Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bridge Blog 670: Big and bad

A succession of major miscues has been taking the fizz out of my feeling of confidence over our Swiss team’s play in the Buffalo Spring Sectional Tournament. On Monday, I missed partner Barbara Sadkin’s opening bid and we wound up with a bottom board, which made the difference between finishing first or second. At 59.02%, we were less than a percentage point behind Jim Mathis and Paul Libby. First in B gave us 1.68 points.
On Tuesday, I had one of my best games with Pawan Matta, but it would have been better if I unblocked her long suit as we defended against a 3 No Trump contract. They made it – another bottom board – when they should have been down two or more. Still, we were first in B with 56.37%. No double points that day, so our reward was 0.65.  
With Celine Murray on Wednesday, there was more than one misstep. Failure to hit my partner’s short suit let opponents make three overtricks, that was the first one. Then there were a couple underbids on makeable game contracts. And finally there was an unnecessary sacrifice bid. Without all that, we would have finished over 50%, though we would have needed 54% to catch some points. With it, we had 45.14%.
June Feuerstein and I started off with a terrible bit of miscommunication. I bid 2 NT. She responded 4 NT. Thinking this was Blackwood, I showed her my three Aces – 5 Spades. Thinking that I was showing her my strong suit, she raised it to 6 Spades. We had only five Spades between us. Down three for a bottom board. We finished the day with a flourish, however, being only pair that bid the 7 Spade grand slam. It was hardly enough, though. We were next-to-bottom with 43.38% in a game that was marked by a massive directors’ mistake.
It was a 12-table game and to make sure that the boards and players didn’t snag in the middle, a relay between two tables was set up. But something went wrong with the relay and halfway through the game, the problem came to a head when some of the players were looking at boards they’d played earlier. We turned in our boards, shuffled them and played out the rest. Scoring was complicated, to say the least. Club manager Bill Finkelstein, characteristically, noted that this the only club that could have recovered from a problem like this and finished the game.
Over in St. Catharines, Ont., on Friday with Selina Volpatti, the big miscue again came in the first round. I jumped to 3 NT over her 2 Diamond response to my opener. Looking at the hand records, I’m not sure why I didn’t just open 2 NT. Oh, well, I took all the tricks, although the hand record says we should only make 6 NT, and we got 2.5 out of 14 match points. Best we would have done, though, is 9.5. Eight tables bid the small slam, several made the overtrick, and two bid grand slams. We wound up fourth in the B strat with 49.59% for 0.25 of a point. And we wouldn’t have caught the third place pair even if we bid that hand correctly.

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