A couple of weeks ago, I got to play with my Mother in the Erin Berry Rookie Master game. This is a game sponsored by the CBF and Erin Berry’s parents to promote bridge. Rookies (less than 50 MPs) sign up, and are paired up with a Master for the game, everyone plays the same yellow card, and it is mainly for fun. Hand analysis sheets are given out, and the overall winners are recognized on the CBF site. Erin Berry was a young lady from Saskatchewan that loved bridge, but was killed at a young age in a car accident. My mother has been playing for quite some time, but only recently with the ACBL. We got to go out for Dinner before the game, then have a good time playing for the evening.
Early on in the game, my Mother had to wonder what kind of ‘Master’ she had been stuck playing with, when I was the only declarer in the room to go down in 4H. I picked up AT8 AJT43 874 A6 and opened 1H in first seat. This went P, 2C by partner, and I rebid 2N. Mom now jumped to 4H, ending the auction, and the opening lead was the 8 of Clubs. This hand came down in dummy J62 KQ98 QT KQ93, a very nice pull indeed. The rookies always sit W and S, so the rookie at this table had led the 8 of Clubs, not much sense asking if they have any agreements. I finally decided it was not from length and strength, since there were only 2 cards higher than the 8, so played low from dummy, winning the A when RHO also played low. I played a Heart to the K and another back to the J, hoping to keep some communication open, and both opps followed as Hearts were 22. I now played a Club towards dummy, and LHO played the 10, sigh. When I won and cashed the 2nd high honour, RHO showed out, meaning the 9 would have held in dummy if I had played it.
But now came the problem, I had a complete blind spot on the hand, and pitched a Diamond on the good Club, before playing the J of Spades, losing to the Q on my left. LHO led the Club J back, which I ruffed, and eventually took another losing Spade hook, for down 1. Somehow, no one else forgot to pitch a Spade on the Club, and all made, some making 5, some 4. A couple did not bid game, but that always happens in these games. If I had found some way to put in the 9 of Clubs, and remembered to pitch Spades, I had a top waiting for me to claim.
One other hand that also did not work out for us involved a very nice sequence by one of the Rookies. Holding KT43 AKQ4 K5 AT4 he opened 1C, and over partners 1S bid, reversed into 2H. His partner bid 2S, and he now leaped to 4S, showing the full monster. His partner jumped to 6S, and had the perfect hand with A98762 T98 A 963, claiming 7 when the Hearts went 33. Unfortunately for us, less than half the room made it to 6S, and a few in that contract managed to hold themselves to 12 tricks. There were also 2 that did not get to game, so –1460 was a bad score for us.
This is a fun game that I strongly recommend that all players in Canada should try to support. It was sad to see 2 or 3 rookies that came out to play and not enough masters showed up to pair them up. The great committee that organized the event phoned people at the last minute to come out and got everyone paired up, but when Bridge is dropping in attendance, anything that gets new people out should be strongly encouraged and supported.