On Friday one of the Mad Scientist’s regular partners, a lovely woman who is also a very skilled card player — quite a lethal combination, asked if I wanted to play today. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity, only later to realize I had just agreed to play with her for the first time on a day when I would be on even less sleep than usual (due to working last night after playing in a Swiss teams event yesterday during the day).
Not surprisingly, I did a lot of zigging when I ought to have been zagging. On one competitive auction I bid 2♥ over LHO’s 2♦ and hit partner with a singleton heart and five diamonds to the ace. Down one might have been good if at other tables people weren’t getting to 3♦ and going down one or two, doubled or not. Twice I upgraded my hand based on a protected king in my RHO’s suit, and twice the ace of that suit was held by my LHO instead. I completely misdefended one hand, unsure whether my partner’s lead was trying to hit me after I made a shaky take-out double or if it was really her suit. My partner opted not to invite with a flat, unremarkable 8 HCP when I opened a strong NT and this time I was at the top of my bid and it made four; most of the rest of the field was in 3NT. Even the good hands weren’t matchpointing well, but it was still a very enjoyable game and I decided that our goal was just to beat TMS and his partner. When I left the club we were just barely ahead of them, but in the end they pulled half a board ahead of us coming in 5th to our 6th. Not a great showing at all by team “Lab Rats”.
Over the past year or so, I’ve spent a tiny fortune on interesting, antique and unusual playing cards that are now primarily being displayed in small, haphazard piles. My main interest has been in decks designed specifically for bridge, especially five-suit bridge and I now own several of those. I really ought to con, cajole and/or bribe some other bridge players into an exhibition match of five-suited bridge one of these days, just to see what it is like. Recently the ACBL posted a story on their website about the “green suit” that included a photograph of the famed Four Aces playing a round of five-suited bridge. I have example decks of the British “crown” suit and the American “eagles”, but not the Austrian “leaves” — I will remain vigilant. After the game this afternoon I headed to the Container Store (after a brief detour to the remaindered bookshop) to find a suitable storage container. I found just the thing in an archival box designed for Christmas tree ornaments, the dividers are adjustable and I think it will do very nicely for my purpose.