Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bridge Blog 882: St. Catharines Sectional

I always wish I could spend more time at the St. Catharines Sectional Tournament, but scheduling and the weather work against me. Instead of having morning and afternoon sessions, like the Buffalo sectionals, they have afternoon and evening on Friday and Saturday and those evening games are a pretty much a no-go for anyone in a relationship with someone who doesn’t play the game.
This year I was all set to play Friday and Saturday afternoon with Barbara Sadkin, but then she booked a trip to see her grandkids in Chicago. After a strong second place finish on Ground Hog Day, in our first game together in a long, long time, Helen Panza said she’d be interested in playing Saturday.
But then our first (and perhaps only) touch of deep winter roared in on Friday, with lake-effect snow and well-below-zero wind chills. Helen caught me on the Bluetooth as I was driving through a blinding squall Friday afternoon and said she didn’t think a drive to St. Catharines on Saturday would be such a good idea. I agreed. Instead, I went to the Airport Bridge Club both days. On Saturday, only four players made it there.
So it came down to Sunday Swiss teams. I took the night off from work and lined up a pair of solid players – Martin and Barbara Pieterse – to team with me and Selina Volpatti. But as I was asking them, she lined up a pair of players from the St. Catharines club – Amir Farsoud, the Iranian-born bridge teacher, and his partner, Peter Runcan.
It could have been good, but it wasn’t. Once Amir got Peter to show up (he thought the game started later than 10:30 a.m.), we got off to a poor start, losing our first two rounds. A pair of winning efforts left us at about 50 percent at the lunch break, with a shot at finishing among the leaders in the B strat.

That vanished in the fifth round, where we got shut out in victory points and Amir registered an official complaint because of the way our opponents from the Toronto area were bidding. We did no better against a pair from St. Catharines in the sixth round, but managed to salvage one more win in the last round. Our victory point total was a mere 85, well short the 129 or 130 it would take to snatch bonus points.  How much did we earn for our three winning rounds? Not sure. I didn’t see anything posted at the Holiday Inn Conference Center and the overall list of point winners still needs to be tabulated.  

Bridge Blog 881: Uncrowned

Yours truly was the winner of the January master point race at the Airport Bridge Club, but did my 15.18 tally find its way into the ACBL registry? Noooo.
Neither did any of the other point leaders at the club. Allen Beroza had 13.54 points; Mike Silverman, 13.44; Liz Clark, 13.18; Bill Boardman, 12.93; Dotty May, 10.95; Judi Marshall, 10.34; and Barbara Libby, 10.16.
Instead, the Unit 116 (Buffalo) Ace of Clubs race for all point divisions shows Meg Klamp, who’s wintering in Florida, on top with 27.16. Then it’s Jay Levy with 12.43 and Ron Henrikson (in Florida) with 11.27. I would be second, dammit!
As for the Mini-McKenney, which includes club and tournament play, my 3.22 silver points from the Buffalo Winter Sectional are there, but that’s it. In the new Ruby Life Master division (1,500 to 2,500 points), I’m ninth; 78th overall in the unit. Add in that 15.18 and I’m third, behind David Hemmer, who’s second in the unit overall with 43.34; and Sharon Gerstman, 21.61; but ahead of Fred Yellen, 16.32; and Art Morth, 12.97. Nobody else in this division is in double digits.
If we barely register in the Unit 116 listings, we’re virtually invisible in the District 5 races, where we usually dominate the Ace of Clubs. I would be the district leader among the Ruby Life Masters, fractionally ahead of the current No. 1 lady, Mary Lou Naughton of Pittsburgh, who has 15.05.
In all, 68 players are on that list. Not one of them comes from Unit 116. Put the Airport Club players in there and we hold our usual healthy chunk of the top 10.
At least some of us are represented in the Mini-McKenney. David Hemmer is second, behind perennial top dog Sue Lan Ma of Kirtland Hills, Ohio, who has 67.27. The rest of the top five are unfamiliar names – Barry Boyd of Wheeling, W. Va., 42.65; Darlene Mannheimer of Pittsburgh, 32.18; and John Bacon of Shaker Heights, Ohio, 32.11. Sharon Gerstman is eighth. The list (78 names) stops at 4.15 points.