By a quirk of luck, I have Friday night free and Dian Petrov is marking the first anniversary of his Bridge Club Meridian, successor to B&P Duplicate, with a game and a little celebration. Judy Kaprove agrees to be my partner and shows up in her best board of directors clothes, gray sweater and silver necklace, looking quite fine.
The reason I have Friday night free is because Monica is having a girls’ night at our house with her old workplace buddies from Computer Task Group and, having straightened and primped the place as much as I could, I hit the streets more than an hour before the start of the game. Giving me that much time is never a good idea, because I always find a way to fill it up.
In this case, I go shopping at the Target off Niagara Falls Boulevard, not far from the game, and after getting into a chat with a salesgirl in the electronics department about the Samsung Fascinate smart phone, an object of my desire (and an object which she happened to own), time gets tight. I rush down into the construction zone on Koenig Circle and slide into the parking lot behind a black Cadillac with a big white New York Yankees logo in the tinted back window. Bert Hargeshimer. I should have known.
At any rate, the social hall is full of good cheer, plenty of food (notably Carolyn Siracuse’s heavenly manicotti) and Judy has staked out a North-South for us on Table 7. But when it comes time to play, we have to move. There are only enough people for four tables. It’s a Howell. We start out against a pair we know – Betty Metz and Franklin Kidd, both board members – and figure we’re off to a poor start because they get all the cards. Especially after they bid and make a 6 Diamond slam.
Sometimes a Howell movement puts you in a place where you hit all the good hands just right, but that isn’t our fate. In fact, club manager and director Dian Petrov has arranged for pre-dealt hands and they give us fits. Or rather, misfits. And then sometimes we just go off the deep end all by ourselves (see Blog 396).
It’s good to play against these kinds of players, i.e, tougher ones, Judy sums up when it’s all over. Guess so. It’s sort of a Buffalo Whist Club crowd, although I thought for sure there would be more than seven other pairs of them. In the end, we pull a 47.62% result, not last, but certainly not worthy of masterpoints. In a small game like this, you have to be consistently good. We're either very bad – eight absolute bottoms – or very good – two tops and five ties for tops in 28 hands (one of those ties for top is that 6 Diamond slam, it makes an overtrick and our opponents didn’t). Before the bulk of the crowd adjourns to the nearby Applebee’s on Niagara Falls Boulevard for drinks, there’s the matter of leftover food. Take some manicotti, Carolyn insists. Gladly.