Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bridge Blog 778: Picnic

Everybody at the Unit 116 picnic Sunday was saying this is their favorite unit event. How come? It has to be the food. Wiedner’s chicken. Paul Zittel’s corn salsa. And Zittle’s corn on the cob, fresh picked that morning. It doesn’t get any better than that.

So credit the food with bringing a huge crowd to the Grandstand Casino Room under the race track grandstand at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg. They were running races outside during the afternoon. 26 tables in the morning session. 24 in the afternoon. Pretty much the same food as last year. Bigger crowd.
What made it notable, however, was the debut of the unit’s new electronic scoring devices. Identical to the ones I’ve come to know and admire at the Bridge Centre of Niagara in St. Catharines. The only difference is that the folks in St. Catharines have worked with it enough to make it run smoothly. Setting up the devices created delays at the start of the morning and afternoon sessions, which stretched the day out well past 7 p.m. Good thing I took the night off from work. My plans for twilight gardening, however, were cut pretty short.
I’m not sure if the electronic devices also were responsible for the delays in posting scores, but it seemed to take longer. In the morning session, scores were posted and then revised to combine the two sections of players. Partner Myra Razik and I finished with 52.62%, fourth in A and third in B for 0.77 of a master point, then got revised to 52.42% and 0.44 of a master point. In the afternoon session, we nearly made up for that subtraction. Our 50.96% game placed us eighth in the B strat overall for 0.28 of a master point. We were low enough so that we don’t show up in the results posted on the Unit 116 website.
          Unexpected big winners, near as I can tell, are Carl and Jan Hasselback, who were first in B and C in the morning for 4.21 points and first in C in the afternoon for 1.70 points. Only team to outdistance them was Jay Levy and Bud Seidenberg, second overall in the morning (3.83 points) and second overall in the afternoon (2.34 points).

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bridge Blog 777: Everybody wins


          Although the e-mail from the Airport Bridge Club announced it as Dale Anderson’s Totally Unorganized Birthday Party, it turned out to be just unorganized enough.
Though it wasn’t orchestrated, the potluck food was fine – lovely pasta and noodle salads, meatballs, an asparagus quiche that I bought at the Lexington Co-op, some fried chicken, even some deli stuff that my partner Selina Volpatti had enough to time to pick up en route from her 4 p.m. meeting in Hamilton, Ont. No birthday cake, but then again, it wasn’t really my birthday. That won’t come until Friday.
Just like when I turned 70 and 71, I treated everyone to a free game. But this time with a bonus. A cash jackpot. Any pair who beat me and Selina would share a $72 kitty. And any pair who beat us by more than 5% would share another $72. To make it even more of a special occasion, club manager Bill Finkelstein broke out some brand new cards.
As for the game itself, with nine full tables, I had high hopes after finishing second overall in the daytime game. But Selina and I struggled sitting North-South at Table 1. We were getting set on contracts where other pairs were making two and three overtricks. It wasn’t until the third round that we even got a number on our side of the scoring sheet.
I have a tradition of doing badly at my birthday game, but this was way beyond badly. It may have been the worst game Selina and I have ever had – 34.29%. We were dead last by a long shot. More than 5%. Everybody got a piece of the $144 jackpot – $4.23.
For good measure, it was the first time EMTs have been called to my birthday game. Midway through, at the other end of the room, Alan Greer apparently had some diabetic dizziness and it took 10 minutes or so before the Rural Metro paramedics straightened him out. And what did he do? Like any passionate bridge player, he picked up his cards and started right in playing again.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bridge Blog 776: Not quite yet

I know, I know, I'm way, way neglectful of keeping up this blog. Blame my desperate need to bring my yard up to full flower for the annual Buffalo Garden Walk. Blame my editors at The Buffalo News for not giving me enough leisure at night. Blame my own dreary and depressing times at the tables at the end of June. At any rate, there are things to say about The Longest Day, the midyear point standings and the suddenly high body count among bridge players. Maybe this weekend.