Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bridge Blog 873: Happy Endings

I began the year wondering if I would live to see the end of it, given my diagnosis of bladder cancer. Thanks to the folks at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, I’m still here, at least most of me, and I’m still working full-time, playing almost daily and hoping to reach Gold Life Master in, well, perhaps 2019. Maybe sooner.
How much progress I would make toward that goal this year was uncertain. Surgery and recovery would take me out of action for an unpredictable amount of time. Being laid low by chemotherapy and taking time out for heart procedures didn’t help, either.
With surgery scheduled for early May, I expected to miss the Rochester Regional Tournament, the first one there in ages, which I was greatly looking forward to. But when the surgery was delayed because of my heart procedures, I got to go after all, at least for a couple sessions. It turned out to be the high point of the year – a victory in one of the knock-out games (see Blogs 835 and 836).
As for collecting gobs of master points, I put aside all my ambitions this year. Whatever I won would be good enough. Here’s the breakdown, month by month.
January – 9.73.
February – 1.84.
March – 7.81.
April – 9.90.
May – 23.32.
June – 1.33.
July – 10.86.
August – 15.11.
September – 14.41.
October – 19.08.
November – 15.35.

As of Nov. 30, there were 95.10 club points, 128.74 overall. Add to that a tentative December total of 23.10 at the Airport Bridge Club and another 0.56 at the annual meeting and game and, voila! December has been the best month this year. Looks like I’ve passed the 150-point mark. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bridge Blog 872: Past Due

Let’s blame it on the STaC. The Sectional Tournament at the Clubs had the marathon air of a regional tournament, at least for people as obsessive as me who decided to play in almost every STaC game available. In my case, there were 14 of them – morning and afternoon from Monday Dec. 7 to Sunday Dec. 13. They ate up so much of my time that I’m still playing catch-up on blogging and a bunch of other things two weeks later. 
And how did I do in the STaC? No big games over 60%. No big jackpot scores. Just plain dogged persistence through 14 sessions that got me to 7.77 points for the week, 69th among 1,137 players who earned points, or some fraction thereof. Winners in the district were a pair of our guys – John Ziemer with 37.61 and Jerry Geiger with 32.45. 

Bridge Blog 872-A: Annual Meeting

When local bridge players around here talk about having an event at the fire hall, that’s the Main-Transit Fire Hall. It’s modern and particularly well-situated a few minutes from the Thruway exit on Transit Road.
For the 2015 annual meeting and game, however, they picked a different fire hall – Rescue Hose in northest North Tonawanda. Not quite as modern nor as convenient (it’s a half hour drive from my house), but it did have a big plus – hot water in the washrooms.
The food – Weidner’s roast chicken, potatoes, salads, a big fruit salad for dessert – was as good as it gets at these affairs. No question that Paul and Linda Zittel, who put this together, as well as the annual picnic, deserved the Volunteer of the Year award. 
The meeting is usually something to be endured, but this one slid through easily. There was no argument over the unit’s $3,988.96 surplus for the year or the suggestion that the new board of directors would have to look for a way to spend it.
Partner Florence Boyd, who helped count the election ballots, said the final results were very close. Nevertheless, the announcement of the winners was a great relief to Ron Henrikson, who was sharing a table with Flo and me. He wasn’t among them.

The game also zipped by, thanks to director Brian Meyer, who maintains a quick pace. Instead of being an hour late for work, I arrived only a few minutes off schedule. Meanwhile, Flo and I managed to finish above 50% -- 53.49%, to be exact. Sixth in the B strat. 0.56 of a master point. 

Bridge Blog 872-B: 11 Down, 1 to Go

Also lost in the STaC shuffle was the monthly review of the Unit 116 and District 5 master point races and my quest  to maintain a respectable position in them despite losing a couple months to medical leave.
Let’s start with the Ace of Clubs, points earned in club play only, for Unit 116 in the 1,000 to 2,500 point division, which is where I’ve been living since 2011. As of Nov. 30, I had 95.10 club points, keeping my position in sixth place on the list.
Leader is John Ziemer again, with 164.79, but nipping at his heels is Mike Silverman with 164.43. If Mike didn’t disappear on vacations, like the one he’s on now (Dec. 26), he’d be in the lead.
The rest of the list looks like this: Ken Meier, 152.71; Fred Yellen, 142.50; Martin Pieterse, 127.95; then me, followed by Allen Beroza, 94.39; Walt Olszewski, 79.38; Dorothy May, 78.85; and Bill Finkelstein, 75.76. Eleventh is Gene Finton, with 71.03 and an address of Delray Beach, Fla. Didn’t realize he was a snowbird.
In all divisions among Unit 116 players, Jerry Geiger (5,000 to 7,500) is on top with 229.18 and Meg Klamp (7,500 to 10,000) is next with 181.70. Then it’s the top three from 1,000 to 2,500, followed by Bill Boardman (500 to 1,000) with 148.22. Me, I’m 16th in the unit overall.
Moving right along to the Mini McKenney, which counts all points earned in all places, I have an end-of-November total of 128.74, which makes me a solid seventh.
John Ziemer is on top here too, with 258.27. Next are Fred Yellen, 229.24; Ken Meier, 201.68; David Hemmer, 199.49; Mike Silverman, 179.79; Martin Pieterse, 173.02; then that big step down to me, followed by Dorothy May, 109.62; Allen Beroza, 103.45; and Barbara Pieterse, 101.06.
Overall point champs in Unit 116 are the big-time players – Saleh Fetouh with 488.06, Jerry Geiger with 310.67, then Bud Seidenberg, 269.92; and Chris Urbanek, 264.47. John Ziemer is fifth. I’m 30th.
OK, time to look at District 5, which includes Cleveland and Pittsburgh as well as Buffalo. Here Unit 116 dominates the Ace of Clubs again. We hold the top four spots, then Gary Montain of Westlake, Ohio, checks in with 132.58. Martin Pieterse is sixth. I’m 13th. Allen Beroza is 16th. Walt Olszewski is 28th. Dorothy May is 30th.
Overall, it’s Jerry Geiger and Meg Klamp on top. John Ziemer is seventh. Mike Silverman is eighth.
Mini-McKenney, however, is where the Ohio people shine. They occupy the top four places – Su Lan Ma of Kirtland Hills, 567.14; Fleur Howard of Gates Mills, 528.64 (47.87 of them here in Buffalo in October); Peter Merker of Mentor with 300.89 and Charles Ladiha of Vermilion with 263.11. John Ziemer is fifth. Fred Yellen is sixth. I’m 38th.
Champion of all District 5 players is Reanette Frobouck of Pittsburgh. She has 804.27. Then come the Ohio people Fleur Howard played with in Buffalo – Phillip Becker of Beachwood, 642.66; and Robert and Stephanie Alexander of Mentor, with 605.37 and 568.73. Su Lan Ma is fifth. Saleh Fetouh is eighth. John Ziemer is 38th. I’m 154th.
Best of all Ace of Clubs players in the 1,000 to 2,500 point bracket is Sanford Robbins of Pompano Beach, Fla. He’s got 432.94, an amazing number of club points, when you really think about it. Second is another Florida player, Edward Rauch of Fort Lauderdale, with 384.94. John Ziemer’s 173rd. You need at least 132.89 to make the Top 500. Best overall Ace of Clubs guy is Bill Kulbersh of Atlanta – 695.73! Sanford Robbins is tenth. Jerry Geiger is 255 th. The list cuts off at 192.92.
Best Mini-McKenney guy in the 1,000 to 2,500 category is Peter Gelfand of Corallitos, Calif., with 1,393.52. He won’t be in this division much longer. Sue Lan Ma is 15th. John Ziemer is 303rd. Fred Yellen is 458th.

Even more awesome is the overall Mini-McKenney list. Here we find Chris Compton of Dallas with 3,016.34, more points than I will probably earn in a lifetime. The fabled Jeff Meckstroh is 13th with 1,702.64. Buffalo native Joel Wooldridge is 29th with 1,356.56. Our own Saleh Fetouh is 404th.