Saturday, February 18, 2017

Bridge Blog 942: High Hopes

It’s STaC Week all across Canada – Sectional Tournament at the Clubs, Pancanadien, as they say in Quebec – and my best chance yet to make up for my miserable luck at master point accumulation so far this month.
I’m already primed for a really high score at the Bridge Centre of Niagara and I’m pumped even more after Selina Volpatti and I play our first four hands. They feel good and, as the summary later affirms, they are very, very good – 31.5 match points out of a possible 40. That’s 78.75%.
Not a pace we could ever hope to sustain, but we keep better than a 50% rate for a while. At almost the midway mark, after 11 boards, we still stand at 62.27%. But then things fall apart. I can feel it, beginning on the hand where we go down two vulnerable at 3 Clubs against Percy Harcourt and Dee Glover. Shouldn’t happen, but we can’t help it.
In the second seat, South, after a pass by Percy, it seems reasonable enough for me to open the bidding at 1 Club with this hand.
 Q 2
 Q 3 2
 A Q 4
 A 9 6 4 2
Dee kicks in with a takeout double.
 A 10 4 3
 K J 10 6
 K 10 9 5
          Selina does the reasonable thing too, and bids two Clubs. After all, we've done so well so far by being aggressive. 
 J 8 6
 9 8
 J 8 7 3 2
 K Q 3
          Percy passes.
 K 9 7 5
 A 7 5 4
 J 10 7 5
So do I, but Dee doubles again. This time Selina passes and Percy has to bid. 2 Hearts. I pass. Dee does too. Selina bumps the bid to 3 Clubs and it’s passed all around. Despite our better high-card point holding, they win a Club, two Hearts, two Spades and a Diamond.
The hand record shows later that we shouldn’t take more than six tricks and, more importantly, we shouldn’t be taking the bid at all. At all the other tables, it’s East-West. They have the potential to make game in Hearts or Spades, but nobody bids it in Spades (which would have spared us a bottom) and nobody makes 4 Hearts at all (3 Hearts actually goes down a couple times).

From there forward, our momentum is broken – only three good boards vs. nine bad ones. We finish at 46.01%, far out of the winning circle. For that, we’d need better than 52%. At 62%, we'd be second N/S and second overall, good for 1.58 silver points at the club and probably three silver points Pancanadien. 

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