It's a good team, really -- me, Dotty May, Helen Panza and John Kirsits -- all life masters, about 3,500 points among us, so we were primed, despite our lack of sleeip for our first round of knock-outs in the Cleveland Regional at 1 p.m. Thursday. We run up against a team with 4,500 points from Ohio, kept it close through the first two rounds (three points between as at halftime), but a couple bad boards sank us in the later rounds. We licked our wounds at a nearby Irish pub and prepped for the evening single-round Swiss teams event.
We're the 16th team of 16 in this evening game and our first opponens in these 6-board matches are paired with two of the best Cleveland area players -- the lovely Susan Stark and Jan Assini, the hottest-looking player in the room. They whip us by just 5 International Match Points. After that, we narrowly beat an Asian couple from Cleveland -- Sue and Lu -- and have a happy old time with a pair from Pittsburgh, Madeleine and Lessa, who are as loose as the club players back in Buffalo. We beat them only by one IMP.
There are bonus points for the top four teams in the B strat and with the fourth and final round to go, we're fifth. We need a good game to make the magic circle and we get one in a hand where Kirsits opens 1 No Trump and I'm holding seven Spades to the King-Queen, four Diamonds to the King-Queen-Jack, a singleton Club and a singleton Ace of Hearts. The woman sitting West -- Florence from Pittsburgh -- bids 2 Hearts and I double for the stolen bid to transfer to Spades. John almost forgets the convention, but after a mninute or so, bids the Spades. I answer 4 Clubs -- Gerber. He bids 4 No Trump -- showing 3 Aces. That's all we need. I jump straight to 7 Spades. John has to play out the trump to make sure there isn't a 4-0 split that would beat us, but there isn't. It's a 1510 score, good for 14 IMPs (the Pittsburgh ladies' teammates stopped at 4 Spades, making 7). Our 19 IMP victory lifted us to third place in B for 1.79 red points.
I write this from the business center at the Holiday Inn, while my teammates are celebrating up in the hospitality suite (which I'm told is sweet indeed, here in Cleveland/Independence). I stupidly left the power cord for my laptop at home and have about 10 minutes of juice left in it. An awkward situation. Thank god for this crappy Dell machine.