Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bridge Blog 782: Syracuse Regional II

The crowd of players almost filled the big ballroom at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool as the third day of the Burt Garrell Syracuse Regional Tournament began Wednesday morning. Me and Judie Bailey (pictured and looking quite nice, I thought) were in the open pairs, a full 14 tables. There also were two knock-out games, three sections of Gold Rush pairs and another side series.
Memorable for the number of 1 No Trump contracts I stuck Judie with (five of them, four of which played very well), it seemed like a very so-so game for us North-Souths. When the preliminary totals were posted, there were many pairs bunched just above 50%, ourselves included. In fact, we were third on that list with 52-odd%. The final tally put us at 52.88%, fifth overall, fourth in the B strat, earning 0.76 of a red point. Judie noticed that 12 of us North-Souths were B pairs, while only two were A. Meanwhile, East-West had five As and nine Bs. She pointed this imbalance out to tournament director Mike Roberts, who said that last-minute requests for seating in each direction skewed the lineups.
After a quick lunch in the hotel, we were back sitting East-West and, it seemed to me, playing excellent bridge. There was a down-four sacrifice at 4 Spades, not vulnerable and, fortunately, not doubled after a 2 Spade pre-empt, which disrupted our opponents’ airtight 4 Heart contract. An early 6 Spade slam that succeeded, and then another 6 Spade slam that made an overtrick because the opponents didn’t get to cash their A-K of Diamonds. Our only outright top board turned out to be defensive, when we sent our opponents down three in a 4 Spade contract where they should have been only down one or, better yet, making 3 No Trump.
Unfortunately, there were plenty of unspectacular and just plain awful hands. We finished with 50.11%, which was just below the line where B pairs earned points (51.28% was good for sixth overall and fourth in B). But added to our morning effort, the combined total made us10 th overall and sixth in the B strat, earning us 3.44 points. Gold ones. Hallelujah! We were not going home empty-handed.
Notes and observations:
A banner hanging in the hallway outside the big ballroom announced that the 2015 District 4 Central New York regional tournament will be held in Rochester. During the Lilac Festival in May. First it’s been in Rochester in a long, long time.
Here’s hoping there are new decks of cards for that Rochester regional. Most of the hands we played were annoyingly sticky. I’m surprised they didn’t stick together in the dealing machine.
The offending cards were offending in more than one. They were the old-style automatic dealing machine cards, the ones with the bar codes on them. A couple of those decks found their way into our knock-out game on Tuesday and the woman on the opposing side complained extensively, saying they were driving her berserk. By the time we played a few rounds with them Wednesday, I didn’t even notice the bar codes. There were no other complaints.
Although players from Ottawa were most abundant on Tuesday, there also was a fair-sized contingent from St. Catharines, Ont. First ones we saw were Dorothy Duchnicki and Marge Dykstra, who were ready to become our knock-out partners until they learned how many master points Judie and I had. Sitting behind Judie in the photo above are two more St. Catharinians: Brian Macartney and Jeremy Smee. Buffalo was not as well represented. We saw Jay Levy, but none of the other big-time players. Ruth Wurster was there. So were Jan Hasselback and Linda Wynes and Chris Malarkey. That’s all.

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