Somewhere in the middle of the individual game Saturday at the Airport Bridge Club, our table erupted into a chorus of appreciation for the individual game. One of the chorus members was Elizabeth Young, who never comes to the club any more except for the individual game. She noted that the competition is too tough the rest of the time (she restricts herself to the Non-Life Master game at the Bridge Center of Buffalo), but that she feels at ease in the individual game.
Mike Silverman, sitting North, noted that all of the local heavy hitters tend to avoid the individual game because they don’t want to be partnered with less skilled players. Looking around the room, I observed that Silverman and I were the ones with the highest point totals, since we’re both over 1,000. None of the other experts were around. Not Jerry Geiger. Not Jim Mathis. Not Judi Marshall. Not Liz Clark or John Ziemer or Harry Cheung.
There’s a certain unpredictability to the individual game, since a weak partner often won’t find the best bid or the extra trick or the optimum line of defense. So on Saturday I started out simply by bidding aggressively – opening in one instance with 9 high card points and a six-card Heart suit topped by the Q-10. And it seemed to be working. In a session where the 24 hands were divided into two sets of 12, I came out of the first set feeling very good indeed about my chances. (A check of the game summary shows me with 32.5 game points out of a possible 48.)
My good fortune held up through the second batch of 12 hands. I finished the session with 64 game points and a 66.67% score, tied for first with Margaret Miles. We each got 1.32 master points and an $8 cash prize, meaning that both of us actually came out of the game a buck richer than when we went in.
The win brought me up to 6.24 points of the month so far – Ace of Club points, as club manager Bill Finkelstein pointed out. During the Sectional Tournament at the Clubs next week, all those silver points we earn won’t be added to our Ace of Clubs totals.
Far as I’m concerned, points is points and I need more silver to become a Gold Life Master. Finkelstein will be running two STaC games a day – double sessions that will last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – so there’s a good opportunity for silver. My goal for STaC week – 5 to 10 points. Best I’ve ever STaCked up? That was last December, when I got 13.91 and might have gotten more if Finkelstein hadn’t gone into the hospital and canceled the Saturday and Sunday games.