Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bridge Blog 433: Toronto

          Someone suggested to me that it would be easier to earn big gold points at the North American Bridge Championships in Toronto this week. Not so. I tried. I didn’t get ‘em.
          Partner Ruthie Kozower and I zipped up the QEW Wednesday morning, met up with teammates Bob and Judy Kaprove, and settled into the afternoon knock-out game on the second sub-basement level of the Sheraton Crowne Plaza. They should have called it slam-dunk. We were the dunkees and we were slammed.
          Our opponents, a couple from Palm Springs, Calif., bid and made slams in the first two hands we played against them. The Kaproves bid and made the first slam, but didn’t bid the second. It all went downhill from there. By the time we broke after the first 12 board, we were down by 59 International Match Points.
          Insurmountable? Maybe not. One the first board on the second half of the match, Bob bid a Club, the Palm Springers doubled, I bid a Spade with four of them and a wretched 4 to 6 point hand, the Palm Springers doubled again, and that turned out to be the contract – 1 Spade doubled vulnerable. Bob, of course, had a good hand and, thanks to a cross-ruff (one of my favorite devices in Toronto, as it turned out), I wound up making 3 Spades for a plus 560 score. We are on the rebound, I thought. But we weren’t. They beat us by another 9 or 10 IMPs in the second half. And that plus 560? A loser. The other Palm Springs bid and made 3 No Trump against the Kaproves for plus 600.
          No games Wednesday night held out the promise of gold, so we decided not to play if we could get tickets for the show at the Royal Alexandra Theatre – Carrie Fisher’s one-woman act, “Wishful Drinking.” It turned out to be our best two hours in Toronto.
          Thursday was no better. We played pairs this time. Judy and Ruthie in the non-life master game; Bob and I in the unlimited group. Judy and Ruthie got some red points for a pair of games a bit better than 50%. Bob and I had a 43.04% game in the morning – not last, but pretty low – and improved to 47.53% in the afternoon. We would have needed at least 50% to get red points, 60% to get gold.
          So much for Toronto. Next week – Syracuse.

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