Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bridge Blog 718: Talk of the town

It was a hand that people kept talking about all day Tuesday at the Airport Bridge Club. Board 3, which Barbara Sadkin and I played in the second round against Marietta Kalman and Dottie Soong. East-West is vulnerable, South is the dealer. I’m South with this hand: 

Spades: A-Q-J; Hearts: A-K-8-7-6
Diamonds: J-6; Clubs: Q-10-5  

I don't hesitate to open 1 No Trump with a five-card major suit, so that’s just what I did. Barbara, with a devilish smile, jumps to 4 Clubs. Gerber, asking for Aces. Then she goes 5 Clubs, asking for Kings. And then, with a bit of gambler’s glee, she plunks down the 7 No Trump card. Needless to say, I’m blown away.
Dottie, sitting West, leads the Queen of Hearts and Barbara puts down this collection of cards: 

Spades: 8-7; Hearts: 10-2
Diamonds: A-K-Q-10-4; Clubs: A-K-J-6 

Wow! I count my sure tricks. Five Diamonds, four Clubs, two Hearts and the Ace of Spades. Can I get a third Heart trick? Not likely. Dottie’s lead indicates she has the Jack of Hearts and it’s not a doubleton. So the 13th trick is going to have to be a Spade. A Spade finesse. If it doesn’t work – down one. So I run out 11 winning tricks and wind up in the dummy to lead a Spade through Marietta. She plays the 10. I put down the Queen. It holds. I start breathing again.
Here are the other hands: 


Spades: K-10-5-3-2; Hearts: 5-3
Diamonds: 7-5-3-2; Clubs: 9-4 


Spades: 9-6-4; Hearts: Q-J-9-4
Diamonds: 9-8; Clubs: 8-7-3-2

All the other eight tables played it at 6 No Trump, making an overtrick. Ours was the only grand slam. Director Paula Kotowski kept coming over to us and updating us on how nobody else was bidding it.
When the game was over, Paula added that she was giving everyone a black star for the way they entered that hand on the traveling score slip. Every single North, including Barbara, put the winning numbers in the East-West column.
The slam upstaged my other amazing hand for the day, which came a few minutes earlier in the first round. I opened 1 Spade on an iffy point count and a six-card Spade suit headed by the 9. Barbara, holding an opening hand and A-Q-x in Spades, jumped to 4 Spades. Bid and made. Top board. Nobody else found it.
Our freewheeling ways proved rewarding for a change: 53.01%, third North-South and first in the B strat in our direction. 1.42 points. Total for the month is now an estimated 9.32. Looks like a double-digit October after all.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bridge Blog 717: Belated returns

The ACBL has posted pending points for September, the points from the Airport Bridge Club which they got after their internet update on Oct. 6. My winnings at the Airport Club last month amounted to 9.30 points.

Add that to the results registered from the St. Catharines club and the fall sectional and I picked up 11.52 for the month. So I’m gratified to be in double digits, appalled that I’m so short of the 17-point average I need for a 200-point year.


Bridge Blog 717-A: Scoping October

Lagging in September, I’m acutely aware of the need to step up my game in October, but so far that hasn’t happened in any reliable fashion. So in order to maximize my chances, I’m looking to take every available opportunity to play.

I would have played today, Sunday, Oct. 20, if the opportunities were right, but the Unit 116 Eight Is Enough Swiss team game starts too late for me to make it to work on time, or even reasonably late. I was all set to show up partnerless and teamless for the Airport Bridge Club’s rival Swiss team game(s), where the time frame works for me, but I got a call in my seat at the Buffalo Sabres game last night saying, “No Swiss.”

I know I need the points, but since the Airport Club has not posted anything about the October master point races yet, I’m in the dark about how well or poorly I’m doing. Unless, of course, I look in my datebook and piece things together. Let’s do a rundown of the month so far: 

Oct. 1 with Marilyn Sultz. 43.98%. No points.

Oct. 2 with Celine Murray. Couldn’t find the score sheet. Probably no points.

Oct. 3 with Ruth Hnath (thought I was playing with Dianne Bloom, but nooooo). 50.93%. No points.

Oct. 4 morning with Selina Volpatti at the Airport Club. 55.72%, first in B. 1.04 points.

Oct. 4 afternoon with Selina Volpatti at the Airport Club. Swiss teams. 0.38 points, including 0.09 gold.

Oct. 5 with Usha Khurana. 50.60%, second in C. 1.40 points.

Oct. 6 with Myra Razik. Swiss teams. Tied for first in morning session. 1.63 points.

Oct. 7 with Usha Khurana. Can’t find this score sheet, either. Pretty sure we earned no points.

Oct. 8 with Barbara Sadkin. 43.40%. No points.

Oct. 9 with Celine Murray. 55.55%. First in our direction. 1.38 points.

Oct. 10 with Dianne Bloom. 46.99%. Second in C. 0.22 point.

Oct. 11 with Selina Volpatti in St. Catharines. 50% even. No points.

Oct. 12 with Beverly Dale. 49.39%. No points.

Oct. 14 morning with Marilyn Sultz. 49.30%. Third in B. 0.32 point.

Oct. 14 afternoon with Marilyn Sultz. 44.70%. No points.

Oct. 15 with Barbara Sadkin. 50.32%. No points.

Oct. 16 with Celine Murray. 44.05%. No points.

Oct. 17 with Dianne Bloom. 39.35%. Dead last.

Oct. 18 with Selina Volpatti in St. Catharines. 51.10%. No points.

Oct. 19 with Beverly Dale. 55.70%. First in B in our direction. 1.53 points.  

OK, let’s add up this sorry collection of results. If I’m not mistaken, it’s 7.90, almost as miserable as September.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bridge Blog 716: September unremembered

Sixth of the month and the ACBL web genies are right on time with their latest updates of the master point races. After my dismal September, the ACBL says my totals for the year are 118.57 Ace of Clubs, for points earned in club play, and 140.77 Mini-McKenney, for points earned in tournaments and special games too. Hmm, maybe not. My August totals were 117.15 and 138.55. Something’s missing. The genies may be on time, but seems like the Airport Bridge Club isn’t.