And a Half?

This Life Master Pairs has been a roller-coaster. In the first round, the local TV station did a report on the game. Since we had the only table with any light near the doorway (why were all the national events held in "bar lighting?"), they chose to film us and interview me. I happened to be facing the doorway where they had room for the camera. We all tried to be nice and charming, but it was a lot easier for our opponents. On the first board, we doubled them in 4S:. They only made two overtricks. -1190. On TV. On the second board, red on white, partner balanced vs. their strong notrump. His choice was reasonable, but it sure didn't work out. I stole a trick in the play to end up -800. On TV. We left the filming area with four matchpoints. Believe it or not, the first board got us half a matchpoint (out of 64). Someone else did that?

Despite those misadventures, we managed to qualify. On the third day, we played a pair of internationalists who have formed a new partnership. I held  S:AJxxxxx H:Qx D:Jx C:Kx. I opened 1S:, and partner responded 1NT, semi-forcing. RHO doubled. I bid 2S:, of course, and LHO doubled. All pass. How bad can this be? The opening lead was a small heart and I saw:

S: Kx
H: Jxxx
D: Qxxx
C: xxx
S: AJxxxxx
H: Qx
D: Jx
C: Kx
2S:DblAll Pass
RHO won the first trick and shifted to a trump. I won with the S:A and knocked out the other high heart. LHO won and shifted to a low diamond. RHO inserted the D:10. I scooped up the trick, crossed to dummy in trumps (they were 2-2), pitched my other diamond on a heart, and led towards the C:K. The ace was onside. Making 4, +670.

In large fields, it's nearly impossible to get a complete top, but this time I note that as my estimate. After the session, I see we did not get a top, only 63 and a half. AND A HALF?????

Copyright © 2002 Jeff Goldsmith