Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bridge Blog 887: Spring Sectional Roundup

Aside from passing the 2,000-point milestone with my paltry 0.58 points last Sunday, I was among the stragglers in the master point derby at the Buffalo Spring Sectional. I was there only one day, due to the health concerns of my other half, and that 0.58 was all I got. In all 158 players earned points. I was in an 11-way tie for 134th.
        Topping the list was Jay Costello, with 20.16 points. Remarkably, very few of them came from the Sunday Swiss team game, which is usually where the tournament leaders fatten up their point totals. He cleaned up in the two-session pairs games – an even 8 points on Friday for coming in second with Bud Seidenberg (third overall with 14.51), an even 11 points on Saturday for a first-place finish with his wife, Donna Steffan (fifth overall with 12.75).
        Second was perennial winner Saleh Fetouh with 17.17, only 3.21 from Swiss teams. One of his Swiss teammates, David Hemmer, was fourth with 13.87.
        What happened in the Swiss teams? The usual local suspects got shut down. Out-of-towners, a foursome from the Rochester area, took first place. A Canadian collection of players finished fourth.
Second was a group of local dark horses – Sue Neubacker, Dian Petrov, Eva Schmidt and Bob Padgug. And third were John and Martha Welte (tied for seventh overall with 10.42 points), in league with Linda Burroughsford and Tom Koralewski.
Was this tournament really tied for most successful (i.e., best attended), as Betty Metz announced. Or was it just the Swiss team game she was talking about? A check of tournament archives for the past couple years suggests it was more or less a return to normal.
This year 158 players earned points. There were 25 tables in Swiss teams, which is pretty darn good. And 156 total tables.  
Winter 2016 – 137 players earning points. 23 tables in Swiss teams. 136 total tables.
Fall 2015 – 149 players earning points. Just 16 Swiss team tables. 139 total tables.
Spring 2015 – 147 players earning points. 23 Swiss team tables. 145 total tables.
Winter 2015 – 162 players earning points. 23 Swiss team tables. 156 total tables.
Fall 2014 – 163 players earning points. 25 Swiss team tables. 164 total tables.
Spring 2014 – 174 players earning points. 25 Swiss team tables. 157 total tables.

Winter 2014 – 142 players earning points. 23 Swiss team tables. 132 total tables. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bridge Blog 886: Don't look now, but ...

         I just passed the magic 2,000 master point mark. According to the ACBL, as of March 31, my career total stood at 1,994.15. So far in April, there have been extra point games at the Airport Bridge Club and I’ve collected a few.
        April 1 with Dottie May, 57.28%, tied for first, 1.79 points.
        April 2 with Ron Henrikson, 48.44%, first in C through the miracle of stratification, 1.10 points.
        April 4 with Usha Khurana, 47.22%, third in B, another miracle, 0.98 point.
        April 5 with Barbara Sadkin, 56.25%, second in A North-south, 1.58 point.
        April 7 with Judie Bailey, 44.58%, no miracles, no points.
        That’s 5.45 club points, plus 1,994.15 = 1,999.60.

        So it actually finally happened in today’s Swiss team game in the sectional tournament. Hallelujah! Those two winning rounds for 0.58 points were just enough put me over the threshold. 

Bridge Blog 885: Out like a lamb

        What with the press of work and my significant other’s health crisis, I needed this Sunday night off to finally get a belated look at the ACBL master point races, which were updated to the end of March in the middle of last week. So how do I measure up against the rest of the bridge world at the finish of the first quarter? Let’s see.
        Unit 116 (Buffalo only). Ace of Clubs. Club play only. I have 30 points even, good for fourth place among Ruby Life Masters (1,500 to 2,500 points) and ninth among all players in the unit. Here are the leaders:
        Mike Silverman, 39.14 (second among all players in the unit); Gene Finton (who’s listed with a hometown of Delray Beach, Fla.), 33.04; Ken Meier, 31.02; me, 30; Bill Finkelstein, 25.47; Allen Beroza, 24.77; Fred Yellen, 23.72; Vince Pesce, 16.87; Chuck Schorr, 14.08; Anne Watkins, 13.50; Sue Bergman, 12.29; and Claire Gareleck, 11.77.
        Among all Unit 116 players, it’s an interesting leaderboard.  It looks like this:
        Meg Klamp, 52.63 (with a Fort Myers, Fla., hometown – she hasn’t come north yet this year); Mike Silverman, 39.14; Gene Finton, 33.04; John Ziemer, 32.82; Mike Ryan, 32.26; Ken Meier, 31.02; Martin Pieterse and Liz Clark, tied with 30.03; me with 30; Judy Padgug, 28.89; Jerry Geiger, 28.26; Ron Henrikson, 28.14; Bill Boardman, 28.12; Judi Marshall, 27.79; and John Welte, 27.29 (ahead of wife Martha, who’s 16th with 26.34).
        Unit 116 Mini-McKenney. All points earned everywhere. My grand total for the year so far is 34.90, good for fourth on this list of Ruby Life Masters, too, and 22nd among all local players. Here are the leaders:
        David Hemmer, 48.95; Fred Yellen, 40.17; Mike Silverman, 39.92; me, 34.90; Ken Meier, 33.36; Gene Finton, 33.04 (no tournaments down there in Florida, eh?); Allen Beroza, 32.56; Bill Finkelstein, 25.47; Sharon Gerstman, 21.61; Art Morth, 18.84.
        Among all Unit 116 players, the leader is Saleh Fetouh with a pretty amazing 173.99. Meg Klamp is next with 87.24, followed by John Welte (enhanced by his good showing in the Toronto Regional) with 67.79; Jay Levy, 67.39; Martha Welte, 66.84; Mike Ryan, 64.34; Ron Henrikson, 59.15; Davis Heussler, 56.56; Linda Burroughsford, 55.37; and David Hemmer, 48.95 (no club play for him).
        District 5 (Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh). Ace of Clubs. Ruby Life Masters. I’m eighth, 39th among all players in the district. Unit 116 players take half of the top ten positions. Mike Silverman leads the list and is seventh overall. Gene Finton is third. Ken Meier is seventh. Bill Finkelstein is tenth.
        Overall Ace of Clubs leaders are Patricia Katz of Pittsburgh, 61.27; Richard Katz of North Versailles, Pa., 55.32; W. Tordella of Bemus Point, N.Y., 53.68; then Meg Klamp. Former Buffalonian Bev Cohen, now a Clevelander, is tenth with 37.97.
        District 5 Mini-McKenney. Leading the Ruby Life Masters are Sue Lan Ma of Kirtland Hills, Ohio, with 89.79; Barry Boyd, Wheeling, W.VA., 84.59; Jean Picone, Pittsburgh, 68.09; Harvey Cohen, Winter Haven, Fla., 61.83; and Chantal Whitney, Shaker Heights, Ohio, 53.38. David Hemmer is seventh. Fred Yellen is 12th. I’m 106th.
        Overall leader is good old Reanette Frobouck from Pittsburgh with 285.69. Saleh Fetouh is second. Ohio players fill out the rest of the top 10. Meg Klamp is 17th.
        Nationwide? I don’t make the Ace of Clubs Top 500 for Ruby Life Masters. It cuts off at 31.97. Top dog here is Ed Rauch of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with 80.69; followed by Babs Dippell of Bay Harbor, Fla., with 76.49; and Michael Rosen of Freehold, N.J., with 76.44. Six other players have more than 70 club points. Mike Silverman is 232nd.  
        Ace of Clubs nationwide? Topping all players is Bill Kulbersh of Atlanta with 199.31 (wow!). Then Sean Ganness of Miami, 145.74. And Bella Ionis-Sorren of Fort Lauderdale, 143.52. In all, 21 players have more than 100 club points.
        Mini-McKenney nationwide? Tops among Ruby Life Masters are Mary Jane and Michael Gladfelter of Columbus, Ohio, both with 239.96; followed by Oren Kriegel of Chicago with 227.65; Cookie Potter of Boca Grande, Fla., with 225.33; and Joan Cremin of Paradise Valley, Ariz., with 220.65. District 5 leader Sue Lan Ma is 122nd. No Unit 116 players on this list, which ends at 57.61.

        Among all players, it’s Kevin Dwyer of Melbourne, Fla., with 863.45, which will give him 3,400-plus if he keeps up the pace all year. Next is a familiar face, Jeff Meckstroth of Clearwater Beach, Fla., with 841.38. Then it’s Chris Compton of Dallas with 820.89. District 5 leader Reanette Frobouck is 92nd. Unit 116 leader Saleh Fetouh is 285th. 

Bridge Blog 884: Buffalo Spring Sectional

        I just got a call from my Monday partner. She didn’t see me in the Main-Transit Fire Hall Friday or Saturday and she was wondering if I’m OK. I am, I assured her (as I assured several folks at the tournament during the Swiss team finale on Sunday, when I finally showed up), but I had to accompany Monica to Roswell Park Cancer Institute on Friday to talk with a breast cancer surgeon. And Saturday? Well, she guilt-tripped me into canceling out.
        That was just as well. It would have been hard to justify spending another day (or two) playing as poorly as Judie Bailey and I did on Sunday in our return engagement with Bob Sommerstein and Larry Abate. In the first two rounds, which we lost by margins of 34-1 and 37-16 International Match Points, we stumbled repeatedly into disastrous 3 No Trump contracts.
        Happily, we emerged from our funk to capture the next two rounds – defeating the father-genius 10-year-old son pair and our good friends Betty Metz and Helen Panza. We enhanced our victorious spirits during the lunch break with thoughts of how we could still take home extra master points by winning the last three rounds.
        That dream faded quickly. We might have beaten the Chip Kean-Jim McClure team if they hadn’t beaten Judie on a 3 NT contract that their teammates were able to consummate with an overtrick. Nothing, however, could have turned the tide in a 36-0 drubbing at the hands of the Kozower-Kaprove team. And our teammates zigged on slams in the final round when they should have zagged, overbidding to slam on one hand that wouldn’t make it, underbidding on the one that would – setting us back 24 IMPs in a game we lost 28-17.
        Nevertheless, this day of Swiss team play wasn’t a total loss. Our two winning rounds were worth 0.29 of a silver point apiece.
        Random notes: Betty Metz announced in her welcoming remarks that this was a record-tying turnout for Swiss teams – 25 foursomes. Winners, best as I could determine, were a group of out-of-towners.

        Director Brian Meyer, setting a time after which he would not allow players to begin a new hand, got the game over by 5 p.m. by maintaining 50-minute rounds (although tables were being folded up all round Judie and me as we finished a dismally slow final round against Jan and Carl Hasselback). Brian also broke in yet another family member as a caddie – his 11-year-old son, Jackson. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Bridge Blog 883: Leap Month

The Airport Bridge Club regulars took most of the places in the upper echelons of the Unit 116 Ace of Clubs master point races once the ACBL posted its February updates. Thank you, club director Bill Finkelstein, for getting them to the church on time.
On top of the Ace of Clubs heap for the whole unit is Meg Klamp with 33.87, but we haven’t seen her in these parts yet this year. She’s amassing those points down in Florida. Next come Mike Silverman, tops in my division, the Ruby Life Masters (1,500 to 2,500 points) with 27.70, and fellow Ruby player Ken Meier with 22.68. I’m next, fourth in the whole unit with 22.18. Right behind me are Jerry Geiger with 22.15 and John Ziemer with 20.84.
Amongst the Ruby crowd, I’m third. Then come Allen Beroza, 18.81; Fred Yellen, 17.98; Gene Finton, 13.34; Vince Pesce, 11.04; Anne Watkins, 10.28; Bill Finkelstein, 8.95; and Claire Gareleck, 8.34.
Of course, 15.18 of my club points came in January, along with another 3.22 silver points in the Buffalo Winter Sectional. February, then, actually was a major letdown. Just 7 club points, plus 1.68 elsewhere for a to-date total for the year of 27.08. That puts me fourth among Ruby Life Masters in Unit 116, and 18th overall among all Buffalo players on the Mini-McKenney list, which includes all points earned everywhere.
The Ruby Mini-McKenney list goes like this: David Hemmer, 45.69; Fred Yellen, 32.35; Mike Silverman, 28.48; then me at 27.08; Ken Meier, 23.94; Sharon Gerstman, 21.61; Allen Beroza, 20.13; Art Morth, 16.64; Claire Gareleck, 13.61; and Gene Finton, 13.34.
Overall Mini-McKenney leader, no surprise, is Saleh Fetouh with 105.20, followed by Jay Levy, 52.74; Ron Henrikson (yes, surprise), 47.29 (must be doing very, very well down in Florida); then David Hemmer’s 45.69; Meg Klamp, 44.86; Bud Seidenberg, 39.05; Mike Ryan, 33.71; Jim and Paula Jones from up in Newfane, tied with 32.96; and Judy Padgug, 32.69.
Moving on to the District 5 level (Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh), Mike Silverman tops the Ace of Clubs list among Ruby Life Masters, but Ken Meier is fourth, behind James Quigley and Ami Ellis, both of Pittsburgh, with 23.69 and 22.95, respectively. I’m sixth, behind the formidable Sue Lan Ma of Kirtland Hills, Ohio, who is tied for fourth with Ken Meier with 22.68. Allen Beroza is seventh, Fred Yellen is ninth. We Unit 116ers hold half of the top 10 positions, but none of the next 10.
Overall District 5 Ace of Clubs leaders are Patricia Katz of Pittsburgh with 48.52 and Richard Katz of North Versailles, Pa., with 47.28. Someone named D. Pierce of Parkersburg, W. Va., is third with 35.43, followed by our own snowbird Meg Klamp. Mike Silverman’s fifth. I’m 23rd.
District 5 Mini-McKenney leaders amongst us Ruby Life Masters are Sue Lan Ma with 79.86, followed by Barry Boyd of Wheeling, W. Va., with 72.47; and Harvey Cohen of Winter Haven, Fla., a snowbird with 51.98. David Hemmer is fourth. I’m 17th among the Rubys and 89th overall among all District 5 players.
Topping District 5 overall is the estimable Reanette Frobouck from Pittsburgh with 186.32, followed by good old Michael Craeger of Bedford, Ohio, with 109.15. Our own Saleh Fetouh is third. The aforementioned Richard Katz is fourth with 97.90 and the familiar Fleur Howard of Gates Mills, Ohio, is a very close fifth with 97.87. Sue Lan Ma is 12th.
Ace of Clubs leader for the entire nation among Ruby Life Masters is Edward Rauch of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with 73.44; followed by Marc Raphael of Scottsdale, Ariz., with 59.77. Ken Hardcastle, who sometimes plays here when he’s up from Georgia, he’s in 46th place with 35.76. Another of our snowbirds, David Millward, is 85th with 33.07. Mike Silverman is there, tied for 185th. I’m there, tied for 442nd with Jim Adams of Webster City, Iowa.
National Mini-McKenney leader among Ruby Life Masters is Cookie Potter (love that name) from Boca Grande, Fla., with 167.16. Right on her heels are Mary Jane and Michael Gladfelter from Columbus, Ohio, both with 167.11. Sue Lan Ma is 40th. David Hemmer is 309th. The list of 500 stops at 38.12.

Overall Mini-McKenney top dog for the entire nation at this point is Chris Compton of Dallas, with 575 even. In just two months! Next are two Californians, Mark Itabashi of Murrieta with 506.90 and David Grainger of Roseville with 480.08. Saleh Fetouh is 321st. The list stops with a familiar name, Charles Christmas of Tallahassee, Fla., who’s 500th with 88.65.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bridge Blog 882: St. Catharines Sectional

I always wish I could spend more time at the St. Catharines Sectional Tournament, but scheduling and the weather work against me. Instead of having morning and afternoon sessions, like the Buffalo sectionals, they have afternoon and evening on Friday and Saturday and those evening games are a pretty much a no-go for anyone in a relationship with someone who doesn’t play the game.
This year I was all set to play Friday and Saturday afternoon with Barbara Sadkin, but then she booked a trip to see her grandkids in Chicago. After a strong second place finish on Ground Hog Day, in our first game together in a long, long time, Helen Panza said she’d be interested in playing Saturday.
But then our first (and perhaps only) touch of deep winter roared in on Friday, with lake-effect snow and well-below-zero wind chills. Helen caught me on the Bluetooth as I was driving through a blinding squall Friday afternoon and said she didn’t think a drive to St. Catharines on Saturday would be such a good idea. I agreed. Instead, I went to the Airport Bridge Club both days. On Saturday, only four players made it there.
So it came down to Sunday Swiss teams. I took the night off from work and lined up a pair of solid players – Martin and Barbara Pieterse – to team with me and Selina Volpatti. But as I was asking them, she lined up a pair of players from the St. Catharines club – Amir Farsoud, the Iranian-born bridge teacher, and his partner, Peter Runcan.
It could have been good, but it wasn’t. Once Amir got Peter to show up (he thought the game started later than 10:30 a.m.), we got off to a poor start, losing our first two rounds. A pair of winning efforts left us at about 50 percent at the lunch break, with a shot at finishing among the leaders in the B strat.

That vanished in the fifth round, where we got shut out in victory points and Amir registered an official complaint because of the way our opponents from the Toronto area were bidding. We did no better against a pair from St. Catharines in the sixth round, but managed to salvage one more win in the last round. Our victory point total was a mere 85, well short the 129 or 130 it would take to snatch bonus points.  How much did we earn for our three winning rounds? Not sure. I didn’t see anything posted at the Holiday Inn Conference Center and the overall list of point winners still needs to be tabulated.  

Bridge Blog 881: Uncrowned

Yours truly was the winner of the January master point race at the Airport Bridge Club, but did my 15.18 tally find its way into the ACBL registry? Noooo.
Neither did any of the other point leaders at the club. Allen Beroza had 13.54 points; Mike Silverman, 13.44; Liz Clark, 13.18; Bill Boardman, 12.93; Dotty May, 10.95; Judi Marshall, 10.34; and Barbara Libby, 10.16.
Instead, the Unit 116 (Buffalo) Ace of Clubs race for all point divisions shows Meg Klamp, who’s wintering in Florida, on top with 27.16. Then it’s Jay Levy with 12.43 and Ron Henrikson (in Florida) with 11.27. I would be second, dammit!
As for the Mini-McKenney, which includes club and tournament play, my 3.22 silver points from the Buffalo Winter Sectional are there, but that’s it. In the new Ruby Life Master division (1,500 to 2,500 points), I’m ninth; 78th overall in the unit. Add in that 15.18 and I’m third, behind David Hemmer, who’s second in the unit overall with 43.34; and Sharon Gerstman, 21.61; but ahead of Fred Yellen, 16.32; and Art Morth, 12.97. Nobody else in this division is in double digits.
If we barely register in the Unit 116 listings, we’re virtually invisible in the District 5 races, where we usually dominate the Ace of Clubs. I would be the district leader among the Ruby Life Masters, fractionally ahead of the current No. 1 lady, Mary Lou Naughton of Pittsburgh, who has 15.05.
In all, 68 players are on that list. Not one of them comes from Unit 116. Put the Airport Club players in there and we hold our usual healthy chunk of the top 10.
At least some of us are represented in the Mini-McKenney. David Hemmer is second, behind perennial top dog Sue Lan Ma of Kirtland Hills, Ohio, who has 67.27. The rest of the top five are unfamiliar names – Barry Boyd of Wheeling, W. Va., 42.65; Darlene Mannheimer of Pittsburgh, 32.18; and John Bacon of Shaker Heights, Ohio, 32.11. Sharon Gerstman is eighth. The list (78 names) stops at 4.15 points.