“How come you’re here on a Saturday?” Jerry Geiger asks as I arrive at the Airport Bridge Club Saturday morning. “Is it because I passed you?”
I haven’t been playing much on Saturdays, true, but I’m playing this day because, well, it’s too damp a day for yard work and my significant other is going to be doing her own thing for most of the day. As for being passed, I’m didn’t know. But there it is on the updated November master point race list. Geiger has 11.71 points (thanks to winning on Friday and collecting 2.67 of them), while I came in second North-South and fourth overall with Marilyn Sultz on Friday and have 11.42.
I’ve come to play Saturday without a partner and, in the end, I play with the sub, sweet little old Ruth Hnath, the very first person I played with at the club nearly eight years ago. But first I do four hands with director Bill Finkelstein, who critiques all my mistakes, of which there are plenty.
For example, on the first hand, where I have opening values but no long suit, I overcall opponent Ann Battaglia’s 1 Club opener by bidding my four-card Diamond suit. This is a no-no. When the bid gets back around to Bill, he bids 2 Hearts. Ann goes 3 Clubs – I’m holding Ace-King-Queen of that suit – and Bill bids 3 Diamonds. I think of correcting to 3 Hearts, and I should have since I have three of them, but I let the Diamonds stand. As it turns out, we have eight Diamonds between us, including the Ace-King, and eight Hearts, missing the Ace-King-Queen. It goes down one. It would go down one at 3 Hearts, as well. It gives us 2 out of a possible 5 game points. I shouldn’t have bid at all. In all, in our four hands together against Ann and Marilyn Sultz, we get 11.5 game points, or 57.5% (thanks mostly to making three overtricks on a 3 Club bid after a fortunate opening lead from Marilyn).
After Ruth arrives, my hands get poorer – it seems like I’m picking up more Clubs than usual (one hand had eight of them) – and she winds up doing the major share of declaring between us. I play only two more hands, mediocre ones at that. Nevertheless, we finish second overall with 53.75%, raking in 1.70 points. And Jerry Geiger? First overall for 2.27 points. He’s widened his lead.
Two questions: Did I achieve my point-a-day pace in September and October because Jerry was absent for about 10 days each month on his trip to China? Could be. And, although Jerry is a superior player, would he win as much if he paired with more players like Diane Bloom, who’s sort of a newbie, instead of masters like John Ziemer, who makes all of his partners look good? Just asking.