It didn’t start out well. Thursday partner Usha Khurana and I weren’t understanding each other, a point driven home especially hard in a hand in the third round. Martin Pieterse opened one Club. Holding four Clubs to the Queen and less than five high-card points, I passed. So did Martin’s wife, Barbara. Usha, however, doubled. I had no good option for her. Clubs were as strong a suit as I had and we were vulnerable, the Pietereses were not. I let it stand. Bad mistake. Usha was void in Clubs. Martin easily picked off all my Clubs and proceeded to take 11 tricks for plus 540.
But things weren’t as bad as they seemed. Sure, that was our second bottom board of the day, but we also were accumulating some tops – an improbable 2 No Trump that I pulled off, setting Liz Clark’s 5 Diamond doubled sacrifice bid, and two straight defensive slam-dunks in our final round against John Kirsits and Ken Meier. That lifted us over the 50% mark. 51.85%, to be exact, tying us for first in the B strat North-South in this 10-table game. That gave us 0.55 of a point, my first master points in 10 days. I felt like dancing.