Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Chicago NABC Summary

This NABC was quite an experience. I like structure and plans in my life so when things get chaotic and my plans get screwed up, I take it poorly. When you agree to play with me, I expect a few things, and I think these should go without saying, but maybe I should make this more clear: be decently-well rested, hold yourself to high ethical standards, remain friends and have a post-mortem with me over dinner and drinks regardless of how good or bad our game was, and illness and failure to qualify are the only acceptable reasons to cancel our plans.

So, the first Saturday was miserable as I had one partner skip dinner without properly notifying me, another cancel on me to play with someone else for basically the rest of the tournament, and another "friend"cancel on hanging out with me during my planned days off in Chicago. I nearly came home after 2 days out of frustration.

Fortunately Sunday morning I went to the ACBL Board of Governors meeting and things turned around. I assisted with the Learn Bridge in a Day class that afternoon and a got a couple of games with Sean Ganness who I had wanted to play with for awhile. Monday I started hanging out more with the young foreigners - Swedes, Danes, Aussies mostly - and then played with the lovely Irma Petersen Wednesday-Friday. It turned out to be a fine week as long as masterpoints don't matter.

Even before I was good, I never appreciated going to a tournament without a pre-determined schedule of events to play and people to play them with. My time is too valuable to spend at tournaments without playing with my preferred people. I know this is hard for many to understand because relatively few bridge players have a day job with a 4 week vacation limit per year. At this tournament, however, I found the lack of a clear plan for the tournament after day 2 gave me more stuff to talk about, helped me socialize more and socialize with crowds I maybe wouldn't normally venture into.

One of the more interesting guys I met several nights at the bar was Mish, a mediocre bridge player but a well-known financial blogger so here's a shout out to him. I'll start reading his blogs more and hope to see him at a tournament again sometime. It was kind of funny how one of my non-bridge friends in Atlanta asked me if I had played against Mike Shedlock. I found it to be kind of a strange question and the name was unfamiliar to me, then he said he probably goes by Mish, and then I instantly recognized him. My friend is a regular reader of Mish's blog, and in one of his posts, he mentioned that he was between sessions at the National bridge tournament.

Here's one thing from the bridge table that irked me. I wasn't at the table but my opinion of someone in particular went way down when I heard this. You pick up a 4333 6-count and see partner open 2C, she bids 2D waiting (which partner announces as a transfer), partner rebids 2H, what do you do with this hand? Well, obviously you raise hearts, probably 3H but 4H is fine too, especially if you were playing that 2D promised a little something. What you don't do is pass. That's a highly unethical thing to do. Yes, we all get that partner thought she opened 1NT, and given that, it's clear the best chance to go plus is to pass 2H, but you aren't allowed to "know" that. As far as you know, your side is going to at least game in hearts because opener showed a monster with 5+ hearts, right? Anyway, that made 2 but the director adjusted to 4H -2. I would tack on a procedural penalty as well. Then this pair has the nerve to ask the director to reconsider that the contract should be 3H -1 because they would raise to 3H with the responder hand and opener with a 15-count and 4-card "support" would pass. Really? At imps, don't all hands with 4 card support accept invites? You're asking the director to give you more leniency after they've let you off without a procedural penalty for blatant misuse of UI. End rant.

I won't be seeing any of you at the Atlanta Labor Day regional for the first time since I've been a bridge player (15 years). I'll see some of you at the Greek Bridge Festival in Athens, Greece, instead!