All the usual suspects were among the leaders after the morning session – Dan Gerstman, Jim Mathis, Bud Seidenberg, Saleh Fatouh, Chris Urbanek. They all were there and they certainly showed their superiority to us mere mortals. Aside from Chris Urbanek, Judy Kaprove and I didn’t run into the big guns in our 13-table section of the 25.5 table game, but we didn’t do much anyway – 47%, well below where we could get points. Looking over our successes and failures, I concluded that what hurt us most were those hands we overbid. There were quite a few of them.
The afternoon found us slowed down by our wonderful lunch at the Falafel Bar and making mistakes. In my dozy condition, I mistook an Ace of Diamonds for an Ace of Hearts on one hand and steered us into a Heart contract that was way inferior to the Spade game we should have made. Despite all that, we had a better round – 49.29%. “Hey,” one of our East-West opponents, Dian Petrov, announced, “you won .28 of a point!” And he was right. We were sixth in the B strat in our direction in the combined scores for the two sections. Well, better than no fraction of a point at all.
The winter tournament’s traditional site, the big upstairs meeting room in the Wick Center at Daemen College, is in the final stages of a between-semesters painting project, which means no curtains on that wall of windows. It was glare city during the sunny early round. Bob Andersen, who recently had cataract surgery, was wearing sunglasses.
Aside from a shortage of places to hang coats in the morning, all the arrangements seemed in order. The cranberry bread on the breakfast snack table was especially good – no need to stop for my morning cowboy cookie if this keeps up. For the afternoon – a tray of cut-up fruit, which disappeared almost completely.
New unit president Betty Metz – a less authoritative figure than her predecessor, Judie Bailey – kept her remarks brief and to the point. Tournament director Dick Rasmus did his usual job without any hitches that I noticed. Well, one – the serpentine arrangement of the tables in our section, which caused some confusion in passing the boards and consternation among East-Wests wondering where they should go next.