Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bridge Blog 641: Stealth streak

            I hadn’t noticed, but I’ve been on a little streak here. I’ve been bagging points every day since my game with the lovely Diane Bloom last Thursday – fractional points each day at the sectional tournament, that big score with Marilyn Steffan on Monday, then low-grade increments with Celine Murray on Tuesday (52.40%, 0.34 point) and with Doug Dean on Wednesday (51.04%, 0.86 point).
          My aim with Diane Bloom is to have a relaxed and enjoyable game, and to bring our score up from the baseline of 42% in our first game together three weeks ago. But last week that didn’t happen. And this week it took a couple rounds to rein in that giddy feeling inspired by her black leather skirt and thigh-high black boots. Indeed, after our first two tables, we were at 26.08%.
          Then equilibrium arrived and, aside from a stumble or two – a poor round against her mentor, Jerry Geiger, and Jim Mathis – we had a respectable game. Take away those first couple tables and we were playing at 56%. But you can’t take those away. Our final tally was 44.39%, an incremental improvement at least. Diane was out the door before the results were announced, so she didn’t hear that score or the additional fact that, amazingly enough, we won a fraction of a point – 0.60 for coming in second in C East-West, third in C overall.
          That should bring my club total for the month to just over 15 and overall total to around 17. That’s double my total for last January and puts me within 10 points of 1,500.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bridge Blog 640: Buffalo Winter Sectional Tournament Day 3 & Wrap-Up

          Our team of Faith Perry, Florence Boyd, Jane Larcom and myself looked like winners for the first two rounds of the Swiss team event on Sunday. We dispatched our first two opponents quite handily and were sitting in sixth place overall among 25 teams. But we all know what happens in these affairs when you win too much too soon.
          In the third round, who should show up at our table but Saleh Fetouh and David Hemmer, two of the best players in the room. Although it didn’t seem like we disgraced ourselves, the score tally said otherwise. They picked up International Match Points against us on all seven boards, shutting us out 41-0 en route to what would be a second-place finish.
          Our lucky streak shattered, best we could manage after that was a 15-15 tie in the final round. We wound up 20th overall, collecting .65 of a silver point for our 2½ victories. When it was over, Faith and Florence suggested that, since my nearly 1,500 points put them in the B strat in Swiss team competition, they’d like to find someone with fewer points for the Spring Sectional so they could stay in the C division. I’m disappointed, but not too much. I’ve wondered what would happen if I hooked up with B players, say someone like Mike Silverman.
My total take for the tournament was 1.70 points, which put me 93rd on a list of 162 players who won points. Last year I accumulated just 0.93 and was 106th out of 145.
          (Meanwhile, playing with Marilyn Steffan in a unit-rated game Monday at the Airport Bridge Club, I fared far better than I did at the tournament – 57.82% -- first in the B and C strats, earning 1.93 points.)
          Saleh Fetouh was the point champ at the tournament, bringing home 19.04 silver. The other leading point winners were Chris Urbanek, 17.28; John Toy, 14.51; Dian Petrov, 14.16; Jay Costello, 12.48; Judy Padgug, 12.09; David Hemmer, 11.76; Fred Yellen, 11.10; Joan Rose, 10.97; and Donna Steffan, 10.14.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bridge Blog 639: Buffalo Winter Sectional Tournament Day 2

It was much steadier playing two sessions with Judy Kaprove on Saturday. Very, very steady. Maybe it had something to do with sitting in the same place at the same table in the morning and afternoon.
In the morning, with 26 tables playing, we finished with 51.08%, thanks to some torrid final two-hand rounds. That was 10th overall North-South, fifth in the B strat, netting us 0.47 of a silver point. In the afternoon, with 22 tables, we were almost as good, bringing home 50.11%, which was sixth in B, earning 0.32 silver. Add that to the 0.26 I collected playing with Celine Murray on  Friday and my silver point shavings now surpass one full point.
Though Judy and I had few complaints about one another’s efforts, we didn’t win the Kaprove strat. Her husband Bob, playing with Gaurang Sheth, was in the high 50% range East-West in both sessions. Meanwhile, Celine, playing with her daughter, Kathy Stamm, was one of the leaders in the morning session in the B and C strats East-West, earning around 2.5 points. Up there with them were my Sunday Swiss team teammates, Faith Perry and Florence Boyd. Here’s hoping some of that magic is contagious in Sunday’s finale.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bridge Blog 638: Buffalo Winter Sectional Tournament Day 1

            We like attending tournaments in the Main-Transit Fire Hall. It’s infinitely superior to the dimly-lit, irregularly heated social room in the Wick Center at Daemen College, which is where Unit 116 traditionally has held its winter sectional. It’s also incrementally better than the site of the fall tournament – the Father Justin Knights of Columbus Hall on Union Road in Cheektowaga – in that it’s brighter and newer.
            Plus there seems to be plenty of room for the number of players it attracts. Twenty-five and a half tables in the morning, split into two sections. Twenty-three and a half (or was it 24?) in the afternoon, also divided in two.
            Hospitality was agreeable too, as long as you didn’t pour yourself a cup of the coffee, which was wretched. I gave away a couple packets of Starbucks Via instant to disgruntled java-drinkers in the morning session. That’s what I was drinking. No complaints about the pastries, though. I heaped a couple slices of the blueberry bread and pumpkin-raisin bread on my plate for breakfast and they were delicious. I found out later that they were the work of Carol Bedell. Brava, Carol!
            The morning game, however, was so-so. Partner Celine Murray and I were alternately hot and cold on the hands, unable to match our stellar 62% game on Wednesday at the Airport Bridge Club. For every one of our finest hands – like the 4 Heart bid I shouldn’t have made – there was a disaster – like my down-two performance on another 4 Heart contract that would have succeeded with a couple makeable finesses. We pulled in at 50.80%, eighth in the B stratification, earning a fraction of a silver point – 0.26.
            The afternoon will be better, we vowed. But it wasn’t. We ran afoul of transfers over 1 No Trump bids, of all things. On one hand, where the opponents doubled over my 1 NT bid, Celine bid 2 Hearts, I transferred to 2 Spades and we wound up at 3 NT, going down two. We aren’t playing transfers, she contended. Yes, we are, I said. Everybody plays transfers. Later she bid 3 Hearts over my 1 NT and I’m wondering just what this is all about. Is it Hearts or what? She gives a little exclamation that provokes a director call from the opponents. I decide the honorable thing to do is give it a pass. No, she says as I lay my hand down as dummy, that was a transfer. Celine!!! Transfer on the 3 level??? Why not 2 Hearts??? She’s only got 9 high card points and a singleton Heart. Needless to say, it’s another disaster. It makes 4 Spades, but in Hearts we’re down two. We’re way worse than we were in the morning – 42.20% – dead last in our section. Next time Celine asks to fill out our convention card before the game, I’m going to take her up on the offer. Then maybe we’ll stay on the same page. Saturday shouldn’t see that kind of problem. I’m with Judy Kaprove for both sessions. Although we haven’t played together in a while, we should be better attuned.
            Problem hand of the day Friday was Board 7 in the morning session. We should have been in slam, but we messed up the bidding, winding up at 4 Hearts and taking 12 tricks, winning only 8.5 out of a possible 24 game points. Here are our hands:
            North (me)
            Spades: J-9-8; Hearts: A-J-8-6-3; Diamonds: A-Q-7; Clubs: 9-7
            South (Celine)
            Spades: Q; Hearts: K-Q-10-2; Diamonds: K-J-10-4; Clubs: A-K-J-5
            Celine’s the dealer and opens a Diamond. I bid a Heart. She bids 4 Hearts. Game. A shut-out bid as far as I’m concerned. She says later that she’s got 19-20 points and I should have gone for slam, because if she bids 4 Hearts, she’s strong enough to do that even if I have as few as 6 high card points for my response. I contend that she should have bid something else that didn’t suggest a shut-out bid. Two Clubs, for instance, would have drawn a 2 NT from me.
It would have been better if we used New Minor Forcing (which we don’t). She’d bid 1 NT and I’d respond 2 Clubs, the unbid minor suit, indicating five Hearts and 10 high card points. Then she could bid 4 NT, asking for Aces. It’s a bit of a gamble for slam, with 31 high card points between us, but the hand record says we can make 6 Hearts (as indeed we do, losing only the Ace of Spades) or, amazingly, 6 Diamonds. But only 5 NT.      
 (Bill Finkelstein informs me on Monday that I'm completely off base here. Celine is right. Her bid showed exactly what she was holding and I was too dim-witted to realize what was going down. New Minor Forcing would be totally inappropriate.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bridge Blog 637: Escaping the clutches

            Sometimes it’s just too depressing to blog about things like last week at the bridge tables. I began the week with the Mark of the Beast upon me – a total of 6.66 master points for 2013 – and I was stuck there. I couldn’t get out.
          The week's results may have been mediocre, but for the most part they weren’t beyond the reach of a miracle of stratification. There was a 47.63% with Usha Khurana on Monday, a 48.67% with Marietta Kalman on Tuesday, a 51.56% with Wednesday partner Celine Murray, which should have produced at least a fraction of a point. Even the 43.48% I had on my first partnership with the lovely Diane Bloom on Thursday wasn’t overly dismal – seventh out of 10 pairs.
          It took until Friday, however, when I came to the Airport Bridge Club without a partner and hooked up with Ruth Wurster, for one of those mediocre games to pay off. We had 47.50%, my second-lowest score of the week, but it was  fourth in the B strat and good for 0.63 of a point.
          Freed from the grip of the Beast, I spent the weekend away from the tables – waiting for a television satellite dish installer on Saturday (he couldn’t put one up, our North-facing house is blocked from the Southern sky by neighbors and our giant oak tree), going to hear octogenarian jazz pianist Boyd Lee Dunlop on Sunday.
          Monday, while President Obama was being re-inaugurated, I played a Martin Luther King Day double session chicken barbecue game at the Airport Bridge Club and found success in both sessions. In the morning, partner Marilyn Sultz and I came in at 49.07%, tops in the C strat in our direction and good for 0.86 point. After chicken, we came back and tied for first in B overall with a much improved 53.57%, winning 1.14 point. Total for the month and year now is 9.29.
          A 42.59% game with Florence Boyd on Tuesday did nothing to improve it. Florence confessed to not having a very good day, and I didn't have one either, which was reflected in the summary sheet – five top boards or tied for top, five bottoms or tied for bottom, and not enough above-average boards in the middle. Now that the bad bridge is out of our systems, we’ll do better when we partner for Swiss teams on Sunday at the Buffalo Winter Sectional, won't we?
          I felt a whole lot better about the sectional after Wednesday’s game with Celine Murray. Celine also is my partner for both sessions Friday at the tournament and, with any luck, she’ll be like she was Wednesday – on fire. Actually, both of us were hot, winning the extra trick on defense, bidding and making game where others settled for part-scores, keeping our mistakes to a minimum. Final tally was 62.85%, second overall and first East-West. This being a double-point week, the 1.63 points we won put me into double digits for the month -- 10.92. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bridge Blog 636: No, not much

   If I have to be stuck at any point count for the month, does it have to be 6.66? The Mark of the Beast has stayed with me for two days now as I've struck out, point-wise.
   Monday's game with Usha Khurana was 47.63%, which left us fourth out of five North-Souths. Tuesday with Marietta Kalman was plagued by hands with bad trump breaks and we finished in the middle of the pack with 48.67%.
   Meanwhile, John Ziemer points out that he does indeed appear in the national Top 100 in the 2012 Mini-McKenney race in the 1,000 to 2,500 point division. His 363.76 put him in 70th place. (See Blog 331 corrected.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bridge Blog 635: Full of holes

Our Swiss team was Swiss cheese Sunday at the Airport Bridge Club. Partner Marilyn Steffan and I took a couple rounds to get accustomed to each other, which could be expected, but we were having trouble finding game contracts and I was bidding and playing horribly. I was unable to cash tricks, miscommunicated my holdings more than usual and defended poorly. Our teammates, Larry and Dotty Soong, usually are sharp, but Larry was having an off day and they weren’t able to make up for our shortcomings.
We won just one of the four rounds before the break for lunch, so our fate was pretty much sealed by then. And we won only one of the three rounds after lunch. In both cases, our victories were at the expense of the two teams that finished below us.
Winning teams for the day, the two A teams and the top B team, got 2 and 3 points. We collected 0.23 for each of our successful rounds. Total for the month now – 6.66 points.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bridge Blog 634: Emergency room

Phone rings a couple minutes after 11 a.m., just as I’m about to step into the shower. It’s Bill Finkelstein, director of the Airport Bridge Club. He’s got 3 ¾ tables. Can I come out and make it four? I explain my situation. Call me when you’re done with your shower, he says. Which I do some 15, 20 minutes later, when I’m shaved and dressed and ready to roll. Get here as soon as you can, he says.
            I arrive just as the first four-card round is ending and my partner is, yes, the director. Never one to shy away from calling me out on bad bids and dumb plays, he has plenty of opportunities. Despite his critiques, our first round together is wildly successful. The 3 No Trump contract he says should have been 4 Hearts? It makes an overtrick and it’s a top board. We win 11 out of 12 possible game points against Chuck Heimerl and his partner.
            Bill’s equally critical of the slam hand, where we wind up at 6 Clubs instead of 6 or 7 No Trump (a hand that makes only 12 tricks if the opponents get to lead their Ace of Hearts). It’s still good for 2 out of 3 game points. And then there’s the one which Judy Kaprove remarks on when we finally play her and her husband at the end of the session, the hand where I make an overtrick on 5 Diamonds doubled. If opponents Shakeel Ahmad and Manju Ceylony had found a shift to Spades, they could have beaten me, but they didn’t. And I was simply in it for a sacrifice. Yes, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
            But we were good too. Good enough to finish with a 68.74% game, best so far in this young year. It yielded 0.80 of a point, which was enough to vault me past John Ziemer into top place in the club’s master point race for the month. I now have 6.20, while he has 5.54. Of course, that may change Sunday in the Swiss teams competition. Others close to the top include Dorothy May with 5.23, Liz Clark with 4.68 and Jerry Geiger with 4.59.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bridge Blog 633: 2012 month by month

My monthly point count list needs some updating. Here’s an unofficial tally of what happened in 2012:
            January 2012 – 8.04
            February 2012 – 9.44
            March 2012 – 9.63
            April 2012 – 17.88
            May 2012 – 13.66
            June 2012 – 37.55
            July 2012 – 17.47
            August 2012 – 17.60
            September 2012 – 35.58
            October 2012 – 35.15
            November 2012 – 16.95
            December 2012 – 28.58
            Totals for 2012 – 247.53
             (197.06 Ace of Clubs)

Bridge Blog 632: Scrapbooking

             No turbocharged point awards in this week’s games at the Airport Bridge Club, just standard low-grade prizes, which means that one would need to win every day just to maintain a point-per-day average. Points came my way on four of the five days, but they came in scraps and fragments.  
            Monday brought 0.22 of a point with a 50.67% game with Marilyn Sultz that left us second in the B strat. Tuesday was slightly better playing with Ruth Hnath, who substituted after Marietta Kalman called in sick – 51.56%, second in B again, but 0.34 of a point, since it was a bigger game (8 tables vs. 6).
            Things perked up to 53.87% on Wednesday with Celine Murray, good for third in A, second in B and 0.35 of a point. Barbara Sadkin and I stumbled on Thursday, getting an endless stream of alternately bad and odd hands sitting North-South. I went down hard on a holding of eight Spades that I couldn’t resist bidding up to the six level. Doubled, of course. We finished 12th out of 15 pairs with 45.15%. Friday found Marilyn Sultz and me back on the beam, coming in second again with 54.85% and earning 0.56 points. Total for the week: 1.47. Total for the month: Only 5.35. That’s why I’m playing in the Swiss team game again this Sunday. That’s where the points are.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bridge Blog 631: A pretty good year

2012 is in the record books now at the ACBL website. So let’s take a look-see at how we all did in the master point races for Unit 116 (Buffalo), District 5 (Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh) and nationwide.
First of all, Ace of Clubs, which counts only those points earned in club play. I wound up with 197.06 for the year. In my section, which is for players with 1,000 to 2,500 points, that put me in second place in Unit 116, right behind John Ziemer, who had 200.53.
Just behind me are Mike Silverman with 193.30 and the ailing Carlton Stone, who stopped at 185.27. Liz Clark is fifth with 167.86, followed by Barbara Libby and Vince Pesce, tied for sixth with 141.97; Jim Gullo, the Bridge Center of Buffalo master point leader, with 137.12; Mike Ryan with 133.72 and Paul Libby with 127.01.
Looking over the other master point divisions, I see that only a couple players beside John Ziemer have more club points than me. Jerry Geiger has 279.22. Meg Klamp has 212.75. And that’s all.
Once again, Unit 116 dominates the District 5 Ace of Clubs race in the 1,000 to 2,500 point division. We hold eight of the top 10 positions – Francine Feldman, a Pittsburgh player with a Boca Raton, Fla., address, is fifth with 181.93 and Robert Maier of Morgantown, W.Va., is seventh with 144.79. In all, we have 12 of the Top 25, with Carolyn Siracuse 17th with 121.64 and Judy Padgug 19th with 111.63. Gene Finton seems to have dropped out of the Top 25, which cuts off at 96.92.
On the national level, us four leading Unit 116 guys are on the Top 100. Overall leader is good old Charlie Christmas of Tallahassee, Fla., with 332.83, followed by J. R. Melis of Seal Beach, Calif., with 314.36; Kenneth Wagner Jr. of Hollywood, Fla., with 306.38; and John Petrie of Long Beach, Calif., with 305.46. They’re the only ones over 300. John Ziemer is tied for 43rd with Serge Mercille of Vanier, Ont. I’m 52nd, between Jay Shahani of Columbia, S.C. (198.12) and Fran Mann (love that name) from Longboat Key, Fla. (196.68). Mike Silverman is 60th and Carlton Stone is 78th. The list cuts off at 178 even.
OK, onward to the Mini-McKenney, which counts all the points you earn in club play and tournaments. My total for the year is 244.93, but that actually should be 247.53, since my second-place finish with Dotty May in the Unit 116 annual meeting game isn’t included.
Not that the omission makes any difference at the local level. I’m in fifth place no matter what. Leader is John Ziemer with 363.76. Good work, John! Judy Padgug is runner-up with 292.38. Dian Petrov has 284.16 and Mike Ryan comes in with 271.44. After me are Jim Gullo, 228.05; Mike Silverman, 222.66; Liz Clark, 216.33; Carlton Stone, 214.98; and Barbara Libby, 167.14.
Again, aside from the four players ahead of me in my division, not many Buffalonians had more overall points. The eminent Dan Gerstman leads the pack with 568.37, followed by Jerry Geiger, 451.80; Meg Klamp, 293.15; Chris Urbanek, 277.98; Fred Yellen, 273.74; and Jay Levy, 271.22.
On the District 5 level, I’m 12th. Leader is Michael Craeger of Brecksville, Ohio, with a steep 691.16, almost twice as much as John Ziemer, who is second. Judy Padgug is fifth. Dian Petrov is sixth. Mike Ryan is eighth. Jim Gullo is 16th. Mike Silverman is 20th. Liz Clark is 23rd. Carlton Stone is 24th. Nine of us in the Top 25. Nice. The list cuts off at 209.37.
Things get really steep on the national Top 100. Leader is Stephen Apodaca of Santa Fe, N.M., with 823.23, followed by James Gross of Lee’s Summit, Mo., with 733.66. Our Michael Craeger is third. And that’s all for District 5. Last guy on the list has 339.50. Note on Jan. 15: Wrong! John Ziemer points out that he has made the Top 100 with his total of 363.76. And indeed he has. He's 70th.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bridge Blog 630: Walking the dog

Part of me wanted to let the Swiss team game slide on Sunday at the Airport Bridge Club. Not the point-hound part of me, though. I told club manager Bill Finkelstein I'd play if he needed me. His phone message Sunday morning -- call if you want to know who your teammates are.
I didn't call. I just went and discovered our team consisted of two regular partners who are C strat players -- Judy McDermid and Marilyn Steffan -- and, as my partner, someone I have never played with before, Eileen Karnovsky.
Bill Finkelstein warned me that we would be facing the two toughest teams first -- the one with Liz Clark and Dotty May on it and the one with Mike Ryan, Jerry Geiger, Howard Foster and John Ziemer on it. Sure enough, the Ryan team shut us out and the Liz Clark team squeaked past us by two game points.
Then we hit a turning point against Chuck Schorr and Sushil Amlami. Eileen opened, I had a balanced 11-point hand and we tentatively advanced to where she rebid her opening suit, Diamonds, at the 2 level. Sushil doubled. Having only two Diamonds, but stoppers in the other suits, I redoubled. Chuck passed, Eileen passed and Sushil, holding a good hand but having no bid, also passed. Eileen made 2 Diamonds with an overtrick for a plus 760.
After that, we were on a roll. Eileen played brilliantly and our teammates, who were missing game contracts in the early rounds, were bidding and makng them now. We won the next four rounds, coming in third behind those two tough teams, first in the B strat, winning 2.55 master points. The point-hound part of me is wagging its tail.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bridge Blog 629: Pay dirt

            Joyce Greenspan is always a formidable opponent. Turns out she’s a formidable partner too. I’m paired with her Friday at the Airport Bridge Club and we waste no time heading for a good score. “You really killed us,” first-round opponent Dave Donaldson says as we await the final scores. He’s recalling the down-five doubled 4 Spade contract, but we prevail in all four hands against him and Faith Perry, taking 18 of a possible 24 game points.
            We end up with 62.18%, first in B and second overall in a 15-pair game, sandwiched in between first-place Barbara Libby and Jim Mathis and the third-place finishers, Barbara’s husband Paul with Mary Davey-Carr. Against the winners, we have 12.5 out of 24. Against the third-place team, we’re 15.5. So where do we stumble? Against the bumping pair, Dotty May and Celine Murray, where I play both hands and we get only 4 of 12. And against June Feuerstein and Judy Zeckhauser, who beat my double on their 3 Spade contract, which is one of our two bottom boards. No double points for our efforts, but second in A is worth 1.05. Get your datebook, Joyce says. Now we’ll have a couple more games in February.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bridge Blog 628: Try, try again

The datebook is almost full for the month of January, except for Thursday. So I arrive at the Airport Bridge Club without a partner. Who should also show up without a partner but my Wednesday date, Celine Murray, who decides she wants to play after all. We’re paired and we vow to do better than our 13th place 42.90% finish on Wednesday.
Indeed we do. We overcome a bottom board in the first round to post three tops and two ties for top. We shake off a missed slam (see Blog 627) by bidding and making one on the very next board. Our final result is 51.59%, bringing us in third in B through the miracle of stratification. We get our first point of the year. Well, make that a fraction of a point – 0.28.

Bridge Blog 627: To pre or not to pre (empt)

Should you make a preemptive bid when you’re the first bidder? Some people resist the temptation, but I couldn’t on Board 20 Thursday at the Airport Bridge Club. Both sides vulnerable. I’m West and I’m the dealer. Here’s the hand:

Spades: Q-9-8; Hearts: 10-3
Diamonds: K-J-9-7-6-3-2; Clubs: 2

Three Diamonds. Partner Celine Murray bids 5 Diamonds after lots of soul searching. End of auction. North leads a Spade and Celine produces this whopper:

Spades: A-K-J-10-2; Hearts: A-9-7-2
Diamonds: A-10; Clubs A-3

I win with the Queen of Spades, draw trump in two rounds, throw my losers on the Dummy’s Spades and take all 13 tricks. I could have taken 14. Aw, says Celine, that’s a bottom board -- you shouldn’t have preempted. Here are the other two hands:

Spades: 7-6-5; Hearts: Q-6-4
Diamonds: Q-4; Clubs: K-8-7-6-4

Spades: 4-3; Hearts: K-J-8-5
Diamonds: 8-5; Clubs: Q-J-10-9-5

At the end of the game, I ask club director Bill Finkelstein what I should have done and he says the preempt was OK, but my partner should have bid her Spades and we should have wound up with a slam in Spades, played by East.
It turns out that nobody bids the slam in Spades, although someone bid 4 Spades and took all 13 tricks. There also were bids of 4 Spades, making an overtrick, and 3 Spades, making just one overtrick. That was the bottom board. We were next to bottom.
Two other pairs do 3 No Trump, played by East, making 6 or 7. And three of them bid the 6 Diamond slam, one making 6, two making 7.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bridge Blog 626: Triskaidekaphobia

Having played only twice in the past 10 days, I didn’t expect much of my first game of 2013 on Wednesday. After warming up a little on New Year’s Day with Bridge Baron 20 on the computer, I could tell that it was going to be a rocky start.
Fortunately, I played only 4 hands on Wednesday. Fortunately because I did not play very well, getting only 10 out of a possible 24 game points.  My sorriest moment – a 5 Club sacrifice that went down five, a bottom board without even being doubled.
But fortunately, the opposition was making mistakes too. In the first round, one of our opponents dropped a low trump after partner Celine Murray trumped high, saving Celine a trick on an otherwise disastrous hand. Then the other opponent erroneously pitched a good Ace of Spades that she should have kept, costing her a 1 No Trump contract.
Celine played 10 hands, but it was not her day either. She got only 20 game points out of a possible 60. When the session was over, we had 45.78%, starting off 2013 by finishing 13th out of 15 pairs.
But wait, there was one more mistake. Director Paula Kotowski gave us a score of 500 on a hand where we actually scored 50. After she corrected it, our percentage fell to 42.90%, while the bottom two pairs benefited. Fortunately, they didn’t benefit too much – they came in at 42.67% and 42.63%, keeping us in 13th place.

Bridge Blog 625: First glances back

Looks like my pending points are already registered at the ACBL website – 25.98 for December. But are they all there? I don’t see anything from Unit 116 for that great game Dorothy May and I had at the annual meeting. Could be another 2.60 waiting in the wings. Which, of course, makes one wonder how come that unit game hasn’t been reported yet …
That would make my 2012 total something like 247.53. At the Airport Bridge Club, where the 2012 master point race totals already have been posted, I’m fourth on the list with 192.73. Jerry Geiger’s on top with 246.6, followed by Mike Silverman with 197.05 and John Ziemer with 194.46. Next behind me is Liz Clark with 166.45.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bridge Blog 624: Out with the old

            So I’m waiting outside Christopher & Banks for Monica to exchange something Saturday in the Boulevard Mall and who should stroll by but a bridge player – Michael Ryan. Am I playing in the Swiss teams Sunday, he asks. I’d like to, but no. Big party New Year’s Eve at our house. Big preparations.
            Indeed, the holidays once again played havoc with my quest for one point a day for the month. Only two games on Christmas Week – profitable ones, fortunately. There was a top finish at 58.13% with Cleveland Fleming on Christmas Eve Day, a day when I hadn’t prearranged a partner. That was good for 1.63 points. Then there was Friday with Nadine Stein, where our 52.92% gave us fourth place overall in a 6½ table game, the slightest fraction behind third-place Dotty May and Carolyn Siracuse (52.96%), for another .84 points.  That ought to lift the total for December to a little over 26 points and the total for the year to a little less than 250. Four more years like this and maybe it’ll be Gold Life Master before I hit the golden age of 75.