The 43.65% in St. Catharines, Ont., on Friday with Selina Volpatti capped a series of sub-par games this week. The difference between this and the 45.88%, 44.64% and 38.14% efforts, however, is that the Bridge Centre of Niagara provides hand records. Not only did we do wrong, we can see where we went wrong and what the 16 other North-South pairs did right.
In all, there were nine boards out of 26 where we could have done better with just a little prudence and smart carding. Take Board 5, where we let Sharon Stevens and Kathy Morrison make four overtricks on a 1 No Trump contract. Or should I say that I let them. Had I possessed the brains to shift to Hearts, Selena could have cashed her Ace and King and we could have kept them two overtricks. That would have meant a 3.5 game point improvement.
Board 6 was even more egregious. Sharon and Kathy should have gone down one trick at 3 Clubs. The hand record says they can take only eight tricks. Not with us. We let them make their contract. Instead of collecting 11.5 game points on that hand, we tied for bottom.
In the very first round of the afternoon, on Board 8, not vulnerable, I went to 4 Diamonds to keep Allen Wirch and Suzanne Arnedt from playing the hand at 3 Spades, which they can make. Unfortunately, we could only make 1 Diamond. Letting them take the contract would have given us 4.5 more game points.
Nor should I have doubled Murrae Egnos and Danny Ioannidis (not Greek – Macedonian!) when Danny bid 5 Diamonds on Board 14. The hand record says it makes only 4 Diamonds, but half the East-Wests made 5. Without the double, we would have improved by 3 game points.
Then on Board 15, where I opened 1 No Trump, instead of passing, Selina should have transferred me to Spades, even though the highest of her five Spades was a 7. Turned out that 2 Spades made an overtrick. Only one other pair played it at 1 No Trump, making it. I didn’t. At Spades, we would have been 7.5 game points better.
Come Board 24, I was at 5 Clubs doubled, not vulnerable. The better player would have gone down two, but not me. Down three. Tie for a bottom board. Down two would have given us 3.5 more game points.
Had we stopped at 3 Diamonds on Board 25, we would have been golden. That’s what it makes. But I jumped to 3 Diamonds (I had five of them) and Selina (who opened Diamonds and had five of them too) went to game. Down two. Absolute bottom board. At 3 Diamonds, we would have collected 4.5 game points.
And lastly, there was Board 26, where we set Denyse Brochu and Raymonde Bennitz by one trick at 3 Clubs. Had we persevered to 3 Diamonds (Selina had six of them to the 10), we would have made that (seven out of 10 pairs who bid Diamonds took nine tricks, as the hand record says they oughta). That would have netted us another 4.5 game points.
Without all of our miscues and missed opportunities, we might have collected 42.5 more game points, bringing us to 224.09 for the session, or 53.87%. Nothing stellar, but that would have gotten us from 14th place up to sixth, good for at least a small fraction of a master point. Oh well, wait’ll next time.