Friday, August 24, 2012

Bridge Blog 558: We get postcards

Today’s mail brought the little card that the American Contract Bridge League sends you when you’ve accumulated so many master point entries in a month that they can’t fit them all into the allotted space in Bridge Bulletin magazine. Previous total: 1,323.17. Current total: 1,340.64. And the little warning: “DO NOT DESTROY this card until you receive another with a new total.”
So my point total for July was 17.47. And that got me wondering, am I ahead or behind last year’s pace, because where I want to be is ahead. And if I’m not, I need to play more bridge.
So let’s go to blog history and get the numbers. OK, here’s Blog 440 from early August 2011. At the end of last July, I had 16.61 for the month, 84.80 points in the Ace of Clubs, 92.46 overall for the Mini-McKenney. As of the end of this July, I had 92.07 Ace of Clubs, 113.67 Mini-McKenney. OK, I’m ahead. But to get 200 points this year, I need to be playing more bridge.
August 2011 added 15.12 points to my collection, 4.54 of them red. Coming into Friday’s game, I had 12.51 points for this month, 5.15 of them red. Wednesday partner Celine Murray was supposed to play with me Friday, too, but canceled on Thursday due to a family event. Should I go golfing instead, I asked myself. No, myself answered, not when there’s an air quality advisory because of the heat. Me and myself needed a nice air-conditioned bridge game, no matter who my partner might be. Then, at 11 a.m., as I’m watering the lawn, my cell phone rings and it’s salvation – Celine. She can play after all.
For a change, we get off to a good start. In fact, we’re sitting East-West and all the big hands are ours. We win the auctions on the first 10 hands we play, not a sacrifice bid among them (one is a 25-pointer on which I open 3 NT), and I’m beginning to feel sorry for North-South. I feel even sorrier after we do what we did to Nancy Littenberg and Cynthia Helfman on the 11th board. I’ve got still another opening hand with two five-card suits when Cynthia decides to bid 2 Diamonds after Celine opens a Spade. I bid a negative double to show my strength in the other two suits, but Celine, instead of bidding Hearts or Clubs, leaves the double in.
Cynthia proceeds to get caught in a merciless cross-ruff and goes down three vulnerable, minus 800, one of  three absolute tops we register for the day. In the end, we’re declarers on 18 of the 27 boards, making one slam, failing on another and beating the double on a 4 Hearts contract. It’s a 55.62% game, best of the week for me, third best North-South in this game, second in the B stratification in our direction and second in B overall. We earn 1.79 master points, .90 red. New totals for the month – 14.30 points, 6.05 red. Now I don’t feel so remiss about missing the two games this weekend.

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