I’m writing this from my hotel room Friday morning, killing time before the afternoon pairs sessions start at 1pm. This is my last day here at the Gatlinburg tournament, and I must say I’ve gotten my money’s worth (not in points, unfortunately, but in fun and experience). I was told that this was a great regional to play in, and I certainly agree with that assessment now. The organization was superb, the facilities great, and the people uniformly pleasant and helpful; doesn’t get any better than that (well, I could have played a lot better, but that’s not their fault;-) ).
Hugh, Judy, Dee and I played in a Knockout (KO) game Monday afternoon, as we had been told this was the best route to gold points. In the KO format, teams of 4 compete against other teams in a 12-board Swiss Team game, and the losing team is ‘knocked out’ of the competition. If you win a couple of rounds of this, you are pretty much assured of getting some gold points. However, the downside is if you lose, you are out of the game entirely. Well, we basically got our rear ends kicked, so our hopes for gold points were dashed pretty soundly. Being the persistent sorts, Hugh and I tried again the next day with a pickup team, and this time we got through one round before being KO’d, and we even tried a 3rd KO game the next day with another pickup pair, and again got KO’d on the first round. This was pretty disappointing, as we thought we were bringing a pretty decent game to the party. In retrospect it looks more like we brought knives to a gunfight! ;-).
After that, Hugh and I decided we would try our luck at the partnership desk, and I got hooked up with a ‘young’ (30 pts) player from Marrietta Ga, named Mary. She and I were able to put together a 40% for the first session of a two session ‘Gold Rush’ pairs game, and a 57% for the second one. We got some red points for the 57% game, but because we hadn’t done well in the first session, we missed out on the gold. :-(. We did, however, have a lot of fun, so that was it’s own sort of ‘gold’. The next day (Thursday), Mary and I played in another Gold Rush 2-session game, but were unable to get out of the 40’s for either session. After that, Mary suggested we try the stratified 2-session game for Friday, thinking that the non Gold Rush fever types might be a little bit easier for her, and I agreed.
So, Mary and I will play these last two sessions today, and then I’ll be on my way back home again tomorrow morning, in my red Ford F-150 with ‘Lucifer’s Hammer’ on the CD player again. I won’t be taking any gold back with me, but I will be taking memories of some really great bridge played with some really great people, in a very interesting setting. Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be back here again next year! ;-).