Chemo brain tried to derail me again in the early rounds Saturday morning in the Main-Transit Fire Hall, but it didn’t do too much damage. On the other hand, partner Paula Kotowski and I didn’t get any gifts of the magnitude of the one that the usually capable John Welte delivered to me and Judy Kaprove on Friday, when he revoked (trumped my Ace of Spades, then led a Spade) and allowed me to make a 5 Diamond contract that should have failed.
Indeed, Paula and I tried to avoid giving gifts, especially when one of the best East-West pairs in the room, Saleh Fetouh and Bud Seidenberg, came to our table. If anybody was going to squeeze extra tricks out of us and give us bottom boards, these guys would.
Then the bridge gods, in their whimsy, bestowed all 13 tricks on us – twice! But we didn’t bid the slams. We could have, but we didn’t. In the first hand, had we bid 6 No Trump, the right lead would have sunk us unless Paula was declarer. The second one also benefited from a favorable lead, but not as much.
Here they are. First, Board 19. I was North, declarer on both. Saleh was East:
Spades: K-Q-8-3; Hearts: 9; Diamonds: A-K-Q-10-8; Clubs: A-J-10.
Spades: A-5-2; Hearts: K-8-5-2; Diamonds: J-2; Clubs: K-Q-9-7.
Spades: J-6; Hearts: J-10-6-4-3; Diamonds: 9-4-3; Clubs: 6-5-2.
Spades: 10-9-7-4; Hearts: A-Q-7; Diamonds:7-6-5; Clubs: 8-4-3.
Saleh did not lead a Heart. Any other lead lets me romp straight to 13 tricks. Five Diamonds, four Clubs and, as it turned out, four Spades. The hand record indicates that South can make 6 NT, but North can make only 4 NT. The other sure slams are in the minor suits. In Spades, we take only 11 tricks.
Now for Board 20. Both vulnerable this time and we wind up at 4 Spades after I open a strong 2 Clubs, proclaim Spades as my favored suit and Paula jumps straight to game. The hand record says it’s good for small slams in Spades and Diamonds. Here it is:
Spades: K-Q-9-8-4; Hearts: 6; Diamonds: A-K-Q-7-5; Clubs: A-Q.
Spades: A-6-2; Hearts: Q-8-7-3; Diamonds: 4-3; Clubs: K-9-5-2.
Spades: 7-5-3; Hearts: A-10-4; Diamonds: J-10-8; Clubs: 10-7-5-3.
Spades: J-10; Hearts: K-J-9-5-2; Diamonds: 9-6-2; Clubs: J-8-4.
Once again, Saleh does not lead a Heart. I cash my Clubs, then draw trump in three rounds, ending in dummy, discard my Heart singleton on the King of Clubs and run the Diamonds, catching a favorable split.
Paula and I wind up with a 54.9% game, fifth in the B strat, tenth in the overall A strat. It’s our standing in the A strat that gives us our 0.67 of a master point. Total for the tournament – 1.03. I’m not playing the Swiss teams on Sunday. Given my limited stamina right now, I’m happy.