that I was gathering up to include in a load of laundry. 
People tell me I'm perkier in the afternoon, but our Swiss team does most of its shining before lunch. 
We lose the opening round to Mary Ball and Joyce Frayer, thanks to one big mistake by me and another by partner Myra Razik, but then rack up three wins in a row, two of them by 30-0 Victory Point margins. In there is a plus 1,100 score against John and Martha Scott (whom I introduce to Myra as the king and queen of Lockport) when they go down at 5 Diamonds doubled.

Our Swiss team after three straight wins. From left, Myra Razik, Ron Henrikson and Judie Bailey.

After the break for Firehouse subs, we run up against two of the toughest outfits in the 23-team field. We keep the bleeding to a minimum against Chris Urbanek and Bud Seidenberg, losing by only two International Match Points. But then we meet Jay Levy and a particularly joyless guy named Robert Cannizzaro, who slam-dunk us by a score of 44-1 IMPs.
We finish against another tough crew – Fred Yellen and Jim Gullo – and prevail only because they stumble into a bad slam bid.
The Saleh Fetouh team, with Chris Urbanek and Bud Seidenberg, comes in first and gets 9.08 silver points. The Jay Costello team, with Jay Levy, is runner-up and gets 6.81. The B strat leaders are Canadians, including Dee Glover, who I see regularly at the St. Catharines club. Tied for third overall, they get 5.01. Fortunately, we didn't face them.
Our team, with 119 Victory Points, manages to capture the last bonus position we could catch – fifth in the B strat – for a reward of 1.67 silver points, boosting my tournament total to 1.98. 
The Scotts, part of the all-Niagara County Jim Jones team, recover from their bout with us to finish first in C and take home more points than we do – 2.34.
Today's game marks a return to old-fashioned shuffle-and-play Swiss teams. The Unit 116 board decided to abandon their experiment in pre-dealt hands. Downside: No hand records. Upside: The caddies are back. One of them is director Brian Meyer's younger daughter, now grown up into a long-legged early teen who is as sharp and courteous as she is attractive.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Bridge Blog 977: Buffalo Fall Sectional Day 2 (Updated)

If nothing else, Selina Volpatti and I are consistent. 49.50% in the morning – 14th in the B strat, 22nd overall. 49.26% in the afternoon, even though I keep dozing off – again 14th in B, 22nd overall. No points.
Still, I always have a good time with Selina. Someone (Ken Meier?) remarks how I always have attractive partners.


Attendance is down – 21 tables. Betty Metz, who's in charge, says today they have enough bidding boxes. Friday they didn't.

Meanwhile, food truck is good for fish tacos and today I've gone to the bank, cashed a check and have cash, even though my wallet is still missing. Here's hoping we salvage something from Swiss teams Sunday. 

ADDENDUM: Chris Urbanek tells me Sunday that she made an error in scoring on the hands we played against her Saturday afternoon and got director Brian Meyer to correct it. So instead of being slightly down in the afternoon, we're now slightly up – 49.67%. Not enough to get us points, though. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Bridge Blog 976: Buffalo Fall Sectional Day 1

         I can't find my wallet. I had it last night at work, but it's not in yesterday's pants this morning and I have no time to look for it. Is this a bad dream?
         No driver's license. No credit cards. No health care cards. No folding cash that isn't Canadian in my drawer at home.
         At least there's enough change to get an iced coffee at Tipico. At least I get out to the Main-Transit Fire Hall in Amherst without getting killed or caught. At least there's still room at the far end of the parking lot. I've never seen so many cars at a sectional tournament. Inside, 39½ tables for the morning session.
Partner Pawan Matta, bless her soul, has paid our entry fees and is loaning me $20 for lunch at the food truck outside.

           As for bridge, we hit a couple early bumps in the road. The biggest bump comes in the first round against Raj Puri and Rajat Basu when she pushes me to slam with a hand that doesn't quite justify it and I compound the error by going for 6 No Trump, which goes down three, instead of Hearts, which would be down one. Correct that one and we'd be over 50%. We finish with 49.56%, 10th out of 15 North-Souths. Here's that hand. 

 North (me):      A 6 3 A J 9 Q 10 7 6 4 A J
 West:    Q 8 7 4 10 6 K J 5 Q 8 7 2
 East:    J 5 2 8 5 4 3 2 K 10 6 5 4
 South (Pawan)      K 10 9 K Q 7 3 2 A 9 8 9 3

         We face all three of the day's big winners in two-board rounds in the morning. We're 53% against overall champs Jay Levy and Fred Yellen, 42% against runners-up Martha and John Welte and 9% against C strat leaders Jim Lanzo and Beena Deshmukh, who are one of only two pairs who jump to a 4 Spade contract and get a top board. My Saturday partner, Selina Volpatti, is there with her priest friend, Chris Kulig. We're 61.9% against them.
         North-South in the morning, East-West in the afternoon. Pawan is flagging. She stumbles on a slam contract that she admits she should have made. I'm growing cautious and don't push to game a couple times when it should have been the obvious move.  
Even so, we do better. An even 53%. Eighth in the B strat. 0.31 of a silver point. Selina and Chris Kulig are in the other section and register 53.92%, which puts them first in the C strat. They get 1.20 points. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bridge Blog 975: TWTWTW (abbreviated) -- Sept. 11 to Sept. 14

         Started off nicely enough, then took a nosedive. Hope my game resurfaces for the Buffalo Fall Sectional Tournament this weekend.
         Monday: After Marilyn Sultz breaks our date for family reasons last week, I'm pleasantly surprised to get an invitation from Beena Deshmukh, a Lockport woman who often teams with my frequent partner Usha Khurana with good results. Beena is more reserved than most of my playmates, but she's solid and compatible. Our 54.17% is third in our direction and earns 1.23 points. We'll have to connect again.
         Tuesday: For once my high hopes of doing well with Dottie May are fulfilled. Not a spectacular game at 52.57% – tie for sixth overall – but even fractional points (0.89) are always welcome.
         Wednesday: Another lark with June Feuerstein in a six-table game, but we don't fly high enough. 49.17%. To scratch in our direction, we need some serious altitude – another 10 percentage points.

         Thursday: I desperately want to cheer up Marietta Kalman with a good game, but this is just the opposite. Our fault mostly, but not entirely. For instance, Myra Razik and Brian Block come along in the second round, pick up a hand that goes all the way to slam in every suit but Clubs, and turn out to be the only ones who bid it. 39.42%. Absolute dead last in this six-table session. Total points for the week so far: 2.12. For the month: 11.53. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Bridge Blog 974: TWTWTW Sept. 4 to Sept. 10

Monday: Double Labor Day session at the Airport Bridge Club with the usual hasty lunch included. And me with no partner, having decided to play at the last minute.
Morning finds me paired with Sam Austin, whom I know as a medical assistant who's often taken my weight and blood pressure at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Sam's getting back into the game – he doesn't even play weak two-bids or transfers over 1 No Trump openers – but we achieve a miracle anyway. 55.65%. Second in A and B strats in our direction. 1.29 points.
Afternoon teams me for the first time with Margaret Zhou, a more experienced newbie, but experience doesn't help us much. 45.56%. At least we're not last.
Tuesday: Again no partner, but this time club director Bill Finkelstein lines up a player with a lot of experience – Carolyn Siracuse. When Carolyn and I do well, we do very, very well, and this is one of those games. 59.67%. First north-south, second overall. 2.30 points.
Wednesday: Even a bad game doesn't diminish June Feuerstein's jolliness. And it isn't as bad as we think it's going to be. 47.96%. If only we could replay a couple of those bottom boards …
Thursday: My only game of the summer with Dede Kluckhohn, who wonders how much of her winter house on Sanibel Island in Florida will survive Hurricane Irma. We have an excellent time together – we were acquaintances back in the 1970s – but not an excellent game. 40.65%. Fortunately, that isn't last.
Friday: In need of a pick-me-up, I roll up to St. Catharines, Ont., and find one with my Canadian partner, Selina Volpatti, in a 17-table game. 62.38%. Second in the A strat, first in B. 1.28 points. Hope we do as well next Saturday in the Buffalo Fall Sectional Tournament.

Saturday: Saturday partner Denise Slattery and I are on a roll. 58.33%. First overall in a four-table game. 2.04 points. Total for the week: 6.91 points. For the month so far: 9.41. 

Bridge Blog 973: August over and out

Club points for the year, through Aug. 31: 101.42, up 16.10 since July. Despite maintaining my 15-point-per-month average, I'm eclipsed by Ken Meier and now residing in third place in the Ace of Clubs race (club play only) among Ruby Life Masters (1,500 to 2,500 points) in ACBL Unit 116 (Buffalo only).
Here's the Top 10: Mike Silverman, 138.47, also first among all Unit 116 players; Ken Meier, 115.04, fifth in the unit; me, 101.42, eighth; Allen Beroza, 101.35, ninth; David Millward, 90.71, 17th; Fred Yellen, 77.92, 21st; Dorothy May, 62.89, 30 th; Gene Finton, 61.38, 32nd; Chuck Schorr, 31.54, 82nd; and Art Morth, 30.30, 88th.
Among all Unit 116 players in the Ace of Clubs race, the Top 10 looks like this: Mike Silverman still on top, 138.47; then Jerry Geiger, 132.46; Liz Clark, 125.44; Airport Bridge Club August master point race champ Denise Slattery, 116.18; Ken Meier, 115.04; Judi Marshall, 112.30; John Ziemer, 108.82; me, 101.42; Allen Beroza, 101.35; and Mike Ryan, 100.20. Just missing the century mark are Martin Pieterse, 99.87; Ron Henrikson, 97.46; and Martha and John Welte, both 95.83.
Overall points for the year, as of Aug. 31: 119.49, up by just those 16.10 club points since July. Here again I slip down a notch in the Mini-McKenney race (all points earned everywhere) to third fourth among Ruby Life Masters in Unit 116, surpassed by Allen Beroza.  
         Here's how the leaders look: Ken Meier, 221.73 (fifth among all Unit 116 players, up from sixth); Mike Silverman, 143.92 (holding steady in 12th overall); Allen Beroza, 126.20 (19th), me, 119.49 (still 22nd); Fred Yellen, 105.68 (29th); David Millward, 104.97 (30th); Dorothy May, 68.43 (53rd); Gene Finton, 68.40 (54th); Art Morth, 41.80 (87th); and Chuck Schorr, 33.31 (109th).
This month five of the overall Unit 116 Mini-McKenney leaders are above the 200-point mark and there are new faces on top – Martha and John Welte, both with 261.94 points. Right behind them is Davis Heussler with 259.48.
Then it's Mike Ryan, 225.58; Ken Meier, 221.73; John Ziemer, 188.81; Jay Levy, 188.77; Linda Burroughsford, 180.86; Liz Clark, 158.41; Jerry Geiger, 157.20; Dian Petrov, 154.96; and Mike Silverman, 143.92.
District 5 (Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh) Ace of Clubs. Ruby Life Masters. I’m hanging in at third place in my division, and 18th overall, down one notch from 17th. We Buffalo players have the top four spots and six of the Top 10.
Mike Silverman is the leader with 138.47. He continues to be  fourth among all District 5 Mini-McKenney players. Second is Ken Meier, 115.04 (12th overall); then me, 101.42 (18th); Allen Beroza, 101.35 (19th); Allen Selling of Erie, Pa.; 96.20 (26th overall); Chantal Whitney of Bratenahl, Ohio, last month, Boca Raton, Fla., this month, 94.58 (37th); David Millward, 90.71 (40th); Susan Konig of Bridgeville, Pa., 82.45 (50th); Fred Yellen, 77.92 (59th); and Doris Kirsch of East Springfield, Pa., 72.86 (67th).
         District 5 Ace of Clubs overall. Here Arlene Port of Pittsburgh (161.68) has overtaken last month's leader, Robert Alexander of Mentor, Ohio, (151.29).
They're followed by Asim Ulke of Monroeville, Pa., 143.12; Mike Silverman, 120.13; Stephanie Alexander of Mentor, 135.45; Jerry Geiger, 132.46; Richard Katz of North Versailles, Pa., 131.75, jumping ahead of Patricia Katz of Pittsburgh, 131.17; Liz Clark,125.44, slipping past Barbara Belardi of Pittsburgh, 118.85; Denise Slattery, 116.18; and Ken Meier, 115.04.
District 5 Mini-McKenney. Ruby Life Masters.  Sue Lan Ma of Kirtland Hills, Ohio, continues on top by a wide margin. She’s got 614.04. First in the division and first in the district overall. The rest of the Top 10: Craig Biddle of Pittsburgh, still second with 411.82 (eighth overall); William Lindgren of Slippery Rock, Pa., still third with 241.34 (22nd); Ken Meier, 221.73 (28th); Charles Ladiha of Vermillion, Ohio, 176.84 (51st); Russell Sheldon of Pittsburgh, 151.68 (63rd); Mike Silverman, 143.92 (68th); Jean Picone of Pittsburgh, 128.05 (82nd); Leroy Hackenberg II of Pittsburgh, 127.05 (84th); Allen Beroza, 126.20 (86th); Wayne Heritage of North Olmsted, Ohio, 123.63 (91st); and me! 119.49 (still 12th among Ruby Life Masters, but 98th overall, down from 94th).  
         District 5 Mini-McKenney overall. Sue Lan Ma, 614.04; Reanette Frobouck still second, but only advancing about 17 points to 455.94; Kathleen and Don Sulgrove of Twinsburg, Ohio, 444.54 and 439.18, respectively; with Phillip Becker of Beachwood, Ohio, leaping up between them with 443.83.
Then it's Bernie Greenspan of Beachwood, Ohio, slipping one notch to sixth with 435.34; followed by Philip Goulding of Wexford, Pa., 424.14; Craig Biddle of Pittsburgh, 411.82; and Robert and Stephanie Alexander of Mentor, Ohio, 390.19 and 374.02.
Nationwide. Ace of Clubs. Ruby Life Masters. Still Thomas Roberg, Raleigh, N.C., 235.28; then a shuffle in the next four places – Robert Shearer of Diberville, Miss, 222.04; Ben Franz, Edgewood, N.M., 220.07; Gary Waldron, Laguna Beach, Calif., 218.29; Dennis Harris, Corvallis, Ore., 215.03 – and a couple more over 200, Barry Nish of Little Neck, N.Y., 207.54; and Sidney Perutz of Dallas, 205.88. Mike Silverman is 73rd up from 76th. Ken Meier is 168th, up from 394th. I'm 292nd, up from 320th. Alan Beroza checks in at 294th. David Millward is 450th. The list cuts off at 87.65.
Nationwide. Ace of Clubs overall. A shakeup at the top. Bill Kulbersh of Atlanta (464.69) overtakes Bella Ionis-Sorren of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (417.86), who drops to third behind Gail Wells of Dallas (430.10). Kay Schulle of Purchase, N.Y. (381.25) stays in fourth place, followed by Irva Neyhart of Corvallis, Ore. (362.79); Marion Gebhardt of Richardson, Texas, 343.32; and Sheila Gabay of Newton, Mass., 342.07. No Unit 116 players here and only two from District 5 – Arlene Port is 326th and Robert Alexander is 438th. The list cuts off at 145.53.  
Nationwide. Mini-McKenney. Ruby Life Masters. Here it continues to be Gillian Miniter of New York City, 769.65; Sudhakar Divakaruni of Scottsdale, Ariz., 700.65; District 5's Sue Lan Ma, 614.04; Jeff Edelstein of Riverview, Fla., 502.20; and Mark Blanchard of Bay Shore, L.I., 454.51. Unit 116's Ken Meier is 118th. Mike Silverman is right where the list cuts off at No. 500 with his 143.92.
Nationwide. Mini-McKenney overall.  Ongoing leader Chris Compton of Dallas has surpassed the double-century mark with 2,032.87. Then it's Kevin Dwyer of Melbourne, Fla., 1,831.45; Mark Itabashi of Murrieta, Calif., 1,696.81; Greg Hinze of San Antonio, Texas, 1,611; and Jeff Meckstroth of Clearwater Beach, Fla., 1,605.95. 1,436.35.
Former Buffalonian Joel Wooldridge is 26th with 1,162.04. Sue Lan Ma is 118th, up from 133rd. Reanette Frobouck is 269th, down from 193rd. Ten District 5 players make the list before the it ends at 353.75.