“Who’s your partner? Nobody here claims they’re playing with you,” associate director Mike Silverman declares as I arrive at the Airport Bridge Club a couple minutes early for a change on Friday. I check my datebook. Celine Murray, my Wednesday partner. No Celine, but I’m in luck anyway. For my last game of the month, Mike pairs me up with Judie Bailey, my partner in the Syracuse regional. She still has the cast on the wrist she broke in Scotland back in early July.
We haven’t played together since then and I’ve forgotten a few things. Like she doesn’t play New Minor Forcing, which I run into on one of the hands. And I’m not so sure about all the wrinkles in Cappelletti, so her 2 No Trump bid over opponent John Ziemer’s 1 No Trump opener has me baffled. Showing the minor suits, she explains later. I bid 3 Clubs thinking Stayman and, fortunately, Ziemer’s partner, Jerry Geiger, puts him at 3 No Trump, bid and made, average board. Three Clubs doubled vulnerable would have been a disaster.
We have no shortage of disasters. We take the contract on the first 14 boards we play, not neccesarily the best thing to do. The 10th of those hands was minus 1400, down five doubled vulnerable. Had the game ended there, on what was our fifth absolute bottom board, we’d have less than a 40% game. But we stop outbidding the opponents and our fortunes improve. We finish with a respectably mediocre 48.68%, second in the B strat North-South, 0.78 master points, .39 red, on this last North American Pairs qualifying game of the year. Qualified once again and winding up August with 17.60 points, 6.79 red.