Monday, December 8, 2014

What the hell is a Providence?

I traveled to the North American Bridge Championship in Providence RI, not expecting much from the city. Providence? What the hell is a Providence? I went for the bridge, baby!

I'm happy to say I was quite pleased with Providence. There were so many interesting restaurants that were charming, had interesting menus, and had tasty food. Deciding where to eat each each evening was an adventure, for sure. (For my favorite fancy restaurant, click here. For my favorite non-fancy restaurants, click here or go here.) Everything was walkable.

The ACBL web site quite accurately stated this: "You will find that Providence is a terrific city with all the amenities of a major city but still has the charm and friendly atmosphere of a small town." Well, there you go.

Okay, a bridge problem. You know the drill. I say, "You hold:"

9 5 2 10 8 3 A 10 3 5 4 3 2.

Left-hand opponent opened 1, partner overcalled 1, and RHO bid 1NT. You passed, and LHO raised to 3NT. Now you have the 'you hold' and the bidding. What do you lead?

My partner, Sandy McCay, was on lead and realized declarer most likely held the K, so my suit was headed by (at most) the queen-jack. Therefore, I must have some values on the side. She led the 9. (She said later she chose spades over hearts because the 10 would be confusing and she wanted to lead something high enough to encourage me to shift. You gotta love a partner who makes life easy for you.)

Her choice was a spectacular success. Here are all four hands (actually board No. 10, rotated to make South the declarer):

I won, and shifted to the Q which held. I led another diamond, ducked to the 10, and on the ace, I deposited the jack, just to be sure, ha. A spade back to me to cash two more diamonds resulted in down three.

Plus 300 for the good guys was an 86% board. Yes, there are layouts where this might not have been a good lead, but I admire a partner who has the nerve to do what she thinks is right.

Did you go to Providence? Do you agree with me? Did you make the unimaginative diamond lead? If so, stick to good restaurants, and leave the bridge to Sandy.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Home sweet home

My partner (Sandy McCay) and I had a good chance to do well in the Senior Mixed Pairs. Unfortunately, we had a disastrous final session; everything that could go wrong did. We had more than our share of bad boards that we couldn't do anything about, as well as some things that we contributed on our own. I believe we finished 27th which sounds better to others than it did to us. I haven't been this disappointed about bridge in a long time. You can read the Daily Bulletin that gives the full results if you click here.

I've downloaded some photos from the Monday trip to Newport RI -- enjoy.

Above: Sandy and I took the Cliff Walk. It wends along the Atlantic Coast between the ocean and the huge mansions that the millionaires of the early twentieth century called "summer cottages." You can click to enlarge each photo. Press escape or click outside the photo to return.

Above: As you might imagine, the ocean view was spectacular.

Above: This is an example of a summer cottage. Some cottage, huh? These homes were built during what was called The Gilded Age.

Above: The Breakers was the mansion we toured. The Vanderbilt family called this home for six weeks each summer.

Above: When entering The Breakers, this rather large room is the first thing you see. They had a no photo rule for most of the building.

Above: This image shows the view looking out the back of The Breakers towards the ocean. If you enlarge and look carefully just left of center in the distance, you can see two people. This gives some perspective of how large the yard is.

Above: Our tour group stopped on the way home, and Sandy mentioned that this would be an interesting shot. My camera battery was dead, so I used my cell phone. Not bad for a phone, although I did crop and lighten it in Photoshop.

All photos (except the last one) taken with my Canon point-and-shoot.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rhode Island update

Sandy McCay and I played in the Nail Life Master Open Pairs and qualified for the second day. In the finals, we had two average sessions and obviously missed the overalls. My next bridge game is the Senior Mixed Pairs which will be played Wednesday and Thursday. Sandy and I got along just fine. I was pleased with her game and she with mine, I think.

Sunday I watched football.

Monday, Sandy and I went on a tour to the Bay area and Newport. In Newport, we took something called the The Cliff Walk -- the view was amazing. Then we toured one of the fancy houses (The Breakers, former summer home of one of the Vanderbilts). The tour guide pointed out the church that JFK and Jackie Kennedy were married in, as well as some other interesting tidbits.

I took photos along the way. My battery died, however, and I can't download them to my laptop. What is it that Gilda Radner said? It's always something. I'll post them when I get home.

This evening, I'm going on a night tour of Providence. It's one of those deals where (besides seeing the sights of Providence) you stop at one fancy restaurant for an appetizer, at another for the entrée, and at a third for desert. The tour company I've been using is called Experience Rhode Island.

GL GL GL moi at bridge the next two days.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Fall North American Bridge Championship begins Thursday evening in Providence RI. I am going for one week and have plans to play in two events: the Nail Life Master Open Pairs (Friday and Saturday) and the Senior Mixed Pairs (next Wednesday and Thursday). My partner is Sandy McCay, who plays online as arenita at BBO. We've been practicing, so let's hope that pays off.

In between the two events, I will be a tourist. Not sure what's on tap, but I plan to see and do it. There is a bad snow and ice storm in the Northeast U.S. Let's hope it clears out by Monday, my first day of sightseeing.

You can keep up with results at the ACBL web site.