Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bridge Blog 757: Streeeeeak!

What a week! What an amazing week! After the auspicious sessions that started it off so wonderfully on Monday and Tuesday and miraculously continued Wednesday (see Blog 755), things bogged down a bit, but never got entirely derailed.
The lovely Dianne Bloom and I got off to a terrible start on Thursday, mangling our first four hands, failing to find a 3 NT contract, taking an unwise low-level vulnerable sacrifice (me), missing a chance to set the opponents at 3 NT (Dianne didn’t cash her Ace of Clubs when she had a chance) and letting them make 4 Spades (me tossing the wrong card in a squeeze play).
But then we found our footing and chalked up a 50.60% game, third in the B strat North-South, collecting 0.28 of a point. Had we just managed a 50-50 record in those first four hands, we would have finished second overall North-South with 55.65%.
As for Friday, Good Friday, Canada was eerily quiet. Many stores were closed. The normally bustling Pen Center mall was deserted. All the shoppers were on the bridges heading for the U.S. Cars were backed up to Thompson Road in Fort Erie waiting to cross the Peace Bridge. Inbound to Canada, however, almost nothing.
Plus, some of the best players at the Bridge Centre of Niagara were in Toronto for the annual Easter Regional (so were the electronic scoring devices, which belong to Unit 166 – we scored the rounds on pick-up slips). Same probably applies to some of the best Buffalo players, which could be a big reason why more of them didn’t zip down the Thruway to Rochester last week (Blog 756).
Nevertheless, my confidence about my weekly game with Selina Volpatti in St. Catharines was shaken by our miserable 42% outing a week earlier. It was shaken even further when our East-West opponents bid and made a 6 Spade slam on the second hand of the day, a phenomenon we saw repeated a few rounds later when someone bid and made 6 No Trump against us. We also lost a hand we should have nailed against a very slow pair when the director took away a board. Despite all that, we still managed a respectable 52.31%, fourth out of 11 North-Souths overall, second in the B strat, for 0.39 of a point.
The big question on Saturday, then, was this – will the streak stretch to six? I never know when I’m playing with Marietta Kalman. A year ago, it seemed like we were bidding on different planets. Now we’re much more attuned and on this particular day, we turned out to be very well attuned.
We were on defense on 17 of the 28 boards in this four-table Howell game, but we were nailing our opponents to the wall. Where other declarers would go down one, we’d set them two. And when we won the auction, we were making overtricks. It felt really good, in the way that making a succession of top boards can make your feel.
In all, we had 11 top boards. And as the partial results were posted, our figures threatened to lift us into bridge immortality, since any game over 75% is registered for all to see in the ACBL’s monthly Bridge Bulletin magazine. In the end, however, we fell just short – 74.40%. Still, it was the best game I’ve ever had and only the second time I've surpassed 70%. First by a very wide margin, Marietta and I earned 0.80 of a point.
So what does a week in the winning column produce? Lessee. 0.40 of a point for the 60.51% game with June Feuerstein on Monday. 0.63 of a point for the 62.73% game with Barbara Sadkin on Tuesday. 1.60 point in the double-point game on Wednesday. 0.28 on Thursday. 0.39 on Friday. And 0.80 on Saturday. Looks like 4.10.
For the month, add in the 2.13 in the sectional and another 0.35 at the club. That’s 6.58 with a week of double-point games ahead.



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