Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bridge Blog 390: Rainy day plan

          I left today – Saturday – open on purpose. This is the weekend of the Hamilton Sectional Tournament, which I’ve played at least once in the past, and I fired off an e-mail to Selina Volpatti inviting her to renew our partnership there for the afternoon pairs session. But Selina  never e-mailed back and once I ventured out into that nasty wind-driven rain this morning, I was glad that I didn’t have an hour’s drive ahead of me on the Queen Elizabeth Way. It was enough of a struggle pushing through the rain to the Airport Bridge Club.
          Carolyn Siracuse hails me just as I get to the door of the place and wonders if I have a partner. Well, no, I say. How about if we play together, she says. Good idea, although club manager Bill Finkelstein frowns on such last-minute hook-ups. He does again this morning, but there’s little point in breaking us up for this four-table Howell game.
        (Not true, says Bill. Any arrangements we make before we walk in his door are OK with him. It's the hook-ups that people make while they're waiting inside for a partner assignment that he objects to.)
        Carolyn and I have a game that feels very good right from the first hand, where Paul Zittel bids 1 No Trump, then takes a super-acceptance of his wife’s transfer bid. She frowns. Down one, I predict out loud before the dummy comes down, and sure enough, he is. It’s a top board for us.
          With other partners, I’m often reluctant to keep bidding up to slams, but Carolyn seems to have no fear when it comes to that. The first time she boosts me up to the 6 level, the opponents discover the suit where we’re missing Ace and King and take the first two tricks. But we go to small slam twice more and make them both. One involves a suit – Spades – where we have all 13 of them. Everybody bids that one and makes six. The one nobody bids is a 6 Club contract, where I have a seven-card suit and Carolyn shows support by bidding 5 Clubs in a competitive auction.
          Our best hand of the day, however, is a slam we don’t bid. Against Mike Ryan and Jerry Geiger – the pair with the most masterpoints in the room – I open a Heart, holding six of them. Geiger doubles. Carolyn bids 4 Hearts. Ryan goes 4 Spades. I take another look at my hand. Six Hearts, four Spades to the Ace, singleton King of Clubs, Queen doubleton in Diamonds. Maybe we can set 4 Spades, maybe not. I bid 5 Hearts. Ryan doubles. The dummy comes down and it’s beautiful. Four Hearts, a single Spade, Ace of Clubs and a bunch of others, singleton King of Diamonds. Overtrick!
          When the scores are posted, we’re first overall by a wide margin – a 65.08% game. But no double points this month. We earn just 0.8 of a point. Add that to the 0.70 that I got with Flo Boyd on Thursday, when we finished second in A, first in B, with a 56.02% game, and there’s 1.5 points for the month so far. There’s sure to be something more to add to that on Sunday. It’s Swiss teams.

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