Monday, January 9, 2012

Bridge Blog 496: Buffalo Winter Sectional Tournament wrapup

          Congratulations to Saleh Fetouh, biggest master point winner at the Buffalo Winter Sectional Tournament this weekend in the Wick Center at Daemen College. He collected 20.58 points, thanks to a third-place finish with Jay Levy Friday morning (62.63%, 3.47 points), a second-place finish with Levy Friday afternoon (65.97%, 3.17 points – smaller game), third-place finishes with Jim Mathis Saturday morning (62.88%, 3.19 points) and afternoon (61.91%, 3 points even) and another 7.75 points for first place in Sunday’s Swiss team game with Mathis, Bud Seidenberg and David Hemmer, who someone said was a math teacher at UB. Mathis was second in the tournament with 19.68. Levy was third with 17.45.
          Our Swiss team – Faith Perry, Flo Boyd, Pawan Matta and me – didn’t play Saleh’s foursome, although they could hardly have skunked us worse than six of the seven teams that we faced. We thought we were doing well when we drubbed the Wellsville-Olean ladies in the first round, but that was our only win of the day. In fact, I believe the Wellsville-Olean ladies were the only ones who had an overall score lower than we did at the end, but I see by the point list that at least they won one of their rounds, so they didn’t make the long drive home empty-handed.
Our troubles began in the second round, when we ran into Penny and Peter Shui, overall winners in Saturday afternoon’s game, and they nailed us on two of the seven hands. They wound up first in the B and C strats in the Swiss teams, giving both of them 15.03 points for the tournament,  fifth overall. Still, we had hope, since with every loss we knew we’d be facing weaker and weaker teams. When it came down to our last hope, it was against Paula Salamone and her daughter, Miri. They also skunked us.
It was an off day in almost every way. If something could have gone wrong, it did. We missed games we should have bid. We lost tricks we should have won. I went down four doubled once while aiming for a sacrificial down three against a sure vulnerable game. Our opponents bid slams that our teammates missed. I revoked not once, but twice. (On one, I held back a long Diamond, which was the only way we could keep the opponents from taking all the tricks.) Well, it still beat an afternoon of not playing bridge.
In all, 145 players got at least some fraction of a silver point in the tournament. I was 106th with 0.93, having gotten two-thirds of a point Saturday morning with Celine Murray, despite having only a 46% game. We were lucky to escape without a call for unsportsmanlike conduct. Make that unsportswomanlike. After Patricia Burns and Jeanne Gladyz came late to our table for one round, Celine and Pat got snippy with one another over slow play, of which both are sometimes guilty. 
What else … oh, the double revoke. I think it happened Friday. I asked director Mike Roberts about it on Sunday and he said that one player happened to revoke twice on the same hand. He'd never seen that before, he added.
And then there was more of that hellish Daemen hospitality. I brought my own sandwich for lunch, avoiding what many thought was a thoroughly unsatisfactory $10 box lunch, but I got sucked in by the bagels. Sunday morning they put out a huge basket of what looked like cranberry bagels, sliced and halved (not quartered like the bagels were on Friday and Saturday). I eagerly snatched the equivalent of a whole bagel, spread one half with cream cheese, took a bite and discovered that this was one very old bagel. I quietly returned the unschmeered half to the basket and took one of the last hunks of far fresher coffee cake.

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