My enthusiasm over our Swiss team remained intact for the first round of the final day of tournament play on Sunday. Facing off against familiar opponents (and sometimes partners) Judy Kaprove and Nadine Stein, Florence Boyd and I rattled off a string of successful part scores and down-one defensive efforts. Teammates Jeff Bender and Rich Cramer-Benjamin did much the same against Judy and Nadine’s compadres, Michael and Ruthie Kozower. We won by 14 International Match Points. The day was worthwhile already.
Round two, however, found us shut out by cute little Linda Burroughsford and a guy named Barry from Ithaca with whom she’d just been paired. The 21-0 IMP margin would have been reduced by 12 if I had rebid a six-card Spade suit on one hand instead of steering it toward a 3 No Trump contract. It made 4 Spades.
As the day progressed, there was one bad hand like that in each round that sank us. And it was Rich who ruefully accepted the blame. While we were holding the fort against John Ziemer and Vic Bergsten, who failed to bid a slam, Rich and Jeff bid it, but lost it on an ill-advised finesse. A 15 IMP victory turned into an 8 IMP setback and cost us that round. In round four, I won a 4 Hearts doubled vulnerable contract for plus 12 IMPs against Al and Barbara, a Rochester couple, which should have won the match, but Al overcame it by winning a 3 No Trump bid that Rich and Jeff bobbled. They beat us, 14-12.
Tied for next to last overall after lunch, we took on a pair of loveable 299ers, Mary Ball and Joyce Frayer, and decimated them, 30-4. But our hard luck returned in the final two rounds. Gaurang Sheth and Ten-Pao Lee made a 6 Heart slam with an overtrick, while their teammates, Shakeel Ahmad and Manju Ceylony, confounded Rich and Jeff with a ridiculously weak 2 Spade opener, after which our guys cautiously stopped at game.
Up against Fred Yellen and Jim Gullo, good players down on their luck, the final round found us foundering some more, this time taking IMP losses of 11 and 8 on successive hands. In the end, we accumulated 88 victory points, which put us fourth or fifth from the bottom in the 16-team field, near as I could tell. Our two victories gave us 0.52 of a silver point apiece. To win bonus points, we would have needed at least 105 VPs – two more wins.
Random notes: Small turnout for Swiss teams, which was apparent as I pulled up to the Main-Transit Fire Hall from the abundance of good spaces still left in the parking lot. Jewish holidays? The Bills game? Canadians staying home? Hard to say. At the spring tournament in April, there were 23 tables. Last fall there were 25.
Director Brian Meyer got a well-deserved round of applause at the lunch break. He’d been pleasant and efficient all weekend, as we saw during a call to our table by the Rochester couple when we passed out the first hand of the round. Should we reshuffle? Sure, he said, noting that, after all, this wasn’t a pairs game or a high-stakes tournament. And he’d moved the games right along. He hustled the Swiss teams to a conclusion by 4:30 p.m., half an hour earlier than they usually end.
Not allowing enough time in the morning to pick up something for lunch from the Lexington Co-op, my stomach and I decided to see what fates and the hospitality table would bring. If things were really desperate, there was always the pizza, $6 for two slices ($5 for those who paid in advance). Or I could run to Jimmy John’s out on Transit Road for a fast, fast, fast sandwich. Not to worry. Saturday’s bagel shortage turned into bagel abundance on Sunday. There also was hummus, veggies and a ton of cookies and other baked goods. For good measure, Florence gave me, Jeff and Rich each a fresh-baked loaf of banana bread. Not exactly a balanced, heart-healthy diet, but at least hunger wasn’t an issue.