07 August 2009

Bridge, Part 2 (the end)

The month before school ended, Dr. Abramson brought a $500 subsidy for playing bridge at Washington DC to our attention. Patricia and I decided to be partners (since we both said we could attend); Pavel would be at HCSSiM, Sam at Stanford math camp, and Ian at PROMYS. However, Patricia ditched a month later. I asked Matt if he wanted to be my partner, but he was going with Kevin. I had exhausted my options at BCA.

I wasn't ready to give up; in fact, I was adamant about going because I had received the subsidy. Knowing that TJHSST (or just TJ) kids would probably be good at bridge and be able to come, I asked jennypwns if she had any suggestions. She first advised that I play with Stephen Drodge, an experienced senior. However, he was going to the regular NABC events that conflicted with the youth events, so he was out. Meanwhile, jennypwns devised a plan and wanted me and TJ wiz kid to meet, so she suggested that I play with him. I sent him an email and he agreed! I finally secured a bridge partner and could worry about one less thing -sigh-

I walk from my hotel to the Marriot hotel, the location of the competition, in five minutes. I go up to the youth NABC and look around to find my partner or Matt or Kevin. I saw this wasian-looking kid wearing a mathcamp shirt. Then I was greeted by my bridge section president. Apparently the wasian kid overheard the conversation, and came over to greet me. Shortly after, Matt, Kevin, and Dr. Abramson come. Matt was in awe at the sight of Brian Hamrick (unfortunately, I didn't quite catch his expression). We went in the playing room, signed up for the events, and played about fifty hands before we went to dinner. We did surprisingly well; Brian and I placed in the morning pairs event (1st in C north-south direction, 4th in C overall, 6th in B, and 8th in A)and the four of us placed (got third!) in the afternoon teams event. Then the four of us, along with Dr. Abramson and my parents, went to a Japanese restaurant near my hotel for dinner. Following dinner, Dr. Abramson took us to this delicious Gelato place. (Surprisingly, my iPhone happened to have detected an open network, so I was able to read an email sent by jennypwns).

We met again at the hotel at about 10 and registered for the Baron Barclay youth pairs event. I hadn't gotten a good night's sleep, so I was yawning before the event started (generally not a good sign). The morning was the qualifying event: in order to be eligible for the afternoon event, you had to do better than half of the pairs. We played for about three and a half hours, which aggravated my drowsiness. During lunch, the roster of qualifying pairs came out. I was relieved to find out that we were ranked in the middle of the qualifying pairs. However, our luck ended here. We screwed up massively in the afternoon, finishing below Matt and Kevin. Fortunately, I had something to look forward to: I was going to Jenny's house after the tournament. We went to IHOP for dinner and swung on the swings of her community's playground. Then my parents took me home around 9:45pm so I could get a better night's sleep and [hopefully] do better the next day.

Today was the last day of our bridge adventures. We had the official team contest today (Thursday was just a warm-up). We were playing with Matt and Kevin again; however they didn't get to the hotel in time due to a lack of metroes on weekends. In the meantime, the pro TJ bridge players (Stephen Drodge and co) show up. Anyway, we played bridge for another three hours, had lunch, and resumed for another four hours. Brian and I did markedly better than yesterday. -phew- However, we still made some small mistakes, which was acceptable in my opinion. Our efforts paid off; we finished 3rd in C, 6th in B, and 8th in A. I was impressed by our achievements because (a) we're n00bs when compared to the other competitors and (b) we didn't practice much prior to the event.

All in all, I think this trip was one of the most memorable trips not only because I got to play lots of bridge, but also because I got to meet someone new :) Even though I didn't bring back any trophies, I brought back valuable experience and lessons that I'll use in future bridge tournaments.

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