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:
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
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:
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
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.
Spades: K 8 5 Hearts: A 9 6 4 Diamonds: A K J 7 5 Clubs: 2
Spades: A Q J 10 2 Hearts: K 2 Diamonds: Q 10 6 Clubs: A K 3
Spades: 9 3 Hearts: Q J 10 7 3 Diamonds: 2 Clubs: 9 8 7 6 5
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%.