Thought I’d play all three sessions Wednesday at the Niagara Falls Regional, but then I woke up feeling like crap. The stubborn cold I came down with during the Buffalo Regional was making a comeback. The evening game, perhaps with Beverly Ganim from Ohio, an option I was looking forward to, was out of the question.
A decongestant and a grande Starbucks dark roast coffee had me feeling almost human by the time Barbara Sadkin and I teamed up with David and Maria Deaves for the new round of knock-outs in the morning. But the knock-outs didn’t do much to brighten my outlook. We were the lowest-rated team in the top-ranked knock-out division and we were up against some serious contenders.
Once again, however, we were put into a round robin match and once again there was hope. We lost to both pairs in the first round, 30-1 and 12-6 (this to teammates of Kevin Loughlin, my partner Tuesday, and the estimable Jill Wooldridge). We deepened one hole in the second half, losing that one 34-3 for an astounding 60 International Match Point deficit, but filled the other, 18-7, thanks in part to me making a 6 No Trump doubled vulnerable bid. So all three of us robins beat at least one of the others. Since we had the lowest IMP score, we were knocked out, but our victory round earned us some points – 1.23 red.
The afternoon found us in a single-session Swiss team game, thrown up immediately against some of the heaviest hitters in the room – Bill Koski, of the long salt-and-pepper beard and tens of thousands of master points, and Polish-born Paul Janicki, the ACBL rep for District 2. They were great company and, of course, they whupped us, 17-6 IMPs, on what was the first step toward their eventual second-place finish among 14 teams.
A successful slam bid gave us the second round against Dennis Glazebrook from St. Catharines and Junko Hemus, a Florida woman he played with in the Buffalo regional, 13-4 IMPs. And then, remarkably, we won the third round on part-score contracts against some Rochester-area ladies.
Suddenly, should we win our fourth and final round, we realized we were looking at earning bonus points. But playing against Gary and Lynn Sturch from over the other side of Peterborough, we ran to a 13-13 tie. Would it be enough?
Turns out, yes, it was. A tie for fifth in the A strat (with Saleh Fetouh and Dian Petrov, who proposed a playoff), but got better points (1.41 vs. 1.01) for finishing fourth in the B strat. After dinner at Swiss Chalet on Montrose Road, 10 minutes and a world away from the hotel and the tournament, Barbara and I headed for the Rainbow Bridge and home, satisfied in more ways than one. With a total of 3.02 (red) master points so far, this (see Blog 863) is already my second-best Niagara Regional.