BRIDGE: Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?

Up early.  Always happens on the day that I am scheduled to leave for a nationals.  I have a flight this afternoon into New Orleans.  It has been a bit nerve-wracking over the past two days to watch the progress of tropical depression, nee tropical storm, Bonnie as it crossed the Atlantic, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico with a bulls eye on New Orleans.  Fortunately for me, the storm has continued to weaken and will apparently not be the cause of any delays in my travel today.

The last time I was in New Orleans was the last time the nationals were there.  It was in the fall, pre-Katrina.  The strongest memory from that trip was that it turned very cold for New Orleans.  I wasn’t prepared and had to buy a sweatshirt to wear around.  From the reports I am hearing so far, a sweatshirt will most definitely not be necessary this time around.  The last three Summer Nationals, including this one, have been New Orleans, Washington and Las Vegas.  The ACBL loves its hot weather.  (However, the Summer National for 2011 is scheduled for Toronto.)

The Spingolds – Micro, Mini and All Grown Up versions – all start on Monday.  I’m very excited about my team for the Mini-Spingold (0-5000 masterpoints for each player on the team).  Last year, my team made it to the quarterfinals before losing our match.  The team that beat us in that round was a very good team.  One of the pairs played a 10-13 opening 1NT that was wielded very effectively at my table.  On at least four occasions, the 1NT opening caught Morrie and I with  13 opposite 12 or 12 opposite 12.  So, neither of us could double confidently.  Each time we stopped short of game and each time game was bid and made at the other table.  Welcome to modern bridge – attack.

Morrie and I are back this year with John Boyer, who was also on the team last year as the fifth player.  John was the “round robin” part of the team – whoever needed a sit-out for a set, John played with that person’s partner.  This year John is playing with his regular partner and my dear friend, Rob Stayman.  High hopes abound.

The GNT’s come to a conclusion today.  While I wish I could have been there to participate, I’m so glad I went to the wedding of my cousin’s daughter on Friday.  Congratulations to Nick and Jessica Boehm.  The wedding was beautiful, as was Jessica.  Nick will be leaving for boot camp in September.  I’m very happy and proud to welcome him as part of the family.

I hope to get several updates from New Orleans published this week.  There’s usually plenty to write about.  Nationals are generally a tournament, convention, party and reunion all rolled into one.  Laissez les bon temps rouler!

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