Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bridge Blog 910: Buffalo Regional Day 2

Plans fall apart. Our team abandons another run at the Knock Outs because Elaine Kurasiewicz can’t play with us on Thursday if we survive Wednesday. So we split up and play the pairs game. Joe Miranda and I keep our heads above water in the morning session with 51.36%, earning 0.86 of a red point for coming in 19th overall, ninth in the B stratification, but fail to improve on this in a slog of an afternoon, when we sink to 41.98%.
High points are the people we meet along the way. I finally play a round with Sue Lan Ma of Kirtland Hills, Ohio, perennial leader of the District 5 Ruby Life Masters in the Mini-McKenney master point race. She’s surprisingly modest, beholden to her partner, Peter Petruzzellis of Pickering, Ont., who she describes as her mentor. We hold them to 50%, but it doesn’t seem to slow them down in the afternoon session. They’re fourth overall for the day, earning 5.72 gold points.
Another thrill is meeting a woman named Doris from Las Vegas, who says she's in town to see family. Family being Buffalo Bills coaches Rex and Rob Ryan. “You’re Buddy’s wife?” I remark. “Ex-wife,” she corrects me. Friendly and outgoing once we break the ice, she also does well – eighth overall, 5.20 gold and red points. Against her and her partner in the morning, we register a paltry 41%.
As for Usha and Elaine, they have a 43.14% game in the morning and don’t stay for the afternoon. Joe decides to throw in the towel and skip the evening game, but not me. I’ll hook up with someone somehow. Hey, you never know.
Sure enough, I’m drafted to join a team in the Wednesday-Thursday evening compact knock-outs. It’s my old friend Alison Burkett from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., soon to be living near Ottawa. She pairs me with Terri Downey, a player from down near Sea Isle City, N.J., down near Cape May. 
The team game turns out to be the only game at 7:30 p.m. Too few pairs turn out for the evening side game, so it's canceled. Once again, we’re in round robins and once again we survive, despite coming up against high-powered players like Buffalo’s Dian Petrov, who whomps us, 30-6 International Match Points, and young whiz David Saverin from Ottawa, stinking from cigarettes, who (amazingly) doesn’t. By advancing to Thursday night’s game, we’re guaranteed gold points, at least 3.77 of them. 
Here's the link to the latest tournament bulletin. 

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