Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bridge Blog 730: Buffalo Winter Sectional

The weather was so bad on Friday, Jan. 3, the first day of the tournament that I wondered if I would make it on the drive out to the Main-Transit Fire Hall in Williamsville. Black ice on the Kensington Expressway and the Thruway. Scary. I thought I had flat tires.
Plus, when I got there, I wondered if I was going to get to play. My designated partner, Selina Volpatti, e-mailed to say there was three feet of snow in her driveway in Niagara Falls, Ont. And she doesn’t want to come over here when the weather’s bad, even if her driveway is clear.
But who should be looking for a partner but my Wednesday compatriot, Celine Murray. They’d paired her up with a guy who was only going to play the morning session, so she shed him and there we were, playing Friday as well as Saturday, which we’d already planned. (She’d called Thursday night wondering if I was available, which I wasn’t at that point.)
Last time Celine and I played, back on Dec. 23, we’d registered a dismal 34.72%. The morning session at the tournament was better, but not much. With the cards repeatedly leading people to bid unattainable games, we limped in with 39.58%, tenth out of 11 North-South pairs.
We saw improvement Friday afternoon, 44.12%, eighth out of 11 pairs, and a little more Saturday morning, when the weather was better, 44.47%, tenth of 13 North-Souths. It took until Saturday afternoon to make our breakthrough – 53.30%, eighth overall North-South, fourth in the B strat, for 0.64 of a silver point, first point (or fraction thereof) of the new year.
For the Swiss teams on Sunday, I kept my expectations low. If we win two rounds, I’ll be happy, I told teammates Usha Khurana, Joe Miranda and Selina Volpatti. As it turned out, we won our first round, lost the second and won the third right before the lunch break. Anything more will be gravy, I said.
          And gravy there was. We won two more rounds, piling up 104 victory points. We would have needed three more wins, not just two, to be among the top seven A strat leaders. Ruthie and Michael Kozower were seventh with 121. Nevertheless, we got 0.26 of a silver point for each victorious round. Not bad.
          Yes, not bad, but nowhere near what Davis Heussler did. He had 13.70 and he didn’t even place among the leaders in the Swiss teams, which is the usual path to victory. Second was his frequent partner, David Colligan, with 11.78 (looks like he won three rounds in Swiss). What’s more, they’re both C strat players. Their secret? They swept both the morning and afternoon games on Saturday, picking up 11 points.
After that on the leaderboard, the high strat players step in. Stan Kozlowski, part of the team that finished second in the Swiss teams, was next with 11.62. His teammates Bert Hargeshimer and Christy Kellogg tied for fourth with 11.48.
          In all, 142 players earned points. I was 82nd. Saleh Fetouh, who usually tops the list at the sectionals, was tied for 101st with 0.91. 

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