Tuesday, April 12, 2016


The Reno NABC last month was in some ways great but in many ways a disappointment. The town and general atmosphere was kind of trashy. I played with 3 partners over 6 days, which is more variety than I like. I had never played with two of them before, and never played with Emory at an NABC. I was honestly happy playing with Emory, Mike, and Jessica, but the results weren’t as hot as they should have been.

The first two days with Jessica were pretty solid bridge except for two major flyers each session where one or both of us just totally screwed up a board. That led to four straight 53% games and a low overall place in the mixed pairs. Respectable, but we both thought we had a pretty good shot at winning. However, this event was unwinnable thanks to Jenni and Greg’s ridiculousness. Next year.

The next two days with Emory the expectations were a good bit lower, largely because the Silodor is noticeably stronger competition than the mixed. However, we didn’t make day two. The theme here was me not getting my diamond ruffs and other defensive blunders. We rebounded with a couple of pretty good sessions in the “consolation” regional pairs.

The final two days were maybe the most disappointing as Mike McNamara and I didn’t Q for day two of the Swiss. The theme with him was declarer play problems that we didn’t get right. I had several tough problems and got kind of screwed by the opponents on a few of them as it’s hard to get tough problems right when the opponents don’t have what they should have for their bids. As with Emory, we rebounded with a nice finish in the consolation regional Swiss.

I expect it won’t be the last time playing with these new partners.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kickback and Planning

Over the last eight years, I've probably played more sessions with Emory than anyone else, but our aggreements are somehow less firm than most of my partnerships. This is probably due to most of our games being at the club, where I admit I may not pay great attention to the game.

Anyway, he's the one and only person I play kickback with. There's a reason I've refused to play this with Cristal (who plays it with many of her partners) or anyone else - it can get confusing. Is 1S-2H; 2S-4H; 4S kickback? Is 2H-4S kickback? How about 1D-1S; 3D-4H? The answer probably should be yes to all three, but natural makes a heck of a lot of sense too.

Last night we had the auction 1D-(1H)-1S; 2H-3D; 4H. Do you think this is kickback or a splinter or exclusion or just a cue bid? This one at least can't be natural - it's clearly some sort of diamond slam try. I held Kx, Axx, KJTxxx, Qx so it's a marginal slam try at best. We were off two aces and stopped in 5D, just in. It turns out the winning spot was 3NT by me, but I really needed partner's Qx of hearts for that to be a good contract. 3NT by Emory is the next best spot so this leads to the question, if I bid 3H over 3D, is that askign for a half-stopper now since he kind of denied a full stopper by not bidding NT over my first cuebid? Probably not since there are so many hands where I just need a full stopper from partner, but it would have been cute to have that half-stopper agreement here.

I also have a rant I'd like to get out there. It's something I've ranted about before, and that is planning. Even after years of practice, it still annoys me that my friends can't plan and commit to activities an amount of time in advance that give me peace of mind. For something small and local with just one or two people, a day ahead is fine. I get that you want to hold out to see if some more interesting thing comes along that you may not want to include me in or that you may simply not want to do anything with me, but whatever it is, say so.

Don't say, "I'm free tomorrow eventing so sure, let's get together then" and then when tomorrow afternoon/evening gets here pretend that you don't remember our previous conversation/plan or suddenly have other plans. Don't wait until the last minute and text, "join me at _____ now?" That's maybe a little better because you've at least thought about me, but it's inconsiderate of my time and sanity. And if you have no intention of ever joining me in whatever activity, just say so rather than something like, "that sounds great but I'm busy that day" because I'll try again and I'd really rather not waste my time because you're too afraid to say what you mean.

For something out of town like a bridge tournament or something that'll take up more than half a day, get your act together a month ahead. Situations where a week before, you realize that you've booked something else on top of the tournament are unacceptable.