Glory or bust and we go ... bust

I need 3 "silver" points to advance to the next masterpoint level in bridge.  In the OKC regional, I picked up 10 points so how hard can 3 points be? Harder than I thought.  You get silver points only by winning in sectionals but there are not that many sectionals in the local area.  Plus, the events are quite short, meaning that I can usually play only one event.

So, Swiss Teams on Sunday.  Our team consists of one B and three C players. We blitzed the first two rounds, racking up 30-0 in both.  That put us in the lead and we had to play the ultimate 2nd place team (each of the members of that team have 5,000 master points. You need 300 to become a Life Master. I have 50.)   We managed to lose to them "only" 22-8.  Having lost that match, we fall down enough to draw another uppity C team and beat them 20-10.  And that meant we had to play the ultimate winners (they too have 10K points apiece).  We lost again 26-4.

At this point, we're tied for 3rd place [having lost to no. 1 and 2].  Now, of course have to play the team that we're tied for 3rd with.  They're a team with two A and two B players. We may be able to beat them, but it's going to be tough. If we win, we may get 3 points each.  If we lose, we may only get 1.5 points each.  It's going to be glory or bust.

Just so you understand what happened, this is the strategy to win a Swiss teams match in bridge:
  1. Do not sacrifice if there is a chance that you'll get doubled and go down 4.  My partner calls this the "Don't go for a number" rule.  A huge number that is.  There is no way to recover from a 7 point deficit.
  2. Stretch to make a vulnerable game.  Bid games that are 30% likely.  If you don't bid a game and they do, you'll be looking at a 12 point deficit.
  3. As declarer, make the contract; don't go for over tricks
  4. As a defender, take a chance to set them even if it'll result in over tricks
So what do we do on that last match?  There are 8 boards.  On six boards, we execute strategies 3 and 4 perfectly.  We're picking up 2-3 points a board.  But the  other two boards. Those two boards!  In one, my partner and I sacrifice in 5H doubled, down 4.  In the other, our team mates miss a vulnerable 3 NT.  One of these we could have survived.  But not both. We lost 24-6 (the actual score is scaled to sum to 30) and ended up with just 1.4 silver points.

Another sectional coming up in a month.  And then that's it -- no more sectionals -- until next year.  1.6 points to go.

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