Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bridge Blog 649: For better or worse

Why don’t you play with the better players?” Paula Salamone asks as we walk into the Airport Bridge Club’s Swiss team game Sunday. Basically, I said, the better players and I never ask each other to play and besides, my datebook is full. I’ve got dates booked in May already.
Plus, I added, I am playing with a better player today – Eleanor Whelan, my birthday sister, since we share the same July 18 birth date. Eleanor noted that she was glad her plow guy came and cleared the driveway at her house in Lewiston. In Buffalo, there’s so little snow that I whisked it off my sidewalks with my sweeper shovel in five minutes.
At any rate, I was glad she made it and I was equally glad to see the rest of the Swiss team that club manager Bill Finkelstein had put around us – Nancy Wolstoncroft and Liz Clark, also good players. Among such talented company, I tried to be on my best bidding behavior and pretty much succeeded.
The game was split into morning and afternoon sessions, with each of the five teams playing nine boards against two of the other teams in each session. In the morning, we lived up to our potential of being the second-best squad in the room, finishing second and earning 1.59 master points.
The afternoon found us up against the best team in the room – the Mike Ryan-Howard Foster-Jerry Geiger-John Ziemer team, who had rolled up maximum scores against both their morning opponents. They did the same with us, abetted by a bad bid on my part (a double) that gave them 13 International Match Points. The final round pitted us against Cleveland Fleming and Clare Schultz, who were teamed with Mike Kisiel and Paula Salamone, and we struggled to the only IMP tie score of the day. For our half a victory, we collected another 0.17 point.
Add to that the .25 of a point I got Friday at the Bridge Center of Niagara over in St. Catharines, Ont. I had a good player for a partner there – Selina Volpatti – though she confessed that she hadn’t played bridge since before Christmas. Our 49.17% was good for fourth in the B strat in a 13½ table game. First points I’ve ever earned at the St. Catharines club.
Lifetime total is now 1,499.47. Monday is another double-point double session at the Airport Bridge Club, with a Presidents Day chicken barbecue thrown in, and I’m partnered with Usha Khurana, a C player. With a little bit of luck, there will be a milestone moment.

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