The Friday morning session of the Buffalo Winter Sectional was huge. Partner Florence Boyd and I were Pair 14 East-West and there was another section with another 14 tables. The play, on the other hand, was dull. No slams, no doubles, just a straight-ahead game with only two or three botched hands that gave us bottom boards – like letting Nadine Stein play a contract at 2 Diamonds when we could been bold and found our Spade fit, or that trump trick I failed to take on what should have been a down-one effort, or that extra trick Flo should have nailed to avoid going down three. When it was over, we didn’t get any master points, but we had a respectable 49.74%.
The afternoon game was much smaller – two sections with a total of 17 tables. More than one person thought the p.m. game should start earlier, like at 3 instead of 3:30. Actually, I think a briefer lunch break and a 2:30 start could be better yet. Then the game wouldn’t collide with evening social plans.
At any rate, Flo and I had a much jollier time and played a much looser game. The final score betrayed our carelessness – 43.29%, seventh out of nine East-Wests. Five bottom boards, including an ill-advised double of Ginny Panaro and Mike Kisiel in a 5 Diamond contract. Actually, it would’ve been a zero without the double – nobody else bid game.
Another double, against a Jeanne Gladyz 3 Spade contract, was more successful. It gave us a top board. And then there was Board 7, a hand unlike any I’ve seen in a tournament. Here it is:
Spades: None. Hearts: J.
Diamonds: A-Q-J-9-7-6-5-4-3-2. Clubs: K-J.
That’s right, 10 Diamonds. I’m sitting East. South – Jim Mathis – was dealer. I believe he opened a Spade. His partner, Bev Cohen, bid 2 Clubs. Whereupon I plunked down the Stop card and bid 5 Diamonds. One of the opponents bid 5 Spades and I took it to 6 Diamonds, doubled by Beverly. We’re both vulnerable, but I figure I’m going to make at least 10 tricks, whereas I doubt that I have defense against Spades. Sure enough, Jim led the Ace of Spades and I gave a little mental cheer as Flo put down this dummy:
Spades: J-9-7-5-3. Hearts: A-3-2.
Diamonds: 10-8. Clubs: 10-9-6.
Holy mackerel! Only one trump missing – the King. I trump the Ace of Spades and lead the Ace of Diamonds. Bev has the King. I lead my Jack of Hearts to the dummy’s Ace, return a Club, on which Bev plays the Ace, and I’m home free. Six Diamonds doubled vulnerable – 1540 game points. Here are the other hands:
Spades: K-10-5. Hearts: Q-10-8-5.
Diamonds: K. Clubs: A-8-7-4-3.
Spades: A-Q-8-4-2. Hearts: K-9-7-6-4.
Diamonds: None. Clubs: Q-5-2.The hand records show that North-South can make 4 Spades and 4 or 5 Hearts, depending on which of them plays it. East-West can make 2 No Trump if East plays it, 3 NT if West is declarer. And it’s always good for 6 Diamonds. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who wound up there, doubled and vulnerable. Two other pairs did the same thing. I ran into one of them, Jim Mader, after the results were posted and he was just as pumped about it as I was.