Turns out Tuesday night partner Rose Cassman, the book-selling lady in the lobby, wants to play the two-session pairs game, not another night game. So we do. And, given room for improvement from our 41% effort Tuesday night, we improve.
In the morning, we bring a 52.73% game, earning 1.18 red points. We're seventh among North-Souths in the B strat overall, third in our section.
Our best moment: Making a 4 Spades doubled contract against Dian Petrov and Kamil Bishara for an outright top board.
Our worst: Watching Fred Yellen and Bud Seidenberg make a 6 Heart slam. Five East-Wests bid it, all should have made it, but only three did (the other two also were top-of-the-line players – Vera Carpenter and Rashid Kahn, who were the overall winners, and Bill Rushmore and Art Morth).
And then there was the one that could have been a top or a bottom, but turned out somewhere in between: 4 Hearts redoubled vulnerable against Sandi England and Ken Meier, a good bet except their Hearts split 5-0. That minus 400, however, still gave us 7 out of 19 match points. Every North-South is in Hearts (we South players have eight of them), 12 get doubled and only one of them beats it.
The afternoon finds me taking most of our bids, but doing not as well – 51.15%. Biggest missed opportunity – not bidding slam on the hand that makes 7 Clubs or 7 No Trump, this one:
Spades: 4; Hearts: A-K-J-4; Diamonds: 8-4; Clubs: A-K-Q-10-6-2.
West (Walt Olszewski)
Spades: J-9-3; Hearts: Q-10-8-7-5-2; Diamonds: K-7-6-3; Clubs: none.
North (Rose, the dealer)
Spades: A-K-Q-6; Hearts: none; Diamonds: A-Q-J-9; Clubs: 9-8-7-4-3.
East (Martin Pieterse)
Spades: 10-8-7-5-2; Hearts: 9-6-3; Diamonds: 10-5-2; Clubs: J-5.
Rose opens a Diamond, I bid 2 Clubs, she bids 2 Spades, I jump to 3 NT. Bidding closed. Guilty as charged. I feel my slam-sense tingling, Spider-man style, but decide to ignore it. We pay the price.
Five pairs bid 7 Clubs and make it. Two bid 6 NT and make an overtrick. Eight bid 6 Clubs and get an overtrick. Three of us unfortunates stop at 3 NT. And three even more unlucky pairs stop at 5 Clubs. Going to 6 Club slam would get us an extra 5 match points. Going to 6 NT would yield an extra 10. Amazingly, it would not get us any more master points.
We’d still be first in the B strat in our section, of course. (Plus, as Rose reminds me when it's over, we get a prize for being first.) We'd still be seventh in B overall. And we'd still collect 3.53 points, 1.18 red and 2.35 gold.
In the evening, in the severe air-conditioned chill in the main ballroom, they need another pair to fill out the fifth table in a five-table Howell game. None other than Mike Ryan agrees to play with me and they waive the $12 fee for each of us.
Mike is good, a true A player, but the Howell seems to work against us. Our cards suck. The only stationary North-South pair – John and Diane Bielinski – are the winners. Somehow we make a respectable 52.91% showing (my highest percentage of the day), but we're fifth overall. Only the top four get points.