Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bridge Blog 596: Buffalo Regional Day 5

It’s mop-up day for those 200 people who didn’t win in the big bracketed knock-outs on Friday – 40 out of 48 tables. Some of us go to the open pairs. More of us go to the Saturday compact knock-outs. That’s where Judy Kaprove and I pin our hopes, with Carl and Jan Hasselback as our cohorts again. Once again we’re in the third bracket, essentially a C stratification, and we succeed in the first 12 games against my old Toronto friend Joan Dixon and her seemingly constant partner, John. They take an 11 International Match Point lead against us in the first round of six hands, then fall to us by 31 IMP margin in the next six.
We move on to a team that includes my two Canadian teammates from the Wednesday-Thursday knock-outs, Al and Alison. Al is at our table, playing with a guy named Bill. They build an 18-0 lead on us in the first six hands, which turns out to be more than we can overcome in the second six. They beat us 25-16 overall. Our reward? 0.46 red points for the first round win and a chance to play single-session Swiss teams in the evening.
The evening game starts 15 minutes late to make up for time lost in the middle of the afternoon game when the fire alarms go off. Everyone heads for the sheltered entryways, hiding from the ongoing drizzle, until the fire trucks come. No fire is found (just too much smoke in the kitchen, we’re told) and the alarms are silenced. They erupt again 10 minutes later and this time everyone ignores them.
The Hasselbacks bow out on the Swiss teams, so we team up with a couple Chinese guys from Toronto – Chris Chang and Tai (didn’t catch the rest of his name). Both life masters, so we’re in the B strat, which is just fine, and it’s a genial evening all around, though not entirely successful.
We begin against a couple Niagara Region Canadians that we know – Hilda Fairweather and Wayne Kershaw – and lose to them by a single IMP, 14-13. In the next round, we play Hilda’s husband, Andy, and a woman from Canisteo named Jean Reardon. We tie, 13-13. (Here’s where I give them 8 IMPs on a hand that would be floggable, as well as bloggable. I bid a Michaels bid, intending to indicate holdings in the unbid Hearts and Clubs, but instead show support for Judy’s Diamonds – I was void in Diamonds. It made 4 Hearts. Judy’s 3 Diamond bid went down three.) Nevertheless, we’re not in a bad place at midpoint, since we’re just under 50%.
Our next opponents are a pair of droll ladies from Smith’s Falls, halfway between Ottawa and Kingston, Ont. My big hand is a 3 No Trump that the other table doesn’t find, which gives us 10 of our 15-6 IMP victory.
We’re second in the B strat going into the final round and draw an A team as opponents – the Risman team from Toronto. Andy Risman is a Unit 166 board member. His partner, Jan Stewart, knows Judy’s sister in Toronto. They’re playing Precision and weak 1 No Trump openers. And although they confound us a bit with their bidding, we have a jolly time with them, so jolly we don’t realize how badly we’re getting beaten. (Some of it also has to do with our teammates at the other table.) They take us to the cleaners, 28-6. We finish six victory points short of being in the top 5 B teams, which are the ones that get extra points. For our victory and a half, we earn 0.30 red points.
Sunday’s finale is the grand Swiss team playthrough – seven rounds, seven hands each. Our team has lost Faith Perry – she’s come down with some dreadful respiratory bug that makes her sound like a stevedore.  Playing in her place will be Usha Khurana, with whom I did so well earlier in the week. This means that I’ll partner with her instead of Florence Boyd. Florence will have to play with Pawan Matta, who originally was going to play with Faith. It should be an interesting day.

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