Swiss teams! Lots of them on this, the last day of the Niagara Falls Regional Tournament. In the A/X division, 28. In the B/C/D bracket, 34. The main ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Hotel was teeming with players.
Thanks to the fact that partner Selina Volpatti and teammates Marilyn Sultz and Ruth Wurster have an average of about 500 points apiece, we wound up in the C stratification and we started out by kicking some B strat butt, winning by 27 International Match Points. That warmed us up for a second-round shutdown of a D strat team, 42-6.
My teams never win the first two rounds in Swiss matches, but here we were. The third round brought us back to reality, with the Paul Pointet-Lezlie Cullen team (also a D bunch) drubbing us, 14-1, en route to their second-place finish.
But we won the fourth round, beating the Adrian Record team (which ultimately finished third), 24-12, then had a lunch break that was light with elation. Marilyn checked the scoreboard and reported that we were in third place.
Our good fortunes faltered in the fifth round, however. Selina and I had a series of crummy hands and watched another D team – Alan and Leslie Wilson of Port Elgin – whip us, 23-11. But then we rallied to win round six, 20-14, against the Anne Pettigrew team, our opponents being scary old and such slow players we feared the directors would take away our final two boards. We rushed and got them played.
If we win our final round, I told the team, we could collect some serious gold points. Indeed, we stood a chance of finishing fourth, fifth or sixth overall, good for 2.86 to 4.44 gold points. However, we got blanked, 17-0, by the Polish guys from Burlington, the Henyrk Nowak team. They finished fourth.
(The big winners, by the way, were the doctors – Shakeel Ahmad and Manju Ceylony – who also won the Swiss teams at the Buffalo regional. They went undefeated in all of their rounds with a team that included Judy Kaprove and a last-minute pick-up guy and collected 10.01 gold points.)
We wound up tied for tenth overall, out of point range in the B strat, which rewarded just the top nine with gold points. But we also tied for the eighth and final extra-point position in the C strat. I thought the C strat paid off only in red points, but according to the ACBL Live results e-mail, it actually gives gold. A whole 1.67 points for us. After a week of red points, gold, gold, gold at last. Total take for the entire tournament, despite no big winners – 5.11 red, 1.67 gold.