Squeezing The Dummy

Saturday, January 07, 2006

San Antonio: Resolution

Many readers have pointed out that I left them hanging about what ended up happening in San Antonio. Not wanting to leave you guys hanging, I have decided to give some belated resolution to this regional. Keep in mind it was played in July so it will be hard for me to remember exact hands.

Morning Knockouts: After playing for three straight mornings we had made it to the finals. We faced the Kornegay team that we had already beaten in a previous round robin of this event. Greg and I played the first set and had an absolutely nightmare card. Some unfortunate leads and some bad judgment caused this, and we knew we would be stuck at half time. Sure enough, we were down about 30. I thought we should sit out the second set given our results in the first half but for some reason we played. We played well but so did they and we only picked up about 10 imps to lose by 20. Not a good way to start the day, but you can't win them all.

Knockout 2 Session 3: In the semifinal of this knockout we faced yet another team captained by Colby Vernay. Some tournaments it seems like you play the same people every day, and we had certainly seen Colby many times already. After one set we built a small lead of about 14. In the second set my dad and I had a great card and felt like we had no chance of losing. Mentally, after the set was over I checked out and was thinking about what we would have for dinner. I was also exhausted; the 4 session days followed by staying up at night were taking their toll. When we went to compare, our teammates said we had no chance to win. We actually lost another 14 and it was a tie! Now I had to get focused again because we would have to play a 4 board playoff. The playoff started poorly when we doubled a game that made on very good play. After that we avoided a bad game that would go down, and then I made a very tricky 3 spades which I took a long time to play. The opponents could make 3 hearts so I knew making 3 spades would be a big board. After that I was mentally drained, and managed to get pseudo squeezed on the last board to let in an overtrick! Oh well....only 1 imp. When we went back to compare we had lost big on the first board but won on the next 2. With 1 board to go we were leading by an imp... and we lost one on the last board. A tie again, and I felt horrible. Now we had to play a two board playoff. The first board seemed like we might win an imp when I chose a good lead. On the second board I misguessed a 3N and it seemed like we might lose an imp. In actuality the first board was a push, but the second board was a lose 1. We had lost. I have never played a match that went into double overtime, but it is not a good feeling to lose when you do. I ended up skipping dinner and going to sleep.

One session pairs: I was not going to play the night session, but while I was wandering around at game time Norman Beck asked me to play in the pair game. I never get a chance to play with Norman and he is a good friend, so I agreed on one condition. We cannot play serious bridge, we just have to have fun. He agreed, and some insanities definitely ensued. Somehow they were all working, and we ended with a 60 % or so. We had 68 % with 2 rounds to go but fell a lot. This session was extremely fun, and I was glad I played.

Swiss teams: The next day was the Swiss teams. I was still in the hunt to win the tournament, competing with Nagy Kamel. The first session did not go well for us as we lost early to Nagy's team and later tied with none other than Colby Vernay. I was getting tired of having ties with these guys! We then started getting a bunch of blitzes, and with one match to go we were in third. At this point my teammate Bob Hamman informed the director we were withdrawing so we could catch our flight! Not so fast, I wanted to finish the event so we played the last round very quickly and got a win. We rushed off to the airport but I learned later we ended up second in the event. Was this enough to win the tournament? No, Nagy won the Swiss and beat me out by 4 masterpoints.

I was very disappointed by the second to last day of the tournament. I felt like we could have played much better in the morning knockouts, and I could have not dropped 1 imp each on those two boards in the playoff. If we had won that match I would have won the tournament. On reflection I still had a good tournament overall. Next year I'm going to win it though so watch out Nagy ;)

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