Usha Khurana gets to the sign-up table first and we’re the Number 1 team for the Swiss teams on Sunday, but we know it’s a misnomer. There’s little chance that we’re going to finish in first place.
We get whomped by the Number 2 team right out of the game, Tova and Andrei Reinhorn, with whom we have an incident that sets partner Selina Volpatti on edge. It’s all my fault.
Selina opens 2 Diamonds and I’m not sure if it’s a weak two bid or a Mini Roman. Tova asks. I say I think it’s weak and, trying to ignore the little scrunched up face that Selina makes and having a six-card Spade suit anyway, I bid 2 Spades. Selina jumps to 4 Spades. Tova calls the director.
Mike Roberts reserves judgment until the hand is finished, then says that in Mini Roman, Selina should have passed. He says we’ve played it at 2 Spades, making five, for plus 200 instead of plus 450. At our teammates’ table, it’s plus 450. Take away that setback and they beat us only 22-9 instead of 28-9. In the end, it’s two victory points. And at the very end, those two victory points don’t really matter.
We want to lose the first round, I assure my teammates. Otherwise, we’ll have to play the seriously tough teams. Sure enough, we rip through our opponents in the next three rounds, 24-6, 25-5 and 19-11, the last being against really good players, namely Bert Hargeshimer and Christy Kellogg.
We get our comeuppance in round five against the Canadian team led by Jereme Smee, one of the top point winners at the Bridge Centre of Niagara in St. Catharines. Their big hits against us are sending Selina down three doubled and making game on a hand where our teammates fall short. They skunk us, 27-3, in victory points.
The next round is worse. We’re up against Saleh Fetouh and David Hemmer. They nail us twice, sending Selina down one doubled in a 3 NT contract and basking our shortcomings when a 2 Spade contract winds up making three overtricks (I know we’re undervalued the moment that Saleh doesn’t challenge our 2-bid). They shut us out completely, 43-5 IMPs, 30-0 victory points.
When the final results are posted, I notice that the Smee team is second overall and the Hemmer team is third.We salvage our pride against Shakeel Ahmad and Manju Ceylony, squeaking to a 21-19 IMP victory, despite the 5 Spades doubled contract that Manju made for 15 IMPs. (I never should have doubled it.) Although we wind up with only 99 victory points (it would have taken 120 to get bonus points in our B stratification), our four victorious rounds give us a total of 1.04 silver points. We’re happy.