Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Guilty valentine

I'm in NYC, away from home, on (cue the shock music) Valentine's day.  The wife and I went out for dinner on Friday, well before the madding crowds, but it still feels bad to be away on the designated lovey-dovey day.  Especially since the daughter insisted on wishing me thrice --once yesterday (before I left), the next this morning over the phone and again in the evening.  Girls!

For dinner, therefore, I decided to go for Pathos.  I found a restaurant serving Ramen noodles and what can be more pathetic than eating a bowl of Ramen, all alone in a strange city, right? Only, this is New York. The ramen noodles turned out to be delicious -- there is no way the bowl of soup I had tonight has any relationship with that thing you get in plastic packets or styrofoam cartons.

Another problem with ramen noodles is that it tends to get over quickly -- no big production involved for the dish, even in a sit-down restaurant. Since dinner had finished early, I decided to go to the Manhattan bridge club. I went to the bridge club in London when I was there last year and had a grand time -- it's so nice to go to a strange city and find companionship among a group of fellow addicts! The owner of the NYC club had told me to come, promising that it would be unlikely that I would not find a partner. Only, this being Valentine's day, there were not many people. "Not many people" at the Manhattan bridge club turns out to be one pair short of 8 tables. (For comparison, we average 3 tables at our Norman club game).

"If no one comes, I will play with you," said Bill, the director of the game, "but if another pair shows up, then we'll have eight full tables and I will give you a free entry for your next time." "But ... but," I wailed, "can't you have a sit-out?".  Turns out the NYC clubs don't believe in sit-outs because New Yorkers don't like to wait 20 minutes for their next set of hands!

Luckily, no one else showed up and Bill and I played.  He is an excellent player (with 30 times my matchpoints), so my job was mostly to stay out of his way.  We ended up with a 62% game, good enough to win in both directions.  Later, looking at the hand records, I see that even our "bad" boards were quite good -- we held the opponents to the tricks they were entitled to -- it was the other pairs that goofed.

But this is a blog about mishaps, so here is a disaster that could have been avoided (I was South):
The mistake here was my decision to open the hand -- after my bid, partner led diamonds and free of pressure, declarer happily took ten tricks. At the other tables, where the person in my seat didn't open, hearts were led and declarer usually misplayed spades out of his hand for only 9 tricks.

Or maybe the mishap was having fun on Valentine's day away from home ... I may be paying for this in spades ...


  1. I call this a very modest post. You defended countless hands flawlessly and made numerous thoughtful bids that got us to outstanding contracts missed by the rest of the field. A pleasure to play with you. All the best.

  2. Opening in third seat with this isn't necessarily a mistake. More like a decision that didn't work out.

  3. True, it was not a mistake, but definitely an avoidable disaster (since all the other pairs avoided it) ... Of course, if partner had had 10 points with his four spades, my opening could have gotten us a cold top.