Sunday, February 12, 2017

Bridge Blog 939: St. Catharines Sectional

To make a long story short – Friday afternoon: Bad day, good result. Saturday afternoon: Good day, bad result.
Friday my cold, the nasty one that's going around, is kicking my ass. Propped up on Vitamin C, Echinacea and decongestants, I arrive at the Holiday Inn on Ontario Street, look around for partner Selina Volpatti, who always beats me to the game, and she's not there.
I get our table assignment, starting time approaches and she's still not there. To hell with the international roaming charges for a phone call, I ring her up. She's two minutes away, she says. She had the starting time wrong.
At least I'm not sneezing and mopping my nose, but I'm in a fog. I miss an opening bid on a vulnerable slam hand and watch Selina jump to 4 Hearts, my void suit, and take 12 tricks. We would get 21 match points, tying three other E-Ws who bid it and made it, instead of 11.5. Here it is:

West (Selina)
Spades: A 4 Hearts: K Q J 6 5 4 2 Diamonds: A 9 Clubs: A 9
Spades: 6 5 3 Hearts: A 8 3 Diamonds: 10 8 7 Clubs: 10 7 6 3
East (me)
Spades: K J 9 8 7 Hearts: — Diamonds: Q J 5 3 Clubs: K J 8 4
Spades: Q 10 2 Hearts: 10 9 7 Diamonds: K 6 4 2 Clubs; Q 5 2

A little later, I push a bidding competition to 5 Clubs and she misses cashing 13th Heart from the dummy. Down one. Turns out to be the difference between 8 match points and a tie for top board, 22.5. Only one other E-W bid and made 5 Clubs. Several make only 4 Clubs. Here's that one:

West (Selina)
Spades: K J 6 Hearts: J 5 Diamonds: J Clubs: A Q J 8 7 6 2
Spades: A Q 8 7 Hearts: K Q 6 2 Diamonds: 9 8 4 Clubs: 10 3
East (me)
Spades: 10 9 5 2 Hearts: A 10 9 7 Diamonds: A 10 Clubs: 9 5 4
Spades: 4 3 Hearts: 8 4 3 Diamonds: K Q 7 6 5 3 2 Clubs: K

In the end, even though we have just 49.24%, a lot of East-Wests are clustered around 50%. We wind up fifth in our section, fourth in the B strat, collecting 0.52 of a silver point. Correct our two bad hands and we're third in B, double the points. I drive home at 45-50 mph on the Queen Elizabeth Way in the snow that started falling mid-game. More decongestants and I conk out in front of Seinfeld reruns on TV.

Long line to sign in for Saturday afternoon's game

Saturday feels much better. The roads are clear. No snow in sight. Huge turnout. Record turnout, they announce, 20% bigger than last year. Then director asks if there's anybody in the B/C/D section with more than 2,000 points. Me!
Reassigned to the A/X section, we're up against one tough pair after another. There's Bert Hargeshimer and Christy Kellogg from Buffalo, who win a lot and did well Friday. There's Andrew Russell and Diane Gordon, who won Friday afternoon and who we see frequently in St. Catharines. He's a pro, she might as well be one. Still, it seems like we're holding our own. Andrew makes an overtrick at 4 Hearts on this hand and he plays it so well it seems inevitable.

North: (Andrew)
Spades: K 8 5 Hearts: A 9 6 4 Diamonds: A K J 7 5 Clubs: 2
East: (me)
Spades: A Q J 10 2 Hearts: K 2 Diamonds: Q 10 6 Clubs: A K 3
South: (Diane)
Spades: 9 3 Hearts: Q J 10 7 3 Diamonds: 2 Clubs: 9 8 7 6 5
West (Selina)
Spades: 7 6 4 Hearts: 8 5 Diamonds: 9 8 4 3 Clubs: Q J 10 4

According to the hand record, East-West should take the bid at 3 Spades, down one. Many East-Wests get to play it at 2 Spades and collect top match points. Four North-Souths take the bid at 3 Hearts, make an overtrick. Andrew went right to 4 Hearts.

A lot of our hands feel good and aren't. We finish at a dismal 44.71%, not last, but third from the bottom. To earn that half a silver point we earned Saturday, we'd need better than 52%. 

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