Saturday, November 14, 2015

Bridge Blog 868: Niagara Falls Regional Day 5

Playing regional tournaments is like banging your head against a wall. You keep doing it until you draw blood. Or, in the case of the tournaments, red points.
That’s the way it was Saturday. Partnered for once with all-week teammate Beverly Ganim from Ohio, we failed to find an amenable second couple for the compact knock-out game, so we did the open pairs instead.
We did better than OK in the morning. With three boards to go, we were at 58.51%, third place North-South.  Then we failed to take the 5 Heart doubled sacrifice on Board 22, which would have kept our opponents from making 5 Clubs vulnerable and earned us an extra match point or two.  
And thennnn on Board 23, we should have stuffed the next pair at 1 No Trump, but they made an extra trick instead. That would have been worth an extra 7 match points.
And finally, I jumped the gun on the slam on Board 24, not giving Beverly my number of Kings on her 5 Club Gerber bid, but going directly to 6 Clubs instead. She would have wound up at 6 NT, although it could make 7 Clubs or 7 Diamonds. Nobody bid the grand slam, but four of the 16 pairs wound up at 6 NT and one other bid and made 6 Hearts. We lost a couple more match points there. Given an extra 11.5 match points, we would’ve finished second, earning 1.72 red points. Instead, we were sixth with 55.45%, taking home 0.41 of a red point.
And that’s all we got. Our afternoon game was much worse than it felt. Had Beverly not made her most grievous mistakes – the big one in my book was pitching the good 13th Heart that would have given her a game contract and a top board instead of going down one – we would have been around 50%, not next to the bottom East-West at 44.23%. But still not earning points. To do that, we would have had to eliminate my mistakes too.
How bad was I? On the hands I played where Beverly and I bid them right, I was 65%. But then there was that push to 3 NT on a couple hands that could only make 2 NT.

And then there was the confusion over what to do after interference when she opened 1 NT. I bid 3 Diamonds over the opponents’ 2 Spades, hoping for a transfer to Hearts. She left it there. Down three. Bottom board. However, 3 Hearts would have been only marginally better: Down two, despite my six-card Heart suit. At most tables, North-South took the bid in Spades. I should have let them. 

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