The Buffalo Fall Sectional Tournament certainly had a grand finish. Attendance was robust – I forgot to look at the total number of teams, but we played against a Team 24 – and it was announced that this year’s tournament was up 40 tables overall from last year.
Things also worked out well for the Paula Kotowski-Barbara Pieterse pairing, which I almost hooked up with until I was reminded that I had long ago made other arrangements. Barbara’s husband didn’t have to go to Mexico after all, so he played and they wound up sixth in the B strat with 107 Victory Points.
Our team of Eva Schmidt, Usha Khurana and Joe Miranda started off like experts, vanquishing the team of Dede Kluckhohn, Cynthia Helfman, Barb Landree and Carol Bedell in the first round by an International Match Point margin of 24-7. Not a good thing, I advised my teammates after we compared scores. We’ll have to play the tough guys.
And so we did. At our table, it was Jay Levy and Bob Cannizzaro from Rochester (yes, he said, he’s related to the baseball player – a cousin). At the other table, it was Jay Costello and Donna Steffan. They were the day’s overall winners and they had no trouble stampeding us, 31-1 IMPs, for a shutout.
I gave away the next round to Pat Rasmus and the delightful Jo Finton, wife of Gene, who I was playing against for the first time. I messed up a sure 4 Diamond contract, going down one and losing 4 IMPs, maybe a couple more. Then I bid 4 Diamonds over what would have been an unsuccessful 3 Spade contract for them, and I went down two doubled vulnerable. Their teammates were down one, not doubled. That was minus 9 IMPs. We lost 16-2. Take away those two hands and it would have been our round, not theirs.
Against Dian Petrov and his partner Bishara in the next round, I chickened out on a 4 Heart contract, making 5. Instead of a draw, it was minus 10 IMPs. We lost to them by nine IMPs. Our fortunes revived against Barbara Kopko and her friend Donna from down Allegany and Salamanca way, routing them, 39-8. Then we floundered again against Ron Henrikson and Andy Fairweather, 20-8, and rebounded in the last round against Ginny Panaro and Judie Bailey, 25-8.
Our final Victory Point total was 99, which put us a couple points ahead of the team headed by another of my would-be partners for the day, Selina Volpatti, but we would have needed 107 to tie for sixth place in the B strat with the Pieterse team. And there were a few other teams in between us – the Bishara/Petrov team with 106; the Kluckhohn team, a C team, with 104; the Ritza and Lakeman teams with 103; plus the Walt Olszewski team tying us at 99. Nevertheless, we mined a little bit of silver, point-wise, for our three victorious rounds – 0.26 for each one.
By winning the Swiss teams, Jay Levy captured the most points overall for the tournament with 17.96. Meg Klamp was next with 15.72, followed by Donna Steffan at 12.10, Brian Meyer at 10.67 and Jay Costello and Bob Cannizzaro with 10 even.
Meanwhile, the snacks were winners, too. Plenty of bagels and no shortage of cream cheese. Paul Zittel’s irresistible corn salsa (which suddenly evaporated right before the Bocce’s subs arrived for lunch). And an equally irresistible lemon cake among the desserts. Bravo to the organizers. Bravo also to director Mike Roberts, who kept a firm, but polite hand on the proceedings.