Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bridge Blog 933: Buffalo Winter Sectional Days 1 & 2 (corrected)

Missed Day 1. Late-breaking medical appointment and a quickly rescheduled time slot at Towne BMW for New York State inspection, due to expire Tuesday. So instead of sitting all day in a bridge game while the X-1 was getting checked over, I sat all day in a clinic office and then in the car dealer’s waiting room, where a couple of the sleek sedans on display had six-figure sticker prices.
Snow flurries were in the air Saturday morning, a harbinger of the lake effect snow watch in effect all day, when I arrived at the Main-Transit Fire Hall for Day 2. My hopes were high. Partner was Art Matthies, a solid player who doesn’t make many mistakes.
I committed enough errors for both of us soon enough, failing to take sure tricks in defense, missing a chance to draw trumps and losing ruffs unnecessarily, ignoring the obvious when the bidding showed a misfit and going for No Trump anyway.
Plus we were primarily on defense, although we sat North-South at a stationary table throughout the Howell game. Mostly we were just grinding out the contracts. I considered it a minor miracle that we finished the morning session with 50%.
There are two games playing simultaneously during the pairs competition at the sectional – a two-session game where scores are aggregated and a morning and afternoon single-session game for players who can’t or don’t want to stay all day. Although Art and I were there for the long haul, he wanted to play the single sessions and I soon saw why. All the expert players were in the double-session game. The single-session bunch at the far end of the social hall was like a tournament version of a club game. And they were a much smaller bunch as well – 11 pairs in the morning, 10 in the afternoon.
The afternoon was another Howell game and, although we were on the move this time, we were having more fun. We even bid and made a slam. Art took a look at the partial results with two rounds to go and reported that we were way ahead.
And we stayed there, finishing at 65.80%, first in the A and B strats, collecting 2.75 silver points. My best game of the year so far. Art was right about the side game. Or was he? Hard to say. The tournament hasn’t been reported on the ACBL Fast Results service. I’ll have to ask why not when I go back for the Swiss team finale on Sunday. 

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