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District 25 News for February 2009

Five cold months have passed since our district's last regional of 2008, and this column's last appearance.

Boston Nationals News

 

We did it. The Fall 2008 Boston NABC was a success for District 25 and the ACBL. Kudos to Kathy Benjamin and Frank Lombardo for a very impressive job, and a special thank you to all the volunteers who helped. See district director Rich DeMartino's report for details. The bridge news of the tournament was Eric Rodwell's winning everything in sight. He even played the piano between sessions. Everybody was impressed with this NABC- the bridge players who flocked to Boston from 48 states and 43 countries, the ACBL board, and the two hotels, who liked us and want us back. Rumor has it the league is considering holding another Fall nationals in Boston sooner than expected, perhaps 2015. Stay tuned for details.

Recent Regionals

After pausing for the Nationals (no Masters Regional in '08), District 25 held the Newton Individual in early January. This year's tournament was not strictly comparable with prior years because we expanded from three days to five, allowing two knockout events rather than one, and several pair games. Thus attendance rose considerably, but my impression was that the increase wasn't as great as we had hoped, due to a combination of cold weather, a bad economy, and perhaps some burnout from the nationals. Although parking was still free this year, the Marriott had ominously positioned pay stations at the entrance to the lot. Historically, parking fees have depressed attendance at our district's regionals and even led to changes of venue.

Later in January, the district GNT was held in Sturbridge, along with a gala I/N Rainbow weekend. I think I'll always remember 2009's GNT because of a terribly bad decision Alan Watson and I made. We found our team with the top score after Saturday's round-robin, and the conditions of contest gave us the right to choose our semifinal opponents from the other three qualifying teams. Our choice proved unwise, as the team we selected outplayed us like demons, while the most logical alternative choice lost the other semi by over a hundred imps! Perhaps we were unlucky here:

 

 

.          North
           S-KQxxx
           H-Kx  
           D-KQ
           C-Axxx
                  
           South 
           S-xx
           H-Ax
           D-AJxx
           C-KQxxx

Our counterparts at the other table stopped in 3NT and made 690 when clubs weren't 4-0. We bid these hands to six clubs, but our LHO had S-Axxxx, and led ace and another for +100, to win 13 imps where 6NT would have meant 13 to us. The coup de grace:

 

 

.          North
           S-J10xx
           H-AQJxx  
           D-QJxx
           C-
                  
           South 
           S-AQx
           H-Kx
           D-AKxx
           C-98xx

Both Norths dredged up a 1H opening. I responded with a foolish 2C and wound up in 3NT. My LHO led the CK from AKJ10x, but couldn't believe his partner's high spot. He shifted to a diamond, and I ran for home with 630. LHO was dispirited, but he needn't have worried. My counterpart responded with a more sensible 2D and wound up in 6D for 1370 to win 12 imps.

 

As in prior years, I intend to write up some of the last matches of the district GNT, which will determine who represents the district in Washington DC this summer.

This past weekend, the District held its six-day Knockout Regional in Cromwell. Unfortunately work commitments meant that I only got to play Sunday's Flight A/X Swiss. However, I did notice that each year Cromwell is attracting more good New York state teams. This year's leaderboards featured the likes of Michael Rosenberg, Mel Colchamiro, Mark Feldman, Steve Landen, and Steve and Betty Bloom. They are all very welcome, and we hope to see them all back next year.