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.  

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