Starman and I went to our third night of the club's round robin event. This has -- more by accident than design -- been the only in-person bridge we've played. The event is every month; we missed January, but have played the other three months. And finally, on Wednesday, we (and our teammates, Scott & Sharon) won! That puts us in fifth place, out of six teams total.
Now, I know that looks bad, but it's a real mix of 199'ers and life masters. (Guess which group we're in. Yup. And guess which group our opponents on Wednesday night were in. Two-for-two. You're good at this guessing thing. Now guess which group our opponents in February and March are in. Wow! A hat trick. The might Kreskin has nothing on your mental abilities!) We're just pleased to have played better.
There are any number of explanations for how & why the cards and scores went the way they did, but the one I like is this: we've been practicing playing online for IMPs (international match points) and not the usual match points. It makes a difference. I think I have a rough idea of why it matters -- something to do with the cost of riskier sacrifices and so forth -- but it's been a revelation.
We started out playing online for IMPs, and I remember being thoroughly demoralized. Well, when you lose by 81 IMPs in the round robin tournament, against real people in real time, the computer debacles don't hurt so much. We re-read the instructions in our EasyBridge books about swiss teams play, and practiced.
Now, let's not overstate this. The nice peeps we played against on Wednesday (Ed referred to his team as "the good guys") aren't wildly amazing, but they're not bad. We could easily have lost, or it could have been a lot closer. Like if they'd bid a weird spades slam that relied on the following set up: I opened a spade, and partner had 6 spades, 6 diamonds, and a singleton ace in a side suit. Obviously we should be in game, but how to bid the slam if it's there? Well, we didn't (the hand makes 7 if you play the trumps right) and the other side didn't, so that was close to a wash. (I misplayed it on my side and "only" made 6, so a single IMP to their side for the additional overtrick.) But if they'd bid the slam...
Still, it was nice to win, and nice for Scott & Sharon, who must have wondered by people at the club said nice things about us when we really can't play for beans...
One other nice moment of the evening: on the drive home, Starman and I had a great conversation about ourselves as a partnership. I think it was the first healthy and calm meta-conversation we've had in a long time. All preceding arguments were, by definition, my fault!