Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bridge Blog 420: Spring Sectional

          My misadventures continued at the Buffalo Spring Sectional Tournament on showery Saturday. On one of the first hands of the day, steering home what looked like an airtight 3 No Trump contract, I went on autopilot as I ran out the dummy’s long Club suit, so much so that I failed to notice that one of the opponents had absolutely no Clubs, which meant that the other one had 10-9-8-x-x.
So when I called for the last Club, I also failed to notice that the 10 beat it. And because I failed to notice it, I called for the dummy’s King of Diamonds, thinking dummy was still on lead. Mr. Long Club, however, had quickly led a Heart. The dummy was out of Hearts and the King had to stay as played.
So instead of a sure 3 NT, or down one, like I should have gone, I was down three. Bottom board, I reckoned ruefully. What a chump!
But that seemed to snap the morning session with Celine Murray into focus. We finished with 52.21% – best game I’d had all week -- just missing a place in the overall standings, but winding up eighth in A and fourth in B North-South (in two combined sections – 11½ and 12 tables). That small reward -- .71 point – nearly doubled my point count for May so far. And that godawful mental lapse wasn’t an absolute zero, after all. It earned 1.62 game points (out of a possible 17). Others apparently failed miserably there, too.
The afternoon session was smaller (two sections of nine tables) and we weren’t as sharp. This time the North-Souths were separated into two sharply defined tiers – above 55% and down around 45%. Fortunately, we were among the best of the have-nots at 47.92%. Once again fourth in B, this time we earned .57 point – 1.28 for the day.
A cold, soaking-wet Sunday saw Swiss teams – 28 teams in all – and I had double booked for it. Back in January, I promised Flo Boyd and Faith Perry I’d play with them. Later, I unwittingly promised Usha Khurana and Dottie May and Janet Frisch I’d be on their team. I was unable to find a new partner, so the dilemma came to a head on Saturday. There were apologies and disappointments, but Janet, sainted Janet, managed to hook Usha up with the personable Dave Donaldson. They got along fabulously.
We played their team in the sixth round. By then, we recovered from our early defeats (shut out completely by experts Jim Mathis and Saleh Fetouh in the very first round) and, after winning two rounds, were tied for fourth in the C stratification.
But, alas, we failed badly, losing 27-13 in International Match Points on a fluke. Faith’s partner, the lovely Pawan Matta, revoked, allowing Usha and Dave to make a doubled contract where they should have been down two. Without that, we’d beat them 19-15. After another loss in our final round, we took consolation in the small fruits of those victories in the two rounds, .26 point each. Tournament total – 1.80. Total for May – 2.76. Still needed for 1,100 points lifetime – 5.39.
Postscript on tournament amenities: Main-Transit Fire Hall is big, bright and commodious as ever, a good place to play. Padded chairs, too. We look forward to Unit 116’s new, larger tables, due to arrive this summer. The old tiny ones were cramped and spartan.
Hospitality, courtesy of Tova Reinhorn, consisted of bagels (nice ones from Wegmans) and cream cheese on Friday and Saturday mornings, donuts on Sunday. For the afternoon, cheese and crackers and a fruit tray. For Sunday's brief lunch break, they had ham or turkey subs for $8, which, sad to say, were not as tasty as those slices of six-foot party subs at the Airport Bridge Club for free. My sub was so big I gladly sold half of it to Pawan. I didn’t drink the coffee (which leaked massively from one of the urns on Friday) or the pop, but when I took a glass of ice water on Sunday, it was so heavily chlorinated I found it undrinkable and poured it out. Do people in Amherst suffer from water like this all the time?

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