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Ringing in the New Year (a little late)

Every year I try to reflect on how the past year has gone, and set goals for the next year. This past year has been a particularly difficult year  for me, as I have been going through some difficult personal travails, which have taken time and energy away from bridge (and from writing). This year promises to be much better. I'm now working full time again, so I have to take that in mind when formulating my goals for the year.  But first, let's look at how I did against last year's goals.

Last year's goals were:

  • Place in a NABC+ National pairs event. 
  • Place in the top 10 of an NABC National event. 
  • Win a two-session A/X Swiss. .
  • Represent District 21 at Nationals in either the NAPs or the GNTs.
  • Become adept at identifying, planning and executing squeezes. 
  • Improve my ability to make more subtle inferences during play and defense.
  • Get one more Platinum point.  

How did I do?

  • Place in a NABC+ National pairs event.  This was my number one goal, and with the help of my most excellent partner, Debbie Rosenberg, we placed 36th in the 3-day Life Master Pairs event at the Summer Nationals in Las Vegas.  Most importantly, I felt like I put in six solid sessions in a very high-pressure high-quality event, and overall played some of my best bridge ever, so this represents for me a bridge highlight I'm very proud of.
  • Place in the top 10 of an NABC National event. I played only in one limited event, the Red Ribbon Pairs at the Spring Nationals in Phoenix, and we finished 30th.  Not quite what I was after, but it's always nice to place!
  • Win a two-session A/X Swiss. My team won X in an A/X, and won some bracketed KOs and Swisses (bracket 2 or 3), but a win in A continues to elude me.
  • Represent District 21 at Nationals in either the NAPs or the GNTs. The best I could do this past year was 4th overall in the NAP Flight B with partner Ron Karr.  Maybe this year I can move up to 3rd? I hope some day I will be able to achieve this goal, as it's proving to be quite elusive. Our district is really really tough!
  • Become adept at identifying, planning and executing squeezes.  I took a short squeeze class from Debbie Rosenberg, which was excellent, and I believe that some pieces are starting to fall into place.  I certainly have executed more squeezes this year at the table, but I still feel like a novice.  I will continue to work on squeezes this year.
  • Improve my ability to make more subtle inferences during play and defense. Although this was a fuzzy goal, I believe that I have improved in this area, and am starting to intuit more subtle inferences at the table and to think deeper thoughts. 
  • Get one more Platinum point. This was one goal where i overachieved. With my placing in the Life Master Pairs, and a smattering of Platinum points at other events, I now have enough Platinum points so that I'm eligible to play in the Platinum Pairs for the next three years. 

My goals for this coming year are going to be modest, as I am not playing as much bridge due to working full time. Once my personal situation resolves, which it promises to soon, I should have more time to regroup and resume learning and getting better.  For now, some of my goals from last year will carry over to 2015:

  • Place in the top 10 of an NABC National event. I'd still like to be able to have a high finish in some National event, realistically in a limited event, although I will continue to do my best in the unlimited ones.
  • Win a two-session A/X Swiss.  Yep, this one still carries over to next year.
  • Represent District 21 at Nationals in either the NAPs or the GNTs. I have three more chances to do this. I made it to Day 2 in Flight A, and was happy with the way I played. I was nowhere near placing in the top 3, however. I'm playing in Flight B next weekend, and I think I have a good shot at making the top 3 if my partner and I are on form. I have two teams entered for Flights A & B in the GNT (and if someone would like me to play on their Open team, I'm available), so there are still at least three more chances to make it.
  • Become adept at identifying, planning and executing squeezes.  I am slowly gaining skills, and I must continue to work on this, as it apparently does not come naturally to me.
  • Improve my ability to make more subtle inferences during play and defense. I'm still finding places where I'm overlooking some, in hindsight, obvious things, if I just stopped to ask myself the right questions. I am going to continue to build on the progress I made last year.
  • Improve my analysis ability. I have a tendency to be influenced by results, and I think that's in part because I need work at analyzing hands at the table. I started working on this this past year and want to continue in the new year.
  • Get 50 more Platinum points and 320 more points. Both may be stretch goals, as I'm not playing as much bridge. I want to make some headway in getting towards 200 Platinum so I can always play in the Platinum Pairs, and I'd like to get to Gold Life Master so I am not tempted to play in B anymore.

Those are my thoughts for this year... most of the goals are really continuations of last year's goals, as skills improvement is coming a lot more slowly.

How about you... what are your goals for this year?

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