Monday, February 9, 2015

Bridge Blog 821: January redux

Leave it to the ACBL to mess with the format for their master point races. I checked the place I usually check all weekend, figuring the January totals would be posted by the sixth of the month, and there was nothing for 2015.
Just now, however, on a whim, I clicked the “new format” link and up come the January totals. All amalgamated in the different point divisions and then broken down if you click the one you want, in my case, the 1,000 to 2,500-point list. Needless to say, like all improvements, it’s a big pain in the ass.
Anyway, in the Ace of Clubs race for Unit 116, which is just Buffalo, I’m seventh with 8.70 points in the “filtered rank,” with a little notation under “overall rank” listing me 25th in the unit.
Leading the pack is Martin Pieterse with 15.50, followed by Mike Silverman with 13.65, 2014 champ John Ziemer with 13.06, Fred Yellen with 9.47, Walt Olszewski with 9.13 and Bill Finkelstein with 8.75. Behind me are Barbara Pieterse with 7.79, Dorothy May with 7.58 and Ken Meier with 6.98.
Unlike the previous master point listings, this one goes on forever, to include everyone in the division, all the way down to Harry Meyers in 40th place with 0.28 of a point.
Biggest Ace of Clubs point winner overall for January is Barbara Libby with 19.70, followed by Jerry Geiger with 18.21 and Meg Klamp, who’s in Florida, with 16.84. Martin Pieterse is fourth.
Moving on to the Unit 116 Mini-McKenney race, which includes all points earned in clubs and tournaments, my 9.73 puts me in tenth place, 51st overall. Ahead of me are:
David Hemmer, 46.53 (he’s first overall, too); Fred Yellen, 23.98; John Ziemer, 15.65; Mike Silverman, 15.63; Martin Pieterse, 15.60 (now that’s really tight!); Sharon Gerstman, 15.16; Art Morth, 14.35; Walt Olszewski, 12.60; and Bill Rushmore, 11.10. Harry Meyers is at the bottom of this list, too, which runs to 42 names.

Looking into the District 5 level, which includes Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Unit 116 holds down the top four places on the Ace of Clubs list. I’m 14th, 64th overall. Over on the Mini-McKenney, David Hemmer is third, behind Sun Lan Ma (a new name in this division) of Kirtland Hills, Ohio, who has 91.11, and good old Fleur Howard of Gates Mills, Ohio, who has 55.50. I’m 61st, 220th overall.

Bridge Blog 820: St. Catharines wrap-up

Visiting players were the top nine master point winners in the 61st Annual Niagara District Sectional Tournament over the weekend. David Baker of Kitchener, Ont., took home the biggest haul – 36.36 points.
Local players don’t check in until the 10th, 11th and 12th places – Jeremy Smee with 20.41, and George Morrissey and Brian Macartney, both with 19.43. Leading Buffalo player was Saleh Fetouh, tied for 14th place with partner Ringo Chung with 17.34 points.

Next Buffalo players on the list are Bert Hargeshimer and partner Christy Kellogg, tied for 92nd with 4.28, just behind my Sunday Swiss team partner Selina Volpatti, who had 4.29. Me, I’m in an eight-way tie for 361st with my measly 0.34. In all, 378 players earned points. Total tournament table count: 356.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Bridge Blog 819: Surviving the St. Catharines Sectional

If showing up is 90% of life, then playing in the St. Catharines Sectional was a triumph of getting there and back. On Friday, after I got to partner Barbara Sadkin’s house in East Amherst, she did the driving. As for our play in the afternoon open pairs game, we were the best of the worst – 10th out of 15 pairs with 43%. When I got back home around 6 p.m., I headed straight for a nap.
          Sunday Swiss teams with Selina Volpatti were more of an endurance test. The game seemed endless – it started at 10:30 a.m. and didn’t wrap up until 6 p.m. Our teammates – Len and Mary Ellen Dale from Barre, Ont. – were ready to call it a day after six rounds. By then, we’d made all the impact we were going to make.
          Len approved of our defeat in the first round. He agreed that this way we would get to play the weaker teams. We, however, turned out to the weakest of them all. We lost our first four rounds, falling to the bottom of the heap.
The team that climbed past us in the fourth round, the previous cellar-dwellers, pulled a post-game director call on us for abusive play – Len had harshly criticized one of the opponents who challenged him on a point – and the director took away all our victory points for the round. No big harm. They’d already beaten us 28-2.
We finally salvaged victories in the fifth and sixth rounds, but threw away the seventh with a failed attempt at a 6 No Trump slam (why not bid it when Selina and I both had 17-point No Trump openers?). Total return for the day – 0.17 of a silver point for each winning round.

The bigger victory was getting back home without mishap in the wake of an inch or two of snow that left all the highways slippery in the 15-degree cold. To avoid the hazards of the St. Catharines Skyway, I’d mapped out local routes to avoid it and get me to the Rainbow Bridge (my one concession to freeway travel, a short stretch of Highway 406, was unnerving – snow-covered and slow), then continued on local streets from Niagara Falls to home. A trip that took 45 minutes on the way up took twice that long coming back. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bridge Blog 818: Belated Buffalo Winter Sectional Wrap-Up

I saw so little of the Buffalo Winter Sectional Tournament Jan. 23 to 25 – just two morning pairs games – and earned so little in the way of points that it drifted right out of my brain. But it’s worth noting for a couple reasons, high-scoring reasons.
First of all, the leading master point winner, Bud Seidenberg, took home more points than I recall anyone doing at a recent Buffalo sectional – 32.32. 
When he won in the 32.5-table Friday morning pairs game, he collected 9.85 points. When he came in second in the 25.5-table Friday afternoon pairs, he got another 6.19. He was second again in the 27.5-table Saturday morning pairs for 6.53 points. And on Sunday, in the 23-table Swiss team competition, he was part of the winning team, collecting another 9.08.
At the St. Catharines, Ont., sectional Friday, Feb. 6, Saleh Fetouh pointed out that their winning Swiss team had won 92% of the possible International Match Points – 193 out of 210 – but that the ACBL’s Bridge Bulletin magazine will not recognize it the way it recognizes pairs that have games of 75% or better. Unfair, he said. I agree.
Meanwhile, back to Bud Seidenberg’s 32.32 points and a historical review of top point winners in Buffalo sectionals. 
At the fall sectional back in September, there were more tables – 164 to 156 – but fewer overall points awarded – 552.12 vs. 646.48. The point winner, Kathy Pollock, had just 15.67. Seidenberg was second with 12.79. In the spring sectional, point champ Chris Urbanek had only 16.17 (Seidenberg second again with 14.87). Point winner of last year’s winter sectional, which had only 132 tables, was Davis Heussler with a mere 13.70 (Seidenberg was 28th with 4.66).
Fall 2013 – 173 tables, Jay Levy, 17.96.
Spring 2013 – 139 tables, Saleh Fetouh, 21.66.
Winter 2013 – 151 tables, Saleh Fetouh, 19.04.
Fall 2012 – 129 tables, Jay Levy, 17.90.
Spring 2012 – 137 tables, Chris Urbanek, 20.34.
Winter 2012 – 133 tables, Saleh Fetouh, 20.58.
Fall 2011 – 137 tables, Saleh Fetouh, 23.68.
Spring 2011 – 153 tables, Ranald Davidson (North York, Ont.), 18.05.
Winter 2011 – 117 tables, Jay Levy, 17.93.
Fall 2010 – 139 tables, Jim Mathis, 27.33.
Spring 2010 – 145 tables, Dan Gerstman, 18.89.
Winter 2010 – 122 tables, Bud Seidenberg and Jay Levy (tie), 17.79.
Fall 2009 – 159 tables. Chris Urbanek, 16.78.
Spring 2009 – 124 tables. Martin Hunter (Mississauga, Ont), 13.59.
Winter 2009 – 127 tables. Jim Mathis, 21.39.
Even the guy with the second-most points this year, Jay Costello, outdistanced most of the winners for the past six years. Partnered with Bud Seidenberg on Friday, he wound up with 25.82. Third was Saleh Fetouh with 20.41, which is still better than half the winners since 2009.

Me? My measly 1.03 made me 120th out of the 162 players who got points.