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. 

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