Friday, April 8, 2011

Bridge Blog 404: It's a partnership game

          The Bridge Bulletin asked the players who topped the Ace of Clubs and Mini-McKenney races about partners. Some, like Charles Christmas, who topped my Ace of Clubs bracket, thanked Phil, another Tallahassee player with almost as many points, and it got me thinking – should I cultivate one of the better players as a regular partner?
          I suspect that if I were playing with someone like Meg Klamp, I couldn’t fail. But in that case my games this week with a succession of C players should have been fruitless and that was hardly the case.
          On Monday, I had a 56.85% game with perky Marilyn Sultz where we were on offense on 19 of the 28 hands and she was declarer on 12 of them. We wound up fourth overall North-South, third in the B strat. This being a month of double points, we earned 0.84.
          Tuesday found me with worrying Marietta Kalman, a more sophisticated player than Marilyn, but someone who bids quite differently than I do. I’m hardly faultless when it comes to bidding, but on this particular day, Marietta and I could not seem to communicate. And we paid for it. At 39.29%, we were dead last.
          I should have played with my regular midweek partner, Celine Murray, on Wednesday, but she’s been felled by that nasty cold that’s going around. She canceled on Monday, calling in the middle of the game, and I was able to pick up another date with Marilyn Sultz. This time we fared even better – first overall with a stellar 62.08%, which gave us 1.98 points. Some of it was luck, to be sure (see Blog 402), but I won’t scoff at good fortune.
          Thursday brought me together with the lovely Pawan Matta, who has fewer than 50 points and plays no fancy conventions. We do nothing more than have a good time, but it was a better than average time in the end – 55.19%, tied for fourth overall, tied for second in the B strat, another 1.34 points in this 11.5 table game.
          No surprise, then, that I was feeling confident when I sat down Friday with sweet Usha Khurana, with whom I play more often than any of my other partners this week. We started fine – we had 24.5 of a possible 40 match points after two rounds – but then the cards stopped coming and the opponents started finding their bids. Plus we were falling a trick short of what others were doing. The one I remember most was the bottom board we got when I doubled a 4 Heart contract and they made it. Not that it was a bad double. No other East-West took 10 tricks in Hearts. Had we defended better, it would have been a top. It wound up being a 45% day – not last, but when the point winners were announced, we weren’t among them.
          Still, it’s a good week. Add the .45 point I got with Dottie May last Saturday and the April total so far stands at 4.61.

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