Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bridge Blog 906: Fall Sectional Redux

Friday – I wracked my brain all week trying to remember who I’d promised to play with on opening day. I asked every likely suspect at the Airport Bridge Club, but no luck. Then I’m greeted as I arrive at the director’s table by Denise Slattery, who I haven’t seen in weeks. I’m greatly relieved. Denise is a fun player and I like her sense of humor. We also did well together at the Airport Club. Not well enough this time, though.
Chairwoman Betty Metz announced that there was record turnout for the morning game. Proof was in the parking lot. More cars than usual. 24 tables in the two-session pairs, 10½ tables for single-session pairs in the morning, 6 tables in the afternoon. An improvement on last September, when there were 20 tables for the two-session pairs on Friday, 13 tables for single-session morning pairs and 5 tables in the afternoon.
Saturday – Almost as big as Friday: 22 tables in two-session pairs, 11 in morning single-session, just 4 in the afternoon. Last September it was 17, 12 and 4. A few more out-of-towners from Rochester and Canada.
Sunday – The big experiment in Dupli-Swiss, in which boards were pre-shuffled and everybody played the same ones, had its ups and downs.
Ups: Hand records. You could review what you just played and have discussions about it, like partner Judie Bailey and I did for two days. (See Blog 906-A.)
Also no caddies. Tables were organized into groups of four and the eight boards each round were passed among them. I missed the caddies, though.
Downs: Confusion. People did not pass the boards clockwise, like director Brian Meyer requested, so sometimes we were left waiting for other tables to finish boards we still needed to play.
Also potential for overhearing other tables. We weren’t that far apart, although I didn’t pick up any revealing conversations about the hands myself.
Also the six-round format. Six rounds, eight boards, 48 hands. The old format of seven rounds, seven boards, 49 hands, offered teams that didn’t place among the leaders another chance to earn fractional points for winning rounds.
Winners in the Swiss teams were Rochester players and not familiar ones to me. Judie and I, unable to round up teammates from Buffalo, wound up playing with a couple I know from the Bridge Center of Niagara in St. Catharines, Ont. – John Marskell and Joan Soifert. John and Joan are ordinarily good players, but they seemed to be having an off day.
According to the ACBL live recaps, which were sent by e-mail a few hours after each day’s action, Judie Bailey and I supposedly earned 1.81 silver points for the weekend – 0.29 Saturday morning, 0.62 Saturday afternoon and 0.90 Sunday. When the tournament results were posted on on Monday, however, our point count had shrunk. That total was 1.52. Did we lose that Saturday morning sliver of silver?  We wound up in a 4-way tie for 122nd with Barbara Kopko and Tim Anderson from Cattaraugus County, who we played on Saturday.
(Looking at the outcome, the thrill of sectional competition has to be weighed against the absolute wretchedness of the rate of return – $60 in entry fees for those 1.52 silver points. For $15, I earned nearly twice as many black points Wednesday by doing well in a two-session pairs game at the Airport Bridge Club.)
Sectional champ was Bud Seidenberg with 24.48 points, followed by Jay Costello, 22.99; Chris Urbanek, 22.94; and Mike Ryan, 21.91. Absent all weekend was perennial high-scorer Saleh Fetouh. He never misses these things. Wonder where he was. 
Still, four players over 20 points. Last September there were only two. Bud Seidenberg bagged an even 24 points then, but was second to Jay Levy (26.45). There were 12 players winning 10 points or more in 2015. This year 23 broke into double digits.
Four of them were the Rochester-area players who triumphed in the Swiss team game, which was worth 10.73 points. Out of a possible 180 victory points, they had 163 and were far ahead of the runners-up, who had 124. That second-place team included Bud Seidenberg and Chris Urbanek and it accounted for 8.05 of their points.

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