My cell phone rings Friday morning as I’m rolling up to the corner of Transit Road and Wehrle Drive with about 10 minutes to spare before the start of the morning session at the Main-Transit Fire Hall. It’s my partner, Barbara Sadkin. She’s at Maple and Youngs roads and she’s on her way. I’ll get there before you do, I tell her. It’s a rare thing, me arriving at a game ahead of my partner.
Turnout looks good as I steer into the parking lot. I have to park half a dozen cars further away than I usually do. Inside, it’s 28 tables, divided up between a double session game and a single session game, with a scattering of Rochester and St. Catharines people thrown in among the Buffalonians.
Neither Barbara nor I are morning people and we show it right away, giving Paul and Linda Zittel a top board by taking a bid that goes down three doubled. Paul thanks me later for giving them such a good start, then notes that they wound up around 45%. Coincidentally, so did we – 44.23%, courtesy of a couple more bottom boards from bad sacrifice bids.
Having been East-West in the morning, we became North-South in the afternoon, which is much more to our liking. The cards are more amenable to our freewheeling bidding style as well, although we twice fail to make slams we bid. This time we finish at 54.47%, fifth in the A strat for the session, second in B for 1.09 silver points.
In the morning, Barbara lamented that we hadn’t gotten any 17-game point top boards, to which someone else said that those are very rare because there are usually two or more pairs tied with top scores. Best we got in the morning was 16, for setting opponent Jim Gullo’s 1 No Trump contract down three, plus a pair of 15s, also on defense.
Our afternoon game is lifted by a final hand in which we set the opponents down five, which is good for a 16.5 out of 17. To that we add a pair of 16s, on offense this time.
In one, where I’m 5-5 in Hearts and Clubs, I make a 3 Club contract after I resist the urge to go for 3 NT, which would have gone down. In the other, I’m a third-seat 1 NT opener with 14 high card points and a five-card Heart suit. Barbara responds 2 NT and the bidding is over.
Soon as I see the dummy, I think 3 Hearts, but the hand record says that only 1 Heart is makeable. In fact, East-West is supposed to make 4 Spades. Or 2 NT. So 2 NT bid and made in our direction is good for a near perfect gain. Here’s that hand. I’m sitting South, North is dealer, both sides are vulnerable.
Spades: K-7; Hearts: A-Q-10-6-2; Diamonds: 9-5-2; Clubs: K-Q-6.
Spades: 9-6; Hearts: K-J-4; Diamonds: Q-J-10-8-6; Clubs: J-4-2.
Spades: Q-10-8-5-2; Hearts: 9-5-3; Diamonds: K-7-4; Clubs: 10-6.
Spades: A-J-6-3; Hearts: 8-7; Diamonds: A-3; Clubs: A-9-7-5-3.
I’m not quite sure which mistakes they make on this one, but West may have led a low Club. I proceed to win that trick, cash all the Hearts and go looking to establish some long Diamonds. I don't believe I get one, but after the opponents take the Ace of Spades, the King gives me a seventh trick and, if I’m not mistaken, my Queen of Clubs is the eighth. A minor miracle, eh?