Tune-up time for the Buffalo Regional Tournament next month with Betty Metz, with whom I’m teamed for the Friday and Saturday sessions. Since she doesn’t play at the Airport Bridge Club and I’m always playing there, this was our first best chance to reacclimate ourselves to one another, having had a successful session when we were thrown together by the partnership chairman at a tournament a while back.
No problem when it comes to filling out the convention card. Betty says we should play like she plays with Helen Panza, which is a pretty standard game – no funny conventions. Nevertheless, we start off poorly in the morning game.
We allow opponents to win auctions when we should have outbid them. We don’t bring down the extra tricks we should be taking defensively. And then there’s the misguided slam bid, when I mistake Betty’s jump to 2 No Trump as a strong hand opposite my strong opener instead of a 10 or 11-pointer. Down five doubled vulnerable. Minus 1,400. A bottom is a bottom. And we finish down near the bottom in the 15-table double-session game with 43.39%.
This does not bode well at all for the regional next month. For the afternoon, I resolve to be more opportunistic. That doesn’t go so well at first, but after a few rounds things start to turn in our direction. For instance, there’s a 2 No Trump bid that should make 4 NT and I wind up taking four overtricks. Not a top board, but high middle.
Later we bid a 6 NT slam and make an overtrick. And on the final board of the day we rush to another 6 NT contract after I make an ill-advised opening bid of 1 Heart with this hand:
Spades: J-4; Hearts: A-K-J-9-6; Diamonds: 6; Clubs: 9-8-7-6-3.
Betty bids 2 Diamonds and I can’t leave things there, so I go to 3 Clubs. She jumps to 4 NT and I have no choice but to play along with the Blackwood convention and show her I have an Ace. So there we are at 6 NT. As I put down my cards for the dummy, I apologize for leading her down the garden path.
The hand record shows that the hand can make 6 Clubs, but only 5 NT from the South. Betty, however, manages to bring it home by squeezing the opponents. They throw away the suit she’s holding at the end. It’s brilliant. It’s a top board. It’s just enough to raise us to 50.51% and put us fourth in the B strat. We win 0.54 of a silver point. Here are the other hands.
Spades: A-K-5-2; Hearts: Q; Diamonds: A-J-5-3-2; Clubs: A-Q-5.
Spades: 9-8; Hearts: 10-4-2; Diamonds: K-10-7-4; Clubs: K-J-10-4.
Spades: Q-10-7-6-3; Hearts: 8-7-5-3; Diamonds: Q-9-8; Clubs: 2.