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Phoenix Nationals, Day 1: LM Pairs

After spending a lovely Thxgiving with my in-laws, I took an early flight to Phoenix on Friday morning.  That meant getting up at 5:30 PT, but it wasn't so bad.  The flight was smooth, and we got in in plenty of time to help out Jason and Erin at the Bridge Winners desk.  Since I also had preregistered, I was really pleased with how nice it was to not have to worry about getting my entry.  The folder was on my table when I arrived, although the N/S pair had taken our pens, thinking they were for them.  (But since I have a few already, that was fine!)   We had indicated that we would be willing to sit E/W both times, so we did.  In fact, we had the exact same table for both sessions!

I met my partner, Kevin Schoenfeld, at the table shortly before game time.  We were sitting in the same section as Zia, and it was cool to be able to play against him and his partner for two boards. Overall the session felt good.  Not spectacular, but good.  I 'pseudo-squeezed' my way into making 7 in a 4 contract, when both opponents steadfastly guarded hearts, and I was able to make a last wee diamond good (not the 7, unfortunately).  We bid and made a good slam that not everyone got to.  In general, we made decent competitive decisions, played acceptably well, and didn't suffer too much bad luck to end the first session with a 53.72% game (approximately).   The best part of it was that Steve was sitting in the same direction as me, so we set up a small board-a-match competition before the game started. We had five boards in common, three which we tied, and two which I won, so I was quite pleased... something tells me I won't win it next time though!   We got 1 platinum point for our section showing, which means I just have 18 more platinum to go to be able to play in the Platinum Pairs in the spring.

At the break, we walked over to a funky eatery called The Duce, and had sliders and mac n' cheese muffins for dinner.  Yum!  It was nice to get a walk in, and the food was interesting and not your standard fare.

No time for a nap before the evening.  It was easy to find our table since it was the same one as earlier in the day.  If we could just squeak out a decent second session, even one a little below average, we'd be in clover.  Our second session felt a bit rawer. The cards were running N/S so we played a bit more defense in the evening, and depended a little bit more on the opponents. However, we did get a few gifts here and there which helped.  We finished session 2 with a 50.42%, which put us solidly in the field of qualifiers, at 105th, just below Jenni & Greg, and Eugene & Ari.   Last year, I played in the Womens' event, and was the last qualifier until a scoring correction put us tied for the last Q, and then we lost to another pair in a board-a-match comparison. So this makes the first time I've qualified for the second day of an NABC+ matchpoint pairs event, and I'm pretty stoked.  Hopefully we'll acquit ourselves well today in the tougher field.

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