Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bridge Blog 434: Syracuse 1

            Let’s be honest. I didn’t really expect to win gold points in Toronto. Would have been nice, but I figured the competition would be pretty stiff. But Syracuse  is another story. Playing knock-outs with Bob and Judy Kaprove and Ruthie Kozower last year, we came in second and earned half a dozen gold. This year Bob is unavailable and after much contemplation, I lined up someone who had shown up without a partner last year – Debra Glamack, from Rochester.
            Debra’s a strong player, albeit a bit harsh (she e-mailed me an apology after a particularly awful session in a regional on Grand Island), and I had hopes for the knockouts. But we weren’t quite understanding one another and, after losing the first two rounds of a round robin by small margins, we won the next round by a small margin and lost the last one large. That large one hurt. Of the three round robin teams, we had the lowest Victory Point score. We were out.
            Which left us adrift for the evening. A youngish guy named Chris from Mississauga, with whom Debra plays bridge online, showed up and she said she wanted to play with him. They weren’t at the evening session, so perhaps they were reviewing their conventions. Best bet for the evening was Swiss teams, so I stepped over to the partnership table and immediately was teamed up with a guy named Peter Clark from Ottawa.
            Peter Clark should need no introduction, because everybody seems to know him and he seems to know everybody. How many points did he have? Doesn’t matter, he says. (I learn later that he has nearly 7,000.) What conventions does he play? What do you play, he says, he’ll do it. He played with 70 different partners so far this year. He said something about how he was late arriving because he had to attend a meeting about what to do with the ballpark in Ottawa. Turns out he’s a former reeve, i.e., city councilman. Or perhaps a current one. He's got a page on Wikipedia that says he's currently in office.
            Peter Clark also turned out to be an excellent bridge player, although I wasn’t reading him right all the time. My fault. But we won the first two rounds in the Swiss teams game by good margins (16-4 VPs both times) and were second going into the third round. Then we ran into the first place team, which beat us, 13-7, when Ruthie and Judy had a meltdown on a sure 4 Heart contract. And we butchered the final round, the most shameful moment being a mismatch (and a weak one, at that), where we went down four vulnerable at 3 No Trump. We were shut out on VPs entirely and sank to a tie for third in a six-team field. No points.
            Today, Thursday, we try again playing Swiss teams. And once again I’m looking for a partner. I ran into Buffalo players Meg Klamp and Joan Rose in the breakfast room at the Knights Inn here (across the street from the tournament site, the Holiday Inn in Liverpool) and they said they’d seen Debra this morning and rolled their eyes.

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