Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bridge Blog 908: Thank you, Canada

Here on the American side, it was Columbus Day weekend. Across the river in Ontario, it was Thanksgiving and it started Friday with an absolutely perfect early autumn day. The sun-drenched drive through a landscape tinged with reds and yellows along the Queen Elizabeth Way from Fort Erie was stunning.
At the Bridge Centre of Niagara in St. Catharines, women talked about making pies from scratch. Partner Selina Volpatti noted that one of her daughters would be doing the cooking this year. We celebrated instead by kicking up our game a notch from our 49% a week earlier.
On our first two boards in this 13½ table game, we captured 19 of a possible 24 match points, mostly from setting a 3 No Trump contract by two tricks when it either succeeded or went down one trick at the other tables.
We got our comeuppance on the next round when Paul Cronin and Donna Fettes bid 4 Spades and made an overtrick, an absolute bottom for us. The hand record says it should make 5 Spades, but nobody else bid game or took more than nine tricks in Spades.
But the bridge gods were good to us (good to me, actually) on the next board. Sitting North, I made a sacrifice bid of 3 Hearts on a holding that’s good for only seven tricks and fully expected to go down. Paul Cronin (East) expected that, too. He doubled me, but I made it, thanks to a mistake by our opponents, giving us a top board to offset the bottom.  

 S: 10
 H: K 10 8 6 4
 D: A 6 5 4
 C: A Q 8
S: A 5
H:  - -
D: K 9 8 3 2
C: K J 10 9 5 2
 S: K J 9 8 7
 H: A 9 5 3 2
 D: J 7
 C: 4
 S: Q 6 4 3 2
 H: Q J 7
 D: Q 10
 C: 7 6 3

How’s that for a cut-and-paste? Oops, lost the suit symbols. 
Anyway, we had a couple more tops on offense and no other bottoms. (Our successful slams, alas, were only middling.) Our final 53.99% made us fourth North-South, third in the B strat in our direction, fourth in B overall. Because it was a Canadian Open Pairs qualifying game, we got extra points, 1.16 of them, and they were RED points. Plus we’re qualified to go play in the nationals. In May. In Winnipeg.
Selina followed that up with a holiday venture over to our side of the border on Saturday to play at the Airport Bridge Club in a five-table game that was not quite worthy of celebration. Five bottoms, five tops, 50.23%. Third in the B strat for 0.98 of a black point.

Which makes me wonder – am I keeping up the proper ratio of colored points for my eventual arrival at Gold Life Master? The necessary 2,500 points has to include 25 percent of them. But a look into “myacbl” puts that question to rest. I already have those 500-plus colored points – 70.78 gold, 215.66 red (plus Friday’s) and 243.52 silver. 

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