Big night at the Airport Bridge Club. First of the new series of Monday night games coincides with manager/director Bill Finkelstein’s 57th birthday. So there’s potluck food galore. And to sweeten the occasion, Bill is offering $100 to any pair who finishes with a better winning percentage than him and his partner.
Since he lined up bridge savant Alan Greer as his partner, chances were slim that he’d have to pay off. But Greer suddenly had to fill in for somebody else at work, so sitting opposite Bill was Jim Madan, a bright player from Niagara County, young enough to be kept from the daytime games by his job. They were Pair 8 and we kept a wary eye on how 8 did on the traveling score slips.
When me and partner Florence Boyd (who had won the daytime game at the club) encountered them, they were well into a winning stride and seemed ready to increase their margin as they bid a small slam. But then, after we took the only Ace we had, Bill absently discarded on the next trick instead of trumping it. He immediately acknowledged his mistake, picked up the discard, but then said he’d make a ruling. The discard would stand. Down one. Top board for us, bottom for them.
The ruling didn’t cost them the top score and the $100. Bill Boardman and Paula Kotowski were some 5% ahead of them at the end. But it gave Flo and me enough of a boost so that we also finished ahead of them, just by a fraction. So we shared in that $100 prize -- $25 for each of us. With me playing every day, he’ll have my $25 back by Saturday.