Mark Blumenthal

Tales of the Giant Crab – 9

Once long ago in the days of three or four day regionals  and board a match team games I went to Spartanburg, South Carolina with Ed Lazarus, Dave Treadwell and Walt Walvick. The first day I played with Ed. The only hand I remember is that Ed could have let declarer win a trick in dummy thus endplaying it and guaranteeing himself a trick. Instead he wound up getting endplayed himself. Our game didn’t get much better. In the opens I played with Walt. If possible, Our game was worse than the previous day’s had been.   The next day was the team game. As we had all played together any lineup was feasible, but all three of us wanted Dave as a partner.  We finally decided to cut cards to determine our partners. Of course, I wound up having to play with Walt.  On the first hand we had a short auction. After a few bids I  jumped to six diamonds. Not thinking of the possibility  I had already   bid his values, Walt bid seven diamonds.  I went down one. Totally disgusted, I tore up my convention card. I knew my teammates and the ACBL would look very dimly upon  my quitting at this point so I continued to play. About the tenth board I realized the first board had been our only bad result. We were having a terrific game! I got a blank convention card and filled it in with plausible bad results.

Our game continued to be super. When Dave and Eddie returned I could see Eddie looked excited. When they came to compare scores, Eddie said, “We have a great game If you two of you idiots could  follow suit   only follow suit we will be leading .”

I said, “We were unlucky, but we played pretty well.”  I had the opponents beating us in close games and our failing to make ours. I had a plausible explanation for all our results except for the first board  As we compared Eddie, who is short, started jumping up and down because he was so upset. Ever the gentleman, Dave didn’t say anything, but his face kept getting redder.

I think we supposedly had finished average. Finally, Walt said, “Now let’s compare with the real card.”   When we did that we found we were easily leading the field. We held on in the evening session to win the event easily.  

A few years after that Walt, Ed and Walt’s partner, Don Smolen, played in another board a match team in Norfolk, Virginia In order to play on our team,  Don came ,  from Philadelphia only to play in the team . We led the field after at the half. When play resumed  Ed and I had a horrible game. Everything we had done worked out badly. As we were slightly late getting to to Walt and Don’s table so  anybody who thought they might be in contention was watching as we compared results.

“We can’t lose a board” said Walt. I said, “We can’t win a board.” As we compared we were doing much better than I would have expected, but much worse than Walt hd thought was possible. 

Finally, Walt said, “Come on, let’s see your real card. ” As he later explained to me, he looked at my face and realized there was no real card. We wound up average.

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