Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bridge Blog 813: Answered e-mail prayers

When I didn’t find cumulative master point race totals for the District 5 Summer STaC, I was dismayed. They were in that dumb slick page format and nowhere were there overall totals.
So I e-mailed whoever it is that’s on the receiving end of the STaC e-mail address and – miracle! – they’ve got cumulative totals for the Winter STaC on the District 5 page. So to whoever did it, thanks a million.
In all, 1,113 players earned 2,644.64 silver points in STaC play earlier this month in Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and points in between. And five of the top six were from the Pittsburgh area, headed by Constance Hoechstetter of Moon Township, with 23.72, and Bernard Fodor of Murrysville with 20.84.
Top player from the Buffalo area turns out to be Shirley Cassety, who’s in 12th place with 13.34. Great player, but last I heard she isn’t a member of the ACBL. Shirley, you ought to be official. The other big winners from Western New York Unit 116 are:
Jerry Geiger, 12.68, 16th.
Marian Morber, 10.67, 26th.
Martin Pieterse, 8.34, 43rd.
Fred Yellen, 7.92, 49th.
Wilson McClaren, 7.87, 51st.
Allen Beroza, 7.86, tied for 52nd.
Ron Henrikson, 7.57, 57th.
Mike Silverman, 7.11, 64th.
Shakeel Ahmad and Manju Ceylony, 6.53, tied for 79th.
Joe Rooney, 6.51, 82nd.
Bert Hargeshimer, 6.47, 84th.
Linda Vasallo, 6.00, 97th.
Judy Padgug, 5.99, 98th.
Bud Seidenberg, 5.97, 99th.
Joan Rose, 5.92, 101st.

Where’s my name? Way-y-y-y down in a tie for 186th place with a guy named Roger Howey, no hometown listed, with 3.88 points. Far cry from the Summer STaC, when I earned 11.50.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bridge Blog 812: Milestone!

According to the ACBL, I finished November with a career total of 1,796.41 master points and I’ve had a pretty good month so far, beginning with that 71.53% game with Marilyn Sultz on Dec. 1. Have I hit my goal of 1,800 before Christmas? Here’s the roundup:
Dec. 1 w/Marilyn Sultz, 71.53%, 0.90 point.
Dec. 2 w/June Feuerstein, 46.39%.
Dec. 3 w/Celine Murray, 63%, 0.42 point.
Dec. 4 w/Nancy Kessler (!), 52.24%, 0.48 point.
Dec. 5 w/Selina Volpatti in St. Catharines, 43.60%.
Dec. 6 w/Marietta Kalman at Unit 116 annual meeting, 51.90%, 0.26 point. (Something also should be said about the meeting itself, but I’m not up for it at the moment.)
And now for STaC (Sectional Tournament at the Clubs) week with silver points and double sessions:
Dec. 8 a.m. w/Usha Khurana, 57.17%, 0.91 point.
Dec. 8 p.m. w/Usha, 43.52%.
Dec. 9 a.m. w/Celine Murray, 51.10% (a tenth of percent out of winning points).
Dec. 9 p.m. w/Ron Henrikson, 58.13%, 0.84 point. Hooray! That nailed it!

Of course, the STaC awards extra points on a district level. Was Monday morning good enough to win some? Nope, not quite. We needed at least 58%. 

Bridge Blog 811: Attenuated November

Between the Thanksgiving holiday, the big snowstorm and the layoff due to my medical procedure, I missed a lot of bridge in November. I played only 12 days out of 30 and my point count shows it. Just 7.66 for the month.
How did that affect my standing in the ACBL master point races? Let’s see. In the Unit 116 Ace of Clubs (Buffalo only, points earned only in club play), hey, I’m still in fifth place in the 1,000- to 2,500-point division with 105.41.
John Ziemer continues on top, now with 189.34. Mike Silverman has moved into second with 153.63, passing Ken Meier, who has 142.09. Fred Yellen is fourth with 113.89. Can I catch him in December? Probably not. I’m going in for another procedure next week and will likely be out until January.
With luck, I’ll stay ahead of Chuck Schorr, who’s sixth with 102.91. The rest of the list includes Vince Pesce, 83.29; Barbara Pieterse, 83.18; Gene Finton, 74.82; and Dotty May, 58.58.
In the Unit 116 Mini-McKenney, which includes all points earned everywhere, I’m still sixth, now with 139.66. John Ziemer leads the list with 270.35, followed by Ken Meier, 178.05; Fred Yellen, 169.67; Mike Silverman, 168.07; and David Hemmer, 145.89. After me, there’s Chongmin Zhang, 125.38; Chuck Schorr, 109.81; Barbara Pieterse, 101.79; and Gene Finton, 97.58.
John Ziemer now has the most overall points of anyone in the unit. He’s passed Jerry Geiger (5,000 to 7,500), who has 260.48; and Saleh Fetouh, who has 254.02. Only two other players have more than 200 – Chris Urbanek (7,500 to 10,000), with 226.58; and Bud Seidenberg (5,000 to 7,500) with 209.90.
Moving on to the District 5 level, which includes Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, the Ace of Clubs list in the 1,000- to 2,500-point division continues to be dominated by Buffalonians. We hold down the top six positions. Our only other representative is Vince Pesce, who brings up the rear in 25th place.

Ohioans rule in the District 5 Mini-McKenney – Fleur Howard of Gates Mills, 394.86; Michael Creager of Brecksville, 388.53; and Peter Merker of Mentor, 364.66. John Ziemer is fourth. Ken Meier, Fred Yellen and Mike Silverman are eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively. David Hemmer is 16th, I’m still 17th and Chongmin Zhang is 21st. The list cuts off at 121.10.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bridge Blog 810: Absentia

Third anniversary of my life master hat trick – life master, bronze life master, silver life master, all in one fell swoop at the Niagara Falls, Ont., Regional on Nov. 10, 2011 – I’m out cold for a TURBT “procedure” to remove a growth from my bladder.
When I wake up enough to understand what’s going on, it’s bad news. Bladder cancer. Good-bye, hopes for gold life master. Good-bye to lots of things I know and love.
But wait, there’s hope, even when the skies turn black, the temperature falls from 70 to 30 and you’re plugged into a catheter and gobbling antibiotics and anti-spasm pills. Bladder cancer strikes five times as many people as it kills every year, I read on one of the cancer websites. It’s survivable.
What will it take to survive? The urologist isn’t optimistic about the lab results from the tissue samples. The bladder will have to go, she says. The top urological oncologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute isn’t so certain. They interpreted the lab results a bit differently. First, they want to take another look in there after I’ve healed up. A second TURBT procedure. Mid-December. Then there will be a definite decision.
I went back to work for most of an evening on the fourth day after the procedure, but I fatigued easily. I still need a nap every day. And I have to hit the washroom every hour. It wasn’t until this past Friday, 11 days after the procedure and a night off from work, and three days after the big Buffalo snow disaster (which left only a couple inches at my house) that I felt ready to return to the bridge tables.
I used to pride myself on sitting through an entire game without heading off to take a leak. On Friday and Saturday, I made that dash to the men’s room before and after the game and twice between rounds of play.
Meanwhile, I didn’t forget everything I knew, not even my bad habits, but somehow the results were good anyway.
Friday with Celine Murray, our 54.20% put us third in a three-way scrum for the top in a three-table game at the Airport Bridge Club and gave us a master point.

Saturday with Beverly Dale, despite some unfortunate bids (See Blog 809-A and Blog 809-B), we finished second overall in a 4½-table game with 58.33% for 1.31 master points. Now my hopes are officially bolstered. That goal of 1,800 career master points by the end of the year is within reach.

Bridge Blog 810-A: Zig

Beverly Dale was disappointed. I should have given her a better bid, she said, and she would have gone to game on Board 25. As it was, we stopped at 3 Clubs and made three overtricks. Everything worked out right. Here’s the deal. I’m sitting North and I’m dealer. East-west is vulnerable. We’re not.
Spades: K-9; Hearts: 6-3; Diamonds: 10-4-3-2; Clubs: K-Q-10-3-2.
I pass and so does East. Beverly opens a Club. Since she will open a short Club and since she admonished me for bidding inverted minors when we played together two weeks ago, my response was 2 Clubs. I believe East bid 2 Spades. Beverly bid 3 Clubs and I passed. Here are the other hands:
Spades: A-7-6; Hearts: A-Q-8-2; Diamonds: None; Clubs: A-J-9-8-7-5.
Spades: Q-10-8-5-4; Hearts: J-9; Diamonds: A-K-9-7-5; Clubs: 6.
Spades: J-3-2; Hearts: K-10-7-5-4; Diamonds: Q-J-8-6; Clubs: 4.

The outcome was split on the four times it was played. Two North-Souths bid 5 Clubs for plus 420. Another one stopped at 3 Clubs, like us, for plus 170. Of a possible 3 game points, we earned 0.5. Bidding 5 Clubs would have gotten us 2.

Bridge Blog 810-B: Zag

You don’t often get a chance to repeat a bid twice in a row, but it happened Saturday with Beverly Dale. After aforementioned Board 25 (Blog 809-A), Beverly opens one Diamond, guaranteeing at least four of them, on Board 26 after a pass by East, the dealer. West doubles, if I remember correctly, and I bid 2 Diamonds.
Spades: 6-5; Hearts: J-10; Diamonds: K-Q-J-6-3; Clubs: Q-8-5-2.
Beverly pushes to 4 Diamonds in competitive  bidding and I, not wanting to miss game twice in a row, bid 5 Diamonds. I should have known better. West, Ron Henrikson, doubles. We go down two for minus 500 and a bottom board. Here are the other hands:
Spades: K-10-4-3; Hearts: A-4; Diamonds: A-10-9-8-5; Clubs: 7-3.
Spades: J-9-8; Hearts: 9-8-6-5-3-2; Diamonds: 7; Clubs: K-10-4.
Spades: A-Q-7-2; Hearts: K-Q-7; Diamonds: 4-2; Clubs: A-J-9-6.

At the other tables, 4 Diamonds doubled went down one and two East-Wests were allowed to take the bid for 2 Hearts, making three overtricks. 

Bridge Blog 809: Unfinished October business

Better late than never. In the master point races through Oct. 31, I have 97.82 club points and 132.07 overall for the year. On the Unit 116 (Buffalo only) Ace of Clubs list, I’m fifth. Here’s the lineup:
        John Ziemer still first, 164.82; Ken Meier still second, 126.34; Mike Silverman, 125.41; Fred Yellen, 105.30; me, 97.82; Chuck Schorr, 94.52; Vince Pesce, 80.46; Barbara Pieterse, 76.85; Gene Finton, 71.47; Clare Gareleck, 53.05.
        Now for the Unit 116 Mini-McKenney race, which counts all points earned everywhere, including the Buffalo Regional. On this list, I’m sixth. Here’s the tally:
        John Ziemer first again, 246.64; Ken Meier, 162.37; Fred Yellen, 161.08; David Hemmer, 145.47; Mike Silverman, 139.85; me, 132.07; Chongmin Zhang, 125.38; Chuck Schorr, 101.42; Barb Pieterse, 95.46; Gene Finton, 94.23.
        Let’s go now to the District 5 level, which includes Cleveland and Pittsburgh as well as Buffalo and the list is 25 names long.
        Unit 116 continues its dominance of the top of the Ace of Clubs list. We occupy the top five spots. Sixth is Peggy Shivetts of Greensburg, Pa., with 95.36. Chuck Schorr is seventh. Vince Pesce is 19th. The list cuts off at 76.89 points.
        On the Mini-McKenney, the Ohioans rule. Here John Ziemer is fourth, after Michael Creager of Brecksville with 372.50, Fleur Howard of Gates Mills with 364.21 and Peter Merker of Mentor with 357.47. But we’re still quasi-respectable. Ken Meier is eighth, Fred Yellen is ninth, David Hemmer is 12th and Mike Silverman is 13th, I’m 17th, Chongmin Zhang is 20th. The list cuts off at 110.88.
                Amongst the nationwide leaders in my division – 1,000 to 2,500 points – the top dog is Vinita Gupta of Woodside, Calif., with 842.58 in the Mini-McKenney, followed by Robert Micone of Tustin, Calif., with 755.80, and Jay Barron of Tulsa, Okla., with 753.45. Michael Creager is 41st. John Ziemer is 223rd. The list cuts off at 195.13.
        In the nationwide Ace of Clubs in my division, the leader is Sanford Robbins of Miami Lakes, Fla., with 362.71; followed by Larry Lazarow of Highland Beach, Fla., with 345.67; Kenneth Wagner Jr. of Hollywood, Fla., with 315.37; and Judy Zhu of Naperville, Ill., with 272.77. John Ziemer is 68th. Ken Meier is 270th. Mike Silverman is 283rd. The list cuts off at 110.82.

None of us make the Barry Crane Top 500 nationwide. Neither Unit 116 nor District 5. The list cuts off at 395.06. Top is perennial champ Jeff Meckstroth of Clearwater Beach, Fla., with 2,519.61, followed closely by Eric Rodwell of Clearwater, Fla., with 2,504.91 and Chris Compton of Dallas, Texas, with 2,473.46.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bridge Blog 808: Raising the bar

How happy I would be to earn 20 master points this month, I reckoned as I returned to the tables at the Airport Bridge Club on Monday. Five days to play, not far to go. In addition to my regional tournament winnings of 9.77, I had 9.11 in club play.
Now, after a couple days among the club’s point winners, I’m beginning to think October could be a 25-pointer. Fumbling after a good start Monday, June Feuerstein and I wound up with 48.21%. But that was second in the B strat in that triple-point Howell game and it earned us 1.58 points.
Tuesday’s 10-table triple-point game saw June and me both do better with different partners. Eva Schmidt and I made few mistakes and nailed three top boards en route to 59.26%, third overall and second in B for 2.31 points. June, playing with Barbara Sadkin, was first in B. October total now – 22.77.

Bridge Blog 807: Regional recap

The heavy hitters were in the big room at the Fairgrounds Events Center for the Buffalo Regional Tournament last week, but I didn’t spot any of them. Three of the overall District 5 point leaders were on hand – Ohioans Fleur Howard, Phillip Becker and Michael Craeger – but they were immersed in the high-level knock-out games, so they never crossed my path.
Tied for the top of the heap in master point winnings were two of the Toronto honchos – Martin Hunter and John Duquette – who took home 85. They won three knock-out competitions for 20.12, 30.61 and 32.83 of those points.
You have to look down the list to 19th place to encounter the first player from host Unit 116 – Jim Gullo, with 34.82 points. Good work, Jim. After him, the locals start to show up with more and more regularity. Here they are through100th place:
Jay Costello, 28.85 (24th).
Mike Ryan, 28.18 (25th).
Saleh Fetouh, 25.63 (35th).
Davis Heussler, 23.70 (38th).
Yichuan Luo, 23.23 (39th).
Donna Steffan, 22.99 (43rd).
Judy Padgug, 20.98 (46th).
Ken Meier, 18.85 (52nd).
Kathy Pollock, 18.52 (53rd).
Judy Graf and Fred Yellen, 18.08 (tied 58th).
Liz Clark, 17.39 (64th).
John Ziemer, 17.31 (65th).
David Hemmer, 17.01 (71st).
Bert Feasley, 16.71 (72nd).
Linda Burroughsford, 16.37 (74th).
Joanne Kelley, Eugene Harvey and Chongmin Zhang, 15.44 (tied 81st).
Jay Levy, 14.78 (86th).
Gaurang Sheth, 14.20 (90th).
Bob Padgug, 14.13 (91st).
Martha and John Welte, 13.12 (tied 100th).
My 9.77 points put me in 138th place, tied with none other than Jerry Geiger. My playing partners are further down the list: Joe Miranda, 6.35 (202nd); Usha Khurana and Mona Karna, 5.41 (tied for 237th); Judie Bailey, 4.55 (259th); Ruth Wurster, 4.15 (278th); Betty Metz, 3.62 (298th); and Marilyn Sultz, 3.46 (300th). In all, 476 players earned points.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bridge Blog 806: Buffalo Regional Day 6

Swiss teams! The big tournament finale. Forty-five tables. We’re Team 38, which means we get to start off the day against Team 37 – Judy Padgug, Kathy Pollock, Davis Heussler and Tom Koralewski, a more high-powered lineup than ours (Judie Bailey, Ruth Wurster, Marilyn Sultz and myself), but a B stratification team nevertheless.
Then a funny thing happened. Tom Koralewski doubled Judie on a 4 Spade vulnerable contract when she had an awesome long suit and she made an overtrick. On the heels of that was a slam hand which Judie, after checking on my Aces, took all the way to 7 No Trump. Soon as her hand come down, it was obvious that we were taking all 13 tricks. In fact, we could have taken 14. At the other table, Judy Padgug and Kathy Pollock stopped at 6 NT. Thanks to those two hands, we wound up beating them by 4 International Match Points.
We would have been happy to stop right there and rest on our laurels, but there were six more seven-board rounds to go. Plus, having won in the opening round, we got to play another good team, an honest-to-God A team of Stan Kozlowski, Alex Kowal, Bert Hargeshimer and Christy Kellogg. They pretty much mopped the floor with us, 19-1 IMPs, although if our teammates hadn’t made a misplay on one hand, it would have been 12-7.
Incredibly, they were the only team we faced that wound up with a better record than we did, although we did our best to help the others out. But for an bit of over-eagerness on Judie’s part in bidding a slam on a hand that only made game, we would have beaten our next opponents – Rich Cramer-Benjamin and Jeff Bender – by a margin of 7-4 IMPs. Instead, they bested us, 15-7.
Well, we’ll get easier opponents now, I assured my teammates. Next up was a St. Catharines, Ont., team – Kit Nash and Mike Ritza, not so easy – who also were 1-2. On a bunch of low-scoring hands, they stymied us, 10-1.
At this point there might have been a break for lunch, but just a few minutes were added to the middle of the seven rounds so that players could line up for hamburgers, Italian sausage sandwiches and salads at the Event Center Café. (I brought a sandwich from the Lexington Co-op.) The Swiss team games at Unit 116 sectional tournaments, where there’s a lunch break and orders are taken for sandwiches in advance, are far more humane.
Another St. Catharines team faced us in the fifth round – Sharon Stevens and Maureen Clark at our table – and they benefited from a three-hand series where Judie and I zigged and zagged around bidding and making game. They beat us, 24-11.
So much for finishing in the upper echelon of the B strat and collecting gold points. We’d need at least four wins to do that. At this point, however, we were meeting teams that were even more desperate than us. Our sixth-round opponents, Dave Donaldson and Sushil Amlami, told us they hadn’t won anything at all. Nor did they beat us. We took them, 18-6.
Since there was an uneven number of teams, there was one three-team round robin afoot, reserved for the bottom-most teams, and we got caught in it for the final round, playing three-board sets against two different teams. Director Alex Bealles tried without much success to explain to us how to submit the scores until I finally assured him that we would somehow figure it out. We got one good hand against each of them – at our table, Eva Schmidt and Gabe Tannenbaum and then Martin and Barbara Pieterse – and won both sets.
Our final Victory Point tally was 94, almost respectable, but well short of the 110 that the eighth place B team chalked up to win 2.43 points. (The overall winners had 165.) Nevertheless, each victory in a round was worth 0.36 of a red point, giving us a total of 1.08 for the day. 

Bridge Blog 806-A: Random speculations

Random thought: Although I always approach the Buffalo Regional with high anticipation, it doesn’t reward me very well. This year may well have been the high water mark. Let’s go to the history books and see what’s happened in previous years.
2005 – 2.73 (all red points).
2006 – 1.94 (includes 1.59 gold).
2007 – 5.44 (all red).
2008 – 12.70 (6.81 gold, including 5.32 from that Swiss teams game I played with Paula Kotowski).
2009 – 4.15 (all red).
2010 – 7.59 (all red).
2011 – 6.97 (1.87 gold). I needed to play the Niagara Falls Regional later that year to reach the 25 gold I needed for my overdue Life Master status, which simultaneously became Bronze and Silver Life Master.
2012 – 12.12 (9.37 gold from a second-place finish in the knock-outs).
2013 – 4.59 (all red).
This year? All those bits and pieces of master points seem to add up to 9.77 (2.64 of them gold), my third-best Buffalo Regional.
Random question: Was Sunday’s 45-table Swiss team game as big as previous years or was attendance down? Let’s take a look. In June 2013, there were 48 tables. In October 2012, the count was 67 tables. In October 2011, it was 56 tables. In October 2010, it was 62. Also 62 in October 2009. In June 2008, it was 59.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bridge Blog 805: Buffalo Regional Day 5

Things reached the silly stage sometime Saturday afternoon, around the time that Sam Maitra at Table 3 was telling the joke that asks what you call 20,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean. To that, Guy Murray  across the aisle at Table 9 added the one about why man-eating sharks don’t eat lawyers.
Betty Metz and I had seen the ocean-bottom depths in the morning, coming in dead last at 39.89%, which was a lot better than the 29.89% I expected. It was so bad that my finest moment was a revoke. Not noticing a singleton King of trump (Hearts) in my hand when they first were led, I produced it to over-ruff the declarer. Director Alex Barrilles pronounced a one-trick penalty, distressing the declarer, a cute, youngish, but tightly-wound, dark-haired Torontonian named M-Christine El-Hoss, who was playing with her enigmatic shaved-head husband, Ragi (pronounced Ra-jee, I was corrected after I called him Ra-gee).  
So she was down one at 4 Hearts, but by rights, according to the printed hand records, she should have been down three. She got 12 of a possible 17 match points. After the match was over, she went over to the directors’ table to appeal, but apparently to no avail. Not that it ruined their game. They were first East-West with a stellar 71.10%. They went on to add a 60.68% game in the afternoon, third overall. Their aggregate performance won them the most possible gold points – 10.15.
At any rate, in the afternoon session, Betty and I were just having fun. Fun yielded a 50.98% game, fourth East-West in our section, the reward being 0.79 red points. Paltry? Yes, but it continues my record of accumulating points, no matter how fractional, each day of the tournament.  
Random notes: Prior to the morning game, Betty Metz remarked how people had been giving her a hard time about playing with me. Guess they think I’m the enemy. She said she didn’t care. I don’t care either. We had a good time.
Nevertheless, as Unit 116 president, she had plenty of things to be serious about, mostly arrangements for the next regional in 2015. She was in serious conversations all day long. The good part is that she’s gotten it moved to October, week and location still to be determined. Location probably will not be the fairgrounds again. The Canadians Saturday said they had trouble finding it. They also said they liked being able to leave the game and go right upstairs to their hotel room.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bridge Blog 804: Buffalo Regional Day 4

It was at the Buffalo Regional in June 2013 that Betty Metz, then Unit 116 vice president, and I were matched up for a pairs game and the results were unexpectedly fabulous. 60.50%. 2.27 red points. Now we’re trying to see if the magic will happen again, this time in the team games with some good players, Mike Silverman and Helen Panza, as our co-conspirators.
The magic wasn’t there Friday morning in the first section of the Friday-Saturday knock-outs, which began with our favorite format, round robin, in which two of the three teams advance. But this time we did not become one of the chosen two. Half of Thursday’s Canadian Bain team skunked us and so did the local team of John Kirsits, Ken Meier, Paula Kotowski and Bill Boardman. The cards in our direction were so poor that we couldn’t push the opponents to overbid, while Mike and Helen weren’t taking as many tricks as the other guys.
Things would have been closer, though not victorious, without some costly errors on my part and some missed No Trump games  that we wound up playing for part scores in minor suits. In a hand that involved a director call, I didn’t see an intervening pre-emptive bid by John Kirsits and underbid in a New Minor Forcing response to Betty’s 1 NT inquiry.
The director ruled that since I was going to give a cue bid, Betty would not be able to bid any further. I went straight to 4 Hearts (I had seven of them), then took all the tricks. Same thing happened at the other table, but had I bid the small slam, we would have picked up enough IMPs to lose by one instead of 14.  
We tried our luck at single-session Swiss teams in the afternoon, but fell short there too, winning only one of the four six-board rounds, beating a team that included a couple from Pennsylvania who came to our table bickering. Our total take for the day: 0.20 of a red point. For the session, we had 37 Victory Points. We needed 48 to tie the team that finished third in the B strat and won 1.45 points.
In the final round against John Ziemer and Liz Clark, I sacrificed at 4 Hearts doubled not vulnerable against what I thought would be a certain 3 No Trump vulnerable contract. I went down four for minus 800. Mike and Helen took the bid for 2 No Trump at their table and made just eight tricks for plus 120. So instead of gaining 6 IMPs, we lost 12 and lost the round, 20-12. Winning it 18-8 would have given us 24 victory points instead of the 7 we got. And that would have tied us for second in B.  
At any rate, there’s always Saturday. No teams this time. Betty and I will play pairs. Mike Silverman decided to take the day off and come back for the big Swiss team game Sunday.
Random notes: Playing with Betty Metz provided plenty of insights into the planning for these regional tournaments, specifically the 2015 edition, which is scheduled for the last full week of June. The tournament needs a big venue and only five places locally will fit the bill now that the former Grand Island Holiday Inn is unavailable – the Adam’s Mark, the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, the Buffalo Marriott Niagara in Amherst, the Millennium in Cheektowaga and the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls.
Complicating things further is the June date. The Event Center at the Fairgrounds is booked that week and the hotels are full of wedding reservations.
Since the Cleveland people like the Fairgrounds location in Hamburg (I walked into the Event Center with Cleveland honcho Susan Stark and she thought it was fine) and the Canadians we talked with didn’t consider it too inconvenient, Betty thought the somewhat smaller Grange Center on the grounds might fill the bill, but she couldn’t get anybody from the District 5 tournament committee to take a look at it Friday.
Betty’s other thought was to permanently assign an October date for the Buffalo Regional, which she’d prefer. It’s off-season for the hotels and they’d be cheaper. By the end of the day, she said she’d convinced the tournament committee to agree to move next year’s date. Good-bye, June. Hello, October. But apparently early enough in October not to crowd the Niagara Falls Regional, which is the first full week of November.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bridge Blog 803: Buffalo Regional Day 3

My distress was palpable as I arrived about 9:50 a.m. at the Event Center at the Erie County Fairgrounds. My Tuesday-Wednesday knock-out team was going into overtime, having unexpectedly gained admission to the Thursday morning semi-final round. But my Thursday partner, Judie Bailey, didn’t know about it yet. I left messages for her Wednesday night, but never got a call back. Now I had to break the news at the last minute.
Bless her soul, she did the expeditious thing when I found her at the registration table and explained my dilemma. She asked partnership chairwoman Faith Perry for a new partner for the morning pairs game. She got Eva Posner, Ted Kahn’s friend. Eva most likely had fewer master points than anybody else in that big barn of a room, so few that she and Judie, who has more than 1,000 points, qualified for the C stratification.  
Meanwhile, I scanned the room in vain for my teammates. Instead, I met the captain of our semi-final opponents, Sherill Bain from Oakville, Ont., who had the same missing team problem. At least she knew where her’s was – hung up at the border, where security was even stricter than usual because of the gunman killing the soldier in Ottawa on Wednesday.
As we pondered which of us would have to forfeit, I saw Usha Khurana come through the doors. Her car, which had been flashing its check-engine light, broke down. Teammate Joe Miranda drove from his home in Hamburg up to Amherst to get her and her partner Mona Karna.
A few minutes later, the Bain team arrived with tales of other drivers cutting them off in line at the international bridge. Finally, we got to settle down, shuffle and play. When we broke to compare scores after 12 boards, it was clear that our team was not only good at finishing second in round robin play, but also good at finishing second head-to-head.
The Bain team was ahead by 37 International Match Points, an insurmountable lead, but we did our best to surmount it in the second set of 12 boards. We made up half the deficit in the first six hands. But the rest of the way we couldn’t go. They won by 14 IMPs. We needed two big scores. If Usha and Mona had bid the 6 No Trump slam that the Bain team missed, that would have been one of them.
Nevertheless, just by showing up and playing, we got our master points – 2.64 gold, 1.32 red, 3.96 total. Had we won the semi-finals, that would be 4.66 gold, 2.33 red, 6.99 total. Winning the entire knock-outs in our bracket would be good for 6.60 gold, 3.30 red, 9.90 total.
Judie Bailey, meanwhile, had a superior game with Eva Posner – 50.60% – and finished first overall in the C strat, earning 2.12 red points. Playing in the B strat in the afternoon, we did better – 57.60%, third East-West, sixth overall, fourth overall in B, for 1.35 red master points. We were 0.15% behind the pair that was third in B overall (Damn, if I took that winning King of Clubs on Board 10 like I shoulda, we’d be third).
Our best round was against Eva Posner, where her partner, Marcia Turley, gifted us with a top board by inadvertently discarding a winning Ace on the next-to-last play, giving Judie an overtrick on a 3 Club contract (the printed hand record says it only makes 2 Clubs).
Random notes: Attendance continues to improve. The Thursday bulletin reports six tables in the morning pairs series, 27 tables in the Wednesday-Thursday knock-outs, 16 tables in the stratified open pairs, eight tables in the afternoon pairs, 14 tables in the Wednesday-Thursday compact knock-outs and 4.5 tables in the evening pairs. That’s 67.5 tables total.
Hospitality also is looking better. Nibbles at the end of the afternoon game included pasta salad (with and without onions) and hot dogs.
Meanwhile, sentiment toward the venue seems to be softening. A Cleveland-area pair in the afternoon game thought it was just fine. Judie Bailey found it agreeable, too. It helps to have a bigger crowd. There were more directors on duty Thursday, as well.
Personal tournament tally so far: 2.64 gold, 5.06 red, 7.70 total. That’s already 67% better than the 2013 Buffalo Regional. My total then was only 4.59.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bridge Blog 802: Buffalo Regional Day 2

My Tuesday-Wednesday teammates are agents of the unexpected. Instead of signing up for the stratified pairs, like they should have on Wednesday morning, they signed up for the Wednesday-Thursday knockout series.
As we saw on Tuesday, the knockouts can leave lesser players with nothing to show for their $12 entry fee but a bunch of shoulda-woulda-couldas at the end of the first round.
Plus, in the unlikely event that we survive that first morning round, and in the even unlikelier event that we succeed in the afternoon round, we’d be obliged to play in the third round Thursday morning, which we hadn’t arranged to do.  I, for one, am supposed to play with my Syracuse Regional partner, Judie Bailey, on Thursday.
But, lo and behold, instead of a head-to-head match, our morning game was a round robin – three teams competing, every team playing the others for 12 boards apiece, 24 total. So instead of just one team going on to the next round, the two winningest teams advance.
This format has been beneficial to my teams in the past and it was again Wednesday morning. Team 6, which included the highly competent Bob Padgug and Linda Burroughsford, skunked us in International Match Points, 54-0. It was a different story with Team 5, which included our buddies Barbara Sadkin and June Feuerstein. We beat them by 21 IMPs. Coming in second, we paid another $12 and advanced to the afternoon session and another round robin.
There were no Buffalo people among our afternoon opponents. First team included a brother and sister, Mike from Raleigh, N.C., and Mary Jo from Whitney Point, N.Y., who grew up in Niagara Falls. Second team was a pair of Canadian guys, one named Bob from Hamilton, the other named Dave from Oakville. At the break after 12 boards, we were trailing both of them – Mike and Mary Jo by 15 IMPs, Bob and Dave by 4 IMPs.
After the break, our fortunes turned. We overtook Mike and Mary Jo’s team, 23-6, beating them overall by just 2 IMPs. Bob and Dave, on the other hand, took us to the woodshed, 24-3. With the director standing over us, we were the last pair to finish tallying our totals. Yes, we’re playing Thursday morning, he told us. Another $12 apiece, please.
Advancing to the third round means that, win or lose Thursday morning, we will collect the master points allotted for third and fourth place – 2.64 gold, 1.32 red, 3.96 total. Hooray! But we have to play the round, the director informed us. If not, we don’t get the points.
Random notes: Attendance was not so dismal Wednesday, although I won’t see the count until the daily bulletin comes out Thursday. I didn’t notice as many St. Catharines players as I did on Tuesday. According to the Wednesday bulletin, the Tuesday evening stratified pair series had only five tables. There were three tables of stratified morning pairs, 14 tables of Tuesday stratified open pairs, 15 tables for the afternoon stratified pair series and 20 tables of knock-outs. It didn’t have any results for the 299er single session games scheduled at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. That big barn must have been lonely Tuesday evening.
Also improved Wednesday was hospitality, although teammate Mona Karna was complaining that she had to pay $1 for a cup of coffee from the Event Center Café. The smell of spaghetti sauce invaded the room at the end of the afternoon session, and there was egg salad, cheese, cut-up fruit and crackers, plus three boxes of Franzia wine. Nothing during the long lunch break, however. I revisited the place where I ate at the end of the game Tuesday – the buffet at the Buffalo Raceway casino next door.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bridge Blog 801: Buffalo Regional Tournament Day 1

       I usually see the Events Center at the Erie County Fairgrounds filled with vendor booths and greenery for the early spring garden show, Plantasia.
Without the landscaping and the hoopla, it’s depressingly stark and barn-like, making the shockingly small opening day turnout for the Buffalo Regional Tournament seem even smaller. There was a general longing to be back at the Holiday Inn on Grand Island, where the tournament held forth for the past half-dozen years. Or even at the Main-Transit Fire Hall in Williamsville, the favored venue for the Unit 116 sectionals.
Location, location and location were working against it in several ways. Many players from the northern suburbs gave it a miss, figuring it was just too long a drive. A few St. Catharines players came over from Canada, but it’s much more of a haul for them, too. It’s easier for the Rochester players, but only a few made the trip down the Thruway.
It was a diminished experience in almost every way. Pat Rasmus, whose stellar hospitality made the tournaments on Grand Island brighter, was running boards around during the morning knock-out team game, wearing a T-shirt that said “Caddy.” As for the hospitality – plastic bowls of chips and popcorn, a few two-liter bottles of pop and a pitcher of beer from the taps in the Event Center Café, which otherwise was closed.
At regionals, the big ambition is to succeed in the knock-outs, a head-to-head team competition in which the winners advance to the next round and the big pot of gold points at the end. Our team – Usha Khurana, her delightful Indian friend Mona Karna from Sarasota, Fla., and Usha’s frequent partner, Joe Miranda – refused to consider the possibility of needing to find alternative plans if we lost.
It was in my head that I would be playing with Usha, but no. Usha and Mona were a pair. I would play with Joe and, although we never played together before, his approach is pretty much like Usha’s.
Even so, it took the better part of the first round of six hands to work out the kinks. Twice I failed to give Joe a return that would have defeated our opponents, a well-practiced pair of retired teachers from London, Ont., named Margaret and Wilma. This proved costly, accounting for most of the 19 International Match Points we were behind at the midpoint after 12 hands. We did better on the second set of 12, stepping up an already aggressive offense, but there were no opportunities for a big score. We lost that round by a single IMP. Oh well, there are more knockouts Wednesday.
Along with the other knocked-out teams, we turned to the open pairs in the afternoon and, by now, Joe and I were pretty much on the same page. Our coup was a top board against a familiar pair of opponents, Barbara Sadkin and June Feuerstein (See Blog 801-A). For the final round of the session, we faced off for two hands against Usha and Mona and flummoxed them with an unexpected opening bid from Joe (See Blog 801-B.)
We finished with 54.49%, first in B East-West in our section, second in B overall, for 2.39 red points. Usha and Mona also scratched, despite our shenanigans. Third in C overall North-South with a 47.60% for 1.45 red points.

Bridge Blog 801-A: Moon shot

The only absolute top board Joe Miranda and I registered in Monday afternoon’s open pairs game was Board 7 against Barbara Sadkin and June Feuerstein. South (June) is dealer. Both of us are vulnerable. Joe opens a Diamond, I respond 4 No Trump, he bids 5 Clubs (1430 Roman Key Card) and I go straight to 6 Diamonds. Barbara led the Jack of Hearts. “Are we underbid?” I asked Joe as I laid down the dummy. “I think so,” he said. Here are the hands:
Joe (West)
Spades: A-Q-9; Hearts: None; Diamonds: J-9-8-5-4-3; Clubs: K-J-9-8.
Dale (East)
Spades: K-5-2; Hearts: Q-2; Diamonds: A-K-Q-10-7; Clubs: A-6-4.
Barbara (North)
Spades: 10-8-7-6-4; Hearts: K-J-10-7-5; Diamonds: None; Clubs: Q-10-5.
June (South)
Spades: J-3; Hearts: A-9-8-6-4-3; Diamonds: 6-2; Clubs: 7-3-2.
Thanks to the FastResults folks, we can see the results, which show four other pairs bidding 6 Diamonds and making only 6. Usha and Mona also got a top board on that hand, bidding and making 3 Hearts doubled, the only North-South to get a number on their side of the scorecard. (Another went to 6 Hearts doubled, which the printed hand record says is the likely result.) Four other East-Wests stopped at 5 Diamonds, two of them wound up at 3 NT, amazingly making two overtricks, even though North-South should win half a dozen Hearts.

Bridge Blog 801-B: Don't ask!

Mona Karna isn’t sure she wants to play with Joe Miranda after what he and I did to her and Usha Khurana on the last hand of the day in the afternoon pairs game Tuesday. Board 28. North-South vulnerable. West deals.
Joe, as dealer, opens a Club. I respond with a Heart. He goes 3 Clubs. I think for a moment, then take the 3 No Trump plunge. Here are the hands:
Joe (West)
Spades: Q-9-8-5-3; Hearts: 6; Diamonds: 8; Clubs: K-Q-7-6-5-3.
Dale (East)
Spades: K-4; Hearts: A-Q-9-7-5-4; Diamonds: J-9-6-4-3; Clubs: None.
Mona (North)
Spades: J-6; Hearts: 10-8-3; Diamonds: Q-10-5-2; Clubs: A-J-9-8.
Usha (South)
Spades: A-10-7-2; Hearts: K-J-2; Diamonds: A-K-7; Clubs: 10-4-2.
The printed hand record says the likely contract is East-West 4 Hearts doubled, down three. That’s because North-South can make 3 No Trump vulnerable. What happened at our table was my 3 NT going down just two for a minus 100 instead of a minus 500 or 600.
The online record shows results all over the place. None of the North-Souths got 600 because none of them took the bid, although two of them got 500 for setting 3 Spades and 4 Diamonds, both doubled. A lot of East-Wests wound up at 3 Hearts, going down one or two, sometimes doubled. The ones who got plus scores stopped at 2 Hearts or 2 Spades. The top pair made an overtrick (!) in Hearts.

Bridge Blog 800: Ready or not

Continuity was hard to come by in the week leading up to the Buffalo Regional Tournament Oct. 21 to 26, and so were master points.
After the long weekend off for a trip to NY City, it was less than a stellar return to form – a 46.62% game with Marietta Kalman on Tuesday, an even 50% with Celine Murray on Wednesday. The point breakthrough finally arrived on Thursday, when the poorest game of the week – a 46.25% with the lovely Dianne Bloom – brought us in third in the C strat (!) for 0.28 of a point.
On Friday, a last-minute cancellation by Canadian partner Selina Volpatti (too busy campaigning for reelection to the Niagara Regional Council) threw me together with Airport Bridge Club manager Bill Finkelstein. Between my mistakes and his critiques, it was an experience only marginally less distressing than the cystoscopy I endured the previous afternoon. Nonetheless it proved rewarding – a 50% game, tied for first in B, 0.90 of a point. Another 50% with Bill Boardman on Saturday was less painful, but out of point range.
Giving all these struggles a final wacky spin was Monday’s game with June Feuerstein, who did things like open 1 No Trump with a singleton. Nevertheless, it reaffirmed my belief in miracles. Our 51.79% game put us third overall and earned 0.40 of a point, raising the total for the month to 6.68. OK, bring on the Regional!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bridge Blog 799: Small September harvest

My prolonged slump after the Buffalo Fall Sectional Tournament has stunted my showing in the monthly master point standings, which the ACBL just posted for September. My haul for the month was just 6.44 club points and 2.90 tournament points. 9.34. Not even double digits.
In the Ace of Clubs (club play only) race for Unit 116 (Buffalo), I’m lodged in sixth place in the 1,000 to 2,500 point division with 82.72 for the year, with more than six points separating me from the players on either side.
John Ziemer continues on top with 148.47. Ken Meier is a distant second with 115.07. Then come Mike Silverman, 99.42; Fred Yellen, 92.99; Chuck Schorr, 89.54; myself, 82.72; Vince Pesce, 70.22; Barbara Pieterse, 68.21; Gene Finton, 65.13; and Dorothy May, 49.50. In the whole unit, only Jerry Geiger has more club points than John Ziemer – 165.57 – and he’s in the 5,000 to 7,500 point division.
In the Unit 116 Mini-McKenney race, which counts all the points earned, John Ziemer also is on top of the 1,000 to 2,500 point division. His full total is 212.17. Ken Meier is second with 132.25, followed by Fred Yellen, 130.69; David Hemmer, 124.08; Mike Silverman, 109.03; myself, 107.20; Chongmin Zhang, 98.51; Chuck Schorr, 91.81; Barbara Pieterse, 83.92; and Gene Finton, 83.64.
Biggest overall point winner in the Unit is Saleh Fetouh with 217.86. Then comes Jerry Geiger with 214.80. Nobody else but John Ziemer is over 200.
Onward to the District 5 standings, which include Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Here Unit 116 routinely dominates whatever division I'm in and we’ve done it once again. We hold down the top six places, with me barely edging out Peggy Shivetts of Greensburg, Pa., who has 81.60. After me, only Vince Pesce makes this Top 25 list. He’s 19th. It cuts off at 68.33 points, just ahead of Barbara Pieterse.
Over on the District-wide Mini-McKenney, we’re not so lucky. Our John Ziemer is fourth, trailing three Ohio players by more than 100 points. Michael Craeger of Brecksville continues as leader with 359.39, followed by Fleur Howard of Gates Mills, 321.34; and Peter Merker of Mentor, 312.94.
We’re further represented by Ken Meier, 10th; Fred Yellen, 11th; David Hemmer, 13th; Mike Silverman, 17th; and me in 19th place. The list cuts off at 98.90 points.
Nationwide? Don’t know. Can’t bring it up on the ACBL website tonight.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bridge Blog 798: Nada

I’ve been in a slump of monumental proportions ever since the sectional tournament two weekends ago. Indeed, I have not collected any fragment of a master point since Saturday, Sept. 20. I keep expecting to snap out of it, but all I’ve done is add to my succession of sorry finishes.
This past week included a 42.26% with Usha Khurana last Monday and a 38.09% today (barely escaping last place), a 44.26% with Marietta Kalman last Tuesday (after which she suggested I cut down on overbidding), a 38.19% with Celine Murray on Wednesday (cut down, but it didn’t help), a 46.73% with Dianne Bloom on Thursday, and a 43.81% on Saturday with Alice Bragg (paired up at the last minute).
Closest I came to success was Friday in St. Catharines, Ont., with Selina Volpatti in an 18-table game where we were 2½ match points away from placing fourth in the B strat. All we had to do to improve upon our 48.87% was avoid those three train-wreck hands – two minus 1,100s and a minus 1,700 (on the very first board of the day, a very ill-advised 5 Spade sacrifice, down seven doubled) – and that would have done it.

Bridge Blog 797: High water

Individual game results from the Buffalo Fall Sectional Tournament back on Sept. 12 to 14 were posted right away, but not the tabulation of all the master points. The ACBL, at its new headquarters in northern Mississippi, got flooded out in the big rains early that weekend. Time to move back to higher ground in Memphis, folks.
At any rate, the ACBL finally reopened last week and added up all those points and now, nearly a week later, I’ve finally found a moment to acknowledge them.
Big winner was somebody who usually isn’t the big winner – Kathy Pollock – who played as good as she looked that weekend. She brought home 15.67 points, 8.75 of them as part of the winning Swiss team on Sunday. She also was third overall in the two-session game on Friday.
Second was a guy who’s always in the running, Bud Seidenberg, with 12.79. He earned 6.56 of them as part of the second-place Swiss team on Sunday. Third and fourth were two of Kathy Pollock’s Swiss teammates, Fred Yellen and Chongmin Zhang, with 12.61 and 11.75, respectively.
Fifth and sixth were two perennial winners, Chris Urbanek with 10.62, and Saleh Fetouh, with 10.58. They were on Bud Seidenberg’s Swiss team.
Me? I was 74th, right behind a six-way tie for 68th, with 2.90.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bridge Blog 796: The "Moonraker" hand

First opponents in St. Catharines, Ont., on Friday included a player I hadn’t seen before who declined to enter his number into the Bridgemate gizmo. He said his name was Amir (Amir Farsoud, the results on the club website tell us) and that he was Iranian. Not Persian?, I inquired. No, he said, that’s a name given by the British and smacks of colonialism.
At any rate, Amir and his partner, Norm St. Denis, were adventurous convention hounds and he made it clear that he knew a lot about bridge. His main point was that point count means nothing and, as an example, he cited the “Moonraker” hand (actually the Duke of Cumberland hand), an outrageously distributional deal which author Ian Fleming incorporated into the James Bond novel of that name. The winning hand at 7 Clubs redoubled has only eight high card points. Google it and see. (Bond opened 7 Clubs, but now that I look at the hand, an astute opponent, holding 31 high card points, could make 7 Hearts or 7 Spades if his partner is sharp enough to bid one of the major suits over his double.)

Bridge Blog 795: Bottoms 'r us

What a week in the doldrums this has been. I’ve been brain dead, epitomized by my revoke in the first hand I played with Dianne Bloom on Thursday. It’s a sad succession, hitting the depths with 29.95% on Tuesday with Flo Boyd, who was a last-minute substitute for the last-minute cancellation by Barbara Sadkin. Even in St. Catharines today (Friday), hopes faded with a minus 800 and a minus 1,100, both misguided sacrifices inspired by favorable vulnerability.
The minus 1,100 was 5 Diamonds doubled, bid when I believed that the opponents could make 4 Hearts vulnerable, as indeed they can. Unfortunately, we North-Souths can take only six tricks in Diamonds, not eight. Allowing them to make 4 Hearts would have given us 5.5 more game points.
The minus 800 was 5 Hearts doubled on a hand where East-West can make 4 Spades vulnerable. According to the hand records, we can take only seven tricks, which we did. Allowing them to make 4 Spades would have given us an extra 4.5 game points. An extra 10 game points, however, would have only boosted from 13th place to 12th. Clearly, our distress was more widespread than these two hands. Our big problem: An abundance of 30% and 40% boards.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bridge Blog 794: Buffalo Fall Sectional Finale

“Well, at least the Bills won,” teammate Michael Kozower said when the Swiss teams game finally ended Sunday afternoon. The past couple hours of bridge had seemed not only endless, but also fruitless. We managed to win only one round and tied another for a grand total of 0.39 of a silver point.
Since the game finished later than I expected, I bolted for work – I would be more than an hour late – and didn’t stick around to see if we were last. In the parking lot, I discovered that we weren’t. Somebody else reported that they’d won only one round. “At least the Bills won,” he said.

Bridge Blog 794-A: Random Notes

As of Monday night, the ACBL has yet to post a list of the master point winners from the tournament (could it be because ACBL headquarters is still closed because of last week’s heavy weather?), so a roundup of point winners will have to wait.
        After Friday morning’s big turnout, attendance settled down to normal levels. Friday afternoon had 30.5 tables. Saturday morning had 28. Saturday afternoon had 22. And there were 25 Swiss teams on Sunday.
        Having been asked by Pat Lakeman to bring cookies, I ordered 12 dozen from my neighborhood custom cookie purveyor, Barbara Keating of Sweet Temptations du Jour, and they were a hit. Betty Metz put half of them out on a tray at the start of Saturday afternoon’s game and they disappeared in a flash. In the middle of the session, she filled up a second tray, which met the same fate.
        Other hospitality was a mixed bag. Panera’s bagels Friday and Sunday mornings, plus some of Paula Kotowski’s blueberry bread on Saturday, that was good. Tim Hortons Tim Bits, not so good. Paul Zittel brought in fresh peppers, which he gave as prizes to winners, plus veggie platters which included a cross between cauliflower and broccoli that split the difference between their two flavors. It wasn’t until Sunday that he brought some of his fabulous corn salsa.
        I’ve rarely seen blood in a men’s room except in gangster movies, which made for an unsettling sight in one of the toilet stalls on Saturday – a raised toilet seat heavily splattered in red. Whoever it was should get that checked out, the janitor and I agreed as he scoured it up late in the day. Sunday someone mentioned that one of the players who had been there Friday and Saturday was in the hospital. Bleeding ulcer.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bridge Blog 793: You read it here first

The biennial Niagara Falls, Ont., Regional Tournament should have been listed on the ACBL website for November 2015 for several months now. I’ve kept checking for it, but it hasn’t shown up. I thought I heard somebody saying that Unit 166 wasn’t going to hold it this time around.
Some of the folks from Unit 116, not seeing Niagara Falls on the ACBL tournament calendar, have been starting to wonder if they could move the 2015 Buffalo Regional from June to October, a more favorable time of year because hotel rates are cheaper.
So when I see Unit 166 honcho Lorna Johnson, who chaired the last Niagara Falls Regional, among the competitors at the Buffalo Sectional on Saturday, I ask her about it.  She says yes, it’s going to happen. They’ve applied for the sanction. It should be on the ACBL schedule any day now.