Monday, July 18, 2011

Bridge Blog 428: The birthday round

          Monday the 18th was my 69th birthday and once again my birthday sister – Eleanor Whelan, born the same date but a little older – and I made a date to play together on our special day. Actually, this year she was the one who suggested it. We make this date every year, but we’ve only played together once. And on that one occasion, although we had a good time and although Eleanor is a good player, we fell short of our expectations.
          We didn’t play together this year, either. On Friday, Eleanor asked if I would play at the other club – Bridge Club Meridian – because she had things going on in the evening and she didn’t want to drive so far (she lives up in Niagara County). I demurred. Not that I wouldn’t want to play at Meridian once in a while, but because on this day I was taking my car to the body shop after the game and was relying on someone from the Airport Bridge Club to get me home from Sheridan Drive.
          So I showed up without a partner. Three other players were available, club manager Bill Finkelstein told me when I arrived, but given the choice between playing with him or playing with one another, they chose one another. Can I blame them? Bill is just way too critical. He may be right – he is, mostly – but all that approbation is inhibiting. With him, it’s hard to loosen up and have a good time.
          Sure enough, there were leads I ought to have led, bids I shouldn’t have bid, defensive tricks we should have nailed and one crashingly unsuccessful double of a 3 Heart contract that should have gone down. Nevertheless, thanks to Bill’s skills and a little bit of luck on my end, we wound up with a 63% game, first overall, bringing in 3.33 master points, this being a triple red point game. It was my best point haul since that second-place finish in the knock-outs last year at the Syracuse Regional and it put me in double digits for the month – a fraction above 12 points. A nice birthday present!

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